Weekly Roundup – 8 Feb 2014

This week on Freshly Squeezed Science:

  • Concussions in the NFL: While some people were cheering because the Seahawks annihilated the Broncos, I was happy to read an article about the progress in the NFL regarding concussions and traumatic brain injuries. They’re too important to ignore, especially considering the rising number and severity of medical issues in former players as well as youth footballers, and I’m glad to see they’re working for better awareness as well as better helmet technology and on-field rules.
  • A new way to generate stem cells: With all the controversy surrounding the procuring of pluripotent stem cells, Japanese researchers have found a way to turn somatic, mammalian cells to their undifferentiated state. My favorite part? This tech could be used in combination with ghost organs (which I also talked about in that post) to create personalized organs for transplant patients, which is a topic near and dear to me.
  • My post on February 5 about the creation debate was already reposted on here, so I won’t go through the summary yet another time.
  • The Black Plague and the human genome: It’s pretty obvious that mass deaths from epidemics are bad, but research has showed that the disease not only selected for better immune systems but did so in two genetically distinct populations in Europe. Yay evolution!
  • AsapScience’s Olympic coverage: These videos from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation are pretty awesome, plus they’re informative. Here’s the first one I watched, but they have a bunch more, both Olympic and not.
  • And today’s post about why ice is slippery: The short answer is that we’re not entirely sure but we have a few ideas that all center around a very thin layer of water on the surface that allows us to ski, skate, throw granite rocks down it, and fall on our faces.

For other general news, I’m pretty stoked about the Olympics, so I’ve been watching the Sochi2014 site for updates. As for meatspace, my current task is raising the axolotl babies that hatched last week from the January batch of eggs (check out my FSS posts here for more details on this batch and here for the December batch).

Anything you’d like to see me cover? Comment here or drop me a line.

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