With bursts of sunshine starting to break through the relentless spring showers, the world is gearing up for summer. For a lot of us, that means getting away for a few weeks, and enjoying the glorious sunshine that the warmer weather brings. Unfortunately, basking in the summer sunshine isn’t without its risks.
“When we get our story wrong, we get our future wrong,” David Korten wrote in Change the Story, Change the Future. If children are indeed our future, then the stories we use to educate and help them come of age are the most important stories to get right.
In February, when the local ewes were heavy with their lambs, the newspapers carried an article about a Japanese company called Spread, based in Kyoto. In a fully-automated operation covering just over an acre the company plans to be producing 30,000 heads of lettuce per day by 2017, and more than ten times that number within five years. The company’s website calls it a ‘vegetable factory’.
But this question of conscience goes beyond science. There is one clear axis along which we are all asked to act in life – in favour of ‘self’ or ‘society’. Do we always do what is best when it comes to deciding the balance? In all pursuits there is an innate tension between the interests of self and society. This tension has existed as long as we’ve had human society of any complexity.
Whilst learning about the planets in our Solar System, and then hearing all that has befallen them in the news over the past decade, have you ever wondered which one you might best get on with? Or which planet you would be? We certainly have, which is why we’ve created the quiz below, to help you find out.
“We are getting more and more precise about the different risk factors for the various subtypes of cancer,” said Stephen Hursting, PhD, MPH, professor in the department of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One established factor is obesity, now well linked to at least ten cancers, including pancreatic, colorectal, endometrial, and hormone receptor–positive, postmenopausal breast cancer.
In these days of Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue, and Ebola pandemics, and with the devastating smallpox, influenza, and polio epidemics of the 20th century still fresh in our collective memories, it seems counterintuitive to consider the possibility that viruses will ever be regarded other than with fear and loathing. However, if trials currently underway in Europe, Australia, and the US prove successful, then we may eventually reach a point where certain viruses are viewed with approval and even a degree of affection.
You may have heard of people suffering from a broken heart, but Takotsubo syndrome (TTS) or “Broken heart syndrome” is a very real condition. However, new research shows that happiness can break your heart too. TTS is characterised by a sudden temporary weakening of the heart muscles that cause the left ventricle of the heart to balloon out at the bottom while the neck remains narrow
Consider the following scenario: Two women both lost a son in a war. One returns to work immediately and starts volunteering at an organization helping families of fallen soldiers. The other is unable to leave home, spends most of her days crying and sitting in front of her son’s belongings that were left untouched. Who is more resilient? The answer largely depends on how one defines resilience.
Dinosaurs, literally meaning ‘terrible lizards’, were first recognized by science, and named by Sir Richard Owen (who preferred the translation ‘fearfully great’), in the 1840’s. In the intervening 170 years our knowledge of dinosaurs, including whether they all really died out 65 million years ago, has changed dramatically. Take a crash course on the history of the dinosaurs with our infographic.
In recent years, biological sciences have witnessed a surge in the generation of data. This trend is set to continue, heralding an increased need for bioinformatics research. By 2018, sequencing of patient genomes will likely produce one quintillion bytes of data annually – that is a million times a million times a million bytes of data. Much of this data will derive from studies of patients with cancer.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) burst into the public consciousness in 2012 after feverish press reports about elite US universities offering free courses, through the Internet, to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) course on Circuits and Electronics that had attracted 155,000 registrations was a typical example. Pundits proclaimed a revolution in higher education and numerous universities, fearful of being left behind, joined a rush to offer MOOCs.
The 2016 World Malaria Report estimates that there were approximately 215 million cases of malaria and 438,000 deaths in 2015. The majority of deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and among young children, and malaria remains endemic in around 100 countries with over three billion people at risk. Over the past 15 years there have been major gains in reducing the global burden of malaria
Over the past few years, the momentum of research and efforts on malaria has tremendously decreased malaria transmission and the number of deaths from this disease. However, in many poor tropical and subtropical countries of the world, malaria continues to be one of the leading causes of illness and death.
The man doing a spot of gardening cleaning out his fishpond in Europe, the woman who becomes unwell after giving birth in rural India, the child with pneumonia in Rwanda, and the senior citizen who develops diverticulitis in Singapore – the triggers are different but they all die from the same disease process: sepsis.
People don’t exist as isolated entities, and social programs, movements, or data analytic methods that assume they do are not aligned with reality—and may be doomed to fail. We all know that providing therapy or tutoring to a child may be less effective than hoped if the child’s parents, peers, school, and neighborhood are not also operating in a way that’s conducive to the child’s growth and well-being.