Coral Reefs: Nature's Underwater Pharmacies
Biologists have begun to discover just what a treasure trove the oceans' coral reefs are in terms of finding potential cures to some of humanity's worst diseases, despite threats to the reefs' existence.
What's the Latest Development?
Biologists have begun to discover just what a treasure trove the oceans' coral reefs are in terms of finding potential cures to some of humanity's worst diseases. Tens of thousands of chemicals have already been identified and, of those thousands, hundreds are currently under medical investigation. "Sponges are particularly rich sources of chemicals," said professor Callum Roberts, a marine conservation biologist at the University of York, "particularly anti-cancer chemicals. Many have been shown to be tumor suppresents and one has already been licensed for use in the treatment of leukemia."
What's the Big Idea?
Coral reefs naturally represent nature's largest pharmacy thanks to evolutionary processes which have endowed a wide variety of species with vastly different and highly complex chemical makeups in their intense competition for a limited amount of underwater real-estate. Currently, however, coral reefs are under pressure from a variety of man-made hazards including pollution, over-fishing and climate change. "To lose those possible treatments through the destruction of coral reefs would be an unparalleled act of folly," said Roberts.
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What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Torn between absolutism on the left and the right, classical liberalism—with its core values of compassion and incremental progress whereby the once-radical becomes the mainstream—is in need of a good defense. And Adam Gopnik is its lawyer.
- Liberalism as "radical pragmatism"
- Intersectionality and civic discourse
- How "a thousand small sanities" tackled drunk driving, normalized gay marriage, and could control gun violence
Irish president believes students need philosophy.
- President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins calls for students to be thought of as more than tools made to be useful.
- Higgins believes that philosophy and history should be a basic requirement forming a core education.
- The Irish Young Philosopher Awards is one such event that is celebrating this discipline among the youth.
The lost practice of face-to-face communication has made the world a more extreme place.
- The world was saner when we spoke face-to-face, argues John Cameron Mitchell. Not looking someone in the eye when you talk to them raises the potential for miscommunication and conflict.
- Social media has been an incredible force for activism and human rights, but it's also negatively affected our relationship with the media. We are now bombarded 24/7 with news that either drives us to anger or apathy.
- Sitting behind a screen makes polarization worse, and polarization is fertile ground for conspiracy theories and fascism, which Cameron describes as irrationally blaming someone else for your problems.
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