Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Science news of the day

Quite a few things appeared today. Since I don't have the time, I will just list them here:

  • A nice article in the New York Times by Denise Grady about the kind of illusions that can be created using apparently simple means -- simple only for an experienced researcher, not us! Do you want to feel slimmer or feel that your nose is growing, find someone who can give you that illusory experience!
  • In NYTimes, again, there is an interview of Kristi Anseth by Claudia Dreyfus. Dr. Anseth is a tissue engineer. Here is a definition given by her:
    We are the people interested in building living systems in humans and animals called the tissue. We start with the basic building blocks of these systems, which are cells or different proteins or molecules, and then we reassemble them into something that becomes living tissues within a body.

    The promises of tissue engineering are many. In trying to regenerate cartilage, we're very far along. In terms of progress, things related to our cartilage, bones, skin, we're likely to see products within 5 to 10 years. The really big impact areas - treatments for Parkinson's disease and diabetes - those will happen later, within my lifetime.
  • This one is for my wife, who is an ophthalmologist: Retina for different people have been found to be quite different, says Sara Goudarzi in this report in MSNBC. Among all that description of the innards of the eye, I managed to find something that I can relate to:
    "Adaptive optics is a technique borrowed from astronomy, where it is used to obtain sharp images of stars from telescopes on the ground," said David Williams, director of the Center for Visual Science. "All such telescopes suffer from blur due to the effects of turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere. In our case, optical defects in the cornea and lens of the eye blur images of the retina."
  • This ToI editorial talks about some new science policy. Does anyone know about it? If you have links to any report or government website that may have additional information, I would greatly appreciate it if you leave a comment or send an e-mail to me. Many thanks in advance.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Abi, Dr. Dave Williams group at Rochester continues to make significant advancements in our understanding about eyes (esp. human eyes) using Adaptive Optics techniques.

    He says vision can be improved even for normal human eyes (beyond 20/20) using AO techniques prescribing lenses that corrects local defects in retina.

    I have been tracking this in my Tamil blog. For e.g. http://www.domesticatedonion.net/blog/?item=260 (AO for Color blindness)

    BTW: I have resumed blogging in English at http://domesticatedonion.net/eng

  2. Anonymous said...

    Here's the HT report on the same, for whatever it's worth.

  3. Abi said...

    Hi Venkat, Ashok, thank you for your comments adding interesting links.

    Ashok: that link to HT did give a different perspective. Thanks.

    Venkat: Thanks for that info about Dr. Dave Williams' research group. Thanks also for the link to your blog. I haven't succeeded in getting my firefox to work for Tamil blogs, in spite of your very good instructions. Evidently, there is something wrong in the way I was doing things.

    Yesterday, we upgraded to Firefox 1.5, so let me try again.