Symphony of Science: "The Case for Mars"

John Boswell has done it again -- he's created another Symphony of Science music video, this time called "The Case for Mars." The video lays out the reasons why scientists think we should go to Mars, but it's made poetic by Boswell's auto-tuned symphonic electronica. Enjoy.

Featuring: Robert Zubrin, Carl Sagan, Brian Cox (looking dashing as always), and Penelope Boston.

Lyrics after the jump.

[Robert Zubrin]
Mars is the next logical step
In our space program
It's the challenge that's been staring us in the face
For the past 30 years

It has water, it has carbon,
It has a 24 hour day
It has geothermal energy
Mars is a place we can settle

[Carl Sagan]
There is a giant rift in its surface
5,000 kilometers long
There is a volcano as wide as Arizona

[Zubrin]
So there's the choice in life
One either grows or one decays
Grow or die
I think we should grow

[Sagan]
Mars is a world of wonders

[Brian Cox]
It has canyons, river valleys,
and giant ice sheets

[Sagan]
Mars is a world of wonders

[Zubrin]
It shouldn't be humans to Mars in 50 years
It should be humans to Mars in 10

We either muster the courage to go
Or we risk the possibility of stagnation and decay

We've got cosmic radiation
Zero gravity
Martian dust storms
Back contamination

But these are dragons that we can take on

[Sagan]
In our time we have sifted
The sands of Mars
Established a presence there
And fulfilled a century of dreams

[Cox]
The Mars rovers have really
Captured our imaginations
They genuinely are explorers
In the old-fashioned sense

[Zubrin]
If you put out a call
For volunteers for the first crew to Mars
They'd be lined up coast to coast

(refrain)

[Cox]
Mars is a dry frozen version of our home
Covered in red dust and sand

[Penelope Boston]
At one time
In the ancient past
Mars was very similar
To the conditions of early earth

[Zubrin]
There will always be people with new ideas
On how humans should live together

[Cox]
We now have "eyes" and "ears" on the surface

[Zubrin]
What's left after you go is
The good you've left behind
You have to believe in hope
You have to believe in the future

There are more and more people coming around to the point of view that
A positive future for humanity requires human expansion to space

(refrain)

We're at a crossroads today
We either muster the courage to go
Or we risk the possibility of stagnation and decay

(See previous videos: A Glorious Dawn, Our Place in the Cosmos, We Are All Connected, The Unbroken Thread, and The Poetry of Reality (An Anthem for Science). Check out the Symphony of Science website for more information, free downloads, lyrics, and so on.)

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Feeling Down? Lifting Weights Can Lift Your Mood, Too
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There’s plenty of research that suggests that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression. In some cases of depression, in fact—particularly less-severe ones—scientists have found that exercise can be as effective as antidepressants, which don’t work for everyone and can come with some annoying side effects. Previous studies have largely concentrated on aerobic exercise, like running, but new research shows that weight lifting can be a useful depression treatment, too.

The study in JAMA Psychiatry, led by sports scientists at the University of Limerick in Ireland, examined the results of 33 previous clinical trials that analyzed a total of 1877 participants. It found that resistance training—lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing push ups, and any other exercises targeted at strengthening muscles rather than increasing heart rate—significantly reduced symptoms of depression.

This held true regardless of how healthy people were overall, how much of the exercises they were assigned to do, or how much stronger they got as a result. While the effect wasn’t as strong in blinded trials—where the assessors don’t know who is in the control group and who isn’t, as is the case in higher-quality studies—it was still notable. According to first author Brett Gordon, these trials showed a medium effect, while others showed a large effect, but both were statistically significant.

The studies in the paper all looked at the effects of these training regimes on people with mild to moderate depression, and the results might not translate to people with severe depression. Unfortunately, many of the studies analyzed didn’t include information on whether or not the patients were taking antidepressants, so the researchers weren’t able to determine what role medications might play in this. However, Gordon tells Mental Floss in an email that “the available evidence supports that [resistance training] may be an effective alternative and/or adjuvant therapy for depressive symptoms that could be prescribed on its own and/or in conjunction with other depression treatments,” like therapy or medication.

There haven’t been a lot of studies yet comparing whether aerobic exercise or resistance training might be better at alleviating depressive symptoms, and future research might tackle that question. Even if one does turn out to be better than the other, though, it seems that just getting to the gym can make a big difference.

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Uncombable Hair Syndrome Is a Real—and Very Rare—Genetic Condition
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Everyone has bad hair days from time to time, but for roughly 100 people around the world, unmanageable hair is an actual medical condition.

Uncombable hair syndrome, also known as spun glass hair syndrome, is a rare condition caused by a genetic mutation that affects the formation and shape of hair shafts, BuzzFeed reports. People with the condition tend to have dry, unruly hair that can't be combed flat. It grows slower than normal and is typically silver, blond, or straw-colored. For some people, the symptoms disappear with age.

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Although there have been only about 100 documented cases worldwide, one of the world's leading researchers on the condition, Regina Betz, of Germany's University of Bonn, believes there could be thousands of others who have it but have not been diagnosed. Some have speculated that Einstein had the condition, but without a genetic test, it's impossible to know for sure.

An 18-month-old American girl named Taylor McGowan is one of the few people with this syndrome. Her parents sent blood samples to Betz to see if they were carriers of the gene mutation, and the results came back positive for variations of PADI3, one of three genes responsible for the syndrome. According to IFL Science, the condition is recessive, meaning that it "only presents when individuals receive mutant gene copies from both parents." Hence it's so uncommon.

Taylor's parents have embraced their daughter's unique 'do, creating a Facebook page called Baby Einstein 2.0 to share Taylor's story and educate others about the condition.

"It's what makes her look ever so special, just like Albert Einstein," Taylor's mom, Cara, says in a video uploaded to YouTube by SWNS TV. "We wanted to share her story with the world in hopes of spreading awareness."

[h/t BuzzFeed]

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