The AAAS annual meeting starts is in a week, which means that I will be experiencing a combination of jet-lag and uncontrollable excitement very soon. I’m almost all ready to go, seeing as I should be getting my press badge in the mail soon (Unfortunately, it was sent to my Montreal address so I have to wait a few extra days for it to arrive in Guelph). I can’t wait to see what AAAS has in store for all the attendees. If you want to find out more about this conference, I’ve embedded the “pre-conference” press conference video at the end of this post. Enough about that for now though!
This week’s Top 3 Science Links starts off with some dermatological news. The Scientifically Inclined article I wrote for the Ontarion is about the surprising skin care benefits of cinnamon.
A compound called cinnamaldehyde found in most cinnamon species, including the cassia species you get at your local supermarket, has been found to increase collagen production in skin cells, increasing the skin’s overall strength and elasticity.
This is very interesting for dermatologists because a decrease in type 1 collagen is the main reason for the visible signs of aging we experience in our later years.
And now for this week’s recommended science links:
Top 3 Science links
A group of scientists have found a planet with similar conditions to Earth, and it is “just” 22 light-years away. It has been dubbed “Super-Earth” because it is about 4.5 times the size of our Earth. It orbits around its very own “Sun”, a star named GJ 667C, in just 28 days, but it still receives about the same amount of energy as we receive from our Sun. This means it could support life, a very interesting prospect. Their findings will be published on the open-access site Arxiv.org.
*Spoiler Alert* – This week’s science video has to do with the Super-Earth.
The question as to whether the presence of ships on the open waters makes whales nervous has finally been answered. You can read about this rather sad discovery in an extremely entertaining article thanks to science writer Helen Fields.
Fields writes that after 9/11, ship traffic was halted for a while over concerns about terrorist attacks. Veterinarian Roz Rolland, who had been studying hormone levels in whale feces for some time before this event, noticed a significant decrease in the level of stress hormones in the whale excrement during that period. Click on the link if you want to find out more about how whale feces, a feces-sniffing dog, terrorist attacks and serendipity came together to deliver this answer to us!
This STI is on the fast track to becoming resistant to antibiotic treatment. Read about how the bacteria are coming to get us in Scientific American.
*LAST MINUTE ADDITION – you can call this edition a top 4 if you wish*
Keep in mind that for this to explanation to be true, the scientists will have to prove that bloodsucking flies plague zebras much more than they do other horse-like animals devoid of stripes.
Science Video of the week
Here’s a msnbc clip about the Super-Earth that features an interview with one of the scientists who discovered it. In this video, he explains what this means for the world, both theoretically and practically.
Finally, as promised, here’s the AAAS “Pre-Conference” Press Conference Video: