Sunday, 24 August 2008

Another Round up of Science Stuff

General perspective on Science Stories and whatnot:

Screw you, Icarus!

Solar powered planes, seem like a good idea to me. The Icarus thing is clearly flipped over here, as the closer the plane gets to the sun the more power it gets, and the longer it can fly. Nice. It's a military thing, which explains why they could afford the best technology and support. The company 'QinetiQ' were involved, and I was at a seminar by a representative of them once. They spent around £500,000 on their logo. Money to burn, clearly. But as with most military applications, I'm sure this will be available to the general public before long. Not sure what we'd do with lightweight planes that can stay in the air for the best part of a week. Any suggestions?

Face on, Face off!

Face transplant surgery is improving, with more successful results. We're still a long way from the John Travolta/Nicholas Cage style direct swap seen in Face Off (although a bit of that film they just skimmed over was where Travolta's character had to be slimmed down to replace Cages, but then Cage took Over Travolta's role, so he had to be fattened up, so was there some form of reverse liposuction going on?), but face transplants seem to be more of a reality all the time. It's good news for those people who suffer serious injuries obviously, but I anticipate some problems in future.
  • Who's going to donate these faces? People are reluctant enough to donate organs, but whole faces? Would they be more or less pleased about a complete stranger walking around with their visage?
  • I.D. theft is a common problem, what if this technique become freely available on the private market, and they find a way to make new faces from scratch, what's to stop people stealing your identity quite literally? From 'don't throw out old bank details' to 'just don't ever show your face to anyone'. Add to this the possibility of the propagation of human cloning and we'll be advised not to leave any DNA lying around anywhere. Maybe we'll get a future where people wander around wearing full length impermeable body suits and black bike helmets. might be funny.

Stem Cells from Teeth

You can obtain stem-cells from teeth now, apparently. That's nice, might get away from the controversy of using embryos. But now the tooth fairy seems like a legitimate career move. Can we expect genuine hard cash for kids teeth now? I've actually heard the phrase 'I'd give my eye teeth for that', will that now be a legitimate option rather than just an obscure phrase. Although a lot of the support for stem-cell research is based on the argument that they could be used to replace lost or damaged tissue from their own stem cells which won't be rejected by your body. Statistically, the one body part people are most prone to losing is teeth. But it's OK because they can make new ones from . . . wait . . .

Bloody birds, coming over here...

Because of global warming, birds are moving northwards sooner than usual, but still not fast enough. This is obviously bad for birds, but probably good for global warming proponents. Birds have specific migration patterns and behaviours, so this is bad for them overall. This suggests that birds from France may even end up in Britain t some point as the global temperature bands fluctuate. But I wonder how the BNP will react to this, because you know if this happens the tabloids will completely undermine the seriousness of it with headlines like "THOUSANDS OF FRENCH BIRDS HEAD FOR BLIGHTY". A massive mix of confusing emotions, hatred of dirty foreigners coming into our country, lust and pride combined at the thought of all the naive French ladies leaving those useless Frog men and looking for some proper British blokes, confusion at all the stereotypes coming to mind, with hairy armpits but Mediterranean passions, all to lead to confused disappointment as it's actually regarding small feathered creatures looking for food sources. Silly old Bigots.

And finally...

I don't really follow the regular news, so was surprised to such outrage as Gary Glitter re-enters the country. Do people really hate Glam Rock that much these days?
Of course, I'm aware that he's a filthy child molester. But I do question his sanity. I think he should be back in the UK, why should other countries have to deal with our perverts? Is it fine of foreign kids get horrifically abused, as long as their not good old British children? But Glitter seems to be worse than a regular paedophile, he's a smug paedophile. The article says he plans to start his singing career again. Good for him. Bare in mind this is the country where all kids have knives (apparently) and paediatricians get their offices torched because it sounds vaguely similar, I would love to see the audience at his next tour.

Also, I put the word paedophile twice (well, three times now) in this entry and mentioned child molesting a few times, so I may be getting some very questionable hits in a bit.

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