MySci Round-Up August 10: Wonder Drug

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On this date in 1897, German chemist Felix Hoffmann (not to be confused with the inventor of LSD, Albert Hofmann) created the first pure form of acetylsalicylic acid, which would become known as 
aspirin. Hoffmann envisioned it as a remedy for his father’s arthritis, but the new drug soon became a best-selling treatment around the world for a variety of ills, including Spanish influenza during the epidemic of 1918. (Recent research suggests that aspirin’s side effects, which can include fluid accumulation in the lungs and increased vulnerability to secondary infections, may actually have raised the death toll.) “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning” became a popular mantra for on-call doctors for decades, even after the invention of acetaminophen in 1956 and ibuprofen in 1969. In recent decades, a daily dose of aspirin has become even more popular as a preventative measure against heart attacks and strokes. And with that, here are the science stories of the day.

Was Einstein wrong about space-time? UC Berkeley physicist Petr Horava has proposed that the two are not a single continuum, as Einstein’s Special Relativity theory holds. That would radically change our understanding of black holes and other phenomena.

Does the brain’s wiring resemble the Internet? New research suggests that the human “connectome” has more similarity to the Net than the old pyramid model.

Solar energy may be more cost-efficient than nuke plants. New University of North Carolina study surprisingly says so.

Acidification from climate change threatens ocean life.
 Burning of fossil fuels is turning the seas into a huge carbon sink, and it’s messing them up, bigtime.

Pentagon wants to launch a whole lot of tiny 45 pound satellites. 
They’re cheaper and easier to put into orbit than the big guys.

Home genetic tests are garbage, says government study.
 In trial, four companies’ tests of the same individual produced totally different and incompatible results.