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Polar Bears Are Left Handed, And Other Articles That Caught My Eye

Polar Bears are Left Handed

June 14, 2013 — Absolutely no surprise that the online world is overflowing with interesting content. Here are just a few of the articles that recently hit my inbox. I plan to make this a regular feature, so check the “Ripped From the Headlines” tab every now and again for information I enjoyed and thought worth sharing.


Memes With Meaning: Why We Create and Share Cat Videos and Why It Matters to People and Brands” by Abagail Posner, from Fast Company.

The title is quite a mouthful, and the article is long, but I found it eye opening, funny and insightful. If you  love pop psychology, if you market brands, if you want to learn why we find the familiar so fascinating, you’ll want to read this. For example, she writes:

The visual web is full of amazing and beautiful things. So why did a picture of my breakfast I posted this morning get 37 ‘likes’?

She goes on to explain why, as well as how to put that knowledge to use promoting your brand. I highly recommend it.

The Internet of Everything

Welcome to the Programmable World,” by Bill Wasik, Senior Editor at, is another long, but interesting article; this one forwarded to me by digital marketing guru and friend, Christina “CK” Kerley.

In it, Waskik explains how, soon, thousands of inanimate objects will be wired up, connected, and talking to each other to improve our lives. He writes:

…Half a decade after the smartphone revolution put a series of pocket-size devices on that network—we are seeing the dawn of an era when the most mundane items in our lives can talk wirelessly among themselves, performing tasks on command, giving us data we’ve never had before.

Already there are devices that talk to each other… and the race is on by major corporations to provide “ubiquitous connectivity” and billions of dollars are at stake. The Internet of Things (IoT) is amazing. It’s scary. And it’s around the corner.

Leadership & Productivity

Seven Habits of Highly Sustainable Leaders” by Christina Haxton of Managing Americans blog. She reminds us that time is limited – you can work harder, but you can’t create more hours in the day. She provides 7 tips on how leaders can avoid burnout and remain ready to think, prioritize and make decisions.

Weird Science

Each day, Aspen Brook Consulting publishes a free newsletter providing a quick roundup of industry news in the biotech sector. My favorite part, however, is the completely unrelated bit of trivia included at the end of each newsletter. Fun fact from a recent newsletter: “Polar Bears are left handed.” Who knew? If you’re a bioprocessing professional and would like to sign up, send an email to publisher, Paul Cook.

And lastly… implants. Okay, so by now, we all know about organ transplants for hearts, lungs and kidneys. But have you heard of these unusual implants?

  • Bioengineered Vein – “In a first-of-its-kind operation in the United States, a team of doctors at Duke University Hospital helped create a bioengineered blood vessel and transplanted it into the arm of a patient.” (Bioscience, June 7, 2013.) Pretty cool.
  • Fecal Transplants – The headline read: “FDA Set to Regulate Fecal Transplants.” What?!  Joesph Pickett’s posting in the myBIO Community on LinkedIn got my attention. I did some further digging, and sure enough, fecal transplants have been around for a few years, and are considered to be a legitimate medical treatment for patients with life-threatening infections like C. difficile. If you’re so inclined, check out this May 11, 2013 NBC News report by JoNel Aleccia for more on this novel medical procedure. Pretty strange. But, hey, it saves lives.

Photo credit: Swimming Polar Bear – Wikipedia.


2 comments on “Polar Bears Are Left Handed, And Other Articles That Caught My Eye

  1. Suzy Kedzierski
    July 14, 2015

    Update – July 14, 2015 – It’s been two years since I first reported on fecal transplants and today I read some interesting news. Seres Therapeutics has just gone public with their first stock offering. The company focuses on drug discovery using bacteria from the human gut. Though they apparently don’t yet have a pill on the market, investors are betting their technology is a winner. The initial stock offering at $18 shot up to over $50 in just a few days. Stock symbol MCRB.

  2. Suzy Kedzierski
    October 3, 2013

    Oct. 3, 2014 — Quick update to the Weird Science blurb on fecal implants. Good news! I just read that a Calgary researcher has figured out how to create stool pills to combat Clostridium difficile, replacing the need for actual stool implants. None of the 27 patients in the study have had a recurrence of the disease since getting the pill treatment.

    While it sounds gross, it’s quite serious stuff. About a half a million Americans contract the C-diff. each year, and it’s fatal in about 14,000 cases. So, while it’s a long way off before this treatment may be approved, according to the article, there is hope that this novel treatment may also help other types of patients with “out-of-whack gut bacteria, such as hospitalized patients vulnerable to antibiotic-resistant germs.”

    For details, see Bioscience Technology daily newsletter,

    On a somewhat related note, there’s another interesting story just out that Caltech researchers have found a tie-in between multiple sclerosis (MS) and gut bacteria. Who would have thought there’s a connection between diseases of the central nervous system and intestinal bacteria? While the researchers are not saying that intestinal bacteria causes MS, they were able to induce and then correct MS-like symptoms by first exposing lab mice to the bacteria and then re-introducing them to a sterile environment. For more about that see

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