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Science!
Author: BobR    Date: 02/24/2010 13:43:45

Every once in a while, we like to deviate from the "politics as usual" here on FourFreedomsBlog, and get our science geek on. Today is one of those days, with some very interesting science-related stories appearing online. The inspiration for today's blog was an article I read in yesterday's WaPo as I was riding the bus to work.

The article discussed the earthquake in Haiti, and showed which other cities in the world are susceptible to deadly devastation due to an earthquake. Within the U.S., the most vulnerable areas are along the entire west coast (no surprises there). But it also looked at most stressed fault lines, combined with percentage of buildings not built to withstand an earthquake (which is to say: most of them). It also included a very nice graphic, too large and detailed to post here. The other areas besides the west coast of the Americas that are most vulnerable are most of the Middle East and southern Asia, including Iran, India, China, and Japan. Reading the details of the risks in Mexico City are chilling:

Another seismic bull's-eye is Mexico City, which sits on the worst possible soil, a drained lake bed that will intensify seismic waves. The city also is in a basin in the mountains, which essentially traps the seismic waves. The devastating earthquake of 1985, which killed about 10,000 people, was centered hundreds of miles away but managed to ring Mexico City like a bell.

The article makes one ponder - why aren't all buildings constructed to withstand earthquakes and hurricanes? Cost is likely a major factor, but also is the Pollyanna-ish thought that "it won't happen here".

From the "wow - that's cool!" file, we find that one of Saturn's moons - Enceladus - is covered with geysers spewing icy fluids. The images are amazing:

http://i.space.com/images/saturn-moon-geysers1-100223-02.jpg

Closer to home, scientists have been mapping the genome of a 4000 year old man found frozen in Greenland, and have made some interesting discoveries. The analysis sheds some light on Asian migration to America, long before Columbus set foot on our soil:
An analysis of differences, or mutations, at single base pairs on the ancient Greenlander’s nuclear genome indicates that his father’s ancestors came from northeastern Siberia, report geneticist Morten Rasmussen of the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen and his colleagues in the Feb. 11 Nature. Three modern hunter-gatherer groups in that region — the Nganasans, Koryaks and Chukchis — display a closer genetic link to the Greenland individual than do Native American groups living in cold northern areas of North America, Rasmussen says.

A largely complete mitochondrial DNA sequence from the ancient man’s hair, extracted by the same researchers in 2008, places his maternal ancestry in northeastern Asia as well.
[...]
His remains were found at a site from the Saqqaq culture, the earliest known people to have inhabited Greenland. Saqqaq people lived in Greenland from around 4,750 to 2,500 years ago. One popular hypothesis traces Saqqaq ancestry to Native American groups that had settled Arctic parts of Alaska and Canada by 11,000 years ago.

Inuk’s strong genetic ties to Siberian populations raise a different scenario. “We've shown that this ancient individual was not related to Native Americans but derived from an expansion of northeastern Asians into the New World and across to Greenland"

There's a lot of detail in the article, way too much to post here. Fascinating...

Finally - there's a new study that might bring some hope to stroke victims. It seems that when a stroke damages the part of the brain that controls speech, we can be taught to repurpose the part of our brain that controls singing and use it for speech. Yes, they are two different parts:
Teaching stroke patients to sing "rewires" their brains, helping them recover their speech, say scientists.

By singing, patients use a different area of the brain from the area involved in speech.

If a person's "speech centre" is damaged by a stroke, they can learn to use their "singing centre" instead.
[...]
An ongoing clinical trial, they said, has shown how the brain responds to this "melodic intonation therapy".

Again - read the article. It's amazing.

To toss a little politics into this, I'll just say I am glad we have a president that supports science. Perhaps that general positive reinforcement will lead the kids of today to become the scientists of tomorrow that will discover new treatments, and study past civilizations or the outer limits of our solar system to find ways to make our lives and our planet better.

53 comments (Latest Comment: 02/25/2010 03:04:23 by livingonli)
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Comment by wickedpam on 02/24/2010 14:13:34
Comment by Will in Chicago on 02/24/2010 14:30:12
Good morning, bloggers! Excellent post, BobR!



I wish we could replace the celebrity segments on the news with science news. Usually, I can complete forget the existence of Lindsay Lohan until her name gets mentioned.



I have a break from subbing today, so I am doing a few things. I am mostly recovered from my cold and a minor hand injury.





Comment by BobR on 02/24/2010 14:30:17
quiet morning on the blog...

Comment by BobR on 02/24/2010 14:30:55
Quote by wickedpam:

Morning



Hal Sparks Hot Sexy Webcam


Steph looks like she could put on a few pounds...

Comment by wickedpam on 02/24/2010 14:35:46
Quote by BobR:

Quote by wickedpam:

Morning



Hal Sparks Hot Sexy Webcam


Steph looks like she could put on a few pounds...






she does need a sammie at the very least

Comment by wickedpam on 02/24/2010 14:42:31
Quote by BobR:

quiet morning on the blog...






maybe everyone's still sleeping

Comment by wickedpam on 02/24/2010 14:52:58
I had a Congress person drive by me in traffic this morning the horrendous back up

Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 15:12:30
good morning!



I'm gonna be reading these articles all day...

Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 15:15:14
Quote by wickedpam:

I had a Congress person drive by me in traffic this morning the horrendous back up


did they just bypass everything?



Comment by wickedpam on 02/24/2010 15:25:41
Quote by Raine:

Quote by wickedpam:

I had a Congress person drive by me in traffic this morning the horrendous back up


did they just bypass everything?







surprisingly no, they would have to have been in the left lane like eveyrone else who cut me off did.



They drove a Ford, only reason I know they were a congress critter was they have a "US Congress" license plate



Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 15:35:17
HOLY crap. Momma has 2 floors in a NYC apartment?

Comment by wickedpam on 02/24/2010 15:39:21
Quote by Raine:

HOLY crap. Momma has 2 floors in a NYC apartment?






I don't understand NY apartments - how do you buy and sell an apartment?

Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 15:40:40
As of right now, the American people still don’t know which one Congressional Republicans support and which one they want to present to the public on Thursday.....A collection of piecemeal and sometimes conflicting ideas won’t do....As we said today, we’ll be happy to post the Republican plan on our website once they indicate to us which one we should post. We hope they won’t pass up this opportunity to make their case to the American people.




Will the Republicans Post Their Health Plan… and When?



Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 15:41:59
Quote by wickedpam:

Quote by Raine:

HOLY crap. Momma has 2 floors in a NYC apartment?






I don't understand NY apartments - how do you buy and sell an apartment?
IF you buy one, it's more like a condo situation. Or a co-op. but many are just apartments.



Comment by wickedpam on 02/24/2010 15:48:18
Quote by Raine:

Quote by wickedpam:

Quote by Raine:

HOLY crap. Momma has 2 floors in a NYC apartment?






I don't understand NY apartments - how do you buy and sell an apartment?
IF you buy one, it's more like a condo situation. Or a co-op. but many are just apartments.







They why not call it a condo or a co-op? To me apartments are like the ones around here and you don't buy and sell them, you just rent them

Comment by BobR on 02/24/2010 16:02:00
Quote by wickedpam:

Quote by Raine:

Quote by wickedpam:

Quote by Raine:

HOLY crap. Momma has 2 floors in a NYC apartment?






I don't understand NY apartments - how do you buy and sell an apartment?
IF you buy one, it's more like a condo situation. Or a co-op. but many are just apartments.







They why not call it a condo or a co-op? To me apartments are like the ones around here and you don't buy and sell them, you just rent them


That always confused me too. Everywhere else in the country it's:



Apartment: rent

Condo: buy



simple!



Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 16:13:00
Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 16:14:10
Quote by BobR:

Quote by wickedpam:

Quote by Raine:

Quote by wickedpam:

Quote by Raine:

HOLY crap. Momma has 2 floors in a NYC apartment?






I don't understand NY apartments - how do you buy and sell an apartment?
IF you buy one, it's more like a condo situation. Or a co-op. but many are just apartments.







They why not call it a condo or a co-op? To me apartments are like the ones around here and you don't buy and sell them, you just rent them


That always confused me too. Everywhere else in the country it's:



Apartment: rent

Condo: buy



simple!

Cause it's NYC and they gotta be difficult?



Comment by BobR on 02/24/2010 16:17:35


Legislating from the bench again?

Comment by livingonli on 02/24/2010 16:24:40
Good morning everyone.



At least on Long Island it's still rent or buy since I have always been a renter and haven't been able to buy.

Comment by wickedpam on 02/24/2010 16:32:54
Quote by Raine:

Quote by BobR:

Quote by wickedpam:

Quote by Raine:

Quote by wickedpam:

Quote by Raine:

HOLY crap. Momma has 2 floors in a NYC apartment?






I don't understand NY apartments - how do you buy and sell an apartment?
IF you buy one, it's more like a condo situation. Or a co-op. but many are just apartments.







They why not call it a condo or a co-op? To me apartments are like the ones around here and you don't buy and sell them, you just rent them


That always confused me too. Everywhere else in the country it's:



Apartment: rent

Condo: buy



simple!

Cause it's NYC and they gotta be difficult?







I figured as much

Comment by wickedpam on 02/24/2010 16:33:45
Hey Liv - be careful of that storm that's heading up your way today

Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 16:35:28
So we got a jobs bill! wOOt!

Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 16:38:49
Comment by wickedpam on 02/24/2010 16:43:13






funny, sad and true - I do feel bad for countries that host the Olympics but don't do as well as expected

Comment by livingonli on 02/24/2010 16:44:46
Quote by wickedpam:

Hey Liv - be careful of that storm that's heading up your way today


It's actually starting tonight. It just finished raining and now we just have to track it. It may end up being a rain event on the coast than snow.

Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 16:48:27
Quote by livingonli:

Quote by wickedpam:

Hey Liv - be careful of that storm that's heading up your way today


It's actually starting tonight. It just finished raining and now we just have to track it. It may end up being a rain event on the coast than snow.


It's looking like my family is going to get a bit of a slamming. :(

Comment by wickedpam on 02/24/2010 16:49:23
Quote by livingonli:

Quote by wickedpam:

Hey Liv - be careful of that storm that's heading up your way today


It's actually starting tonight. It just finished raining and now we just have to track it. It may end up being a rain event on the coast than snow.






just the same be care driving tonight

Comment by wickedpam on 02/24/2010 16:55:24
I loved my Easy Bake oven, even though I always burned my fingers gettting that little pan out

Comment by Scoopster on 02/24/2010 17:02:39
Ugh this rain is just miserable today..

Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 17:12:10
Quote by wickedpam:

I loved my Easy Bake oven, even though I always burned my fingers gettting that little pan out


I never had one -- in hindsight, I think I overcompensate for it these days.

Comment by BobR on 02/24/2010 17:13:47
This tool on Thom is being deliberately obtuse.

Comment by livingonli on 02/24/2010 17:14:46
The radar track seems to be showing that the city and Western Nassau will probably get snow tomorrow but most of Long Island will have more of a rain event because the temps will be just warm enough. It looks like it might end up as snow on Friday. The worst part is the weather will screw up my social plans for tomorrow night.

Comment by wickedpam on 02/24/2010 17:15:27
Quote by Raine:

Quote by wickedpam:

I loved my Easy Bake oven, even though I always burned my fingers gettting that little pan out


I never had one -- in hindsight, I think I overcompensate for it these days.






you cook with a lot of light bulbs?

Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 19:11:14
Quote by wickedpam:

Quote by Raine:

Quote by wickedpam:

I loved my Easy Bake oven, even though I always burned my fingers gettting that little pan out


I never had one -- in hindsight, I think I overcompensate for it these days.






you cook with a lot of light bulbs?




Comment by wickedpam on 02/24/2010 19:22:14
Quote by Raine:

Quote by wickedpam:

Quote by Raine:

Quote by wickedpam:

I loved my Easy Bake oven, even though I always burned my fingers gettting that little pan out


I never had one -- in hindsight, I think I overcompensate for it these days.






you cook with a lot of light bulbs?










Comment by Scoopster on 02/24/2010 19:36:18
This is the kind of idiocy that crossed my facebook page today..

We know that the fundamental extremists feel that homosexuality (among almost everything else) is abhorrent to Allah and his teachings. If openly gay soldiers will be on the battlefield and if they and their platoon buddies are captured by the enemy who feel that being gay makes one not human and an affront to God, would the enemy then go after our gay soldiers in front of their brethren in an effort to extract information by using their homosexuality against them? (Hope I'm making myself clear.)




http://cdn0.knowyourmeme.com/i/27229/original/Bush_derp.jpg


Comment by Will in Chicago on 02/24/2010 20:18:06
A quick question, as I have missed a lot of Momma and the Mooks while subbing?



When did Steph and Hal start with the running gags on marriage?

Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 20:25:54
Is anyone else having trouble finding a Randi stream? KTLK has been down since yesterday.

Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 20:27:12
never mind -- I got her on Green 960.

Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 20:34:13
The GOP are children.



This is ridiculous. They are worried about a TABLE?

Comment by BobR on 02/24/2010 20:39:34
Quote by Will in Chicago:

A quick question, as I have missed a lot of Momma and the Mooks while subbing?



When did Steph and Hal start with the running gags on marriage?


Hal is camping at Steph's apartment this week.

Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 20:46:38
this guy on Randi is dumb as a box of rox.





Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 20:47:17
He's Just repeating all the HCR lies. *sigh*

Comment by livingonli on 02/24/2010 21:22:13
Are right-wing callers getting even more stupid and ignorant? Then again I heard the racist on Thom's first segment before I left the house since my local station has put Thom back on at 3 since Air America bit the dust. And to add to it, Mark Riley does a local show from 6-8 weeknights on 1600 WWRL.

Comment by livingonli on 02/24/2010 21:25:59
I just saw on facebook that Lizz is doing Ed's show on Friday. Which means on XM and New York radio she will be on after Momma.

Comment by Raine on 02/24/2010 21:26:08
Quote by livingonli:

Are right-wing callers getting even more stupid and ignorant? Then again I heard the racist on Thom's first segment before I left the house since my local station has put Thom back on at 3 since Air America bit the dust. And to add to it, Mark Riley does a local show from 6-8 weeknights on 1600 WWRL.


The thing is that guy wasn't really a right winger. he was woefully ill informed.

Comment by livingonli on 02/24/2010 21:35:38
Quote by Raine:

Quote by livingonli:

Are right-wing callers getting even more stupid and ignorant? Then again I heard the racist on Thom's first segment before I left the house since my local station has put Thom back on at 3 since Air America bit the dust. And to add to it, Mark Riley does a local show from 6-8 weeknights on 1600 WWRL.


The thing is that guy wasn't really a right winger. he was woefully ill informed.


I wish our news media did a better job of informing people and Fox should just get a smack down for disinformation.

Comment by trojanrabbit on 02/25/2010 00:36:37
Quote by wickedpam:

I loved my Easy Bake oven, even though I always burned my fingers gettting that little pan out




Wonder if anyone tried to put in a Compact Fluorescent bulb in one of those beasts and not realize what they were doing?