Category Archives: Knowledge

~Bioprospecting~

Bioprospecting (also known as biodiversity prospecting) is the exploration of natural sources for small molecules, macromolecules and biochemical and genetic information that could be developed into commercially valuable products for the agricultural, aquaculture, bioremediation, cosmetics, nanotechnology, or pharmaceutical industries. In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, almost one third of all small-molecule drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 1981 and 2014 were either natural products or compounds derived from natural products.

~The Five Love Languages~

According to Chapman, the five ways to express and experience love called “love languages” are ~

~Words of affirmation
~Quality time
~Giving gifts
~Acts of service
~Physical touch

Examples are given from his counseling practice, as well as questions to help determine one’s own love languages. According to Chapman’s theory, each person has one primary and one secondary love language.

Chapman suggests that to discover another person’s love language, one must observe the way they express love to others, and analyze what they complain about most often and what they request from their significant other most often. He theorizes that people tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive love, and better communication between couples can be accomplished when one can demonstrate caring to the other person in the love language the recipient understands. An example would be if a husband’s love language is acts of service, he may be confused when he does the laundry and she doesn’t perceive that as an act of love, viewing it as simply performing household duties, because the love language she comprehends is words of affirmation (verbal affirmation that he loves her). She may try to use what she values, words of affirmation, to express her love to him, which he would not value as much as she does. If she understands his love language and mows the lawn for him, he perceives it in his love language as an act of expressing her love for him; likewise, if he tells her he loves her, she values that as an act of love.

Egbert and Polk (2006) suggest that the Five Love Languages might have some degree of psychometric validity.

What are your love languages? Feel free to share your thoughts below…

~Recombinant Memetics~

This one’s quite speculative, and it’s technically speaking still in the proto-science phase. But it’ll only be a matter of time before scientists get a better handle on the human noosphere (the collective body of all human information) and how the proliferation of information within it impacts upon virtually all aspects of human life.

Similar to recombinant DNA (in which different genetic sequences are brought together to create something new), recombinant memetics is the study of how memes (ideas that spread from person to person) can be adjusted and merged with other memes and memeplexes (a cohesive collection of memes, like a religion) for beneficial or ‘socially therapeutic’ purposes (such as combating the spread of radical and violent ideologies). This is similar to the idea of ‘memetic engineering’ — which philosopher Daniel Dennett suggested could be used to maintain cultural health. Or what DARPA is currently doing via their ‘narrative control’ program.

~Quantum Biology~

Physicists have known about quantum effects for well over a hundred years, where particles defy our sensibilities by disappearing from one place and reappearing in other, or by being in two places at once. But these effects are not relegated to arcane lab experiments. As scientists are increasingly suspecting, quantum mechanics may also apply to biological processes.

Perhaps the best example is photosynthesis — a remarkably efficient system in which plants (and some bacteria) build the molecules they need by using energy from sunlight. It turns out that photosynthesis may in fact rely on the “superposition” phenomenon, where little packets of energy explore all possible paths, and then settle on the most efficient one. It’s also possible that avian navigation, DNA mutations (via quantum tunnelling), and even our sense of smell, relies on quantum effects. Though it’s a highly speculative and controversial field, its practitioners look to the day when insights gleaned may result in new drugs and biomimetic systems (with biomemetics being another emergent scientific field, where biological systems and structures are used to create new materials and machines).

~Neuroparasitologists~

If you know about Toxoplasma gondii — the cat-spawned parasite that alters both rodent and human behaviour — then you know about the work of neuroparasitologists. The fact that these eerie parasites now have their very own scientific discipline devoted to them shows just how prevalent they are in nature.

These parasites typically alter host behavior as a part of their reproductive strategy (often by being consumed and excreted by a third party). A good example is Euhaplorchis californiensis, which causes fish to shimmy and jump so wading birds will grab and eat them. Hairworms, which live inside grasshoppers, eventually need to leave their hosts to continue their life cycle. Rather than leave peacefully, however, they release a cocktail of chemicals that makes the grasshoppers commit suicide by leaping into water. The hairworms then swim away from their drowning hosts. 

~Exo-Meteorologists~

Like exo-oceanographers and exo-geologists, exo-meteorologists are interested in studying natural processes which occur on planets other than Earth. Now that astronomers are able to peer more closely into the inner-workings of nearby planets and moons, they’re increasingly able to track atmospheric conditions and weather patterns. Jupiter and Saturn, with their impossibly large weather systems, are prime candidates for study. So is Mars, with it’s regularly occurring dust storms. Even planets outside our solar system are being studied by exo-meteorologists. And interestingly, exo-meteorologists may eventually find signs of extraterrestrial life on an exoplanet by detecting organic signatures in atmospheres, or elevated carbon dioxide levels — a possible sign of an industrial-age civilization.

~Philematology~

“Kissing is a science unto itself. A kiss reveals whether the chemistry is right between two people..”

Philematology is the scientific study of kissing. Researchers in this field focus on the significance and origin of kissing along with kissing techniques and types. Philematology draws together biologists, cultural scientists, linguists, physicists, physicians and sociologists.