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viernes, 8 de junio de 2012

Los astrocitos: proporcionan algo más que soporte a las neuronas

Astrocytes may have an important role in regulating breathing.

by Miriam Frankel

En el cerebro y la médula espinal se encuentran neuronas y células de soporte. Hasta ahora la función de éstas últimas parecía restringida a proporcionar soporte mecánico a las verdaderas protagonistas, las neuronas. Se ha probado que los astrocitos, células con prolongaciones que les da aspecto "estrellado",
pueden intervenir ni más ni menos que en la función respiratoria. El artículo se puede consultar en "Nature".

Astrocytes, which were long thought to simply shore up other brain cells, also help to regulate breathing.
A type of brain cell thought to be responsible for supporting other cells may have a previously unsuspected role in controlling breathing.
Star-shaped cells called astrocytes, found in the brain and spinal cord, can 'sense' changes in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood and stimulate neurons to regulate respiration, according to a study published online in Science. The research may shed some light on the role of astrocytes in certain respiratory illnesses, such as cot death, which are not well understood.
Astrocytes are a type of glial cell — the most common type of brain cell, and far more abundant than neurons. "Historically, glial cells were only thought to 'glue' the brain together, providing neuronal structure and nutritional support but not more," explains physiologist Alexander Gourine of University College London, one of the authors of the study. "This old dogma is now changing dramatically; a few recent studies have shown that astrocytes can actually help neurons to process information."
"The most important aspect of this study is that it will significantly change ideas about how breathing is controlled," says David Attwell, a neuroscientist at University College London, who was not involved in the study.

miércoles, 6 de junio de 2012

Un casco minero para Rajoy

El hombre que se aproximó al presidente Mariano Rajoy no llegó a transmitirle todo el contenido de su mensaje. Ni tampoco pudo entregarle el casco de minero que portaba en una bolsa.

-“¿Quién eres y de dónde?”, alcanzó a preguntarle Rajoy. “Me llamo Ibán García del Blanco, senador del PSOE de Castilla y León”, le respondió y a continuación intentó relatarle  el conflicto que viven las cuencas mineras por el recorte que han sufrido todas las partidas para el sector de la minería.

Existe una notable inquietud en Castilla y León y Asturias, entre otras cosas, por los recortes que se han hecho en todas las partidas. No hay futuro para la minería. Y tampoco existen otras salidas.

En ese momento las palabras de García del Blanco quedaron en el aire. Varios policías de paisano, miembros de la escolta del presidente, se llevaron a rastras al senador castellano-leonés.

El senador, una vez apartado del lado del presidente, recordó con gran compostura a los guardias que estaba dentro del hemiciclo por su condición de senador. Pero ni así  le soltaron el brazo hasta que estuvo suficientemente apartado del presidente. Como si de un vulgar agitador se tratara.

Tal vez lo confundieron con un "perro y flauta", pese a que su aspecto era especialmente cuidado.

La verdad que España parece definitivamente ser muy diferente. Va alegremente de una vergüenza a otra sin escalas. ¿Tendremos que acostumbrarnos al mangoneo por parte de las fuerzas públicas? ¿A las alegres bofetadas gratuitas a manifestantes pacíficos (no me refiero a rufianes)?.

¿No se deteriora así el Estado de Derecho?. ¿Tendremos que soportar las corruptelas con la boca cerrada y encima aplaudiendo a sus perpetradores?

Da la impresión que vivimos en un tórrido "reality show". La fauna es locuaz, variada y divertida. Aquí todo el mundo y su hermano se ha forrado. Pero ahora a nadie se le exigen responsabilidades. Los banqueros, torpes y confusos gestores, cuando hunden una entidad financiera se van directo al dolce far niente con asignaciones multimillonarias. El letrado del Poder Judicial le carga sus caprichitos al Estado. El señor del supremo pelotazo se monta sus chiringuitos benéfico-deportivos, unas ONG´s directas a su noble bolsillo.

SOS Espagne. La peste el último. Menos mal que existe "La Roja".

lunes, 4 de junio de 2012

El engañoso lenguaje político

The Politics of  Language and the Language of Political Regression

By Prof. James Petras

URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31018

Capitalism and its defenders maintain dominance through the ‘material resources’ at their command, especially the state apparatus, and their productive, financial and commercial enterprises, as well as through the manipulation of popular consciousness via ideologues, journalists, academics and publicists who fabricate the arguments and the language to frame the issues of the day.

Today material conditions for the vast majority of working people have sharply deteriorated as the capitalist class shifts the entire burden of the crisis and the recovery of their profits onto the backs of wage and salaried classes. One of the striking aspects of this sustained and on-going roll-back of living standards is the absence of a major social upheaval so far. Greece and Spain, with over 50% unemployment among its 16-24 year olds and nearly 25% general unemployment, have experienced a dozen general strikes and numerous multi-million person national protests; but these have failed to produce any real change in regime or policies. The mass firings and painful salary, wage, pension and social services cuts continue. In other countries, like Italy, France and England, protests and discontent find expression in the electoral arena, with incumbents voted out and replaced by the traditional opposition. Yet throughout the social turmoil and profound socio-economic erosion of living and working conditions, the dominant ideology informing the movements, trade unions and political opposition is reformist: Issuing calls to defend existing social benefits, increase public spending and investments and expand the role of the state where private sector activity has failed to invest or employ. In other words, the left proposes to conserve a past when capitalism was harnessed to the welfare state.
The problem is that this ‘capitalism of the past’ is gone and a new more virulent and intransigent capitalism has emerged forging a new worldwide framework and a powerful entrenched state apparatus immune to all calls for ‘reform’ and reorientation. The confusion, frustration and misdirection of mass popular opposition is, in part, due to the adoption by leftist writers, journalists and academics of the concepts and language espoused by its capitalist adversaries: language designed to obfuscate the true social relations of brutal exploitation, the central role of the ruling classes in reversing social gains and the profound links between the capitalist class and the state. Capitalist publicists, academics and journalists have elaborated a whole litany of concepts and terms which perpetuate capitalist rule and distract its critics and victims from the perpetrators of their steep slide toward mass impoverishment.
Even as they formulate their critiques and denunciations, the critics of capitalism use the language and concepts of its apologists. Insofar as the language of capitalism has entered the general parlance of the left, the capitalist class has established hegemony or dominance over its erstwhile adversaries. Worse, the left, by combining some of the basic concepts of capitalism with sharp criticism, creates illusions about the possibility of reforming ‘the market’ to serve popular ends. This fails to identify the principle social forces that must be ousted from the commanding heights of the economy and the imperative to dismantle the class-dominated state. While the left denounces the capitalist crisis and state bailouts, its own poverty of thought undermines the development of mass political action. In this context the ‘language’ of obfuscation becomes a ‘material force’ – a vehicle of capitalist power, whose primary use is to disorient and disarm its anti-capitalist and working class adversaries. It does so by co-opting its intellectual critics through the use of terms, conceptual framework and language which dominate the discussion of the capitalist crisis.

Key Euphemisms at the Service of the Capitalist Offensive
Euphemisms have a double meaning: What terms connote and what they really mean. Euphemistic conceptions under capitalism connote a favorable reality or acceptable behavior and activity totally dissociated from the aggrandizement of elite wealth and concentration of power and privilege. Euphemisms disguise the drive of power elites to impose class-specific measures and to repress without being properly identified, held responsible and opposed by mass popular action.
The most common euphemism is the term ‘market’, which is endowed with human characteristics and powers. As such, we are told ‘the market demands wage cuts’ disassociated from the capitalist class. Markets, the exchange of commodities or the buying and selling of goods, have existed for thousands of years in different social systems in highly differentiated contexts. These have been global, national, regional and local. They involve different socio-economic actors, and comprise very different economic units, which range from giant state-promoted trading-houses to semi-subsistence peasant villages and town squares. ‘Markets’ existed in all complex societies: slave, feudal, mercantile and early and late competitive, monopoly industrial and finance capitalist societies.
When discussing and analyzing ‘markets’ and to make sense of the transactions (who benefits and who loses), one must clearly identify the principle social classes dominating economic transactions. To write in general about ‘markets’ is deceptive because markets do not exist independent of the social relations defining what is produced and sold, how it is produced and what class configurations shape the behavior of producers, sellers and labor. Today’s market reality is defined by giant multi-national banks and corporations, which dominate the labor and commodity markets. To write of ‘markets’ as if they operated in a sphere above and beyond brutal class inequalities is to hide the essence of contemporary class relations.
Fundamental to any understanding, but left out of contemporary discussion, is the unchallenged power of the capitalist owners of the means of production and distribution, the capitalist ownership of advertising, the capitalist bankers who provide or deny credit and the capitalist-appointed state officials who ‘regulate’ or deregulate exchange relations. The outcomes of their policies are attributed to euphemistic ‘market’ demands which seem to be divorced from the brutal reality.