Curating the Internet: Science and technology micro-summaries for August 19, 2019

in #rsslog3 years ago (edited)

Scientists have reversed aging in rat brain stem cells; The gene mutation that makes squirrels black may have helped to expand their range; The importance of blockchain as an open ecosystem; Viewing Alzheimer's as a sleep-related disorder may refocus research perspectives; A Steem essay arguing that HF21 will increase the value of post rewards, even as authors's percentages decline.


Straight from my RSS feed
Whatever gets my attention

Links and micro-summaries from my 1000+ daily headlines. I filter them so you don't have to.


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  1. Cambridge scientists reverse ageing process in rat brain stem cells - The Nature article is paywalled, so this is a press release from Aug 14. In an effort to understand the sort-of stiffening that happens in the aging brain, researchers observed that by implanting oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) from old rats into young rats, they were able to rejuvenate the cells from the older rats. Researchers then grew the cells in a lab in a variety of materials that enabled them to tailor the stiffness or softness of the resultant brain cells in a controlled environment. This research can lead to a better understanding of aging in the brain, and potentially to treatments that slow or reverse aging, and even for multiple sclerosis (MS). h/t Daniel Lemire

  2. Mystery Solved: Scientists Have Figured Out Why Some Squirrels Are Black - Spoiler: they're the product of inter-species breeding between a common grey squirrel and a fox squirrel. The black colored squirrel is a grey squirrel with a faulty pigment gene that was inherited from a fox squirrel mutation. The dark color is uncommon but it may be advantageous for squirrels in cold, northern climates, which may have helped the animal to extend its range during the last 11,000 years. This, in turn, may have led to the extinction of red squirrels in parts of England, because the grey squirrel can carry the squirrelpox virus, without succumbing to it. The research effort was led by Helen McRobie and reported in BMC Evolutionary Biology. Related article here.

  3. The Real Benefits of Blockchain Are Here. They’re Being Ignored - The article specifies 3 benefits from decentralized software solutions: censorship resistance; self-sovereignty; and open ecosystems. Of these, it suggest that censorship resistance and direct ownership of assets are relatively well-understood, but the importance of an open ecosystem is undervalued. In an open ecosystem, it suggests that creators, users, and developers can all share in the value of things that are created in a sort of virtuous cycle. The article notes that the decentralized finance ecosystem in Ethereum is taking advantage of the open ecosystem, but the phenomenon should have many other use-cases (such as games like CryptoKitties and Steem's own @steemmonsters). It's unfortunate that the article focuses on the Ethereum platform.

  4. Alzheimer’s targets brain cells that help people stay awake - A new study in Alzheimers & Dementia The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association reports that daytime drowsiness, a symptom that commonly occurs in Alzheimer's patients, is actually caused by the disorder. Because sleep disuption sometimes begins decades before dementia, this may have the potential to, "refocus Alzheimer's research". The scientists were able to make this finding by comparing brain samples from people with and without Alzheimer's. In the Alzheimer's sample three areas of the brain stem that are commonly associated with wakefulness had all been overrun by tau proteins. h/t RealClear Science

  5. STEEM HF21 - Why HF21 will ultimately be good for authors - Personally, I'm neutral on the economic changes for HF21. I think this will be my 8th or 9th hardfork (depending on how you count 17/18), and it seems to me that after a hardfork, peoples' behavior usually changes to adjust to the new reality, and the economics settle back into a new sort of normal that looks an awful lot like the old normal. But, I like to read the varying opinions on HF21, and with the approach of HF21 next week (Sep 27), I think it's worth including this in my post. @aggroed argues that although authors will be getting smaller percentages, the demand for Steem Power to drive curation should drive the price up, which means that in terms of value the authors will be receiving more. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @aggroed.)


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I have found no HF21 booster's reasoning compelling, or even rational. Stinc talks about mass onboarding, and history reveals that when increases in users were occurring, rapine profiteering, flagging, and other deeply flawed business practices chased them off the platform in unprecedented numbers. Expecting halving author rewards to attract authors is ludicrous, and that's the least discouraging aspect of HF21 for the potential market for Steem.

As to the relation of Alzheimer's to sleep disorder, does this mean that my need for naps increasing as I age is why my brain is dying? I thought power naps were a good thing? Fortunately powering a rocking chair does not require a STEM degree.

Getting sleepy. Time for my mid-morning nap.

Thanks!

Well, hopefully with HF21, at least, things can't get much worse (knock on wood. ; -) Seems like it already drove a lot of people to power down at once, but I'm hoping that we're through most of the liquidations. We'll see...

Good post bro on health like it.