The Google+ musings of

Thomas Kang

April 18, 2014 6 comments 3 shares 26 plus ones
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Gabriel García Márquez, one of my favorite writers, has passed away. I recently finished this excellent biography and recommend it wholeheartedly:

http://www.amazon.com/Gabriel-Garc%C3%ADa-M%C3%A1rquez-Life-Vintage/dp/0307472868
Gabriel García Márquez: A Life

Rest in peace, Gabo. The world mourns your passing and will miss you very much.

Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.
― Gabriel García Márquez, closing lines of One Hundred Years of Solitude

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April 01, 2014 18 comments 56 shares 98 plus ones
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Via a Huffington Post piece entitled "Everything Wrong With Humanity, In One Short Animation."

Apparently, this came out in 2012.

It seems worthwhile to include the link below. The report deserves its own post, but I'm presuming that the news is no longer much of a surprise to anyone who has been following the news anytime over the last few decades.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/30/un-climate-change-report_n_5060317.html
UN Scientific Panel Releases Report Sounding Alarm On Climate Change Dangers

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April 01, 2014 6 comments 2 shares 9 plus ones
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Biomaterials: Researchers apply mats of biodegradable nanofibers directly onto tissues using a commercial airbrush

To supplement or even replace sutures, researchers have proposed applying sticky, biodegradable mats of polymer nanofibers onto surgical incisions to seal them and promote healing. But existing methods of depositing such mats aren’t compatible with living cells and tissues. Now, researchers have demonstrated that they can spray polymer nanofibers directly onto biological tissues using an airbrush from a hardware store (ACS Macro Lett. 2014, DOI: 10.1021/mz500049x).

http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/i12/SprayPolymer-Mats-Seal-Surgical-Incisions.html

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April 01, 2014 9 comments 15 shares 31 plus ones
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March 28, 2014 16 comments 116 shares 95 plus ones
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A 22-year-old woman from the Netherlands who suffers from a chronic bone disorder -- which has increased the thickness of her skull from 1.5cm to 5cm, causing reduced eyesight and severe headaches -- has had the top section of her skull removed and replaced with a 3D printed implant.

The operation was performed by a team of neurosurgeons at the University Medical Centre Utrecht and the university claims this is this first instance of a successful 3D printed cranium that has not been rejected by the patient.

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-03/26/3d-printed-skull

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February 23, 2014 3 comments 1 shares 12 plus ones
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Wildlife Broadcaster Sir David Attenborough Provides Commentary on Women's Olympic Curling

Here is some fun narration on Olympic curling in the style of The Gods Must Be Crazy.

By coincidence, a few days earlier I had been entertaining the idea of a cleaning lady who comes out of nowhere to become a new international curling sensation, an instant legend, along the lines of George Plimpton's Sidd Finch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidd_Finch - link to story here: http://goo.gl/q31b7). All those years of sweeping floors and pumping Windex translates into phenomenal skills that turn a cleaning lady into the next international superstar.

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February 22, 2014 4 comments 9 shares 20 plus ones
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I came across this as I was looking up the tune for the "You're nothing but treble" post (http://goo.gl/vIGJIN). I had not seen this before, but it reminds me of the Korean baby singing Hey Jude (http://goo.gl/ZM6RNI), which I presume the whole world has seen many times. My little ones love the Beatles, too, and it's heartwarming to see the next crop of humans warming to the band.

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February 08, 2014 7 comments 9 shares 14 plus ones
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Where are they now?

This infographic follows the radiomagnetic waves that broadcast the first show on US soil by the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964.

The infographic immediately called to mind a fun chat I had with +Liz Krane and +Yonatan Zunger on almost precisely this topic  in Liz's obituary of the comet ISON here (http://goo.gl/SHg0Uk), though at that time we used a broadcast of I Love Lucy for purposes of the discussion:

http://www.insidescience.org/blog/2014/02/05/british-invasion-space

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February 08, 2014 5 comments 4 shares 24 plus ones
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“Footlights,” the only prose fiction ever written by the legendary actor, will soon be made public after remaining unpublished for almost 66 years. The 1948 34,000-word novella, which Chaplin later turned into a script for his 1952 film “Limelight,” depicts a once famous-turned-washed up stage clown named Calvero, who saves a dancer from suicide — an act that inspires him to attempt a comeback with her encouragement.

Chaplin’s Calvero — written during a time when the U.S. government accused the comedic actor of being a communist sympathizer — reflected Chaplin’s state of mind as his film career was dwindling and the American public had turned against him.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/charlie-chaplins-novel-see-light-day-six-decades/

Also:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/04/charlie-chaplin-only-novel-published-footlights
Charlie Chaplin's only novel published for the first time
Footlights, the screen legend's unseen prequel in prose to the film Limelight, reflects his sadness at declining stardom

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January 31, 2014 11 comments 0 shares 11 plus ones
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This sounds like a huge discovery. Does anyone have any idea why an acid bath would cause an adult cell to revert to a stem cell? Now I'm curious what happens to cancerous cells when they are bathed in acid.

New Way to Make Stem Cells in 30 Minutes

Vacanti, along with Haruko Obokata at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, and colleagues have discovered a different way to rewind adult cells – without touching the DNA. The method is striking for its simplicity: all you need to do is place the cells in a stressful situation, such as an acidic environment.

The idea that this might work comes from a phenomenon seen in the plant kingdom, whereby drastic environmental stress can change an ordinary cell into an immature one from which a whole new plant can arise. For example, the presence of a specific hormone has been shown to transform a single adult carrot cell into a new plant. Some adult cells in reptiles and birds are also known to have the ability to do this.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129542.500-stem-cell-power-unleashed-after-30-minute-dip-in-acid.html

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