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NIH Report: Uncorrected farsightedness linked to literacy deficits in preschoolers

Posted on January 27, 2016
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A NEW study released by the National Institutes of Health this morning indicates a strong correlation between childhood hyperopia and poor reading skills. As someone who used to work in eye care and as someone who has dealt with mild hyperopia (far-sightedness) from childhood, I want to urge all parents to make sure their children receive early eye exams. Not only can the eye doctor determine whether or not your child has a corneal imperfection leading to myopia, hyperopia, and/or astigmatism, but there are multiple other and even systemic health problems that can be determined through an eye exam. Don’t wait for the school to notify you that your child might have trouble seeing—take that precious gift to your local optometrist or ophthalmologist by age 3 unless you notice visual abnormalities earlier.

A study funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, has shown that uncorrected farsightedness (hyperopia) in preschool children is associated with significantly worse performance on a test of early literacy.The results of the Vision in Preschoolers-Hyperopia in Preschoolers (VIP-HIP) study, which compared 4- and 5-year-old children with uncorrected hyperopia to children with normal vision, found that children with moderate hyperopia (3 to 6 diopters) did significantly worse on the Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL) than their normal-vision peers. A diopter is the lens power needed to correct vision to normal. The higher the diopter, the worse the hyperopia.

Source: Uncorrected farsightedness linked to literacy deficits in preschoolers | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

X-Files is Back!

Posted on January 26, 2016
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Mulder and Scully are back together. (Image Credit: Fox Television)

WELL, we watched the opening episode to the X-Files reboot last night (well, most of it – since we had set it to record on our DVR, and the end of the football game bled into about 20 minutes of the program). Overall, it was nice to see Mulder and Scully back solving mysteries, but the reset to almost square one for those who’d never seen the series before was more than annoying. Walter Skinner looked great (does that actor never age?), and I’m wondering why the old X-Files office was being painted blue just as Mulder’s standing in it–and where did that pristine poster come from on the floor (I Want to Believe)? Didn’t that burn up in the fire?

My biggest beef though is that DNA profile that Scully glanced at and sent back for a re-test. A whole genome sequence is currently VERY expensive and is delivered as a large computer file. We’re talking about 3 billion base pairs. Oh, but her hospital squeezed it all onto one blank sheet of paper. Sheesh. The reference to ‘element 115’ was a nice nod to Bob Lazar, who claimed to have worked at Area 51 and said the ships used that element (which was only theoretical at the time) for propulsion. Since then, element 115 has been discovered and apparently couldn’t propel a washing machine. Derek watched the second episode last night and said it was much better. And Darin Morgan wrote at least one of the upcoming episodes (Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster, a title reminiscent of old Abbott and Costello films).  That will be a lot of fun.

 

Stephen Hawking’s Face Took Over Times Square with This Cryptic Message and No One Knows Why – CraveOnline

Posted on January 13, 2016
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A photograph of Stephen Hawking appeared on a group of billboards in Times Square yesterday alongside a cryptic numerical code, and now the Internet is left to decipher what this all means. (source: Imgur)

Assuming this is a genuine image (and not manipulated), it gives us a tantalizing puzzle. Why would Hawking (or his team) want us to ponder 48,16, and 11? November 16, 1948? Perhaps, 2048? Time will tell….

Read more here: Stephen Hawking’s Face Took Over Times Square with This Cryptic Message and No One Knows Why – CraveOnline

Gravitation under human control? Physicist proposes using magnetic fields to produce and detect gravitational fields — ScienceDaily

Posted on January 11, 2016
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Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to a recent report, published originally in French, and provided at the ScienceDaily website, Prof. André Füzfa of Namur University believes humans can control and manipulate gravity. What could possibly go wrong?

Although this experiment would require major resources, if conducted, it could be used to test Einstein’s theory of general relativity. If successful, it would certainly be a major step forward in physics: the ability to produce, detect and, ultimately, control gravitational fields.

Source: Gravitation under human control? Physicist proposes using magnetic fields to produce and detect gravitational fields — ScienceDaily

SciFriday for 1/8/2016 – What’s that over CERN? A wormhole or just CGI?

Posted on January 08, 2016
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SkyWatchTV Sci-Friday 12/11/15: Home Surveillance for the Holidays

Posted on January 08, 2016
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Website under construction for the next few weeks

Posted on December 31, 2015
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Under-constructionAs we enter a new season, the year 2016, I’ve decided to revamp my website, so you might find it down now and then and/or some links changing or missing. Thanks for your patience while I make the changes!

Someone Will Eventually Use CRISPR to Try to Make a Dragon or Unicorn | Motherboard

Posted on December 09, 2015
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No, I didn’t write this, but the article makes a very good point. The day is coming when someone will decide to try creating completely unique animals by rewriting DNA. Jurassic World is just around the corner.

The world’s top geneticists decided to spend the vast majority of last week discussing how to keep new genetic editing tools from ultimately destroying the human race. A noble goal, sure. But considerably less time has been spent discussing how genetically editing other species might change the idea of “nature” as we know it.

A future where the gene editing technique CRISPR/Cas9 is used by DIY biologists,genetic engineering startups, and even artists create fanciful organisms straight out of sci-fi is not just possible—it’s likely, argue two of the country’s top bioethicists.

Read the entire article here: Someone Will Eventually Use CRISPR to Try to Make a Dragon or Unicorn | Motherboard



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