Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Flavors of the Month - January 2012

All-Time Favorite Album
I not only aspire to be a scientist one day but I will continually aspire to be a well-rounded individual.  And if you know me at all you know that I enjoy music, pretty much any kind of music. I played the saxophone for 7ish years between elementary, junior high, high school, and even a little in college.  Now I enjoy learning guitar and soon bass.  I also enjoy trying to pick out new artists before they hit it really big.  For example, I picked up the "Harder to Breathe" single by Maroon 5 back in 2002 and never put it down.  I think you may have heard of them. I also stumbled upon some European singles by some artist named Lady Gaga back in 2006.  A band by the name of Fall Out Boy released a weird concept video for "Sugar We're Going Down" which almost nobody remembers, and most recently my favorite artist to make it big has been Mike Posner, who's One Foot Out the Door mixtape is one of my all-time favorites.  So towards the end of every month I will present two Flavors of the Month.  My personal favorite for that month and an artist to keep your eye on to make it big.

Personal Flavor for January 2012 - Mutemath
Having just released their third studio album, "Odd Soul,"  I have dusted off their old stuff too and been listening to them a lot this month. Their self-title debut album is still my favorite but their newest album offers a synthesized take on rock/pop. It's definitely worth a listen if you haven't heard them before. And I'm pretty sure you've heard their best song Typical before...

Co-New Flavor for January 2012 - Cady Groves
She is very unknown and I have only heard her songs on XM radio for now but I first caught wind of her in a duet with Plug-in Stereo (Oh Darling), when I was looking for good songs to practice finger-picking on the guitar.  She has since released a song called "This Little Girl" and it is getting a ton of playing time on the pop stations on XM.  I originally thought this girl was about 16 years old but her bio says she is 21.

Co-New Flavor for January 2012 - Cher Lloyd
A huge success in England she is coming stateside with her song "With ur Love" ft. Mike Posner (hence how I came across her).  Classified as "Swag Pop," whatever in the world that is, it is similar to Mike Posner's style.  She is young but has a great voice (youtube her).

Only time will tell if either of the new flavors will have the same fate as some of the other people I have found on the brink of stardom. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fragments - Quantum Lasers using Teamwork?

After about a month hiatus the Friday Fragments are back.  For those of you who are new to my site, the Friday Fragments are just a collection of interesting stories and links that usually are centered around science but can offer a wide arrange of info.  Enjoy!

-First, my shameless "Plug of the Week."  The Bucket List is a new blog that my friend Rob started to document his experiences trying to complete his baseball bucket list. It's the off-season now but head on over, slap a bookmark on it, and check it out from time to time if you're a baseball/sports fan.  It may inspire you do check off a few items on your bucket list as well.

-Fun with Lasers and Balloons!  Always love a good laser video, but wait and see what happens when they pull out the white balloon!

-Now while the jury is still out on the whole breaking the speed of light theory, scientists have recently published a paper about the quantum speed limit (which I thought would be the same as the speed light but once again quantum mechanics throws me a curve ball).  If you like physics, read this quick summary of their findings.

-This kid got lost inside a computer....granted it was in the 1950's when computers took up the size of whole rooms but still.

-This week I came across a small article about pharmacies and the controversial Plan B birth control.  A new study has found that some pharmacists are taking the moral issue into their own hands and not allowing girls of legal age to buy the emergency contraceptive (17 years or older) even when they have some in stock.  Now whether or not you agree with Plan B and whether it is morally and ethically alright, pharmacists do NOT have the right to deny someone of a medicine if they are legally allowed to purchase it.  I'm just saying!

-I hope you're all ready for the massive solar storm coming our way.  Wait, it's happening as we speak.  That's right, one of the largest solar storms in the last decade is bombarding our planet right now and fortunately nothing major has been affected.  Unless you are traveling in space or use precision GPS (down to the foot) for your job, you probably wouldn't notice the effects at all.

-I'll leave you with one of the best displays of teamwork...

All this work just to play the Demo of Mario Kart 7?  Worth it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Five Medical Breakthroughs that Could Change the World - Introduction

Each day I spend a little time reading about the latest news in medicine and health. So I felt compelled to make a list of five medical breakthroughs that I believe not only are going to happen in the near future, but would also have the largest impact on humanity.  Instead of writing one really long post I have decided to reveal the list below (for those you like spoilers or don’t like reading much at all).  I will give a brief overview of each and then in the next five weeks I will address each one of these in a more in depth post with links so you can scour the internet yourself.  So I present my “Five Medical Breakthroughs that Could Change the World!”

5) Artificial Organs and Blood without Rejection – The first artificial organs were invented back roughly in 1885, so this is not a new concept.  However, every organ transplant (artificial or not) is essentially rejected by the host because of immunology issues.  The newest trick would be to make new organs and blood using the patient’s own cells thus eliminating the rejection and donor aspects of medical transplants.  We already have some of this technology with synthetic blood and spray on skin on the horizon. (Warning this involves stem cell research so be prepared.)

4) Systematic Streamlining of Medical Information – More of a political viewpoint, I have heard and read about this concept many times but it never seems to get enough steam to become a reality.  However, with the growing number of drug interactions and how small the world is becoming between travel and technology, this database may become a necessity.  I’ll look at both the pros and cons, but this will inevitably always become more of a political debate than a medical one.

Our understanding of genetics
grows every day!
3) Personalized Medicine (Genetics) – Using our DNA to find a predisposition to a disease is nothing new but using your DNA to actually make a drug that caters to your needs is a very real possibility.  A very expensive but real possibility.  Imagine being sick, going into the doctor to give a blood sample and walking out of the doctor’s office a few hours later with a drug that only works for your genetic make-up.  Awesome right?

2) Cure for Cancer – I have a caveat for this one.  Cancer inherently cannot be “cured” because of the nature of how cancer works.  That doesn’t mean that our treatments aren’t getting close to essentially curing many types of cancer.  I promise I will explain, if you’re patient.

The most detailed model of the HIV model to date.
1) HIV Cure – The Holy Grail of 21st century medicine is hiding somewhere right around the corner.  And what’s even more promising is that the research into an HIV cure seems to be leading us to a cure for almost all viral infections such as the common cold (quick example).  Yes, developing both a vaccine and a treatment for HIV is becoming more and more possible and hopefully scholars in the future will write textbooks about the great HIV outbreak much like the Black Plague; meaning it is over!

There you have it.  I will giving a more in depth look at each of these with the possibility for a few bonus breakthroughs along the way.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!  Wait, January almost over already?! Well, time just flies when [fill in your own lame metaphor here].  Anyway, I'm back and have some cool posts coming up soon.  Friday Fragments, Ask a Scientist, and Under the Hood are all coming back along with some new perspectives on both pharmaceutics and life in general.  I have no excuses for why I have not written anything lately other than I have been busy.  Honestly it goes with one of my New Year Resolutions (number 2 below).  To kick off the new year I am going to give a few of my resolutions, give a little incite behind why make resolutions, and maybe inspire someone to commit to their own resolution.  Let's get started...

Let's do it!!!
The reason I want to share my resolutions is because I believe telling someone else of your goals is one of the best ways to stay true to them.

Matt's 2012 New Year Resolutions

1) Go Skydiving - Yes, I want to jump out of a plane and free fall back to earth.  It is way out of my comfort zone and I will probably piss myself once that airplane door opens, but I want to do it because you only live once!

2) "Carpe diem" - Or "seize the day" for those of you who weren't cool like me and took Latin as a foreign language in high school.  Basically this boils down to living each day as though it was your last.  Don't hold back and don't put something off to tomorrow if you can do it now.  Be spontaneous and adventurous and life will come to you!

3) No more pop - That's right, I have completely given up pop, soda, coke, whatever you want to call it. It's a great place to start to try and get you diet in order if you have been struggling to eat better.  I actually started giving up pop back in August of last year, but it took a while to completely give it up.  Now, this doesn't mean you will never see me drink a Dr. Pepper again.  It just means that pop has become a special "treat" to celebrate the good times.

I believe this is the exact watch I had in Jr. High.
4) Wear a watch - Another small change but I have tried to wear a watch daily since I was 12 years old and it has never lasted more than a few weeks.  Granted it was a Mickey Mouse watch followed by a cheesy Purdue watch.  Well, we are three weeks into 2012 and I am still wearing a watch like an adult, and it looks like an adult watch too.

5) Commit to my blog - Self explanatory!

There is a small sampling of my resolutions that I made at the beginning of 2012.  Now let's discuss why resolutions are important. The new year, however arbitrary it may be, is a great time to commit to new things.  Why? Because we are creatures of habit and until something pulls us out of our ruts we will continue on the same path.  Does that mean that if you fall off the resolution or didn't make any resolutions that you have to wait until 2013.  Absolutely not!  Do it today!  Write the resolutions down with the date and call it "Dan's New Year" or "Cathy's New Year."  (Obviously use your name instead of Dan).  And much like a Chinese New Year which doesn't coincide with the calendar year, commit to your new ideals for an entire year.  It's unique and creative which will in itself allow you to mature as a person. Plus you just made up a holiday for yourself, so I will be doing this sometime soon for myself!

All in all, resolutions come down to one fact; only you can make them happen.  Do it for your family, do it for your friends, but most importantly do it for yourself.  Each and every one of us is worth putting effort into ourselves!  Best of luck and Happy New Year!

(Also, anyone wanting to go skydiving hit me up!)