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Khalil’s Picks (13 April 2012)

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Every Friday, Bora or I will post a collection of links to some science articles written by young science writers during the elapsed week. Those young science writers may currently be enrolled in journalism school programs, be new graduates of such programs or they may have just started dabbing their feet in science writing.

This week’s selection of articles includes fishermen’s surprising knowledge of fluid dynamics, using post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a defence strategy in court and more. Enjoy!

Erin Loury, at UC Santa Cruz, writes about how traditional fishing knowledge of fishermen helped scientists comprehend fluid dynamics of an alpine lake at ScienceNow:

Fishing for Fluid Dynamics

Fishermen may stretch the truth about the size of their catch, but when it comes to understanding the currents flowing through their watery workspace, their boasts hold up. In a new study, scientists report that knowledge gleaned over several generations by Italian fishermen has helped reveal lake water movements that researchers might otherwise have overlooked.

Nadja Popovich, at NYU, investigates whether a defence strategy based on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be successful for Robert Bales, the US military official who shot dead 17 Afghan civilians nearly a month ago at The Atlantic:

Can Robert Bales Use PTSD as His Legal Defense?

Nearly one month after the shooting death of 17 Afghan civilians near an Army base in Kandahar province, U.S. military investigators returned to the site of the crime to gather evidence . They are building their case against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who stands accused of premeditated murder on all counts.

Greg Jones, at City University, London, takes a look at how MRI-focused ultrasound may, in the future, convince surgeons to drop the scalpel for some surgeries at Elements:

Scalpel-less surgery – beam or blade?

The scalpel has been the trusted servant of physicians and healers for thousands of years. In its various guises it has been a precision tool employed in surgery to cut through bone and flesh. However, as we strive to improve medical techniques, procedures and equipment, the scalpel is beginning to look like a barbaric relic of the past.

Ada Ao, science blogger at Scitable‘s The Promethean Cell, writes about a novel chemical called kartogenin that can stimulate cartilage repair in mice via native stem cells to discuss the implication of chemical biology in regenerative medicine:

Chemical biology-what was old is new again

Johnson K et al. found a novel chemical they are calling kartogenin that can stimulate cartilage repair in mice via native stem cells, and protect it from further damage by dialing down cartilage-degrading enzymes. This compound may have a huge impact on arthritis patients because this drug doesn’t simply reduce pair or slow cartilage erosion; it can promote repair without a complicated regiment of hormones and growth factors, which can have unintended side effects and be very expensive. Their report is a powerful example for the practical uses of chemical biology in regenerative medicine and proof that a single molecule can initial complex biological outcomes.

If you read some other good stuff from young science writers this week or if you are a young science writer yourself and wrote something great this week, do share some links in the comments below.

Khalil A. Cassimally About the Author: Khalil A. Cassimally is the Community Coordinator of The Conversation UK. He's also a science blogger. He hails from a tropical island and is a happy geek. Subscribe to his updates on Facebook and Google+. Follow on Twitter @notscientific.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.



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  1. 1. notscientific 9:47 am 04/13/2012

    Rose Eveleth, formerly of NYU, has an article in Scientific American entitled “A Coffee Sleuth into the Mystery of ‘Potato Taste’.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coffee-mystery

    Link to this

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