Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Science Links: 10/2/14 [Updated and bumped]

Article: 'Strikingly Geometric' Shapes Hidden on Moon's Surface

A new lunar probe has detected filled-in rift valleys on the moon.

Rifting was first discovered on Earth. Once it was studied and explained, examples on Mars and Venus became obvious.

The Moon, however, was heavily bombarded during its early history. This covered up the more "rectangular" shape of the rifting. The bombardment make the area appear more circular, as if a large asteroid had caused it.

The conclusion would be that some of plate tectonics happened all four of these.

Article: Walrus mass on Alaska beach - in pictures
Pacific walrus unable to find sea ice on which to rest in Arctic waters are coming ashore in record numbers on a beach in north-west Alaska. Females give birth on sea ice and the animals use it as a diving platform to reach snails, clams and worms on the shallow continental shelf, but climate change means there is ever less available.
Cool photos; stupid comment.

Arctic sea ice is up, overall. Any lack of it in the Alaskan area is a local phenomenon due to the way sea ice shifts around the Arctic Ocean.

Update: Walrus Beach Party 

Confirmation of my assumption above. These mass haul-outs are common, and have occurred whether or not there is sea ice in the vicinity or not. Another hysterical over-reaction by ignorant people to a normal event.

Article: Your nose knows death is imminent: Losing the sense of smell predicts death within five years, according to new research

The title is wrong. In elderly people, about 40% of the people who had a measurable loss of the sense of smell died within 5 years. So, no, "your nose does [not] know" anything.

This compares to about 10% of those with a healthy sense of smell.

Senescence: "the gradual deterioration that occurs with age." The sense of smell is probably a proxy for that general deterioration.

And definitely warrants further study.

Article: What causes paranoia, hallucinations and grandiose ideas?
Led by Dr Angelica Ronald at Birkbeck, University of London, the team analysed data on almost 5,000 pairs of 16-year-old twins. This is the classical twin design, a standard method for gauging the relative influence of genes and environment.
Heritability for paranoia was 50%; for grandiosity it was 44%; while for hallucinations it was 15% for males and 32% for females. This doesn’t mean, incidentally, that 50% of an individual’s paranoia is the result of their genes. The concept of “heritability” tells us that 50% of the differences in levels of paranoia across the population may be genetic in origin. 
That would mean that 50% of that difference is environmental (or "nurture") in origin.

The individual symptoms do not necessarily co-occur with one another.

However, these are generally symptoms of schizophrenia, and "twin studies of those diagnosed with schizophrenia typically report much higher rates of heritability for the disorder…."

Despite the authors's conclusions about the non-inheritability of schizophrenia, it would appear that having all the symptoms, at once, may be the result of having all the genes for the symptoms and therefore, increase the likelihood for full-blown schizophrenia.

They are definitely on the side of redefining schizophrenia, so there may be a bias here against finding for a genetic cause of it.

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