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Periodic Tabloid

In Vino Veritas

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring organic compound produced by certain plants. One of the best sources is the skin of red grapes. Eating grapes or drinking red wine thus causes exposure to resveratrol. This may not be so bad if you are a fungus, a worm, or a fruit fly since there are various reports that this substance can lengthen their lifespan. Alas, such evidence is not definitive for those of us who are humans.

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Fellows Galore!

The Ship of Fellows is back in the water after a few months in drydock (yes, you can expect plenty of nautical metaphors from here on out). We have much to catch up on, but first your commodore would like to announce our class of fellows for the 2010–2011 academic year.

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Talking About Science

If you ask the mythical person-on-the-street for a definition of science, you’d probably get something like, “a body of knowledge about the physical or biological world.” My dictionary chimes in with “a branch of knowledge dealing with a body of facts on the natural world.”

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Simple Chemistry Can Solve This One

Have you seen Avatar? Even if the movie isn’t an enduring literary work, you can’t help being impressed with how beguilingly novel the 3D experience is.

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The Exercise Urge

“Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I just lay down till it goes away.” The quote has been variously ascribed to W. C. Fields and former University of Chicago President Robert Hutchins, but whoever uttered these words captured the sentiment of many modern people.

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Chemicals in the Environment

Pharmacology and toxicology are the same science. Both contemplate the effects of chemicals on living systems. The basic principles are virtually the same. The only difference in the respective textbooks is the example chemicals chosen to illustrate a particular point.

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Human Ancestry

Many of our fellow citizens would be surprised to learn that every human being on the planet is derived from a single common ancestor. This genealogical view has been understood at least since Darwin’s time, and modern science suggests that the common ancestor may be relatively recent, perhaps only a few thousand years ago.

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Searching for Chemistry Images

Most readers know that next year (2011) has been designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Chemistry. Less familiar, but no less important, is that last year was the similarly designated International Year of Astronomy.

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Running Interference

Many readers will be familiar with the concept of RNA interference. RNAi is a system in the cells of most higher organisms that regulates gene expression.

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Biotechnology Heritage Award

In Chicago yesterday, Arthur Levinson was awarded the Biotechnology Heritage Award. This is the 12th year of the award, co-sponsored by CHF and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.  Previous winners are a veritable who’s who of biotech luminaries.

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