Lifestyles:

Health and Medicine, Travel, Gardening, Pets, Automotive

Synthesizing the human genome from scratch

For the past 15 years, synthetic biologists have been figuring out how to synthesize an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. They’ve tackled the genomes of microbes, but now one large consortium has its sights set on the human genome. The cover story in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, explores Genome Project-write (GP-write) and the technical and ethical challenges it faces.

Indoor air in schools could add to children’s exposure to PCBs

The U.S. banned PCBs nearly four decades ago, but they persist in the environment and have been found in animals and humans since then. Now researchers report in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology that concentrations of airborne PCBs inside schools could result in some students inhaling the compounds at higher levels than they would consume through their diets. Exposure through both are lower than set limits, but cumulative amounts, researchers caution, could be concerning.

Mulling over the aromas of wine

A fine wine has an ideal balance of ingredients. Too much or too little of a component could mean the difference between a wine with a sweet and fruity aroma and one that smells like wet newspaper. To help wineries avoid off-aromas, a team reports in ACS Sensors a sensitive device for detecting a compound that can affect the beverage’s fragrance.

By American Chemical Society - Friday, August 4, 2017 - -- Lifestyles

General Motors U.S. Sales Down 15.4 Percent To 226,107 Units In July 2017

General Motors reported 226,107 new vehicle deliveries in July 2017 for the U.S. market, a 15.4 percent decrease compared to strong July 2016 sales. Sales were down at every brand, including Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac.

The automaker attributes the decline to responsible sales of vehicles into the the lucrative retail and commercial segments, rather than incentivizing overproduced vehicles, thereby protecting residual values.—More…

By News on the Net -- GM Authority- Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - -- Automotive

Surgery More Effective Than Drano for Stroke

How would you feel if you suffered a stroke and were left paralyzed? Then later discovered that if you had been aware of early signs of stroke, paralysis could have been avoided? This column might help to prevent this tragedy. Moreover, the good news is that surgery is superior to anti-clotting drugs for treatment of this   devastating event.

A report in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that surgery, rather than TPA, a clot dissolving drug that works like household Drano, produces a better outcome.

Radical new drug-testing tech could dramatically cut animal testing

After spending an average of $2.5 billion to develop a single new drug, sometimes pharma companies have to pull it from the market due to a bad outcome that was not detected in clinical studies.

That’s what happened in 2000, when a promising Type 2 diabetes drug called troglitazone led to idiosyncratic (unexplained) liver damage in one of every 60,000 users.

The troglitazone mystery wasn’t solved until March 2016, when a novel “liver-on-a-chip” platform developed by Hebrew University of Jerusalem Prof. Yaakov Nahmias revealed what no animal or human tests could: even low concentrations of this drug caused liver stress before any damage could be seen.

“It was the first time an organ-on-chip device could predict information to help pharmaceutical companies define risk for idiosyncratic toxicity,” Nahmias tells ISRAEL21c.—More…

Official: General Motors Closes Sale Of Opel-Vauxhall To PSA Groupe

The end of an era for General Motors’ once-sprawling global empire has come to a close: Opel and Vauxhall have officially been sold to France’s PSA Groupe.

The deal was closed today, August 1, 2017, which falls in line with previous estimates that aimed for the deal to close by the end of July. PSA Groupe also operates the Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands.—More…

By News on the Net -- GM Authority- Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - -- Automotive

Some As Grace; Some As Mercy

For my stepdaughter Jennifer and me, a stroll around town on Sunday mornings was a big event. Often she would spot coins, give them to me for safekeeping, and race ahead, pigtails swishing, searching the sidewalk.

Before heading for church, we always plopped down on padded benches in front of a café, I to enjoy coffee; she, a soda.

On one of those mornings I challenged her to a little game: “Jennifer, if you find enough coins to make a dollar before we sit on this bench next Sunday, I will double it.”

By Jimmy Reed - Monday, July 31, 2017 - -- Lifestyles

American Civil War Museum and Historic Tredegar

Nestled on the bank of the James River in Richmond, Virginia, near the American Civil War Museum, the Tredegar Iron Works began operating in 1837. The name Tredegar honored engineers Rhys Davies and his crew who were recruited from the Tredegar Mills in Wales. The proximity to railroads and canal boats made this location ideal.

On this very hot and lazy Saturday afternoon, with temperatures upwards of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, locals were sunbathing on the beach nearby.

By Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh - Friday, July 28, 2017 - -- Lifestyles

Ghost in the Shell a surprisingly watchable sci-fi Blu-ray disc

It may have started life as a Japanese comic book, but Paramount’s Ghost in the Shell is a compelling and eye-dazzling adventure that’s much better than I had expected going in.

The movie, debuting on 4K and conventional Blu-ray (our sample was the Blu-ray, darn it, which comes with a DVD and digital code in the package as well - and a 3D version is available, too) hearkens more than a little to Blade Runner, in its look and overall storyline, but more in an "inspired by" or "homage" manner than being a complete rip-off.  It made me curious to see how the Blade Runner sequel will turn out when it debuts later this year.

Speaking of a not-too-distant future, Ghost in the Shell is set in just such an environment. Look at the streets, with their obtrusive (but perfectly logical given the way our society is going) holographic ads all over the place - and the abundance of neon and other signage, and it looks exactly like a 21st century take on the 21st century envisioned by Ridley Scott and his collaborators back in the 1982 Blade Runner (though I don’t remember seeing flying cars in "Ghost"). There’s less rain in this vision of the future, it seems, but that’s okay because perhaps it means the seas didn’t really rise after the United States withdrew from the Paris Climate accord.

By Jim Bray - Friday, July 28, 2017 - -- Lifestyles