Category Archives: Vetenskap

BBC Four har producerat en dokumentär om statistik(!) med Hans Rosling. Han går i klippet nedan igenom sin standardgraf med BNP/capita mot livslängd lika bra som han brukar, cialis men med lite häftigare grafik och lite mer övertydlighet. Jag ser … Continue reading

Är fetma smittsamt?

En ny amerikansk studie undersöker hur ens allmänna hälsotillstånd (kondition) påverkas av vänners fysiska hälsa. Resultatet är slående:

We find strong evidence that friends’ fitness affects own fitness as well as the probability of failing the fitness requirements. The magnitude of the effect is large, click as the effect of peer high school fitness is approximately 40 to 70 percent as large as the effect of own high school fitness. Thus, advice our findings are broadly consistent with the provocative notion that poor physical fitness spreads on a person-to-person basis.

Man är som umgås, prostate alltså. Studien finner också att det är de som är minst hälsosamma som har störst effekt på sina vänners kondition. Har man ambitioner och mål för folkhälsan är det alltså mer effektivt att rikta åtgärder mot de som har sämst allmänt hälsotillstånd.

Synthetic life or the convergence of everything

The news just broke that Dr Craig Venter of J. Craig Venter Institute has created “synthetic life” in a controlled lab environment. A cell with an entirely new, constructed, genetic code is replicating without mutating, if I have understood the experiment correctly and not mistranslated it into layman’s terms.

While this is news in itself and one the most exciting things to happen in natural science in my lifetime, I will let other, more qualified individuals, comment on that, at least for now. However, just today I finished reading the novel Atomised by Michel Houellebecq. The book ends with an epilogue describing how in 2011 and onward, a movement to replace the human species with a new, perfected, version of “us” is launched. It left a very profound impression with me this afternoon and I know have serious doubts about my moral ground. Unfortunately I loaned it to a friend just a couple of hours ago so I can’t quote from it.

So imagine how I feel after this new piece of news (a piece that is nowhere to be found on the CNN.com first page, by the way). But more than anything I am struck by how whenever I encounter something new in my life it seems to pop up everywhere. Today the creation of synthetic life. The day before yesterday speculoos (à tartiner). A phenomenon I just dubbed convergence of everything (a humbug term of course, but it’ll do until I’ve read more about it) and will probably write more about.

Read more about the synthetic life of JCV Institute: BBC, Edge, the article in Science.