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10 Things We Learnt In March, 2024

Posted on 1 April 2024

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Here at Gowing Life, we are keeping our fun record of everything we learn in 2024, be it longevity-related or something else entirely. Here is a selection of our newly acquired neural connections for the month of March!

1: Panulirus ornatus: A lobster with intricate colourful patterns across its whole body.

By CSIRO, CC BY 3.0, Link

2: Tidal kites: a method of generating renewable energy from ocean currents that are too weak to be worth exploiting through other technology.

3: The Shakers: a religious sect that was founded in England and moved to North America during the eighteenth century. The Shakers got their name from their behaviour during worship. They were unusual for their egalitarian views on race and gender, granting equivalent religious authority to both men and women and considering God to be both male and female. They were also so chaste that opposite sexes would not pass each other on a staircase or hold hands. The sect reached a peak of 5000 official members in 1840, but declined due in part to lack of births! As of 2019, there were only three remaining members.

4: Swaminarayan Akshardham, a Hindu temple in Delhi. It’s only around 20 years old – construction began in the late 90s and the temple was opened in 2005.

5: Most people know about type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but did you know that type 3 and type 4 diabetes are also unofficial diseases referred to in some research? Type 3 diabetes refers to the hypothesis that resistance to the blood-sugar lowering hormone insulin, specifically in the brain, is linked to memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s not to be confused with type 3c diabetes, which is an officially recognised condition in which the pancreas can’t make insulin because it has been damaged by a disease such as” cystic fibrosis or cancer. Type 4 diabetes, on the other hand, is an unofficial term used to describe insulin resistance and high blood sugar caused by ageing. Type 4 diabetes affects people who are otherwise healthy and not overweight or obese, and is the subject of ongoing research.

6: Eroom’s law: the reverse of Moore’s law. Eroom’s law is used to describe the staggering decline in drug discovery over the past 70 years. During the 1950s, biopharmaceutical researchers were discovering between 40 and 100 new drugs for every billion dollars invested. After adjusting for inflation, that has now dropped to an average of fewer than 1 new drug per billion dollars. Why? A combination of factors including rising costs, stricter regulation and competition from established drugs.

7: Hooper’s rule: a method for estimating the age of a hedgerow in years. Simply count the number of different species in a 30 yard stretch of hedge, multiply that by 110, and add 30.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

8: Researchers have created a self-replicating virus that functions purely by introducing chatbots to malicious prompts. Some AI email assistants can read and automatically reply to emails, but researchers were able to hide a prompt in an email that the responding chatbot would then follow, causing it to engage in malicious activity like spam and release of email addresses and phone numbers. Not only that, but the chatbot was made to add the malicious prompt into subsequent emails it wrote, making this a self-replicating virus that works without the user needing to open the email. The researchers were even able to hide the malicious prompt within normal looking images.

Left: message containing malicious prompt sent to ChatGPT. Right: ChatGPT executes instructions and replicates the malicious prompt in its response.

9: When Michael Jackson wanted to film the first music video for ‘They Don’t Care About Us’ in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, his director (Spike Lee) had to negotiate with the drug lord who controlled the area. Lee was reportedly told that with Michael Jackson there, the slum would become ‘the safest place in the World’.

Favela in Rio de Janeiro
By nickyd75 [2] – Flickr [1], CC BY 2.0,

10: BASE jumping from El Capitan: In 1999, BASE jumper Frank Gambalie drowned in a river while fleeing rangers in Yosemite national park, after having successfully jumped from the summit of El Capitan (which was banned). In response, a protest against the ban was organised in which four other people made the El Capitan jump in order to prove that it was safe. In a twist of irony, one of those jumpers – stuntwoman Jan Davis – also lost her life. Knowing that there were rangers waiting for them at the bottom and not wanting her own gear to be confiscated, Davis borrowed a friend’s gear, but was not sufficiently familiar with it and failed to open the parachute in time. The ban was not lifted.

By – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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