Video: Why Do Some People Hate Cilantro?

Cilantro is one of the most polarizing herbs the planet. Consider it the Benedict Cumberbatch of taco toppings. But what is it about this little plant that stokes such intense vitriol from some people, while the rest of us can’t get enough? The answer’s in the chemistry folks!

Watch video at You Tube (2:47 minutes) . . . . .

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Video: How Do Hand Sanitizers Work?

The labels always read, “Kills 99.99% of Germs!” but does the science of hand sanitizers back it up? Today we’re taking a closer look at what this goo is made of, and just how effective it really is against viruses and bacteria.

Watch video at You Tube (3:21 minutes) . . . . .

Video: TED Talk – The Surprisingly Charming Science of Your Gut

Ever wonder how we poop? Learn about the gut – the system where digestion (and a whole lot more) happens — as doctor and author Giulia Enders takes us inside the complex, fascinating science behind it, including its connection to mental health. It turns out, looking closer at something we might shy away from can leave us feeling more fearless and appreciative of ourselves.

Watch video at You Tube (14:02 minutes) . . . .

It’s Mathematically Impossible to Beat Aging According to Science

Aging is a natural part of life, but that hasn’t stopped people from embarking on efforts to stop the process.

Unfortunately, perhaps, those attempts are futile, according to University of Arizona researchers who have proved that it’s mathematically impossible to halt aging in multicellular organisms like humans.

“Aging is mathematically inevitable — like, seriously inevitable. There’s logically, theoretically, mathematically no way out,” said Joanna Masel, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and at the UA.

Masel and UA postdoctoral researcher Paul Nelson outline their findings on math and aging in a new study titled “Intercellular Competition and Inevitability of Multicellular Aging,” published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Current understanding of the evolution of aging leaves open the possibility that aging could be stopped if only science could figure out a way to make selection between organisms perfect. One way to do that might be to use competition between cells to eliminate poorly functioning “sluggish” cells linked to aging, while keeping other cells intact.

However, the solution isn’t that simple, Masel and Nelson say.

Two things happen to the body on a cellular level as it ages, Nelson explains. One is that cells slow down and start to lose function, like when your hair cells, for example, stop making pigment. The other thing that happens is that some cells crank up their growth rate, which can cause cancer cells to form. As we get older, we all tend, at some point, to develop cancer cells in the body, even if they’re not causing symptoms, the researchers say.

Masel and Nelson found that even if natural selection were perfect, aging would still occur, since cancer cells tend to cheat when cells compete.

“As you age, most of your cells are ratcheting down and losing function, and they stop growing, as well,” said Nelson, lead author of the study. “But some of your cells are growing like crazy. What we show is that this forms a double bind — a catch-22. If you get rid of those poorly functioning, sluggish cells, then that allows cancer cells to proliferate, and if you get rid of, or slow down, those cancer cells, then that allows sluggish cells to accumulate. So you’re stuck between allowing these sluggish cells to accumulate or allowing cancer cells to proliferate, and if you do one you can’t do the other. You can’t do them both at the same time.”

Although human mortality is an undisputed fact of life, the researchers’ work presents a mathematical equation that expresses why aging is an “incontrovertible truth” and “an intrinsic property of being multicellular,” Nelson said.

“It’s no surprise that we’re all going to die; lots of things are obvious because they’re so familiar to us, but really, why is it that we age? We start to explain why,” said Masel, who also teaches in the UA’s Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Applied Mathematics.

“People have looked at why aging happens, from the perspective of ‘why hasn’t natural selection stopped aging yet?’ That’s the question they ask, and implicitly in that is the idea that such a thing as non-aging is possible, so why haven’t we evolved it? We’re saying it’s not just a question of evolution not doing it; it can’t be done by natural selection or by anything else,” Masel said.

In the end, things just break over time and — according to the math — trying to fix them can make things worse.

“You might be able to slow down aging but you can’t stop it,” Masel said. “We have a mathematical demonstration of why it’s impossible to fix both problems. You can fix one problem but you’re stuck with the other one. Things will get worse over time, in one of these two ways or both: Either all of your cells will continue to get more sluggish, or you’ll get cancer. And the basic reason is that things break. It doesn’t matter how much you try and stop them from breaking, you can’t.”

As Nelson says: “It’s just something you have to deal with if you want to be a multicellular organism.”

Source: Science Daily


Today’s Comic

Chinese Scientists Develop Rice that Can Grow in Seawater

Ben Kentish wrote . . . . . .

Scientists in China have developed several types of rice that can be grown in seawater, potentially creating enough food for 200 million people.

Researchers have been trying to grow the grain in salty water for decades but have only now developed varieties that could be commercially viable.

The rice was grown in a field near the Yellow Sea coastal city of Qingdao in China’s eastern Shandong province. 200 different types of the grain were planted to investigate which would grow best in salty conditions.

Sea water was pumped into the fields, diluted and then channelled into the rice paddies.

The scientists expected to produce 4.5 tonnes of rice per hectare but the crops exceeded expectations, in one case delivering up to 9.3 tonnes per hectare.

“The test results greatly exceeded our expectations,” Liu Shiping, a professor of agriculture at Yangzhou University who is involved in the project, told Xinhua.

There are one million square kilometres of land in China where crops do not grow because of high salinity. Scientists hope the development of the new rice will allow some of these areas to be used for agriculture.

If even a tenth of these areas were planted with rice, they could produce 50 million tonnes of food – enough to feed 200 million people and boost China’s rice production by 20 per cent.

The new type of rice was developed by a team led by 87-year-old Yuan Longping, who has spent decades trying to breed rice to grow in different conditions. The Chinese government has been investigating how to grow rice in salty waters since the 1970s.

Mr Yuan said: “If a farmer tries to grow some types of saline-tolerant rice now, they most likely will get 1,500 kilogrammes per hectare. That is just not profitable and not even worth the effort.

“Farmers will have an incentive to grow the rice if we can double the yield.”

The saltwater rice is currently on sale for around 50 yuan (£6) per kilogramme – around eight times more than ordinary rice. Despite the cost, six tons of the grain have already been sold, with consumers praising its flavour and texture.

The rice is also thought to have several health benefits, including being high in calcium.

Source: Independent