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links for 2010-12-19

  • Quote:"Within these synapses are proteins that combine together, forming a molecular machine known as the post-synaptic density, or PSD, which is believed to disrupt synaptic functioning, causing disease and behavioural change.

    Reporting in the journal Nature Neuroscience, Seth Grant of Britain's Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute led a team that extracted PSDs from synapses of patients undergoing brain surgery.

    "We found over 130 brain diseases involve the PSD — far more than expected," said Grant. "The human PSD is at centre stage of a large range of human diseases affecting millions of people."

  • // Awesome, via Kathleen Madigan.
  • Quote:"Whining PhD students are nothing new, but there seem to be genuine problems with the system that produces research doctorates (the practical “professional doctorates” in fields such as law, business and medicine have a more obvious value). There is an oversupply of PhDs. Although a doctorate is designed as training for a job in academia, the number of PhD positions is unrelated to the number of job openings. Meanwhile, business leaders complain about shortages of high-level skills, suggesting PhDs are not teaching the right things. The fiercest critics compare research doctorates to Ponzi or pyramid schemes.

    // In other words, stay away from academia.

  • Quote:"The population continues to shift from Democratic-leaning Rust Belt states to Republican-leaning Sun Belt states, a trend the Census Bureau will detail in its once-a-decade report to the president. Political clout shifts, too, because the nation must reapportion the 435 House districts to make them roughly equal in population, based on the latest census figures.

    // Problem is, people don't necessarily change as they move. Meaning democrats in Nebraska are the same a democrats in Boston. But, most GOP states have big victory margins, so it will go against the Dems at first.

  • Quote:"By 01:45, the ship's forecastle and forward well decks were underwater and the forward A Deck promenade was barely ten feet above the surface. Around this time, passengers on the deck were greeted with the strange sight of dogs running up and down the deck, including John Jacob Astor's beloved Airedale Terrier, Kitty. The Titanic was equipped with a kennel, and a crewman had unlocked it, figuring there was no point in leaving all the dogs the passengers had brought on board to die locked up.

    // You never see this in the movies.

  • Quote:"During Titanic’s frantic final hours on April 15, 1912, Titanic’s postal clerks, along with steward Albert Theissinger and several others, desperately tried to save the 200 sacks of registered mail by dragging them to the upper decks and possible safety. Theissinger was the only survivor to recall seeing the mail clerks alive. When he finally abandoned the seemingly suicidal task, the five mail clerks — Americans Oscar Scott Woody, John Starr March, and William Logan Gwinn and British postal workers James Bertram Williamson and John Richard Jago Smith — were still frantically at work, sloshing waist-deep in freezing water.

    // Remarkable

  • // Catholic Priest who assisted passengers, took confessions and gave absolution to those on the Titanic.
  • Quote:"It was Joughin who fortified himself with alcohol, threw deck chairs overboard for flotation devices, rode the stern down and claims to have stepped into the water without getting his hair wet. He claims to have hung on to the side of Collapsible B for hours with most of his body submerged in the icy water, yet survived with virtually no ill effects.

    // It is generally understood that Joughin basically stayed in the water until help arrived, a period of several hours. Most people lasted 10-20 minutes only. I still wonder how he did it, if it was all alcohol or something more.

  • // Led an interesting life. He's controversial because he strictly adhered to the "women and children" orders while Murdoch on the starbord side of the Titanic allowed men onto the lifeboats. His biography after the Titanic is impressive, he saved over a hundred soldiers at Dunkirk, rammed a U-Boat in WWI and even played around in espionage.