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Comment: Telomeres (Score 1) 916 916

There is actually one quite well known reason why we would have a limit to our lifespan and that comes from the fact that on a cellular level we cannot live forever. The ends of each of our chromosomes have regions called telomeres which basically act to protect the chomosomes from deterioration and end to end fusion. They are made up of repetitive sequences of DNA. With each round of cell division, the telomeres become shorter until they reach a length called the Hayflick limit where the cell will no longer be able to divide. No more new cells can be created and hence the organism can't go on. Of course there are circumstances where the telomeres are lengthened, for example in sperm and egg cells and to a certain extent with stem cells. This also happens in cancer cells, if they weren't able to lengthen their telomeres, the cancers would effectively die of old age, which is why finding ways to block the lengthening of telomeres is a pretty active area of research in cancer biology.

Comment: Game over? (Score 1) 585 585

Since the world (and for that matter all of you) are just a figment of my imagination, the world will end when I either die or reach the end of the game. I think I'm 1up at the moment so it could be a while. One of these days I'm going to work out how to win but there isn't a lot to go on at the moment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism

Comment: If you think TFA isn't FUD you're just naive. (Score 1) 537 537

Nuclear accidents can look very scary. A lot of people, (public and journalists among them) don't know how to interpret what the scientists and engineers are telling them anyway. The media like a nice scary story, its their job to write catchy headlines and get people to read stuff so it makes life easier for them when they can twist/misinterpret what they're being fed by the scientists and engineers into something that looks like a disaster scenario, especially with the backdrop of two real disasters. So they show some horrific images of a natural disaster and point out how appalling numbers of people have been killed and others who have had their lives ruined so that the readers/viewers are already shocked and then as if thats not enough they throw in the word 'nuclear' and what do you get? A whole load of fear and lots of attention to the media. Meanwhile the Japanese authorities are busy dealing with a disaster of epic proportions and aren't in a position to do a proper PR job. As for New Scientist, its not a scientific journal, its more like a newspaper where the main reason to exist is to make money. They're just as guilty of making something look more scary than it actually is as any other newspaper, but because of the niche that they inhabit they have to disguise it a little more than the tabloids. Don't get me wrong I also enjoy reading New Scientist, its often a very entertaining read but please, don't expect impartial, scientific coverage because you're not going to find it there. They need to earn a living after all.

Comment: Re:Godzilla (Score 1) 1148 1148

Its the intermediate fission products that create the heat once the control rods have been inserted. The normal fission reaction creates (among others) caesium and iodine isotopes that have short half lives so they take a few days to decay but when they do they heat the already very hot fuel even more.

Comment: Re:Neat, but not yet compelling enough... (Score 1) 503 503

Theres also something for me in the way that a book smells. Sure I love the smell of a new electronic gadget but that fades away with time. A book smells good new and then matures and eventually even the musty old book smell is nice. Probably has something to do with childhood memories. Before the internet, a library was the only place you could go I you if you wanted to slake your thirst for knowledge.

Comment: Sunlight would be nice. (Score 1) 534 534

I grew up in the West of Scotland where winters are dark and the sky is often covered by dense cloud. (Sundials aren't very useful for most of the time there) Hence I voted for tilting shadows because this imlpies that the sun is out. Must remember to have the SPF50 handy mind you.
Music

+ - Prince for Free?

realsilly writes: "In a CNN.com article reports that Prince is giving away his new album for Free. Although, it's not quite free, you still have to buy a tabloid. While I don't really like Prince's music, I am impressed by his bold step forward to provide a little Fan Appreciation. LONDON, England (AP) — Prince has angered the music industry and stirred up trouble among British retailers by giving away his new album with a tabloid newspaper this weekend. Prince's new album "Planet Earth" will be packaged with a British Sunday newspaper this weekend. "Planet Earth" will be packaged with the Mail on Sunday at a price of $2.80. The giveaway has been roundly criticized as a major blow for an industry already facing rapidly declining CD sales. It has led Sony BMG UK, Prince's local label, to pull the plug on its own sales release of the CD in Britain. International sales launch for "Planet Earth" is July 16; the U.S. launch is July 24. ... The full artile is here at CNN.com: http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/Music/07/13/prince .newspaper.ap/index.html"

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