I shall apologise in advance. This weeks post is likely to be ranty.
After the awesometastic synthetic life creation I blogged about previously the guy in charge has done something lame: tried to patent it. I won't lie. I think the whole idea behind patents and IP is bullshit. On one level because there is a implicit assumption that whosoever is granted a patent is a genius and noone could possibly ever have come up with such a great idea without seeing his first, but also because it seems to be used to quash competition rather than the much touted benefit of encouraging innovation. In my opinion the latter doesn't even make much sense since the options are to (watch as I make a false dichotomy) a) sit on your patents collecting money b) be forced to innovate cos everybody's always stealing your stuff. Anyway another factoid was revealed to me that makes me feel somewhat better about what, as far as I can tell, is just an opinion: the fashion industry lacks copyright.
Moving right along. From 60 second science comes a paper that suggests the smallpox vaccine may have offered partial protection against HIV. It tickles my irony bone to think that a vaccine was so successful at wiping out an illness that it stopped being used, despite conferring other benefits people were unaware of.
Finally Steven Novella wrote an article on whether organic food is more healthful. It basically breaks down a systematic review and in general the scientific results have found that organic food is not more nutritious, doesn't taste better, isn't better for the environment and isn't better for people. (The article and posts in comments will fill in any links I can't be bothered finding). However further from this I discovered that expensive wine tastes better. I didn't realise this had actually been studied. Having been to a few wine tastings at various conferences as far as I'm concerned wine tastes like wine. I was also often puzzled by a room of scientists being happy to have someone stand up, tell them what the wine is supposed to taste like, and then taste it!
Actually that wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. Carry on.