A monkey’s skin cells were transformed into stem cells, then implanted in its brain, where they turned into brain cells,…
March 22nd, 2013
Friday Roundup: Stem Cells to Brain Cells, Swallow Evolution in 30 Years, and Cold Sores That Treat CancerNo Comments, All Posts, Friday Roundup, by Carter Bowles.
March 15th, 2013No Comments, All Posts, Friday Roundup, by Carter Bowles.
I wrote an introduction to relativity for kids, and I’ll be continuing this over the next several weeks. If you’re…
March 8th, 2013No Comments, All Posts, Friday Roundup, by Carter Bowles.
This insect’s wings contain tiny nanostructures that actually tear bacteria apart, the first structure of its kind discovered in nature….
March 1st, 2013No Comments, All Posts, Friday Roundup, by Carter Bowles.
I relayed the scientific consensus on global warming as presented by the IPCC in an effort to introduce some much…
February 22nd, 2013No Comments, All Posts, Friday Roundup, by Carter Bowles.
I talked about where the light goes when you shut it off, and the role the bizarre world of quantum…
February 15th, 2013No Comments, All Posts, Friday Roundup, by Carter Bowles.
I talked about why it’s easier for us to recognize something than it is to remember it, even though the…
February 8th, 2013
Friday Roundup: 17 Billion Earth-Like Planets, Bionic Eyes, Wind Cheaper than Coal, and Suicidal TumorsNo Comments, All Posts, Friday Roundup, by Carter Bowles.
Earth-like planets are everywhere. Kepler discovers another 461 potentially habitable planets, bumping the total count up to 2,740, and estimating a total 17…
February 1st, 2013No Comments, All Posts, Friday Roundup, by Carter Bowles.
- I discussed why gravity doesn’t need to escape a black hole in order to work.
- Using an evolutionary algorithm, Northwestern University developed an efficient solar cell that would trap more light due to its shape. The design is so effective that it outperforms the theoretical limit three times over. Meanwhile, Norwegians produce a new type of solar cell that is 20 times thinner, and thus cheaper, than standard solar cells.
- A new experiment suggests that our sense of smell might take advantage of the bizarre world of quantum vibrations.
- Evolution in the test tube: the university of Minnesota evolves a primordial enzyme.
- Korean scientists developed a magnetic transistor that would allow circuitry to be reconfigured on the fly, dramatically reducing size and energy consumption of computers.
- Penicillin may have been responsible for the sexual revolution of the ’60s much more than the contraceptive pill.
- Extroverts are not better at sales and leadership than introverts. The highest performance seems to come from people with a mix of both.
- Poor memory in old age may be the result of poor sleep.
- A working artificial pancreas.
- The Scripps Research Institute discovered that tiny fragments of DNA (microRNA) play a role in forming memories within the amygdala, the part of the brain that handles fear and aggression (and sometimes sex).
Featured Science Book This Week:
The Universe Within: From Quantum to Cosmos (CBC Massey Lecture)
January 25th, 2013No Comments, All Posts, Friday Roundup, by Carter Bowles.
Tons of breakthroughs in genetic science this week, possible new physics, astronomers getting ready to snap a picture of our galaxy’s black hole, and more.
- I talked about the science of burnout, what brain scans and spit tests can tell us about tired overachievers.
- More than a double helix: four-stranded segments of DNA also exist in the human genome.
- Swiss physicists measure the size of the proton using muons instead of electrons, and find an answer that is seven standard deviations different from previous measurements. Could it be experimental error, or new physics? (Part of me’s excited. The other part remembers the “faster than light” neutrinos.)
- Old brains have trouble making new memories because they have trouble writing over old ones, at least in this mouse study.
- Leprosy spreads by turning nerve cells into stem cells.
- Scientists are setting up a worldwide network of radio telescopes to snap a picture of the black hole at the center of our galaxy, a picture that would be the first of its kind.
- Scientists are making great strides when it comes to storing computer data in DNA segments.
- Subconscious race biases actually change the way that our brains store people’s faces.
- Firefly genes cause tumors to glow, allowing for early cancer detection.
- By studying areas where insects infect trees, scientists find strong evidence that exposure to trees is good for human health, even after controlling for a wide range of demographics.
- Analyzing ancient DNA, scientists confirm that humans who lived in Beijing 40,000 years ago were more closely related to modern Asians and Native Americans. But another study also shows that Europeans are more closely related to Native Americans than we might think.
- Is Earth crashing through walls of dark matter that fill the universe?
- Scientists develop a medical “tractor beam” that tugs on tiny objects using light.
This Week’s Science Book:
Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms: The Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind
January 18th, 2013
Friday Roundup: Commercially Scalable Nanotubes, Solar Powered Vertebrates, and a Breakthrough for BiofuelsNo Comments, All Posts, Friday Roundup, by Carter Bowles.
- I discussed the incredible overlap between memory and intelligence, and the controversy over whether intelligence can be trained.
- Scientists discovered the first “solar powered” vertebrate.
- A commercially scalable way of producing carbon nanotube fibers has been presented.
- At least one is six stars has a planet comparable in size to Earth.
- Mathematicians are planning to launch an open-access peer-reviewed journal that eliminates publishers from the science publishing process.
- The Mars rover Curiosity discovered compelling evidence that underground water was fairly common on our neighbor planet, increasing the number of places that life may have formed.
- Scientists are perfecting the process of reversing quantum error, a crucial step toward quantum computing.
- A three second interruption will double your error rate.
- A 4 billion light-year structure is so big it threatens fundamental cosmological assumptions.
- Fermented plants produce gasoline at low enough costs that the process may soon be commercialized, dramatically cutting down on global warming emissions.
This Week’s Featured Book:
Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World