Science, Technology and Innovation

The High Court has confirmed what we already knew: human genes are not inventions

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Opinion The company Myriad had intellectual property rights for 20 years in Australia over genetic material the High Court now recognises it never invented. This won’t happen again, writes Luigi Palombi. ABC – TheDRUM – By Luigi Palombi Almost two and a half years ago, I wrote a piece for The Drum on the subject of the patenting of human genes. Justice Nicholas of the Federal Court of Australia had just handed down his decision in the case of D’Arcy ... Read More »

Nobel Prize in Chemistry Awarded to DNA Repair Researchers

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Recipients of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry were announced today acknowledging three scientists that  made fundamental contributions to the study of how cells repair DNA and maintain genomic integrity. GEN – Each day our DNA is damaged by UV radiation, free radicals, and other carcinogenic substances. However, even without such external attacks, a DNA molecule within the cell is inherently unstable. Thousands of spontaneous changes to a cell’s genome occur on a daily basis and defects can arise when DNA ... Read More »

Iraqi Museum Discovers Missing Lines From the Epic of Gilgamesh

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One of the world’s first great stories just got a new chapter – By Marissa Fessenden It’s not unusual for fantasy epics to endure for years. (Right, Game of Thrones fans?) But even George R.R. Martin would be shocked to learn about the century-and-a-half wait for a new chapter of the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the world’s oldest written stories. The Sulaymaniyah Museum in Iraq has discovered 20 new lines to the ancient Babylonian poem, writes Ted Mills for Open Culture. The ... Read More »

All codeine-containing medications could be prescription-only from next year

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Common painkillers such as Nurofen Plus and Panadeine could soon require a doctor’s prescription after a shock decision by Australia’s drug regulator. The Sydney Morning Herald – Craig Butt, Aisha Dow From June next year, about 150 codeine products may no longer be available “over-the-counter” at pharmacies. Medicines affected include Codral Original Cold and Flu Tablets, Aspalgin Soluble tablets, Mersyndol tablets and a number of cough and cold medications which can be bought at chemists with no current restrictions. The interim ... Read More »

Sweden is shifting to a 6-hour work day

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*Packs up life, books plane ticket* BEC CREW – Science alert Despite research telling us it’s a really bad idea, many of us end up working 50-hour weeks or more because we think we’ll get more done and reap the benefits later. And according to a study published last month involving 600,000 people, those of us who clock up a 55-hour week will have a 33 percent greater risk of having a stroke than those who maintain a 35- to ... Read More »

The genetics of intelligence: Ethics and the conduct of trustworthy research

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Hastings Center special report examines controversies in research on the genetics of intelligence and recommends ways for it to avoid the ‘vortex of classicism and racism.’ The Hastings Center – EurekAlert! With the advent of new genomic sequencing technologies, researchers around the world are working to identify genetic variants that help explain differences in intelligence. Can such findings be used to improve education for all, as some scientists believe? Or are they likely to have a chilling effect on programs ... Read More »

Endometriosis: the hidden suffering of millions of women revealed

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Often dismissed as ‘women’s troubles’, endometriosis affects one woman in 10 of reproductive age, yet a lack of research and funding means sufferers can live in severe pain, unable to work or socialise The Guardian – Sarah Boseley, Jessica Glenza and Helen Davidson The hidden toll and extraordinary neglect of a disease that affects an estimated 176 million women around the globe, causing many to suffer a life of pain and debilitation and sometimes infertility, is revealed by the Guardian. ... Read More »

Ask Well: Alcoholism and Depression

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Is alcoholism a form of depression or does it cause depression in those genetically susceptible? Can you be an alcoholic and not suffer from depression? Reader Question • 1215 votes – Ask Well The New York Times – By Karen Weintraub   Alcoholism is not a form of depression, but both are quite common, and there is plenty of overlap between the two. Depression makes people more vulnerable to alcoholism and vice versa, said Dr. Shelly Greenfield, a professor of psychiatry ... Read More »

Industrial farming is one of the worst crimes in history

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The fate of industrially farmed animals is one of the most pressing ethical questions of our time. Tens of billions of sentient beings, each with complex sensations and emotions, live and die on a production line The Guardian – Yuval Noah Harari Animals are the main victims of history, and the treatment of domesticated animals in industrial farms is perhaps the worst crime in history. The march of human progress is strewn with dead animals. Even tens of thousands of ... Read More »

A Volcanic Eruption That Reverberates 200 Years Later

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In April 1815, the most powerful volcanic blast in recorded history shook the planet in a catastrophe so vast that 200 years later, investigators are still struggling to grasp its repercussions. It played a role, they now understand, in icy weather, agricultural collapse and global pandemics — and even gave rise to celebrated monsters. The New York Times – By WILLIAM J. BROAD Around the lush isles of the Dutch East Indies — modern-day Indonesia — the eruption of Mount ... Read More »

Indigenous site ‘older than pyramids’ in Perth freeway’s path taken off heritage register

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Archaeological survey by state’s Department of Aboriginal Affairs identified no Aboriginal material at Bibra lake north site in Perth, despite 1970s study that uncovered more than 2,000 artefacts The Guardian – Calla Wahlquist A Western Australian government advisory committee has deregistered an Aboriginal heritage site that is “older than the pyramids” and reversed its previous opposition to a proposed freeway which will overlap the site. The site is on the northern banks of Bibra lake, about a 20-minute drive south ... Read More »

New forms of heart transplant illegal, journal article warns

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New heart transplantation methods are against the law and doctors could face criminal charges for carrying out certain types of heart transplant, a medical journal article warns. The Age – Craig Butt, Data Reporter for The Age In a small number of operations, hearts that had stopped beating were removed from donors and restarted before being placed in the recipient patient, but the Medical Journal of Australia article argues the donor was not legally dead at the time because their heart ... Read More »

In a blind test, economists reject the notion of a global warming pause

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Four separate studies have now demolished the myth of a global warming ‘pause’ The Guardian – John Abraham Oh how resilient myths can be, even in the face of facts. This past week saw the publication of the third strong refutation of the myth that global warming had somehow stopped a decade or two ago. You would think that with 2014 the hottest year on record and 2015 almost certain to exceed that, and 2016 to potentially set yet another ... Read More »

Germany Bans GM Seeds, Following Suit From Scotland

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Germany decided to outlaw the cultivation of genetically modified crops and GM seeds, following suit from Scotland who took similar measures earlier in September. – by Sean Adl-Tabatabai in Sci/Environment A spokesman for The Agriculture Ministry, Christian Fronczak announced, “The German government is clear in that it seeks a nationwide cultivation ban. There’s resistance from all sides, from the public to the farmers.” reports: Germany is taking advantage of new measures allowing countries to opt out of growing ... Read More »

Smuggling India’s Antiquities

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Existing measures to protect India’s rich heritage have proven to be woefully inadequate. The Diplomat – By Neeta Lal * Indian Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma’s recent admission in parliament that eight cases of antiquities theft were reported from State-protected monuments and museums across three states over the last year, has yet again brought to the fore the fraught issue of pilferage and smuggling of art treasures from Indian shores. According to Global Financial Integrity, a Washington-based advocacy group, illegal ... Read More »

First-ever civil drone conviction in Britain handed down in landmark case

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RT – A 42-year-old man has been convicted of drone related offences after flying a drone over football stadia and through busy and congested areas of central London. The conviction is the first prosecution of its kind in the UK. Nigel Wilson, from Nottingham, pleaded guilty to seven offences in breach of the Air Navigation Order 2009 and has been forced to pay a fine of £1,800 (US$2,760). He was also issued with a Criminal Behavior Order banning him from ... Read More »