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Topics - VoxRat

Science / Neandertals, Denisovans and ? ? ?
DNA data offer evidence of unknown extinct human relative
People from Melanesia, a region in the South Pacific encompassing Papua New Guinea and surrounding islands, may carry genetic evidence of a previously unknown extinct hominid species, Ryan Bohlender reported October 20 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics. That species is probably not Neandertal or Denisovan, but a different, related hominid group, said Bohlender, a statistical geneticist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "We're missing a population or we're misunderstanding something about the relationships," he said.
meeting presentation abstract
Science / Human life span not likely to increase
Humans can only live so long and we're reaching the natural biological limit, researchers say in a report published in Nature.

The paper, published Wednesday, says that despite life expectancy being dramatically higher than it was 100 years ago, it's highly unlikely it will continue to rise any more than what it is right now. It also says the probability of anyone living for more than 125 years is incredibly unlikely.
the Nature paper

But... but... but...
What about Noah? and Methuselah? :confused:
Politics and Current Events / Bombs in NYC
New York explosion that injured 29 was 'intentional act,' mayor says

The recovered unexploded bomb is one of those home-made pressure cooker bombs similar to the Boston marathon devices.
Was it a wannabe ISIS hero, like in Orlando or San Bernardino?
Or perhaps someone who thinks whipping up fears benefits a certain orange-tinged demagogue who thrives on fear-mongering?
The video, which shows angles from inside and outside Orangetheory Fitness in Chelsea

I'm afraid without Jerome we are forever doomed to :dunno: about these questions.  :(
Research article here (not sure if it's open access or - if so - for how long):
Innate Immunity and Asthma Risk in Amish and Hutterite Farm Children
CBS news article about it: Why Amish kids are less likely to get asthma.

  • Both populations are very similar genetically, both are rural, farming populations.
  • It's a small sample (60 children) but 0% asthma among Amish, ~20% among Hutterite.
  • There are statistically significant differences between the two in profiles of innate immune cells and cytokines.
  • House dust extracts collected from the Amish vs. Hutterite homes could protect against or promote (respectively) asthma-like response in mice.
  • Amish live on small farms, Hutterite farming is more "industrial" style; contact with horses and cows is much more intimate in Amish environment.
Summary of summary: more support for hygiene hypothesis, at least with respect to asthma.
Latin America Zika Outbreak Should 'Burn Out' Within 3 Years, Scientists Say
"Our analysis suggests that Zika spread is not containable, but that the epidemic will burn itself out within 2-3 years," Ferguson, of Imperial College London's School of Public Health, said in a college news release. ...

"The current explosive epidemic will burn itself out due to a phenomenon called herd immunity," Ferguson explained. "Because the virus is unable to infect the same person twice -- thanks to the immune system generating antibodies to kill it -- the epidemic reaches a stage where there are too few people left to infect for transmission to be sustained."

You could call it "natural vaccination"!
Regenerative dental fillings that allow teeth to heal themselves have been developed by researchers, potentially eliminating the need for root canals. 

The treatment, developed by scientists from the University of Nottingham and Harvard University, earned a prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry after judges described it as a "new paradigm for dental treatments."

The tooth filling works by stimulating stem cells to encourage the growth of dentin--the bony material that makes up the majority of the tooth--allowing patients to effectively regrow teeth that are damaged through dental disease.