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Topics - TTG4

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Journal Club / Suggestions
« on: March 02, 2015, 08:06:21 PM »
Make any suggestions here!

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Journal Club / How will this work
« on: March 02, 2015, 08:05:30 PM »
Hi all! So basically this is a place to come and discuss some journal articles, or if you've seen something crop up on the news that's sciencey and want to talk about it then we can dig a little deeper.

There's a suggestion thread for people to suggest ones they want to discuss, but if none are suggested I'll pick one. I'll probably do them on a Saturday because that makes life easier for me at the moment.

Of course, this isn't just for science, I'd like to see articles discussed from any discipline!

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So I caught a program on this guy on my way into work this morning http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b050bcf1

What I really found interesting was just how similar everything seemed to be compared to modern day things. The main war he discusses (I forget the name) seems pretty much a treaty-driven chaos like the first world war. And the bits they mention about Athenian elections seem remarkably similar.

I was also surprised by just how extensive hellenic society was, and how interlinked they all were.

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Professor Anne Glover of Aberdeen university held the post of chief scientific advisor and has taken stances that are politically controversial, but scientifically agreed upon. So what does the new EU president do? Fire her. This seems to be far too common and it's no wonder some scientists are hesitant to engage with politicians and the public.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30037531

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So I stumbled across this article
http://vaccinenewsdaily.com/medical_countermeasures/330580-flavivirus-discovery-may-lead-to-new-treatments-vaccines/

Since one of the papers was publshed in eLife it's open acess, so it's here (bit technical in places, but nice diagrams)
http://elifesciences.org/content/3/e01892

Essentially, the RNA of some flaviviruses (such as Dengue virus and West Nile virus) use a host enzyme which breaks down the RNA (called an exonuclease, specifically Xrn1 in this case) to produce very small bits of RNA which causes symptoms to develop.

What they've shown in this paper, is that the non-degraded RNA have completely new folded structures which prevent the enzyme from breaking them down. This is interesting as these sorts of folds can be induced, meaning it's a potential new theraputic target (not just a cool little virus trick)!

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Factual Writing / Plant Biosecurity and Chalara fraxinea
« on: April 14, 2014, 06:42:20 PM »
This is a mini-review I had to write for my final year of my degree. It's got a load of formatting and pictures which I can't put here properly, but a pdf file is available on my public dropbox here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/43736734/Would%20the%20changes%20to%20UK%20plant%20biosecurity%20recommended%20by%20the%20tree%20health%20and%20plant.pdf

But here is the abstract to pique anyones interest!

Plant biosecurity refers to the practises involved in preventing the spread of plant diseases. Chalara fraxinea is the fungus responsible for ash dieback, a disease which causes the die back of the shoots of ash trees [1]. In May 2013, the tree health and plant biosecurity expert taskforce published a report containing recommendations of how to improve UK plant biosecurity. I shall consider whether these recommendations would have improved the UK response to Chalara. I will cover how the Chalara outbreak occurred historically and will show that although many of their recommendations might have helped, the execution of them may have been infeasible in practise.


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The Boozer / Comedy and classics
« on: March 25, 2014, 01:13:58 PM »
So I'd heard trails for a radio 4 comedy show about classics. Managed to catch up on it this morning and quite enjoyed it! Thought it might be of interest to you guys, you can catch it here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03yn6xr

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Related: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/nov/27/brian-cox-science-funding-grants-nonsensical

Coming from someone in the final year of their degree and looking for masters funding (having found it nigh on impossible) this hits pretty badly.  only hope Osborne doesn't go further and start cutting research funding, heck funding applications are already annoying enough, if you work on animals mention cancer, if you work on plants mention food security. If you can't do either, you're in trouble!

What are peoples views? Do you think we're approaching a crisis of science funding? Or do you think that science has to pay a price in the current austerity-obsessed climate?

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A Game of Colleges: Total War / Historical battles
« on: October 20, 2013, 04:16:35 PM »
So I was having a play around the other night, I was wondering if it was possible for us to create our own historical battles? Could be interesting and a good way to test the unit balance. What do people think?

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