Friday, March 25, 2005

What the #$*! do we know?

I hope whoever holds the copyright to the name of this documentary/movie doesn't sue me, but, really.. what the #$*! do we know???

New Scientist is running a story about 13 things that do not make sense. As the name suggests, it talks about 13 problems that remain unexplained/unsolved by science today and that have the potential of changing our whole worldview by possibly requiring our current concepts of nature to be modified (or even rewritten!). Things like placebo effect, Homeopathy's theory of infinitesimals, Dark matter, Dark energy, possible time dependence of the fine-structure constant, the Pioneer anomaly, the WOW signal etc are discussed in this fairly interesting article.

Thats not all! More interestingly, current issue of Science - one of the two most highly reputed journals in all sciences (except computer science, I believe) - has an exciting article about researchers finding some soft tissue inside the fossil of the thigh bone of a T-Rex! Which essentially means that there are some remnants of blood vessels/muscles etc still in there! They have evidence of some protein still left intact in the tissue (thats all fine, but what about DNA???? :))) ). Can't post the article here obviously, but here is the corresponding news article on Scientific American.

That quite interesting (Jurassic Park! Jurassic Park!!!!) but, amazingly, thats not why I started this post. There's something EVEN more exciting! Nature - the other of the two most highly reputed journals in all sciences - has an article in its current issue about indications of non-DNA (possibly RNA) full-genome back-up copy/copies in a plant species (Arabidopsis thaliana) leading to non-Mendelian inheritance patterns! Again, can't post the pdf here, so look at this news piece. For those who have no idea what I am talking about, in layman-ese it means that chances are that our assumption that in almost all organisms the DNA genome is the only method of storing information that needs to be passed from generation to generation might well be wrong. A backup copy of full genome that nobody ever thought of, let alone observed!! WOW!!!

Really, what the #$*! do we know?

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