The Wednesday Post (3/2/10)

Wow, its Feb already, I’m a little scared with how quick this year seems to be passing already.

Anyway, got two things for you today.

First, The Lancet retracted a paper from 1998 by an author (I refuse to call him a scientist) named Andrew Wakefield today in the light of recent developments. His research suggested a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. The link does not exist and there has even been the suggestion that he fabricated his data. This is a very important issue as Wakefield and Co. kick started the anti-vaccination movement that has now seen childhood vaccination drop substantially. Despite many subsequent studies highlighting the inaccuracy of Wakefield’s work we are now in a position where long dead or controlled disease, such as polio for crying out loud, are re-gaining a foot hold in the community. The retraction, whilst important for the scientific community will probably not halt the movement it created. Shame Wakefield Shame.

On a lighter note I found this today in my RSS reader, Beetle-Inspired Adhesive Lifts Man. What? Turns out some researchers (who haven’t published the work yet but it should appear in PNAS very soon) have found that a group of beetles that can adhere to leaves and in fact support up to 100 times there own weight using only water. The trick appears to work in a somewhat similar way to two glass sheets sticking together when water is placed between them. The water in this case ‘sticks’ to the smooth glass and ‘adheres’ them together. I believe this occurs due to Van de Waals forces but don’t quote me on it :). In any case the beetles use a droplet of water to produce the same effect. These researchers took that idea and scaled it up to produce a plate with 1000’s of tiny hole that produces 1000’s of tiny water droplets. They a small prototype to lift a Lego man…

It’s cool work and may eventually allow us to scale the sides of buildings etc like Spiderman! If only I can acquire the technology to copy all my favourite superheroes powers, I’d be invincible!!!!! <Evil laughter, rolling thunder and cracking lightning in the backgroud>


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3 responses to “The Wednesday Post (3/2/10)

  1. diabetic77

    I’ve heard so many people quote ndrew Wakefiled’s research in an attempt to scare people away from the H1N1 vaccine too. This is quite eye opening.

    Can’t wait to check out the Spideman/Beetleman technology when it comes out as a Christmas toy 😉

    On a personal note, I am interested in exchanging links with you from my medical blog ( over to your medical. Let me know how you want to be linked and I can get you listed in a few days.

    On a business note, I know the owner over at JRS Medical and was wondering if they could get listed in this blog under a category like Medical Resources or something like that for a fee? I’m sure they would be open to a blog post reviewing their website or some of their products too? They can pay you by PayPal for your trouble.

    Let me know if you’re interested in either. Look forward to hearing back from you.

    (long time diabetic)
    Let’s practice love, acceptance, & forgiveness

  2. I thought it was hydrogen bonding that was responsible for the strong adhesion, as the polar water molecules adhere to the polar silica compounds in glass. Which is the same reason you get a meniscus in a glass of water, or why water will move up a fine capillary spontaneously.

    Or are we just poles apart on this issue? (If I wasn’t so lazy I’d google it – but idle speculation FTW on this one)

    • And this is why I’m not great at chemistry. I think your right. Because you are so correct I will overlook the use of an extraordinarly bad pun on this occasion.

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