Monday, April 24, 2017

arthropods at work

Both insects and spiders tend to have a bad press, so I collected up some examples of how insects make positive contributions to our world, apart from the pollinators which I have covered on numerous othr occasions. And to round it up I've thrown in the recent study estimating how many insects end up being eaten by spiders. The feature is out today:

How insects shape our world

Current Biology Volume 27, Issue 8, pR283–R285, 24 April 2017

Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access one year after publication)

Magic link for free access
(first seven weeks only)

Fairy circles in Namibia have caused lively debates. Recent modelling suggests that both feedback regulation of plant growth and competition between insect states play a role in creating these patterns. I just love this photo from Jen Guyton, check her website for lots more amazing wildlife photography.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

crispr sensing

The revolutionary gene-editing technique known as Crispr-Cas has been embroiled in a patent dispute between two leading US research institutions. In one corner, the University of California at Berkeley, where Jennifer Doudna discovered it in collaboration with Emanuelle Charpentier, and in the other, MIT’s Broad Institute, where Feng Zhang’s group first demonstrated its use in living cells.

Now the two institutions are competing against each other again, as both recently demonstrated the usefulness of a different Crispr system for the detection of pathogens. Doudna’s and Zhang’s groups had shown in 2016 that a Crispr-type enzyme called C2c2, now renamed Cas13, targets single stranded RNA, unlike the ones used in gene editing, such as Cas9, which edit double-stranded DNA. Moreover, it doesn’t stop cutting once it has destroyed its target. It goes on to cleave thousands of other RNA molecules that happen to be nearby. This collateral damage provides a useful amplification step enabling the sensitive detection of the original target RNA, whose recognition can be programmed just as in the gene-editing method.

Aiming to turn this into a clinically usable sensor, Zhang teamed up with Jim Collins, also at MIT, who was involved in the race to develop practical methods for rapid detection of the Zika virus.

Read all about it in my latest news story in Chemistry World which is out now (free access if you haven't read any other CW stories this week, they have a free quota):

Crispr enables rapid disease detection

Monday, April 17, 2017

disorder turns 20

Open archives

Today I’ll exceptionally present a feature from the archives that was published in Chemistry World, not in Current Biology.

The occasion is that today is the 20th anniversary of one of my favourite and most impactful papers from my research career, even though it did not result from actual research I did.

What happened back in 1997 was that my friend and colleague Kevin Plaxco happened to know about a paper from molecular biologists coming out on a weird mechanism controlling the growth of the tail (flagella) that certain bacteria use to swim. The tail is a hollow tube, and while it is being built, a certain signalling protein escapes through the tunnel and is lost to the cell. When the tube is finished and closed, the protein accumulates in the cell and thereby signals that no more bricks are needed to extend the tunnel.

What Kevin noticed was an aspect that left the molecular biologist authors of the original paper gloriously uninterested – namely the fact that to carry out its biological signalling function this protein needed to be an unfolded, 1D thread, as opposed to a complex 3D structure as all functioning proteins were supposed to be according to the prevailing dogma that sequence determines structure determines function.

So Kevin told me about this and suggested to write a News & Views piece for Nature, which we did, and which came out 20 years ago today. At the time there were only two or three other examples of “intrinsically disordered” proteins that are functional while unstructured. Mostly the evidence relied on NMR spectroscopy, which invites the objection that maybe the researchers didn’t get the conditions quite right and maybe the protein would be more orderly if they did x instead of y.

The beauty of the system we discussed was that the biological function of the protein made it absolutely necessary to unfold, as it wouldn’t fit through the tube in its folded state.

Anyhow, this turned out to be the beginning of a whole new research field which grew quite impressively over the next years, so in 2010 I had the pleasure of attending a research conference at Barcelona that was all about intrinsically disordered proteins.

And summarising what I learned at this conference, I wrote a feature about the topic which appeared in 2011, and which is freely accessible:

Anarchy in the proteome
Chemistry World, August 2011, pp 42-45
FREE access to PDF file

screenshot of our 1997 News & Views (PDF - if you hit the paywall, try this)

Friday, April 14, 2017

dulci tunes

our home-built hammered dulcimer is a year old now, and while I'm still struggling with the hand alternations, the young musician has performed some lovely music on it, so here are a couple of videos to prove it:

Blossom by Bob Pasquarello & New Year's Waltz by John Dipper

Duo: The sliding dulcimer (by Ed Pritchard, who also plays the other dulcimer and recorded the video)

... and a photo of dulci in action at the French session, James Street Tavern:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

smelly socks

here comes the round-up of German pieces published in March and April, including serious science on zinc fingers and f group chemistry, and slightly less serious stuff on champagne and smelly socks.

f-Gruppen-Chemie: Opposition erwünscht
Chemie in unserer Zeit 51, 138-139
restricted access

Netzwerk Leben: Zinkfinger gegen Fremd-DNA
Chemie in unserer Zeit 51, 82
restricted access

Ausgeforscht: Große Blasen, kleine Blasen

Nachrichten aus der Chemie vol 65, p411
restricted access

Ausgeforscht: Socken mit Katalysator
Nachrichten aus der Chemie vol 65, 511
restricted access

Monday, April 10, 2017

secret life of trees

Open Archive Day

A year ago, I wrote a feature on communication and (almost) cognitive abilities of plants, citing the extremely successful popular science book by German forest ranger Peter Wohlleben Das geheime Leben der Bäume (The Secret Life of Trees) as evidence for the observation that this topic appears to resonate with the zeitgeist.

Since then, his book has been published in English (The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate-Discoveries from a Secret World; Greystone Books,Canada; Sept. 2016) and French (La Vie secrète des arbres; Les Arènes; March 2017) translations, I've seen the main evening news on France 2 running a major report based on the book and conjuring up holographic trees in the studio, and the original is still in the bestsellers list in Germany, so I'm guessing it still resonates.

As the feature is now in the open archives, here's a chance to read it for free:

Could plants have cognitive abilities?

The French edition of Wohlleben's book, published March 2017.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

highly charged

I have half a cover story in the new issue of Chemistry & Industry - as the cover is about future means to power transport, including biofuel and batteries. My feature is the one about batteries:

Highly charged
Chemistry & Industry vol 81, issue 2, pp 22-25

Open access to full text (HTML) via SCI website

Restricted access to PDF files via Wiley Online Library

Chemistry & Industry issue 2 / 2017

Monday, April 03, 2017

eastern evolution

Homo sapiens came out of Africa and conquered the world, more or less in one sweep, or so we used to think. Exciting new finds from China, however, suggest that a significant movement to the East - convenient inasmuch as it allowed people to stay broadly in the same climate and vegetation zone - happened much earlier than previously thought, and much earlier than the expansion into Europe.

I've discussed the latest discoveries from China, also including two archaic human skulls that have been speculatively linked to the Denisovans so far only known by their DNA, in my feature which is out now:

A new continent for human evolution
Current Biology Volume 27, Issue 7, pR243–R245, 3 April 2017

Restricted access to full text and PDF download

(will become open access one year after publication)

Magic link for free access

(first seven weeks only)

The Xuchang 1 (A, superior view) and 2 (B, posterior view) crania discovered at the Lingjing site. (Photo: Xiu-jie Wu.)

Monday, March 27, 2017

coming out

Open Archive Day

my gender transitions feature from last year has come out of the paywalled closet and is now freely accessible to all people of all genders and orientations, enjoy:

Transitions to new concepts of gender

Orange is the new something or other - gender divisions at the Science Museum, London (own photo).

Monday, March 20, 2017

robot ecology

robots are beginning to take over our planet, so it's time to start worrying what they will do to the existing systems, from ecology to economy. Which was a sufficient excuse for me to write a third robot feature (previous attempts date from 2015 and 2013), which is out now:

How will robots integrate into our world?
Current Biology Volume 27, Issue 6, pR199–R201, 20 March 2017

Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access one year after publication)

Magic link for free access
(first seven weeks only)

The robot exhibition at the Science Museum, London (own photo). I'll also add some of my pics from that exhibition to my flickr photostream.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

misa campesina

As part of Oxford twinning link with León, Nicaragua, it has become a tradition that the Misa Campesina Nicaragüense, a folk mass emphasising workers rights and their suffering under capitalism, is sung here once a year (although the most recent press report appears to be from 2011). To give an impression of the music, here's a 3-minute potpourri of the misa performed by Nicaraguan singer Katia Cardenal.

I managed to miss this in the last 22 instalments, but this year there was an official call for people to join the band and choir, which the young musician forwarded to me, so I got to play the lovely tunes on the flute, plus a few bars worth on the guitar.

There were a few people from Nicaragua in the audience, including a woman in the first row who watched us (the band) very closely. Before the last piece she got up to make a speech - turned out she is Guisell Morales, the Nicaraguan ambassador to the UK.

The choir warming up (own photo). The Nicaraguan embassy has shared some photos (of me even) on twitter.

Related to this, the Oxford Leon Link has an exhibition on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the town partnership. This is at the South Oxford Community Centre in Lake Street, although I'm not sure about times and dates.

We also had a visit from a coffee farmer from Nicaragua who gave a talk during Fairtrade Fortnight.

Monday, March 13, 2017

dances with science

Open Archive Day

I hear Rambert (formerly Rambert Dance Company) are on tour and perform at the New Theatre Oxford this week (Wed-Fri), so it's a good excuse to dig up a feature I wrote in 2011 about their work with scientist in residence Nicola Clayton (whose research field is corvid intelligence, hence the title):

Dances with magpies

image source

Monday, March 06, 2017

losing ground

Even after the international year of soils (which was in 2015, in case you missed it), the world cares too little about the ground we stand on and which actually feeds us. On current trends, most fertile soils may disappear well within this century, and food security with them. It's a global problem that political leaders could fix with sensible regulations, if they weren't so busy deregulating everything.

My feature on the state of our soils is out now:

Losing the soils that feed us
Current Biology Volume 27, Issue 5, pR163–R166, 6 March 2017

Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access one year after publication)

Magic link for free access
(first seven weeks only)

We often dismiss soil as the dirt below our feet, yet it is a vital resource for food production as well as a highly complex and insufficiently understood ecosystem. The image shows farmers in Kyuso, Kenya terracing part of their land in order to minimise erosion losses. (Photo: ©FAO/Thomas Hug.)

Thursday, March 02, 2017

prepare for brexodus

Like many other non-British EU citizens in the UK, I am sensing a strong vibe that foreigners from continental Europe will be made to feel unwelcome here (not by all, of course, but by the UKIP-inspired government and its supporters) in the near future. I have lived in the country for nearly 24 years now, but as things are going now, I may be out before the end of the 26th year.

The parliamentary debate over the Brexit Bill has shown that there is no efficient opposition that would moderate the government’s worst efforts leading us towards a traincrash Brexit and aligning the country with Trumpism. Even our local MP Andrew Smith, Labour, representing Oxford which voted 70% remain, voted with the government on the brexit bill, which was kind of the last nail in the coffin.

So far the government has resisted all calls, including the one from the majority in the House of Lords, to offer the 3 million non-British EU citizens living here any kind of reassurance that we will still be allowed to stay. My guess is that they will eventually come up with some conditional thing which will be tailored for people who have highly-paid jobs, maybe tacking on an exception for nurses once they realise that the health provision would collapse without them. But if resident foreigners ever lose their job, or happen to be freelancers or unpaid carers, it’s too bad and they’ll just have to go.

Specifically, there is the £35k rule currently in force for non-EU citizens, meaning that a work permit renewal after the first five years of residence requires you to earn more than £35k per year (see Stop35k).

Second, there have been cases of EU people applying for permanent residence permits (which we don't need yet, but they did so either as a precaution, or as a first step towards applying for British citizenship) and being rejected on the grounds that they should have had private health insurance rather than relying on NHS during their stay so far. Essentially this means that the home office doesn't recognise the NHS as a health insurance. This may sound crazy, but it happened to several people.

Not to mention that the residence permit application is a form with more than 80 pages to fill in (I am told it's five pages in Ireland, two in Germany), and additionally requiring you to document every time you left he country and returned (for me that would be over 100 trips to document) _and_ to send in your passport with the application, so being unable to travel while it is being processed. And if hundreds of thousands of people are having to go through this at the same time, the administration will by swamped with applications and who knows how long it could take. In the meantime, people have neither passport nor residence permit and may end up in the immigration detention centres.

I do appreciate that it is a huge privilege that we have been enjoying over the past 23 years thanks to the EU free movement policy, and that many people from other parts of the world have had it a lot harder. We regularly get examples in the news of how the Home Office treats people who don’t have that privilege (see the recent case of Irene Clennell, deported although she has been married to a British citizen for 27 years) and we’re not keen on getting a taste of that treatment when our privilege expires.

Moreover, apart from quite possibly not being allowed to stay, I am not really sure whether it will be safe to stay once the word spreads among racists and other fringe lunatics that Trump's attitudes to foreigners and other minorities (and women, obv.) are now ok, even in the UK.

There will be a Brexodus of people the UK can't afford to lose. According to a recent survey, a majority of doctors from the continent are already considering to leave, and BMW may decide to build the electric version of the Mini on the continent rather than in Oxford. As people leave, the international atmosphere of places like Oxford will disappear as well, so, well, sorry for the rant, back to packing ...


Monday, February 27, 2017

fairer food

Open Archive Day

Today marks the start of Fairtrade Fortnight in the UK and a few other countries, so I'll combine this with my regular archive dip and dig up a feature from 2014 on threats to coffee and chocolate, which happen to be two of the fairtrade products which I buy regularly:

Coffee and chocolate in danger

enjoy, while you can ...

No coffee left (own photo)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

a mixed bag

My round-up of German pieces published in February (none in January) includes Trumpian chemistry, CRISPR in agriculture, enzymatic Si-C bonding, and cancer stem cells:

Organosiliciumverbindungen leicht gemacht
Chemie in unserer Zeit vol 51, p 9
open access (apparently, don't know why)

Netzwerk Leben: Die Stellknöpfe der Entwicklungsuhr
Chemie in unserer Zeit vol 51, pp 68–69
open access (apparently, don't know why)

Genetisches Tipp-Ex für die Landwirtschaft
Nachrichten aus der Chemie vol 65 , pp 128-130
abstract and restricted access to full text

Chemie ist Trumpf
Nachrichten aus der Chemie vol 65 , p 215
open access

Monday, February 20, 2017

caring about victims

Lives lost are met with dramatically different responses in the media and in the general public. One child abducted and killed in a wealthy country can keep the front pages for weeks, while tens of thousands of children perish in humanitarian crises without much notice. Many of the political conflicts dramatically enhanced by the recent US elections boil down to which lives people care more about and which ones less. The unborn vs. the already born, the black youth vs the white policeman, the European native vs the Syrian refugee.

Racism fuelled by vicious scapegoating favoured by certain politicians and media outlets is one obvious reason for distributing empathy inequally. However, there are also some other, more surprising mechanisms at work, like the identified victim effect, which is measurable in that people donate more money to help a single identified victim of crisis than they would if there are several in the same situation. This effect is also one of the reasons why empathy is not always a good guide to sensible political decisions.

I have looked into these issues for my latest feature which is out now:

Caring about humanitarian crises
Current Biology Volume 27, Issue 4, pR123–R125, 20 February 2017

Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access one year after publication)

Magic link for free access
(first seven weeks only)

Research shows that empathy responds better to images of a single identified, or at least identifiable, person. While groups of victims may need more support, their numbers rather subtract from our empathy. Charities and political organizations have long used this effect, with ads and posters of individuals, like in this charity campaign from 1918. (Image: United States Government/Wikimedia Commons.)

Monday, February 13, 2017

chimps revisited

Open Archive Day

Many of my features are in one way or another about Homo sapiens - eg how this one species wrecks its home planet in record time. So it's always a welcome relief to report on other animal species that don't destroy their habitat and look at the amazing things they can do.

A year ago I wrote a feature on chimpanzees and the question whether their tool use can be described as culture. This feature has now entered the Open Archive so it's freely accessible here:

Chimpanzees, our cultured cousins


Photo: Thomas Lersch via Wikipedia

Monday, February 06, 2017

fantastic species

After all the depressing news of Death Eaters taking over the White House and starting to blow up our planet, I needed some cheering up, so I wrote a feature that's a bit of light entertainment (compared to the others), about the magic of marine biology, complete with dragons, unicorns and psychedelic colour schemes. The Harry Potter Universe also provided inspiration for the title:

Fantastic species and where to find them.
Current Biology Volume 27, Issue 3, pR83–R85, 06 February 2017

Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access one year after publication)

Magic link for free access
(first seven weeks only)

Oh, and by sheer coincidence, the cover of the issue also shows one of the fantastic creatures I've discussed in my feature, a leafy seadragon :

The cover relates to the paper by Connell et al. (pages R95–R96), who use natural CO2 underwater seeps in the southwest Pacific, which represent near-future oceanic conditions, to demonstrate how a marine calcifying animal can in fact thrive in acidic waters due to the increased supply of habitat and food. The image shows a leafy sea-dragon (Phycodurus eques), an iconic marine animal of southern Australia that lives among CO2-affected habitats.

Monday, January 30, 2017

can we still stop the collapse?

Open Archives Day

(trigger warning - depressing outlook)

Three years ago, I asked in a feature:

Will our civilisation survive this century?

and discussed the issue in the light of evidence from earlier collapsed societies, as well as the current crises that humanity is failing to address.

As things are going now, we can count ourselves lucky if civilisation survives the next four years, and we'll probably have to put in some extra effort to make it to the middle of the century, never mind the end. Accordingly, the famous Doomsday Clock has just been moved forward by 30 seconds.

So we have about two and a half minutes to do something. The first waves of global resistance have been encouraging, but much more is needed. As the horror clown in the White House steers his administration in exactly the wrong direction on almost every level and the UK government rushes to line up with him, multiple responses are required and things could get a lot worse before they get better. So, not to get anyone down, but this may be a good time to read my collapse feature, which is openly accessible now, as it is more than a year old.

Just now, my therapy is watching the counter on the online petition against a state visit from the horror clown. As I'm writing the count increases by ~200 every 10 seconds.

Also, the pink pussyhats have cheered me up enormously, so to end on a positive note I'll include the cover of Time magazine:

Monday, January 23, 2017

losing our lakes

Lakes are sensitive to a range of disturbances from human activities, from pollution to water shortage. Some are simply disappearing from the face of the Earth, which can have serious ecological knock-on effects.

Following the publication of a new database of key parameters of lakes around the globe, I have rounded up a few examples of lakes that are in trouble or disappearing. The resulting feature is out now:

The world's vanishing lakes

Current Biology Volume 27, Issue 2, pR43–R46, 23 January 2017

Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access one year after publication)

Magic link for free access
(first seven weeks only)

Where the Aral Sea used to be. Source: Zhanat Kulenov, Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, January 16, 2017

megapoo makes the world go round

Open archives day - one of my favourite stories from last year has just been switched to open access. It's about how large animals move nutrients against the hydrological cycle, including whales feeding in the deep but releasing themselves near the surface, sea birds feeding on fish but leaving their droppings on land, and terrestrial megafauna moving their goodies uphill.

That's what I called the great megapoo escalator a year ago - needless to say that we humans not only fail to comply with this mechanism but also are in the process of destroying it by eradicating megafauna, which before our time made the largest contribution to this nutrient recycling.

Read my feature in the open archives here.

Seabirds provide an important flow of nutrients from sea to land, acting against the draining that occurs through rivers and runoff from the land. The image shows guillemots, shags and kittiwakes breeding on the Farne Islands. (Photo: Jamumiwa/Wikimedia Commons.)

Friday, January 13, 2017

aptamer update

I don't do all that many news stories these days, but I did pick up this one from the lab of my old friend and astrobiology co-author Kevin Plaxco, as it is a further step on a path I have followed since the beginnings more than a decade ago.

So the latest news is that electronic aptamer sensors can now work inside a living, moving mammal, as you can read in Chemistry World today:

Personalised medicine boost as cancer drug monitored in real-time

Previous steps on the way:

Chemists crack cocaine detection Chemistry World 2006

MEDIC to kick-start personalised medicine revolution Chemistry World 2013

Biosensors in real time Feature in Chemistry & Industry 2014, No. 4, pp42-45.

Aptamerensoren für kontinuierliche Bluttests Chemie in unserer Zeit 2014,48, 88

Monday, January 09, 2017

trumpocalypse now

After the first electoral disaster of 2016, I wrote a feature warning that the same kind of wave of angry voters could send Trump to the White House, and sure enough it did. So I got the chance to write another political feature, now one step closer to the apocalypse. On current form it appears obvious to me that the age of enlightenment is over and western civilisation is heading towards a collapse sooner rather than later. Since I wrote the feature, three weeks ago, Putin's role in manipulating the election has become a more prominent issue, so that's missing in my story. Only then did I investigate how long we still may have to put up with Putin. I found out that since his two presidential terms (2000-2008), Russia extended the length of term to six years, meaning that he could remain in office until 2024 - like a certain Mr Trump you may have heard of. What the world will look like if that happens I don't want to imagine. We need to do something.

While I go looking for my thinking hat, read my feature:

The dangers of a post-truth world

Current Biology Volume 27, Issue 1, 9 January 2017, Pages R1–R4

Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access one year after publication)

Magic link for free access
(first seven weeks only)

The amplification of clickbait and fake news stories through Facebook’s algorithms has been recognised as a problem in the US presidential election. (Image courtesy of Ashley George.)

PS: the artwork in the Daily Mirror front page used in my article is Oh America by Gee Vaucher, I just learned.

Some links covering the first weeks of the Trumpocalypse:

First on the White House agenda – the collapse of the global order. Next, war? by Jonathan Freedland (4.2.) - If you're not terrified yet, read this, you will be.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

the counted

I am a huge fan of the Guardian's interactive database "The Counted" which has listed all people who died at the hands of US police since the beginning of 2015. It goes to show what a powerful statement you can make just by compiling data.

No matter if you look at the stats per time (3 people killed every single day) or per population, with vast differences according to skin colour, or if you read individual stories behind the photos. Whichever way you look at it is deeply distressing and very powerful.

Set against the dark mood, I was a tiny little bit cheered to see that the total number of deaths has dropped slightly in 2016 against 2015 (1091 and 1146, respectively). While both numbers are equally horrifying (for comparison, the equivalent number for Germany, with 1/3 of the population, is typically in single digits), I'd like to think that the 5.5 % decline is due to the growing awareness thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement and also perhaps thanks to the monitoring efforts of this database. The relative incidence of deaths among black citizens has also dropped from 7.69 per million to 6.64 (white: 2.95 to 2.9). Still scandalous but at least moving in the right direction. So maybe compiling data can save lives.

On the other hand, Native Americans have suffered a much higher incidence of police killings than the previous year, which might support the argument that historic crimes are allowed to continue under the cover of law enforcement.

screenshot taken on Jan 3rd. Update: checking back on Jan 14th, the count has gone up to 1091. I've updated the figures above, but the conclusions still hold.

Monday, January 02, 2017

anthropocene now

Happy New Year to all, my one and only NY resolution is to provide a blog entry revisiting one of my features from the open archives on those Mondays when no new feature comes out. Which is the case today, for example. So here goes.

In February 2015, I wrote about the ongoing deliberations of The International Commission for Stratigraphy (ICS) working group chaired by geologist Jan Zalasiewicz to assess whether the changes that humanity has inflicted on our planet call for the definition of a new geological time. If so, experts need to scratch their heads over which level should it be pegged at, and when it may have started without anybody noticing.

In the same feature, I also covered the latest assessment of the "planetary boundaries" by Johan Rockström and colleagues, so it could have been called What have we done to our planet?

Since then, the Working Group on the Anthropocene has voted to formally designate the epoch Anthropocene and presented this recommendation to the International Geological Congress on 29 August 2016. While official recognition and a formal determination of the starting date is still due, the recommendation has been widely reported and the concept of the Anthropocene is now better known than it was two years ago.

My feature, Assessing humanity's global impact, is freely accessible here.

Our civilisation’s ability to picture our planet from space, as photographed here by the Apollo 8 crew, has increased our awareness of its vulnerability to human activities, but unsustainable growth continues. (Photo: Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center, NASA’s Earth Observatory.)

PS: such as not to dilute the tags for new features (currentbiology, sciencejournalism) I'll tag these flashbacks with CB archives instead and use thematic tags only if new info on the themes has been added since the original article.
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