First Up…Color-Coding Wikipedia

Who doesn’t use Wikipedia? It can answer pretty much any question that you have. Hell, you can even use it for class, kind of.

But of course, the problem with Wikipedia is that any article can be edited at any time, and sometimes, the information on a Wikipedia page is absolutely wrong.

Enter UC Santa Cruz professor Luca de Alfaro, who has designed a program to track all the changes made on Wikipedia and rank them as credible or not credible. This is done by ranking contributors as credible or not credible.

This would be rather helpful. If Wikipedia chooses to use this technology, at least we’ll know which bits and pieces of an article may actually help us write our paper on international politics.

But for now, we’ve got to sweat away and actually read some books.

UCSD Professor Fighting (Bio)Terror

UC San Diego professor Joseph Vinetz will lead a project looking for ways to fight brucellosis, a disease which may be used in bioterror, according to the press release.

What is brucellosis and why may it be a potential bioterror threat?

there exists the potential threat that a highly infectious form of the disease could be developed in an aerosolized form. In humans, brucellosis can cause a range of symptoms that are similar to the flu and may include fever, sweats, headaches, back pains, and physical weakness. Severe infections could result in damage to the central nervous system or lining of the heart, or in chronic symptoms that include recurrent fevers, joint pain, and fatigue.

So the government is afraid that terrorists can use brucellosis in an aerosolized form. Right. But the way most people are infected with brucellosis is through eating dairy products that use unpasteurized milk.

However, as the press release states, Professor Vinetz’s team’s primary function isn’t to find a cure for brucellosis, but to find ways to identify it.

After that happens, then can we find a cure?

Finding Ways to Treat Lou Gehrig’s Disease?

UC Irvine neurologist Tahseen Mozaffar was part of a group of researchers who have been able to “discover the active genes in sporadic ALS

We don’t understand what the news article is saying, but here’s an excerpt and maybe you guys will understand:

The researchers also identified genes likely to play a role in cell function that controls nerve adhesion, offering a major new avenue for ALS research. The findings indicate these genes produce a sort of molecular glue that attaches motor neurons to muscle, according to Dietrich Stephan.

And apparently, this may be able to help researchers eventually find a cure to Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“This is a monumental step forward in the effort to find a cure for ALS,” Mozaffar said. “The genetics discovered in this study have uncovered a number of inviting targets for further study toward new drugs to treat this disease. And enthusiastic supporters like Augie Nieto and his wife Lynne are helping make this possible.”

UCSC professor develops fix for faulty Wikipedia info [Sentinel]
UC San Diego Researcher to Lead Fight Against Terrorism on the Medical Front [UCSD Medical Center]
Discovery Of Active Genes Reveals New Clues On ALS [Science Daily]



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