Favorite Links for Week 45 2019

What is the real, mathematical dog-year calculation?

Ok, so we all knew dog-years can’t be a linear translation to human years. So what is the real translation between human and dog age? There’s an “epigenetic clock” discovered by Steve Horvath. Basically, DNA gets little chemical modifications that help turn genes on and off. It turns out that some of those modifications accumulate with age. And this biochemical signature tracks age better than just about anything else. So is it the same in dogs? And can we use it to correlate dog-years to human-years? Yes. Tina Wang et al. figured it out (bioRxiv).

Personalized predictions of blood sugar based on poop bacteria

This 2019 paper, “Personalized Approach to Predicting Postprandial Glycemic Responses,” showed a predictive model for blood sugar spikes after meals. The composition of the food (carbohydrate content and calorie content) did not predict blood sugar spikes very well. On the other hand, food information PLUS information about a specific person’s gut microbiome did a very good job. So if you knew your gut microbiome, you could make better food choices.

Failure Found to be an “Essential Prerequisite” For Success

These folks used the NIH database of applications for grants to see what differentiates people who eventually succeeded from those who didn’t. The average was two failures before a successful grant application. I wish I could convey how incredibly hard it is to put together a proposal that gets rejected.

Philip Pullman on Children’s Literature and the Critics Who Disdain It

I read this essay a few days ago and loved it. It came up in conversation, too. The premise is that good literature is not accessible literature. That a book is something children enjoy just means that it is clear and accessible, not that it is simplistic. Generally, children don’t like simplistic. And if a book is enjoyable for children and has depth, it will be equally enjoyable for adults.

Atomic Force Microscope was used to look at single molecules and resolve details

The article, “Revisiting Kekulene: Synthesis and Single-Molecule Imaging,” is amazing. First, what a crazy molecule. Second, what an amazing technique to look at its structure and properties.

Little Things:

Can snakes use doorknobs? Wait for it to find out