The Biology of Depression: Genetics, Neurochemistry and Psychology

There are a lot of terrible diseases out there. Elephant man disease, prion disease, dying of old age at 11 disease. But if you want the creme-de-la-creme of human misery, you can’t do better than depression. It’s hands-down the worst disease you can get. And depression is depressingly common. As much as 15% of people will experience major depression in their lives, no matter where they live in the world. It’s the #4 cause of disability, predicted to jump to #2 by 2025, after obesity and diabetes-related disorders. Many people don’t understand depression as an illness – which is why it’s common to go undiagnosed for months or years – let alone the biological connection.

read more

The Life of Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov was one of the greatest science fiction writers in history, as well as a professor of biochemistry and a prolific author of non-fiction. His best loved works include the Foundation series set in the distant future where humans have colonised the galaxy, and a book of interlinked short stories called I, Robot which he developed into an extensive series of humanity and morality tales during the dawn of the robotic era.

read more

Are We More Than Biological Machines?

Are humans more than biological machines? From an empirical view, we breathe, digest, grow, and die on autopilot. We are biologically programmed by our DNA, and psychologically programmed by our experiences, all of which is beyond our control. But it feels like there’s something a bit special about being human, right? Some conscious spark that makes us more than just fleshy automatons?

read more

Helium Could Save Our Planet

Helium could become the clean energy source of the 21st century. Colossal reserves of the gas are waiting to be mined from the moon’s surface, and returned to Earth as a fuel for 100% green, radioactive-free nuclear power. So what are the hurdles to this endeavour? And why isn’t mainstream media screaming about this revolutionary answer to the world’s energy and climate crisis?

read more

We’re Going Multiplanetary

Theoretical physicist and one-man-phenomenon Stephen Hawking contributed a wealth of knowledge to mankind during his lifetime. One of his recommendations was that humans would need to colonise other planets in the next hundred years to avoid annihilation. His fears took the form of deadly viruses, nuclear war, asteroid impacts, and global warming. In order to avoid another Dark Age – or altogether extinction of the human species – we need to become a multi-planetary civilisation.

read more

The Philosophy of Happiness

Our modern culture is really bad at portraying a realistic philosophy of happiness. The picture it paints is founded on consumer-driven advertising and fictional movie portrayals of life. It tells us that happiness is hedonistic: becoming a multi-millionaire mega-consumer, having a private jet, living on a tropical beach with a cocktail in hand, and having zero life stress to upset the apple cart. What utter crap.

read more

The Origins of Language

For an awfully long time, hominids lived in hunter-gatherer societies. This highly social way of living is thought to have evolved the origins of language, culminating in our species, Homo sapiens, coming to dominate all others. Was it our language that set us apart? How can we find out?

read more

What Happened to Gene Therapy?

When we think of scientific advancement, Hollywood has taught us to envisage the obsessed scientist working alone in the lab late at night, hunched over a microscope or painstakingly pipetting chemicals into test tubes. Suddenly, one of the tubes turns green and starts fizzing and he’s got his breakthrough formula made. Scientists lovingly call this the Breakthrough Myth.

read more

How Does DNA Work?

How does DNA work – and what exactly does it do? DNA is a chemical molecule that forms the basis of all life on Earth. It stands for deoxyribonucleic acid – because it’s comprised of the building blocks: nucleic acids, ribose sugars, and phosphate groups. On the surface it’s a simple yet beautiful molecule and yet it creates the complexity of all living things: plants, bacteria, fungi and animals. The process of evolution has created some mind-boggling systems to record this biological data, replicate it in all living cells, and execute that code in order to create and maintain life. Today I want to give you a glimpse of the amazing facility of DNA. How DNA works, what it looks like, and how it replicates.

read more

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This