Editor’s Pick: Links

Jorge Zárate, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Here’s this week’s roundup of interesting links from around the web:

History and Genomics

A series of genomic studies shed light on how major historical events impacted our genome. Surviving the Black Plague allowed the people of Europe to carry forward immune system genes that made them more resistant to the Black Plague bacterium; this may also explain their susceptibility to certain autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis:

Whilst many historic records are incomplete and unreliable, genomic analysis can provide a more accurate picture of major migrations throughout history:

The State of the World

Unicef released a report on the state of the world’s children. The report is extensive revealing inequities of all sorts: in about half of the world 80% of children report violent discipline, 50% of the children in Somalia face forced labor, only 44 girls for every 100 boys enter secondary school in Chad, amongst others. http://www.unicef.org/sowc2014/numbers/

So far 2014 has hit the Northern hemisphere with unprecedented amounts of snow, but New Scientist believes the climatic phenomenon El Niño will make this year the hottest on record. In 1998, El Niño killed tens of thousands of people.


The Navajo nation imposes taxes on junk food whilst keeping healthy food affordable in hopes of promoting healthy living; the prevalence of diabetes is 2.3 times higher amongst the Navajo. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/02/navajo-nation-increases-sales-taxes-on-junk-food-and-makes-healthy-choices-tax-free/#.UvFPSGSSxJ8

High yogurt consumption–4.5 pots of yogurt a week–may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to the University of Cambridge:

Epidemiologists in Spain find that the death rate amongst drug users is alarmingly high: 14 times higher compared to non-users.

Molecular Biology

A Nature study reveals the biochemical mechanisms behind narcolepsy, its autoimmune response had never been demonstrated before:

Atlantic killifish from the polluted waters of a busy seaport shut down a receptor in an enzymatic breakdown pathway to become resistant to prevent the toxic waste from causing cellular disruption; “a snapshot of evolution at work”. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212144607.htm

Science and Education

John Bohannon submitted a fake paper by a fake scientist from a fake institute of medicine describing the fake anti-cancer effects of a lichen to over 300 open-access journals… and it was accepted by more than half of them. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6154/60.full

More bad news for academia and education: one out of four adults in the US did not know the Earth goes around the Sun. Fortunately, 38% of those surveyed thought the government spends too little on scientific research. That said, 36% think scientists are odd and 19% that they have as much fun as other people.


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