Monday, April 21, 2008

Petri Patties

Deeeeeeelious Mouse steaks With the the exponential expansion of the word population, providing a food source for the world population will become an increasingly difficult task. The work championed by the World Food Prize have lead to increased crop yields throughout the developing and industrial world. This amazing work has help us support the 6+ billion people on the planet.

What i had failed to notice is that the world consumption of meat is drastically increasing. As third world countries become more advanced their consumption of meat also increases. The increased in affluence of a country is directly porportional to its consumption of meat. Eating further up the food chain comes at an ecological cost, as we must raise the grain to feed the cows for us to eat. the scaling of pounds of plant to pounds of beef is something like 10 to 1. whats really cool is that PETA is now sponsoring a great new prize for the first group that can produce commercially viable meat, at competitive prices, to the world by 2012. I personally dont like PETA but i definitely support this project. Too often they support emotional calls to stop animal testing, breeding, consumption, without a viable alternative strategy. They recently started a plether campaign (which i high five em!) and this projects are starting to make me a supporter of at least some of their ideas.

 the problem with me is that while i agree its a disaster environmentally, its soooo damn tasty. thats where the PETA plan does sound like a great idea. Its advertising for a alternative that can compete with meat. if you can get me a synthetic meat that can closely resemble meat, id switch. hell, ill even give you the benefit of the doubt. it can taste ALMOST like meat and ill switch. I call it the "McNugget Compromise" namely, if you can make it taste like a mcnugget, which i dont think has even seen a chicken, then im in.

So get cracking! i want my sythetic steak now!

Friday, January 25, 2008

NSF Science Indicators

The other day, the Framing Science blog brought up the newly released chapter 7 in the NSF publication Science Indicators. Chapter 7 is focused on science and techonology and their appreciation and understanding by the public. This new chapter is an update of their previous Chapter 7 with update surveys of the American populous. You can download the PDF here.

I've just begun reading it so ill post more about what the studies find in the coming days. ive read over the Highlights section (hooray for one page synopses!) and i find some of their findings warming to my cold dead heart, while others... are very disappointing.

The most disheartening portion of what ive read so far is that while the american public appreciates and endorses our past science acheievements, and support the continuation of science innovation, they apparently have an abysmall understanding of basic science when compare to other western civs. And to drive another stake into my pounding heart o' science, is that while supportive of Science and Techology as a whole, they still remain skeptical of research in the realm of evolution....AND more people approve than disapprove of teaching the debate between established theories of evolution and ID and creationism. *tear* my scientific america! WHERE ARE YOU GOING!

i personally cannot see how you can support science and believe in the advances made in science in a broad sense but decide to disagree with a very large and important pillar of biological science. Evolutionary theory led to the development of many of the tools we use in biological science today. Its like believing in cars but not in engines. I think it hinders the advancement in the sciences when basic concepts are 1) not understood 2)doubted by a majority of the populous.

welp thats my sciencey rant for the day

Monday, January 21, 2008

Welcome: An Introduction

Hello and welcome to the Better Living Through Biology Blog.

We live in interesting times in terms of how the work of biological researchers interact with the everyday life of the populous. Bans on stem cell research pushed by the President, the development of highly advanced prosthetic arms for troops with sensitive skin, the push for applied medical research by the NIH, cloned cows, and the conflict with evolutionary biology with Intelligent Design in the classroom all show how the impact of biological sciences on the everyday life of the citizens of earth grow with each passing experiment.
I decided to start this blog partly as an effort to expose myself to a wider variety of biomedical topics and improve my writing about science but also as a forum to talk about things i think are important in regards to biomedical research and society. I want this to be a forum where people can post about topics that outline the changing face of biomedical sciences in the years ahead. From public policy to groundbreaking research articles, this blog hopes to be a compendium of how biology is improving the human condition by the small steps that scientists take everyday. while sounding like serious dive into the world of biomedical research, i hope to construct this blog so that its amusing as well as informative because I am not above posting YouTube clips of scientists dancing (why are there so many?).

So as the name of the blog implies, this blog hopes to show you how we all live better through biology.