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Biotech

DNA May Carry a Memory of Your Living Conditions From Childhood 252

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-past-is-part-of-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Canadian and British scientists have found that how rich your family was when you were a kid — as judged by wealth, housing conditions and occupation of parents — has a huge impact on your current DNA. 'This is the first time we've been able to make the link between the economics of early life and the biochemistry of DNA,' says Moshe Szyf, professor of pharmacology at McGill University. The study did not show whether the DNA changes identified are passed on to offspring, but if so, repeat cycles of poverty could be putting poor children at a serious disadvantage for heart disease, diabetes and lung disorders."

Comment: Re:First "Book" and now "Face"? (Score 1) 311

by dismorphic (#34339186) Attached to: Facebook To Own the Word "Face"

Didn't they sue someone over the use of the word "Book" (teachersbook) or something like that? This was a common phrase to apply to a year book. This kind of stuff is just beyond me...nobody should be able to own common words or letters.

Soon enough each individual letter will be owned and anybody caught using any of them will have their pants sued off of them. Aside from the 24 letters, I wonder how far into extended ASCII (or worse yet UNICODE) they'll get. I claim umlaut.

Programming

How Should a Non-Techie Learn Programming? 346

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-gunpoint-is-not-a-valid-answer dept.
CurtMonash writes "Nontechnical people — for example marketers or small business owners — increasingly get the feeling they should know more about technology. And they're right. If you can throw up a small website or do some real number-crunching, chances are those skills will help you feed your family. But how should they get started? I started a thread with the question on DBMS2, and some consistent themes emerged, including: Learn HTML + CSS early on; Learn a bit of SQL, but you needn't make that your focus; Have your first real programming language be one of the modern ones, such as PHP or Python; MySQL is a good vehicle to learn SQL; It's a great idea to start with a project you actually want to accomplish, and that can be done by modifying a starter set of sample code (e.g., a WordPress blog); Microsoft's technology stack is an interesting alternative to some of the other technology ideas. A variety of books and websites were suggested, most notably MIT's Scratch. But, frankly, it would really help to get more suggestions for sites and books that help one get started with HTML/CSS, or with MySQL, or with PHP. And so, techie studs and studdettes, I ask you — how should a non-techie go about learning some basic technological skills?"
Space

Measuring the Hubble Constant Better 102

Posted by kdawson
from the masing-galaxies dept.
eldavojohn writes "The Hubble Constant is used for many things in astrophysics: from determining how fast things are moving away from us, to the total volume of the universe, to predicting how our universe will end. The current best value for the Hubble Constant is 74.2 ± 3.6 (km/s)/Mpc according to recent conventional methods and the recently restored Hubble Telescope. Most astronomers agree that that's within 10% of its actual value. Researchers now claim that they might be able to get to 3% using water molecules in galactic disks to act as masers that amplify radio waves, to analyze galaxies seven times as far away as the current measurements. The further away the 'standard candle' is, the more assured they can be that local effects are not skewing the measurements. From one of the researchers: 'We measured a direct, geometric distance to the galaxy, independent of the complications and assumptions inherent in other techniques. The measurement highlights a valuable method that can be used to determine the local expansion rate of the universe, which is essential in our quest to find the nature of dark energy.' Once the Square Kilometer Array is completed, they hope to get even closer to the actual value."

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