Quickies: Tardigrades, editing DNA, and “failed marriages”

  • Angelina’s divorce shows how “failed marriages” are failing us – “With longer lives, people and their priorities change. If you can only count to living well until 40, then getting hitched at 25 means that your sense of self doesn’t have that much room to change. But today, says Pinsof, your sense of your “relational future” at 35 or 50 is way different than it was before the 20th century.” From Amy.
  • The world’s hardiest animal has evolved a radiation shield for its DNA – Tardigrades: endlessly cool.
  • Breaking taboo, Swedish scientist seeks to edit DNA of healthy human embryos – “Lanner is attempting to edit genes in human embryos to learn more about how the genes regulate early embryonic development. He hopes the work could lead to new ways to treat infertility and prevent miscarriages. He also hopes to help scientists learn more about embryonic stem cells so they can someday use them to treat many diseases.”
  • The muddled link between booze and cancer – “The public health community is split among people who think alcohol has its benefits and those who caution against its risks. The WHO’s designation puts alcohol in the same category as processed meats and sunlight: They’re carcinogenic, but that label doesn’t tell you how much is how carcinogenic.”


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Well gee whillikers! Who’d have believed that multi-billion dollar industry which sell a product that kills:
    ‘Nearly 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.’

    Just might be able to influence public policy, research budgets etc. etc.? Not to mention the appalling eagerness of well-lubricated journalists to treat any story about the threat as a joke.

    1. Oops, the 88,000 deaths per year were from ’06 to ’10. The CDC reports that is it over 100,000 as of 2015. Washington Post reports that alcohol deaths (starting with a much lower estimate than the one I’ve cited) outnumber prescription drug and heroin deaths COMBINED.

    2. One we all enjoy. (I mean, you’re not John the Teetotaler.) But yeah, you can generally find any product like that will start its own think tanks, set up its own propaganda network, etc.

      There is an obvious argument against banning any of these things. But dammit, there’s middle ground!

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