… now the secret of immortality.What am I missing here? I’m confused. Was this about a science fiction short story that will be printed in the Sunday, 2 December edition of The New York Times Magazine? The title of the story is Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality? The genesis for the discovery of the jellyfish is this (authentic?) article Reversing the Life Cycle: Medusae Transforming into Polyps and Cell Transdifferentiation in Turritopsis nutricula (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa), Biol. Bull. June 1, 1996 vol. 190 no. 3 302-312. Did Knight Science Journalism review the short story? Or did they critique The New York Times’ decision to print the short story, in its 6.500 word entirety?
UCLA life scientists developed and tested a comprehensive mathematical model to track the health of populations exposed to environmental change. The research was published on 2 December 2011 in the journal Science.
I fotgot to post this. I wrote it a few months ago. Ooops… It remains valid, regardless. (I really wanted to include some wolf pictures too, no luck though).
The usage is novel, in that it unifies so many sub-fields (population biology, ecology, genetics, life-span and offspring information) in a single predictive model. Doing so enables the model to be run with changes to any given variable, such as temperature, and see the effect on many aspects of a population. For the sake of convenience, let’s refer to this as a one-to-many type model (but only for describing input-to-output).
Prior species-based environmental models were not one-to-many. Instead, they were one-to-one. This meant they were limited to analyzing single relationships, such as the effect of food availability on population size.
Species ecosystems aren’t as complex as other dynamic natural systems. Weather systems and forecasting models such as those used by the NOAA are on the extreme end of a hypothetical complexity scale. They might be more accurately described as many-to-many input-output models! They would be inappropriate for species ecosystems, in part because the environmental field data is not sufficiently robust to support such sophisticated (high-strung?) models.
This model was developed with input from wildlife scientists. The most extensive collaboration was with the group who introduced wolves to Yellowstone Park in 1995. The project was intended to control elk and bison overpopulation. It was successful. Deteriorated forest was restored. And much more.
The presence of wolves in Yellowstone Park created an effect known as a
trophic cascade — allowing many species, such as songbirds, beavers and grizzly bears, to thrive again
Meanwhile, elk and bison populations returned to more balanced levels.
Regarding use for climate change, one of the UCLA researchers said this about the model:
We are not effective at stopping global warming, but perhaps we could identify ways to alter or enrich habitats to mitigate environmental effects…
This is where the Yellowstone Park wolves, and associated project data collected over a 15 year interval, was relevant. That data was used for calibration and testing the model during development.
We could build scenarios for predicting whether a species has no chance of recovery [to guide timing and focus of] planned protection efforts.
Gradual, sustained change over time has more impact on a given species within an ecosystem than frequent changes that fluctuate within the same upper and lower boundaries.
See Scientists develop complex mathematical model with improved predictive accuracy for climate change impact, UCLA Newsroom, December 02, 2011 for more details, and photos.
generic XSLT 1.0 + EXSLT for EAD.
Based on the XSLT for http://www.oac.cdlib.org/
Sample output is
I tried it. I’m not sure though. I did the following:
- Went here: http://tingletech.github.com/ead-test-col/
- Selected this: …cjh.org/YiddishTeachersUnion.html
- Got this:
the contents of which looked strange to me. But the XSL correctly took this:
and produced this:
which is kind of cool and impressive! (Unless I am totally misunderstanding how this should work… which is ALWAYS a possibility.)
A few days ago, I deposited part of the following wordy tirade in the comment section of the excellent Science-based Medicine blog. I felt motivated after reading a fine post about Vaccine Awareness, publication date November 2010, and still relevant.
I often wonder what anti-vaccine advocates have to say about smallpox.
Do they condemn small pox innoculation? I don’t think ANYONE could deny the ravages inflicted by smallpox on humanity, over the past 1000 years. Thanks to vaccination, smallpox has (virtually) been eradicated. Do anti-vaccination proponents acknowledge that smallpox vaccination was a GOOD thing?
Public health irony
In the poorer areas of the United States, particularly the southern states and Native American lands, there are higher rates of child vaccination than in the (generally) more wealthy Northeast and West Coast areas. Note that the coastal populations have better access to medical care for many reasons. The primary one is affluence.
Irrationality is the scourge of the wealthy and well-educated
Guess what: Incidence (maybe prevalence) of childhood disease such as measles and even polio is much HIGHER in the MORE economically affluent areas.
In the U.S., vaccination for childhood diseases is free for every child, as it should be. However, it is the parent’s right to refuse vaccination for a child. A higher proportion of well-educated, middle to upper income parents have chosen to do this recently. The consequences are increasingly obvious and dire. Measles had been eradicated in the U.S. over a decade ago. Not anymore. It is back. Herd immunity is suffering.
No, let me be very clear: Children are suffering. Children are suffering, some are dying, due to irrational fears of parents.
Measles is making an alarming comeback via The Mayo Clinic, 30 August 2011
[many cases of] measles have been reported in the United States this year and there have been similar outbreaks in Europe, a sign the disease is making an alarming comeback. The reappearance of the potentially deadly virus is the result of unfounded fears about a link between the measles shot and autism that have turned some parents against childhood vaccination.
A rising portion of the population is deciding not to immunize their children because of this controversy… and these children are now susceptible to the measles.
Suspicions about the vaccine have persisted, gaining steam with the public through celebrity advocates and widespread media coverage.“The results have been devastating,” Dr. Poland (Mayo Clinic) says. “The campaign against the vaccine has caused great harm to public health across multiple nations, even though it has no scientific basis.”
Measles remains the most contagious infectious disease humans can get. Due to the measles vaccine’s effectiveness and successful immunization programs worldwide, indigenous cases of the disease had been eliminated in the U.S., similar to eradication of smallpox.