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Science & Technology

The Science of fashion

Emma Bullough

As this year celebrates the 75th anniversary of the public launch of nylon, an essential constituent of hosiery, it leaves the question begging: what has science done for fashion?

Any woman will tell you what an essential part of their wardrobe tights are and we owe their existence to the scientific advance that produced nylon back in October 1938. The polymer nylon can be produced via a polycondensation reaction, where two simple monomers are combined, forming water as a by-product.» >

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A knight in twitter armour

Complaining about your job on twitter can have unpleasant consequences. Despite this, it does not seem to deter people from venting their workplace stresses on Twitter. In one week almost 22,000 people had posted complaints about their job, workplace, co-workers or boss on Twitter (Kawase, University of Hannover).

FireMe! is a tracker tool on Twitter that warns people when they have over stepped the mark with inappropriate comments about their workplace.» >

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The moral of this story is…

A seminal paper from Harvard has been found to contain major errors. This paper: Growth in a Time of Debt, authored by Reinhart and Rogoff, has been used as evidence by politicians to support decisions in making austerity cuts during the economic crisis. Decisions which have been made based on false information.

To add insult to injury, the mistakes in the paper were not due to computer error and nor were they intentional.» >

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HIV now curable…possibly…

A child born to a HIV infected mother has been declared cured. This is a fantastic achievement for medical science, but digging deeper we find there are unusual aspects about this case.

To appreciate the magnitude of what happened in this case, what usually happens when new-borns are at risk of contracting HIV they will be given 1 – 2 antiretroviral drugs in order to prevent the virus manifesting. At 6 – 8 weeks the infant is tested for HIV, and not before because it cannot be known before this time if they have contracted the HIV virus from their mother.» >

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Gene therapy for dogs

The focal defect in type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is the inability to control glucose levels in the body due to a lack of insulin. Insulin is usually the mediator of glucose levels in the blood; the cause of type 1 DM is the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas by the body’s own immune system. This form of diabetes is not preventable or curable in humans, and affects approximately 20 million people worldwide, many of these are children or adolescents; therefore it is important that scientists are conducting experiments in the hopes of finding a cure.» >

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Animal-tested cosmetics banned throughout the EU

The 11th March 2013 saw the long fought for ban on the sale of cosmetics come into action. This includes all personal-care products. What’s more it does not matter where in the world the testing takes place, no animal-tested cosmetic itemor ingredients can be sold within the European Union (EU). Any tests that were being carried out have now been abandoned.

This ban has had a global effect: Even products that are tested and made outside the EU are now prohibited from our shelves.» >

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Just how sci-fi is Black Mirror?


WARNING: This review contains spoilers.

The second season of Charlie Brooker’s series ‘Black Mirror’ finished this week. The debut season that was screened last year which featured Zoophilia, human augmentation and talent shows was not, to my mind, very good. I thought it was shallow, unentertaining and pretentious. The series was marketed as ‘dark’ and ‘scathing social satire’ but really did nothing for me, I didn’t think it contributed anything new to public debate that hasn’t been explored before, and explored better without Apple products waved around with irritating prominence.» >

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When did black holes get confused with the eye of Sauron?

Losing distinction between SF and Fantasy

Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a good fantasy novel as much as the next Tolkien or Neil Gaiman fan, but it seems as if the genres of sci-fi and fantasy are being merged together. Fan websites, book shops and review sites more often than not have sci-fi and fantasy packaged up together. ‘Why is this a problem?’ you may ask. It is because the genres of fantasy and sci-fi are becoming lost within one another.» >

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