Commons is defined as any natural or cultural resources that can be accessed by any member of a society. This includes the air we breathe, oceans and rivers, grazing lands, fish stock, forests and even an office computer. ‘Tragedy of the Commons’, a concept which emerged in 1833 and was later revived in 1968 by Garett Hardin in an article of the same name, explores the struggle for such commons. The tragedy occurs when individuals in a society, guided by their own self-interest, would act against the common good and deplete the common shared resource.
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Plant based derivatives that cure cancer are a plenty with scientists discover more of them with time. One on the list from a long time is Resveratrol, a compound found in grapes, peanuts and berries. But how does this compound fight with cancerous cells? A new study has now thrown some light on the exact mechanism of how derivatives from resveratrol acts on cancerous cells and kills them, in the process, letting the other healthier cells remain unharmed. This discover, the researchers claim, can help scientists in developing more efficient drugs that can fight cancer, a deadly disease.
Cancer remains one of the most terrifying disease to face, despite decades of research and billions of dollars spent. They are a group of diseases that begins with abnormal cell growth, which then spreads to other parts of the body, causing huge damage to the tissues and cells. Once a patient has been diagnosed with cancer, doctors can only try and remove the spreading tumors or control their growth. Even if the tumors have been successfully removed, they are likely to return, making a visit to the doctors a regular affair.
Mosquito borne diseases like malaria and dengue are still rampant and have posed a great challenge to mankind. We have lost several lives in our war against mosquitoes, and scramble new ways to fight them. Now, researchers are working to genetically engineer the genes of mosquitoes using the technique of RNA interference, where an RNA is artificially inserted to disturb the normal functions of mosquito cells, thereby killing them in the process. This process, they claim, is environmentally friendly and most effective compared to existing strategies.
The process of voting is the cornerstone of any democratic process. Be it selecting the leader of a nation or just deciding the laws that govern a nation, a democratic process allows the different participants and stakeholders of the election to have a uniform chance of having their choice win. The process of voting, sometime called the electoral system, can itself be carried out in many ways, sometimes depending on the outcome. A Plurality voting system selects the candidate with the highest number of votes as the winner.
Indigenous people throughout the world from the Amazon to the Andamans are caught in a tricky devastating situation. On the one side, their habitats are being continuously destroyed and the resources that they once depended upon -- like water and forests are being snatched away from them. On the other side there is a pressure of ‘modernization’ pushing them to everlasting poverty. Without a sustainable solution to these challenges that they face, they always remain left out from the mainstream unable to fend for themselves. On this International Day of World’s Indigenous People, let us take a look at the Todas of Nilgiri and understand what it is like to be a tribesman in the 21st century.
Cells are the building blocks of life and have witnessed many exciting phases of evolution. Over this period, since the beginning of life several million years ago, the functionalities of the cell and its organelles have become sophisticated. Cells have also evolved smarter ways to address common challenges and one of them is the acidification of the enzymes found inside cells. While this acidic environment serves many well known functions, a new study shares an interesting hypothesis on the reason behind the acidic pH -- detecting leaks in the cell. Since synthesis of enzymes is an expensive process, the study argues that cells use the acidic medium to detect possible leaks, thus saving energy in the process.
The fossil fuel crisis arising due to our increased use of oil leading to diminishing oil reserves, is giving rise to an increase in renewable energy generation. While solar and wind are preferred to produce electricity, biodiesel is preferred as a replacement to petrol and diesel. Biodiesels are produced from plant or animal matter, like vegetable oil, animal fat or even waste cooking oil. Although biodiesels still produce exhaust gases, they are much cleaner and safer compared to the toxic fumes coming out of fossil fuel powered engines.
The field of material science has immensely contributed to our progress and has arguably been a very important driving force behind all the scientific achievement that mankind boasts of today. With the discovery of conductors, superconductors, insulators and semiconductors, there has been a revolution in the field of electric engineering, computer science, electronics, aerospace and others. Now, a new class of materials to this list is topological conductors, which promises to conquer great frontiers in the field of quantum computers and others. A new research has now shown that amorphous materials like glass can also become topological conductors, thus finding a myriad of applications in different fields.
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The virus spreads through blood-to-blood contact, and is usually associated with the use of intravenous drug use, blood donations and other unhygienic use of medical equipment leading to exchange of blood. Once infected, a patient can go years without facing severe symptoms, like liver failure and cirrhosis, only to feel it’s accumulated effects after a long period.