Science Sunday

VX Explained

Following the assassination of Kim Jung-Nam, half brother to North Korea’s current dictator Kim Jung-Un, last month at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur airport, I thought it might be worthwhile to explore what VX nerve gas, Mr. Kim’s supposed killing agent, actually is.

Our friends at the University of Nottingham, and regular contributors to the Periodic Table of Videos, offer this information, and with our hearty thanks.

Gene Silencing

Using a technique called RNA interference, researchers at Imperial College have developed a new and apparently very potent LDL cholesterol reducing drug called Inclisiran, which “switches off” a gene responsible for overproduction of the low density lipoprotein cholesterol long associated with cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes, the BBC and others report.

Used in conjunction with (or separately from) currently available statin drugs, Inclisiran, injected once or twice a year, reduces LDL by up to 50%.

The drug is not yet to market, as more and larger scale testing is required to determine safe and effective dosage levels.

Stupid Aliens

Not the kind that Donald Trump has gone after, but the kind from outer space that countless movies tells us are coming for us.

In an extended and beautifully presented video, Isaac Arthur discusses whether space aliens would even want to visit us, let alone kill us off, destroy our planet, or share their advanced technologies with us, and whether Hollywood has unfairly portrayed these potential extraterrestrial visitors as grossly stupid.

Riddle Me This

Just for fun, some brain teasers to whittle your weekend away.

 

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Author: Bob Mahoney

Physics teacher

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