Posts Tagged ‘germany’

Opossum Oscars

I loved Paul the Octopus and followed his predictions closely during the 2010 World Cup. The startling accuracy of his prophecies inspired the pride of his countrymen at times and the ire of his hungrier compatriots at others. Of course, I was deeply saddened when he passed away last October.

Since that time Paul has been immortalized by his fans and made the subject of much discussion. I, for one, like to think he lives on in spirit. And perhaps a bit of Paul’s prophetic perspicacity continues in Germany’s newest oracle, Heidi the Cross-Eyed Possum.

Heidi has garnered a lot of attention in the wake of Paul’s passing and recently she’s made some waves with her Oscar predictions. Pawing her picks for the year’s biggest entertainment awards, Heidi has given her nod to several nominees, including Natalie Portman for Best Actress and Colin Firth for Best Actor.

Hope you still have time to get in your office Oscar pool.

Kickin’ The Bug

As Goodosphere’s de facto Science editor, I’d like to share a story with you.

Several years ago a man, an American living in Germany, contracted HIV. Obviously, even with the advances in treatment the disease is extremely serious. To complicate things further, the man had also been living with Leukemia for many years. And so the man, in his early forties, faced rather grim prospects.

In time, doctors at Berlin’s Charite Clinic treated the man’s leukemia with a bone marrow transplant. It was then that something amazing happened. The marrow (and the stem cells it contains) were very unique in that their donor had a “genetic profile which led to the CCR5 co-receptors being absent” from their cells. The CCR5 co-receptor is like a ‘docking station’ for the HIV virus so its absence essentially creates an immunity to the virus. In other words, the donor was like 1 in every 1,000 Europeans and Americans: naturally resistant to HIV.

More than two years later, the man who had been infected with HIV shows no signs of the virus. Tests on his bone marrow, blood and tissues have all been negative. The case is exceptional and rare, but it offers a new potential approach to combating HIV and AIDS and may spur increased genetic interest and research.

Each time science (or medicine) inches closer to tackling a seemingly insurmountable obstacle I’m reminded of how potent human enguinity is. Here’s to the researchers, the scientists, the doctors and technicians who spend their careers trying to battle disease. One day they’ll beat HIV and I hope that by the time that day comes, all nations have agreed that everyone’s life is equally valuable.

Read more at BBC.

Magic 8-Leg: Paul the Clairvoyant Octopus

In keeping with our animals theme this week, I humbly present Paul the Clairvoyant Octopus.

Paul, an octopus in Germany, has correctly predicted the winner of the last 4 World Cup matches involving Germany’s team. Paul’s 4-0 record, which included his prediction that Serbia would upset Germany in their match on June 18th, has garnered international attention.

Now, Paul has picked Germany to beat Argentina. Fans will watch with bated breath to see if the cephalopod has again divined the outcome of an expectedly tight match.

Read more at Der Spiegel.