The inheritance of acquired characteristics really does happen

“…there is no getting away from the fact that the inheritance of acquired characteristics really does happen.”

This concept (which we all believe intuitively as children until we are “educated”) would certainly explain much of what we see in real life in various societies: culture is inherited. As they always said, “You can take the cowboy out of Teaxas, but you can’t take Texas out of the cowboy” :-)

Just as we figure out how to sequence and decode the genome, nature is again a step ahead of us. Our new view exposes an additional layer of variables and our task becomes logarithmically more complex.

This seems to be typical for science: as soon as we get close to figuring out how something works, we find new variables. It seems like Mother Nature is teasing us.

Science in flux: is a revolution brewing in evolutionary theory? | Aeon Essays


How Our Bones Might Help Keep Our Weight in Check – The New York Times

Our skeletons may help to keep our weight under control, according to a fascinating new study with animals.

The study suggests that bones could be much more intimately involved in tracking weight and controlling appetite than scientists realized. It also raises interesting questions about whether a sedentary lifestyle could cause us to pack on pounds in part by discombobulating our sensitive bones.

Fast food makes the immune system more aggressive

The immune system reacts similarly to a high fat and high calorie diet as to a bacterial infection. This is shown by a recent study led by the University of Bonn. Particularly disturbing: Unhealthy food seems to make the body’s defenses more aggressive in the long term. Even long after switching to a healthy diet, inflammation towards innate immune stimulation is more pronounced. These long-term changes may be involved in the development of arteriosclerosis and diabetes, diseases linked to Western diet consumption. The results will be published in the journal Cell.

The way music moves us shows the mind is more than a machine | Aeon Essays

Studies have shown that neuronal groups in our brains do, indeed, entrain to rhythmic stimuli. Rhythm-processing involves increased coupling between auditory and premotor cortex, a part of the brain involved in planning and executing bodily movement. It also recruits the basal ganglia, a group of structures deep in the brain involved in motor control, action selection and learning. Intriguingly, even when subjects are instructed not to move in response to what they hear, the basal ganglia is recruited in the processing of auditory beats – though not when they are presented with regular visual rhythms.

New Discovery Could Save Eyesight for Millions

While scientists have known for about a decade that inflammation is the driving force in the vision-robbing disease that affects 196 million people worldwide, what triggered the cellular overactivity in the eye and why it grew into a retina-destroying “inflammatory cascade” was unknown, says Ambati, director of U-Va.’s Center for Advanced Vision Science. (He also clarifies that we’re talking about “dry” macular degeneration, which accounts for about 90 percent of all cases.)
The culprit has now been identified as a single enzyme, one known to science for only a few years, which Ambati says acts like a kind of “amateur immune cell” to warn and activate other cells in the eye. This so-called “viral sensor” triggers the inflammatory response that leads to the death of cells in the retina, causing dry macular degeneration.