Sunday, May 24, 2015


Genome Thyself

PHM0415PF04BA recent Supreme Court ruling opens the door for more comprehensive and accessible genetic testing – and discovery of previously unknown links to cancer and other diseases.

Tree of Genetic Predispositions
-The graphic above is based on autosomal dna charts like the one presented to ovarian cancer survivor Jan Coggins.
-Coggins has an alteration in the PALB2 gene, which increases her risk for cancer of the ovaries, breast and pancreas.
-Coggins' sisters also both showed alterations in their palb2 genes; as a result, one underwent a prophylactic hysterectomy.
-Genetic tests can indicate genetic predispositions for numerous other cancers and diseases, as imaginatively illustrated above.

Read more: Genome Thyself

Where the Wild Things Are

PHM0315Flash-WildThe fate of stray horses in Heber could depend on just how feral we think they really are.

Everybody’s a wise guy on Twitter. Even the Arizona Department of Transportation. “Reports of burros on SR 74 near I-17,” it posted January 8. “Please slow down in area. However, no sign of this guy”– a picture of cartoon character Shrek.

It was a reference to an incident that made the rounds on the Internet: Days before, an ADOT highway cam caught the burros from an odd angle, making them look vaguely black and beastly in the snow, sparking speculation of a Bigfoot family reunion.

Read more: Where the Wild Things Are

Middle of the Road

PHM0315PF06A new Phoenix ordinance that bans loitering on medians hits panhandlers hard – but is nothing more than a safety measure, according to law enforcement.

A drive down Peoria Avenue west of the I-17 around lunchtime used to be an adventure in traffic – vehicular and otherwise. People clutching cardboard signs asking for money – or maybe just a blessing – peppered the sidewalks while the 9-to-5ers  drove around to pick up their lunches.

Cars still fill the streets today, but after a new city ordinance passed last November, the pedestrian-perilous spaces between them are relatively empty.

Read more: Middle of the Road

Have Darkness, Will Marvel

PHM0315PF04Oracle State Park earns accolades from astronomers and a rare global designation for its dark skies.

The heavenly disk of the Milky Way can be seen clearly in all seasons as it glides above Oracle State Park, 40 miles north of Tucson. In this age of blazing LEDs and fluorescents, it’s a seldom seen sight – so unusual, in fact, that Tuscon-based International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) named the park an International Dark-Sky Park in November 2014, recognizing it as a world-class destination for starry-sky viewing.

Read more: Have Darkness, Will Marvel

Mumps County, USA?

PHM0315 MMPSThe anti-vaccination movement in Arizona continues to spread like, um, a virus. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, the percentage of coverage for measles, mumps and rubella for kindergarten students dipped from 95.3 percent to 93.9 percent from 2010-2104.

Read more: Mumps County, USA?

Brews or Booze?

0215PF05Arizona Beer Week & Arizona Cocktail Week once again ask imbibers to choose – and their organizers are OK with that.

Barb Harris was among the first to buy VIP tickets for this year’s Arizona Strong Beer Festival. Every February, she and her husband, Scott, meet a group of “beer buddies” at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix for the kickoff event of Arizona Beer Week.

Read more: Brews or Booze?

Celestial Seasoning

PHM 500x500 FPOFountain Hills’ annual International UFO Congress has become the Barrett-Jackson of the flying saucer set. Are you ready to believe?

If the words “UFO convention” immediately bring to mind a dank ballroom full of off-the-fringe oddballs arguing Area 51 conspiracy theories, top extraterrestrial abductions and best shaman stone frequencies, hold on to your tin hat.

Read more: Celestial Seasoning