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Social Studies

The ultimate data storage platform for music Add to ...

All music, in an earlobe

“As you try to decide which media or download format to use for your latest music fix, be relieved that scientists at Harvard Medical School may have come up with the ultimate data storage platform,” writes Adam Gifford in The New Zealand Herald. “They stored the contents of a book on DNA and then reproduced it almost error-free. One gram of deoxyribonucleic acid can theoretically store the contents of more than 100 billion DVDs. That means every piece of music ever made may eventually be inserted into your earlobe.”

Want to turn green?

“Unconventional is one word to describe a number of suggestions we received for future energy systems,” says the New Scientist. “Alan Foster advocates genetically modifying human cells to produce chlorophyll, letting us photosynthesize. ‘We’ll just stand in the sun for the requisite amount of time to produce the minimum food and energy requirements to keep our bodies functioning,’ he says. This would keep petrochemicals for other needs, eliminate famine and banish racial disparity due to skin colour because we would all be green.”

Be better, with science

“Want to be a better person? Spend more time thinking about science,” says Pacific Standard magazine. “That’s the implication of newly published research, which finds people who study science – or even are momentarily exposed to the idea of scientific research – are more likely to condemn unethical behaviour, and more inclined to help others. ‘Thinking about science leads individuals to endorse more stringent moral norms,’ report psychologist Christine Ma-Kellams of Harvard University and Jim Blascovich of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Their research is published in the online journal PLoS One.”

Stingrays react to tourists

“Stingrays at an ‘interactive ecotourism’ site have profoundly changed their ways, raising questions about the site’s impact on marine life,” reports United Press International. “Researchers from Nova Southeastern University in Florida and the University of Rhode Island studied the stingray population of Stingray City – a sandbar in the Cayman Islands that draws nearly a million visitors each year to feed, pet and swim with its sting rays.” The animals show distinctly different patterns of activity than their wild counterparts. “The tourist-fed stingrays swapped their normal nighttime foraging for daytime feeding, abandoned the species’ normal solitary behaviour to crowd together, and showed signs of aggression, biting each other more often than their wild counterparts.”

 

No ‘Kwikies’ for Maine

“Mainers can still get instant scratch lottery tickets, but they can’t get ‘Kwikies,’” says Associated Press. “The Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations announced Monday that the state’s instant tickets will not be branded as ‘Kwikies.’ … The slang term ‘quickie’ refers to a sexual encounter, and the lottery name didn’t go over well with clerks or customers.”

 

Bridal fashion to die for

“A controversial British fashion designer is set to unveil her latest bizarre bridal designs – crafted from roadkill,” reports Orange Co. UK “Brighton-based Jess Eaton uses ‘ethically sourced’ materials and says no animals are ever harmed in the name of her fashion: ‘I never, ever kill animals for our designs and we wouldn’t accept anything that has been killed for the purpose of turning them into a fashion item.’ … Eaton caused a stir last year when she revealed her second high-fashion collection made from cat fur, alpaca, seagull and goose feathers – and even a human ribcage.”

 

Thought du jour

“If you would understand your own age, read the works of fiction produced in it. People in disguise speak freely.”

Arthur Helps

English writer (1813-75)

 

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