Science marches on

Science marches on April 6, 2019

 

Looks like an exoplanet close to Price, Utah
An artist’s conception of the view of one exoplanet from another
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

 

For years, I’ve reflected on scientific evidence that seemed to suggest that moderate consumption of wine is beneficial to human health.  If wine consumption, in moderation, really improves cardiovascular and possibly other health, perhaps the chief function of the Word of Wisdom’s bar to alcohol consumption might be to serve as a token or a marker of commitment to obeying the will of God, even without evidence of temporal benefit.

 

But the scientific landscape appears to have changed somewhat in the past year or so.  Here, for example, is a quite recent article:

 

“Even low alcohol consumption is bad news for strokes – study: Moderate drinking of one or two glasses a day does not protect against stroke, say researchers”

 

And that article follows in the wake of such earlier headlines as these two:

 

“No amount of alcohol is good for your overall health, global study says”

 

“1 in 20 deaths globally is a result of alcohol use”

 

It is clear to me that abstinence from the consumption of alcohol does indeed serve as a token or a marker of commitment to obeying the will of God.  But now there appears to be pretty solid evidence of temporal benefits to be derived from such abstention.  And I’m fine with that.

 

Of course, I’m listening to General Conference this weekend.  No announcement has yet been made, but there have been rumors of a coming change to Word of Wisdom standards.  Maybe, by the time you read this, we’ll have been challenged to consume at least five shots of whisky every morning before breakfast.

 

***

 

“Cats recognize their own names: A study suggests our feline friends can tell the familiar sound of their name from other words”

 

Perhaps.  But is there any evidence at all to suggest that they care?

 

***

 

For some reason, I’m particularly interested in recent discoveries of and about exoplanets.  I always have been.  But when I was growing up, we knew of none beyond our own solar system.  Things have changed dramatically since then.

 

“This planetary remnant somehow survived the death of its sun: A rare rocky relic orbiting a white dwarf may give insight into the future of our solar system”

 

“Super-telescope peers into a new exoplanet’s atmosphere”

 

***

 

The latest installment in my on-going series of “Tales of the Weird”:

 

“Peruvian fossils yield a four-legged otterlike whale with hooves: The find is the oldest whale skeleton in the New World”

 

We enjoy going out whale-watching from time to time.  What a hoot it would be to see one with four hooves that looked like an otter!

 

 

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