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ALARMS AND DIVERSIONS FOR THE THINKING PERSON

Forum File

Saturday, August 31, 2013 - 12:01 am

The reading list

“Complex human brain tissue has been successfully developed in a three-dimensional culture system established in an Austrian laboratory. The method, described in the current issue of Nature, allows pluripotent stem cells to develop into cerebral organoids – or 'mini brains' – that consist of several discrete brain regions. Instead of using so-called patterning growth factors to achieve this, scientists at the renowned Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) fine-tuned growth conditions and provided a conducive environment. As a result, intrinsic cues from the stem cells guided the development towards different interdependent brain tissues. Using the “mini brains”, the scientists were also able to model the development of a human neuronal disorder and identify its origin – opening up routes to long hoped-for model systems of the human brain.”

From “Scientists grow human brain tissue in a 3D culture system” at scitechdaily.com

A quiz

How long does it take after drinking for the body to completely eliminate alcohol from its system with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08?

Wisdom of the ages

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” – Virginia Woolf

Current wisdom

“We rightly and best remember Dr. King's soaring oratory that day, how he gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions; how he offered a salvation path for oppressed and oppressors alike. His words belong to the ages, possessing a power and prophecy unmatched in our time.” – President Obama during his speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Quiz answer

About six hours.

Snob words

meander (mee-AN-der) – to take a winding or indirect course; to wander aimlessly; ramble, as in: “The more the politician's speech meandered, the closer the editorial writer came to nodding off.”

Today in history

On this date in 1772, a hurricane destrotyed ships off Dominica; goodness, does that mean they had global warming even way back then?

By the numbers

Some Labor Day statistics:

155.7 million: number of people 16 and over in U.S. labor force as of May.

15.9 million: number of workers represented by a union.

$48,202 and $37,118: 2011 real median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers.

25.5 minutes: Average commute time for workers in 2011.

Now you know

If a person spent $1 every second, that would equal to $1 million in 12 days. At this rate, it would take 32 years to spend $1 billion. It would take 31,000 years to spend $1 trillion.