Dear Science: March News
Put on your seatbelts and shriek ‘Geronimo’, because it’s been a phenomenal period for science since last we met. Within the last thirty days, archaeologists in northern Spain have discovered hundreds of perfectly fossilised dinosaur eggs, the remains of a 520-million year old sea creature has been found in southwest China, and a cabal of professors in North America recently discussed the moralities and possibilities of reanimating and reintroducing extinct animals into the world. If you’re not thinking Jurassic Park, Godzilla or Y: The Last Man right about now, then I honestly don’t know what you’re doing here.
But enough of the science fiction, let’s move on to some tangible results, notably at CERN, where researchers have indeed discovered a Higgs boson! The only problem is they’re not sure if they’ve discovered the Higgs boson or simply a Higgs boson – a matter that requires clarification as the resultant weight of the discovered particle is somewhat lighter than was estimated. Either the calculations are slightly off, or you need to brace yourself for a variety of slightly-differing Higgs boson discoveries over the next few months, as we could be looking at a gap that could be filled by several particles and would shatter the Standard Model of Physics. Hopefully that’s not likely to happen, as most academics would be rather put out by having their degrees and doctorates made obsolete (or at least more obsolete than before).
Getting more tangible, and perhaps even closer to home, huge breakthroughs have been made in medical science, as both HIV and leukemia have both suffered defeat at the hands of experimental treatment in the last few weeks. It has been noted that certain potentially fatal kinds of leukemia have a unique molecule on their surfaces that allows them to be identified and, with some guidance, the human immune system can be encouraged to actively attack them.
Meanwhile, HIV has succumbed to nanoparticles loaded with bee venom called melittin. These carefully constructed cells’ actions are not simply limited to HIV either, as preliminary tests show they can break down the protective envelope that surrounds other viruses and destroy them too, while leaving neighbouring cells healthy and intact. Perhaps a cure for the common cold isn’t too far away?
For the health-conscious among you, it’s been shown that to run off the equivalent of a bottle of fizzy drink, you would have to walk about 5.4km. Furthermore, the American government believes this is a much better indicator of how many calories you’re putting into your body, and are considering implementing a system of showing such on food and drink packaging. If you just drank some Fanta and are now worried you don’t have the time to take a round trip of that length, you could also click your mouse 350,000 times. That will actually work.
And lastly for today, it’s been shown that monkeys are more likely to reject food offered from humans who are mean to other humans. They also throw poopy at you. The latter claim has not yet made it into a scientific journal, but rest assured that the second it does, Ramp.ie will be there to report on it!