In addition to doing massive readings in immunology, CNS/PNS anatomy, and thesis prep, I have been trying to keep abreast of current events via the New York Times. There have been some pretty keen articles lately, including a report on hospitals during Katrina that raises some consuming questions about morality, a special on nanofibers in computer chip design, and this really nifty practical article from TiernyLab on how to survive a rip current. Apparently the researcher has completely upended the definition of a rip current with his studies; rather than a straight, fast undercurrent away from shore, rip currents are circular (he likens them to whirlpools). This suggests (and his findings corroborate it) that the old method of swimming parallel to shore until you exit the rip current gives you an even chance of swimming into a stronger part of the current than the one you start out in. However, if  you just tread water, he found that both he and his buoys had a 90% chance of being carried back to shore. Nifty, huh? That may very well save a few of our lives down the line, but I still have to take issue with his research approach. The buoys were a good idea, but testing this on himself has got to be at least somewhat ethically unsound. Or perhaps that only applies in a tetchy field like mine. At any rate, I’m excited about what this implies about the shape, movement, and propagation of waves.

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