Archive for July 2nd, 2011
Avatar for Annalee Newitz Annalee Newitz —A tumor that could provide the key to making zombies Today a group of medical researchers reported the discovery of something very intriguing in a type of pancreatic cancer called PanNET. Turns out PanNET is associated with mutations in two genes that help control a part of your DNA that determines whether you die.
Specifically, these genes can artificially lengthen the telomeres, caps on the ends of chromosomes that gradually erode as you grow older. Above, you can see PanNET cells – the glowing pink bits are the areas where the cancer is causing telomere extension. Usually, short telomeres are associated with disease and death. As a result, some scientists believe that keeping telomeres long could be one way to lengthen life (a few tests in mice seem to back this up). PanNET may have just given us two genetic tools to prolong life. The question is, what would a cancer-extended life be like?
Mutations in the genes ATRX and DAXX are responsible for the effect that’s intrigued Johns Hopkins Medical Institute researcher Christopher Heaphy and his team. In PanNET cancer, these genes shut down. As a result, the proteins that these genes manufacture no longer keep the telomeres in fighting trim. The telomeres grow wildly in a process called, perhaps unsurprisingly, “Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres.”
The conversation below is indeed real! It’s somewhat unexpected and quite different from what we generally see at these shareholders meetings. Yeah, it’s strange. Without further ado…
Investor: “I’m concerned about the falling stock price. I own stock, but I don’t own a single Nintendo product. I believe games are a waste of time. By the way, the reason I own Nintendo stock is because the name is nice, it’s in Kyoto and it was listed in the year of my birth.”
Iwata: “There are people in this world who don’t feel that games are a waste of time, so Nintendo continues to exist. We’d like to eliminate the thinking that playing games by yourself is negative, or when there’s a crime you immediately tie it into games. We’d like to raise the social importance of games. We’re working to expand the gaming population, yourself included.”
Investor: “During the Tohoku earthquake disaster, I believe people in the evacuation centers were lacking in exercise. Why didn’t you bring Wii Fit to them? Why didn’t you show off to the media that you’re doing more for the victims?”
Responding to the question above, Iwata explained that some users might be able to use Wii Fit to recover from a lack of exercise, but others simply would want to spend time quietly after having lost loved ones. Nintendo therefore decided against sending out product indiscriminately.
Iwata added that Nintendo were involved with governing bodies of affected areas and send items that were needed by those who had been involved with the disaster. But be aware that Nintendo did not want any media attention, and won’t even be including the conversation above in their shareholders meeting summary.
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After Michele Bachmann walked onstage to Tom Petty’s “American Girl” earlier this week, the musician’s lawyers sent the GOP presidential candidate a cease-and-desist letter.
When news broke of Bachmann’s legal troubles, reporters and bloggers who weren’t already mocking her John Wayne Gacy gaffe happily rattled off the names of other politicians who’d committed similar copyright crimes. The Toronto Star offered a long, decidedly Republican, list: Jackson Browne sued John McCain in 2008, for example, when the then-presidential contender used the song “Running on Empty” in campaign ads. Canadian rockers Rush (politely) told Rand Paul to stop using their song “Spirit of Radio” during his quest for the Senate. And when Sarah “Barracuda” Palin’s campaign team used the Heart song “Barracuda” in its marketing, the band served it a cease-and-desist letter. (Palin’s team responded that it had purchased the rights to the song.) This wasn’t even the first time Petty has barred a Republican presidential candidate from using his tunes: After George W. Bush used “I Won’t Back Down” during his 2000 campaign, Petty’s lawyers threatened to sue unless Bush’s team pulled the song.
That’s gotten some people wondering: Have any Democratic candidates ever been asked to stop using a song in their campaign?
Poor communication is a common complaint when it comes to parents and teenagers. What happens when you throw a cellphone into the mix?
At least 75 percent of American teenagers today have a cellphone, often purchased by their parents so they can stay in closer touch. And parents are more likely than other adults to have a cellphone, for the same reason.
“The phone is now a huge part of parenting. It’s how you reach your kids,” said Amanda Lenhart, a senior research specialist with the Pew Research Center Internet and American Life project. In a survey conducted in the summer of 2009, nearly 70 percent of teenagers said they talked on the phone with their parents at least once a day.
Now researchers are starting to zero in on how cellphone use affects the dynamic of the parent-child relationship. A paper published online on Monday in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking suggests that both the nature of the calls and who initiates the calls may affect relations.
WASHINGTON — When Speaker John A. Boehner was pressed on whether he shared Senator Mitch McConnell’s view on wringing savings out of Medicare in the continuing debt limit fight, he hardly waited for the questioner to finish.
“I would agree with Senator McConnell,” Mr. Boehner, of Ohio, said quickly.
No surprise there. On issues like the economic stimulus, the health care law, climate change and federal spending levels, there has been scant daylight between the speaker and Mr. McConnell, the Kentuckian who leads Senate Republicans.
Their close alliance, unusual between senior party leaders from the House and the Senate, has substantial implications as they head into end-game negotiations with President Obama on the federal budget. By sticking together, they have been able to pound home a seamless Republican message to voters, reduce the White House’s ability to play Senate Republicans off their House counterparts and make consistent demands in the budget talks.