* Posts by mantavani

13 posts • joined 14 Jan 2010

Boffins: On my command, unleash REMOTE CONTROL BULL SPERM

mantavani

@smartermind doesn't matter if you're male or female. The testes are immunologically privileged - because sperm are haploid and therefore most definitely non-self your body would mount an immune response to your own sperm. This is a cause of some types of inferitility - often following trauma of the eye-watering variety.

Sperm are incredibly sensitive to handling - temperature shock and environment - and get nutritional support from seminal fluid, which obviously wouldn't be present in this application - so it's difficult to see how they would last any length of time in vivo. It's a really interesting idea though!

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Burger-rage horse dumps on McDonald's: Rider saddled with fat fine

mantavani
IT Angle

@S4qFBxkFFg is pretty much right. There's quite a good chance of dog faeces carrying Toxocara canis which is a non-trivial risk to human health. Whereas being the product of an herbivorous digestive system, horse poop is basically pure fertilizer and the only parasite risk is to other horses.

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EU boffins in plan for 'more nutritious' horsemeat ice cream

mantavani
Coat

Re: No prions

That's not quite right, or at lease a misunderstanding. While we still don't know precisely what the origin of BSE was, it's a good working hypothesis that Scrapie from sheep was indeed the initial spark (but there are other ideas, such as the endogenous virus hypothesis).

However, the species barrier in transmitting a TSE is immense - so there is very little chance of you receiving a dose of BSE prion that would cause you vCJD, or of a cow receiving a BSE-inducing inoculation from sheep meal - but once it has occurred, there is a much higher chance of then passing on that infectious prion through cannibalism (cf. kuru in man). The problem being that we fed ruminants other ruminants - so-called MBM (meat & bone meal). We only saw it here in the UK first because we changed the way we manufactured MBM at the end of the 70s and apparently the new method did not control the infectious vector.

We KNOW this was an important infection route just from looking at the disease surveillance data - as soon as the feeding ban was brought in around '88 the incidence of BSE in cattle shot down from tens of thousands to almost nothing. In the UK - partially because of this whole sorry affair - we have tremendously active public health surveillance, and as a result of all this effort in 2010-11 there were NO cases of BSE in our national herd. That's quite an achievement.

BUT!

If you were unlucky enough to be infected with vCJD, the duration of the incubation period before the appearance of clinical symptoms would be strongly linked to your genotype: specifically, a methionine/valine polymorphism at codon 129 of the gene coding for the human prion protein.

Human clinical vCJD disease seemed to peak in 2000*, but ALL of these cases were known MM homozygotes. The predction of a 'second vast epidemic' you allude to was because of the potential vulnerability of MV or VV homozygous humans, who were thought to be (and may still be) at risk of developing vCJD.

As usual with these things, the truth is much stranger than fiction.

I'll get my coat.

--

*Data from http://www.cjd.ed.ac.uk/documents/figs.pdf

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mantavani
Unhappy

Re: No prions

That would be precisely what I meant by 'no public health oversight'. Trading meat like any other commodity through an insanely long supply chain across national borders positively invites criminal intervention. Problem is, it's /not/ like any other commodity...

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mantavani
Pirate

No prions

To all those 'oh noes! Teh mad cows' commenters - there'll be little additional risk from rogue prion diseases (BSE/Scrapie => vCJD) - the relevant tissue is considered specified risk material (SRM) and has to be destroyed by incineration, the legislation covering all this is quite tough (and a good reason to be up in arms about the horse meat scandal even if you don't mind noshing on a bit of pony - where and how those animals were raised, slaughtered and butchered is anyone's guess, you have no idea what welfare issues, diseases and drug residues were present with no public health oversight).

I agree we should practice old fashioned 'nose to tail eating'; no expensively produced protein should be lost form a carcass, but it should not be dressed up as something it's not ('chicken' nuggets etc.).

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Star Trek phaser sells for a STUNNING $231,000

mantavani

@khaptain - sounds a bit like Trident!

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NASA to place twin probes in Moon orbit as you snog beneath mistletoe

mantavani
Joke

Grail?

A more seasonal name would have been the High Orbit Lunar Insertion Gravity Recovery and Interior Lab. Not forgetting the science Package, the QUantum Entanglement Search Technology... yes, the QUEST for the HOLI GRAIL...

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BBC One and bureaucracy spared in Auntie cuts

mantavani
Headmaster

@Anton - also for missing out the three years 2006-9. Pointless graph.

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Sheep as smart as humans: Official

mantavani
Boffin

Title

@RobE who says that's not possible already, not to say has been for centuires? Not in the Doolittle sense. Language is a different thing from communication.

For any human to work effectively with an animal (working dogs, horses etc) the two have got to be able to communicate pretty effectively. Sure, it's possible to - say - beat a horse into submission; but the truly good riders can tell you exactly what their horses are thinking, and work with them in partnership rather than dominance. Man has been doing this kind of thing since the first days of domestication.

And it's not just one way; dogs are remarkably - perhaps uniquely - adept at reading emotion in human faces. Remember how much of our communication is non-verbal. Google 'left-gaze bias in dogs' for more.

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Kindle lets users lend e-books to mates via email

mantavani
Badgers

Really?

A prehistoric trade association getting into a hissy fit because the Internet threatens its outdated sales model? How unusual.

Yet another industry body that'll need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th century, let alone this one.

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Windows hits 25

mantavani
FAIL

What about Windows 2000?

W2K - the unloved and forgotten brother in the Windows world... but still an important step towards XP, tying 9x and NT together.

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Blighty suffers 'real shortage of serviceable conkers'

mantavani
FAIL

Forcing kids to wear goggles?

You couldn't make it up.

Oh wait, actually, yes you could:

http://www.fivechinesecrackers.com/2009/12/how-mail-reacts-when-one-of-its-myths.html

Tabloid fail.

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Survey outs Britain as nation of tech twits

mantavani
FAIL

Oh come on...

It's a bloody PR agency puff piece. I know it's just a bit of fun but I used to expect more of El Reg...

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