Friday, November 3, 2006
Researchers report in Nature that massive doses of a natural
substance found in red wine, resveratrol, offsets some of the bad
effects of a high-calorie diet and extends life span - if you're
a mouse. Resveratrol is in the skin of the grape where it serves
as a fungicide. The corresponding dose for a human would be
staggering, but many will try and stagger. It's been sold as a
dietary supplement for years on the basis of the "French paradox"
of low incidence of coronary heart disease. The first miracle of
Jesus, related in John 2:1-12, was performed at a wedding party.
When they ran out of party drinks, Jesus turned 6 jugs of water
into wine. He could have turned it into beer I suppose, or even
Dr. Pepper, or maybe he saw ahead to discovery of resveratrol's
benefits. Thousands of Bible-Belt ministers have preached that
the "wine" Jesus made must have been unfermented grape juice.
A year ago Ted Haggard said Heaven is only for born-again
Christians (WN 23 Dec 05) .
Is there some place with higher standards?
Four years in the making, a consortium of 150 researchers in 20
countries deciphered the 236-million-base genome. This is the
fifth insect sequenced so far. It's of interest because of the
bee's complex social behavior. People communicate by dancing,
and so, it is said, do honey bees. The claim is that scout bees
do an elaborate dance to let the hive know where the flowers are.
It earned Karl von Frisch a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1973. Not
everyone agreed. No other animal exhibits such a language, and
language takes a lot of genes. The experiments of Adrian Wenner
at UCSC seemed to show that bees just smell the flowers. The
genome reveals a huge group of genes for odorant receptors, but
no unique cluster of brain genes. So why do bees dance? In June
I spent days watching as carpenter bees tried to convert my deck
into sawdust. Carpenter bees are loners. They don't have hives,
preferring to drill individual holes in my deck. But they dance
like crazy. I think they're just hovering, but that's not easy.
Like helicopter pilots, they must constantly make corrections.
Planned for May 2008, it was a rare piece of good news coming out
of NASA. It should extend Hubble's life to 2013. The decision
was attributed to the ability to inspect the shuttle in flight.
As part of a deal brokered by China, North Korea agreed to resume
the suspended talks and the U.S. agreed to discuss the financial
sanctions it has imposed. Countries around the world prepared to
impose U.N. sponsored sanctions following the recent test.