Category: Science

Science and Technology: The Job Spectrum

scienceworldA biologist is thinking of branching out. He wrote his master’s thesis on self-replication of DNA, his doctoral dissertation on Darwin’s finches, and he now teaches graduate courses on evolutionary systems. He is working on a pet project after hours with a friend who works as a programmer. The goal is to build a self-replicating, self-correcting computer operating system designed for deployment on server farms to allow for simpler and faster meta-analyses of biological data.

Biologist’s Contribution 

The biologist’s contribution to the project is in his knowledge of self-correcting systems. He needs the programmer to translate that knowledge into the end product. A problem arises almost instantly, though, because of the lack of an operational definition.

The biologist lives in the world of Science. The programmer lives in the world of Technology. The difference in their jobs reveals the difference between the two fields. Though he may have an extensive knowledge of Darwin’s firsthand observation of the finches, the biologist deals in abstract concepts and ideas. The programmer is on the other end of the spectrum; he deals only with pragmatic translations and precise, almost mathematical, constructs.


Science and Technology are on opposite ends of the spectrum in that regard. Both fields are based almost entirely on solving problems, but they go about it in different ways. People who find employment, education and training in “hard science” tend to deal with ideas. Technology-related jobs are more aimed toward practical applications. Programmers, in fact, even call a lot of their projects “applications.”

Middle Ground 

Luckily, though, there is almost always a middle ground between any arbitrarily chosen set of scientific and technological problems. The biologist and the programmer mentioned above might do well to find a Computer Scientist to serve as a translator. A Computer Scientist focuses more on the theory behind the practical applications of software and other technology. A lot of that deals with the formation of operational definitions.

An operational definition is a more specific and geared way to describe something abstract so that all parties can be sure they are discussing the exact same thing. If the biologist explained the scope and goal of the project to the computer scientist, the computer scientist would be able to understand exactly what processes are needed and what kind of logic is behind them. Self-replication and self-correction are key concepts in Computer Science. A programmer may not know about those concepts because they are largely theoretical and may be beyond the scope of his knowledge.

The Computer Scientist can then take the input from the biologist and explain it in terms that the programmer can understand. It is easier for a computer programmer to understand “we need incremental updates of the database” than to understand “we need the computer to learn.” Neither the programmer nor the biologist would even have any idea what the translated version of their thoughts would mean.

Therein is the key difference between Science and Technology: they use the same words but different lexicons. This is the reason they will always be at odds. It’s the same reason certain groups of people go to war over different religious texts. The biologist and programmer are fortunate in one respect: at least there is an intermediary who can facilitate communication between them.

How Antibodies Can Help Those with Graves’ Diesease

Have you experienced problems with a rapid heartbeat, hair loss, dry skin, a feeling of fullness in your eyes, swelling in the front of your neck, weight loss, or brittle nails? All of these could be symptoms of Graves’ disease, and it is important to see your doctor for a complete health evaluation.


Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition where the body’s own antibodies start to attack the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located right below our Adam’s apple, and it helps regulate our metabolism. When the antibodies affect the thyroid in Graves’ disease, the thyroid becomes overactive and starts to produce too much thyroid hormone. This can cause weight loss, nails that break easily, swelling of the thyroid gland, and hair loss.

Sometimes the condition can affect the eyes. The muscles that control eye movements can begin to swell, pushing the eyes forward in the eye socket and causing eye bulging. The swelling can become so severe that patients can’t move their eyes.

Graves’ disease can also affect the heart and blood pressure. An over-active thyroid causes the heart to beat too fast. This can also increase the blood pressure. The heart has to work harder than normal, creating a risk of heart problems, like irregular heart beat and even heart attacks.

Fortunately, it is very easy to measure these antibodies. Doctors and other health care providers can order a simple blood test to see if the thyroid antibodies are present and in what amount. The most common antibody blood tests for Graves’ disease are for the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) antibodies and the TSH receptor binding antibodies. Some health care providers may also order tests to check for the thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin antibodies. Health care providers will sometimes do imaging tests such as an ultrasound or scintigraphy to make sure there are no other causes for the overactive thyroid.

Once the levels of the thyroid hormone and antibodies are determined, your health care provider will discuss several treatment options with you. The three main options include medication, radioactive iodine, and surgery. Medication is used to decrease the amount of thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Blood tests to measure your thyroid antibodies will be done regularly to make sure the medication is effective and isn’t making the thyroid hormone drop below normal.

In situations where medication doesn’t work, radioactive iodine to destroy the overactive thyroid cells is an option. The radioactive iodine is taken up by the thyroid in particular and is a very effective non-surgical treatment. Once the short course of treatment is done, your doctor or other provider will monitor the levels of antibodies in your blood to make sure that the treatment was effective. Since your thyroid doesn’t function after this treatment, you’ll usually take a thyroid hormone replacement.

Surgery to remove the thyroid, called a thyroidectomy, is the final option. Since there is no thyroid for the antibodies to attack, thyroid hormone is no longer produced in excess. There is more recovery time with surgery than the radiation treatment.

Measuring thyroid antibodies can be extremely helpful in diagnosing thyroid problems. If you suspect you have Graves’ disease or another thyroid problem, please contact your primary care provider today.

New Study Shows Universe is Older Than Previously Thought

According to brand new scientific research, the universe is 100 million years older than prior estimates have gauged. Emerging statistical analysis from the European Space Agency has revealed that the universe is 13.8 billions years old. The evidence stems from data gathered by the Planck spacecraft in a project that began in 2009. The accumulation of information was focused on measuring the trace residuum of microwave radiation that has lingered throughout the universe since originating as a byproduct of the Big Bang.


The new study is unique from its predecessors, because it compiled the most comprehensive collection of data on the existence of microwave remnants. Previous studies have attempted to map out the radiation, but none have amassed such concrete substance. This is because the Planck vessel is equipped with significantly higher degrees of sensitivity for measuring the finite fluctuations in temperature that are indicative of compacted space. These dense sections represent unexpanded galaxies and star systems near the origin point of the Big Bang. Following the wavelength shifts of the microwaves has allowed for the most accurate measurement of the universe’s age that has ever been made. There are a bevy of inherent implications that generate alongside this advancement in knowledge.

A primary shift in human understanding of the universe is the accompanying protraction in the universe’s growth rate. Inevitably, expansion would have had to occur at a slower rate to reach its current size, since more time has to be allotted into the formula for calculating the speed of universal increase. This slower expansion confounds the currently accepted definitions of time by altering the dimensional dynamic to facilitate an imperceptible reduction in the pace of light travel. Gravitational pulls have also been proven to have a much more prominent influence on galactic arrangements than earlier studies have estimated; their delicate presences were detectable in nearly every aspect of the universe’s procurement.

Furthermore, the Planck’s research was able to track cosmic activity to almost the exact moment of the universe’s beginning. This is the closest view of the Big Bang that mankind has ever glimpsed. It pinpoints motion within an infinitesimally small percentage of a nanosecond after the moment the universe outwardly expanded its size by exponents of a trillion.

The full scientific insinuations of the research have yet to be completely released. The project has been conducted over the course of four years, and the research that has been publicly analyzed only comprises the first fifteen months of the mission. The recorded information will continue to be dissected and disseminated to the masses; however, the data from the earliest stage of existence has yet to be released.

Solid definitions of the universe’s compositional make-up are now more precisely determined than any point in all of human history. The statistics released demonstrate that all quantifiable matter represents less than one-twentieth of the entire cosmos. This statistic encompasses every star, planet and galaxy. Dark matter accounts for 26.8 percent of space. The presence of dark matter can only be measured by the bends in gravitational pull it can cause, because it does not respond to light in any known way. The majority of the universe consists of dark energy, which amounts to 69 percent of its composition. This element promotes faster universal expansion and is unaffected by gravity.