Hot Air: Science

I won’t lie; it’s only serendipity. The fact that the big March for Science is happening day after tomorrow in Washington and around the world had nothing to do with the fact that last week’s Big Talk as well as today’s episode feature super-hyper-brainiac research scientists.

Click On Image To Buy Shirt

Today I’ll be joined by Youssuf Ali, one of the top lab detectives at Hui-Chen Lu‘s operation, part of the Gill Center for Biomolecular Science at Indiana University. Lu’s gang, with Ali doing much of the heavy lifting, has identified a number of compounds in the brain that can actually retard neural degenerative diseases. That means, in lay terms, diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s may be pushed off for years or decades.

In fact, you may well be sipping a mugful of one of those compounds as you read this. Yep. Lu, Ali & Co. have found that pure doses of caffeine injected into mice can actually slow the rate of neuron breakdown that’s the hallmark of the diseases. Neurons are the little buggers, along with glial cells, that make up the brain.

As for last week’s guest, in case you missed the show, here’s the link to my interview with Heather Bradshaw whose lab is doing bang-up research on the effects of lipids like those found in marijuana on brain cells and their connections. So if you’re at all interested in the medical pot question, you’ll get a kick out of this one.

Tune in this afternoon for Big Talk, 5:00pm on the WFHB Daily Local News, 91.3FM.

Whoa, She Wrote

The annexation issue still hangs over Bloomington. Did you catch Charlotte Zietlow’s heartlfelt and undeniably well-informed piece in last week’s Herald-Times in which she skewers Mayor John Hamilton’s overall plan and rollout strategy? If not, go here now.

Zietlow (L) — Still At It

Let’s Work Together

Above and beyond the simple message this song conveys is the scene portrayed herein. It’s from the Brit tunefest Top of the Pops, as much a cultural touchstone as American Bandstand was here.

I’ve gotta say, this vid has transfixed me. For whatever reason the dancers all seem to be pent up in some kind of gilded cage. And the dancers themselves are almost exclusively female, with the odd guy here and there as if they’re little brothers allowed to stay at big sis’s party for a few minutes. Or they’re the women’s gay high school friends.

Anyway, it strikes me that for a hot minute in the year 1970, when this was filmed, white people possessed a hint of rhythm. Or maybe just these Carnaby Street habitués did. Note, also, the one or two dancers who liberally employ the thumb jerk, as later parodied by Julia Louis Dreyfus on an episode of Seinfeld.

Mainly, though, I’m most freaked out by the looks on pretty much everybody’s faces. It’s a studied boredom, a world weariness, a jadedness that’s sad, really. I mean, they’re dancing to a great song and they’re young and are on TV and have kicky clothes and all, but god forbid they should smile. Is this how they really feel inside or is it a pose? Or Quaaludes?

These are the things that occupy my mind now so I don’t obsess over the porcine pathological narcissist who occupies the White House.

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