"Scientists have finally succeeded in using cloning to create human embryonic stem cells, a step toward developing replacement tissue to treat diseases but one that might also hasten the day when it will be possible to create cloned babies." —Who are we going to clone first? Einstein? Mandela? Nicki Minaj? It's wide open!
"What would happen to the Earth if the moon was destroyed?" Apart from the MASSIVE REJOICING and WAVE OF GOOD FEELINGS BROUGHT FORTH UPON THE LAND, pretty much nothing. Things would get a little wobbly, but it seems like a fair trade-off. NOW can we destroy the moon? Please?
"A scientist has 'remixed' his version of the sound of the big bang in light of detailed new data gathered by a multi-million pound space probe. Information beamed back from the European Space Agency's £515m Planck space telescope has already seen physicists revise their estimates of the age of the universe. Now one professor has used the Planck data to create an updated, 'high fidelity' rendition of the sound of the early development of the universe more than 13 billion years ago."
"The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, said that what they found last year was, indeed, a version of what is popularly referred to as the 'God particle.' Joe Incandela, who heads one of the two main teams at CERN that each involve several thousand scientists, said in a statement that 'it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is.'" —Okay, good. Science now says, for SURE, that God exists. Just, in a slightly different form than we, or the new pope, might have expected. It (God) [...]
Are you pregnant now, and in your second trimester? Then you are obviously the most selfish human in the world, and your terribleness will bring forth a child of great evil, who will shower devastation upon the country and usher in a new dark era of rising tides and a catastrophe of the climate.
Oh, wait, that was happening anyway? Cause and effect is so COMPLICATED. Sorry, no, your baby is fine! As you were! I'll buy it a nice cashmere blanket that it can barf on.
But apparently people were traipsing up and down stairs with buckets of water, people were watching their kitty cats float away, [...]
"Researchers from Kyoto University in Japan and the University of Kent in England gave two groups of chimpanzees straws and put them in rooms with juice boxes mounted onto the wall. One group started using the 7-inch straws to dip into a hole in the juice box, while the other started using the sucking method (as humans would for a milkshake, or pretty much any other drink). Sucking juice through a straw was 50 times more efficient: A chimp could down 50 milliliters of juice in 30 seconds, while it would take their dipping peers 10 minutes to pull out a mere 20 milliliters. When the researchers put a [...]
Here's the way we'll crash then: Dutch aeronautics company Pal-V's prototype car/helicopter the Pal-V One. Scheduled to go on sale in 2014, the Pal-V One conforms to international laws of both flying and driving. It needs just 200 meters to take off, and costs $300,000, which is not so much money to spend to maim or kill yourself by crashing into a building.
"Human astrocytes certainly inspired the mice. Their neurons did indeed build stronger synapses. (Perhaps this was because human astrocytes signal three times faster than mouse astrocytes do.) Mouse learning sharpened, too. On the first try, for instance, altered mice perceived the connection between a noise and an electric shock (a standard learning test in mouse research). Normal mice need a few repetitions to get the idea. Memories of the doctored mice were better too: they remembered mazes, object locations, and the shock lessons longer." —Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center implanted human brain cells into the brains of baby mice and the mice turned out smarter [...]
More young Canadian kids smoke pot than any young kids from any other country, according to a recent Unicef study. This will not surprise anyone who remembers Len.
"Obesity has its obvious manifestations; it's a disease that is difficult to conceal. And now, doctors say they can even smell it on your breath."
"What is the Higgs field? It's hard to visualize, so many people resort to metaphor. The Higgs field has been called a kind of cosmic molasses, pulling and dragging particles as they move through it. It's been compared to a room of paparazzi, blocking the way of celebrities but letting nobodies through without a fuss. And it's been likened to The Force from Star Wars, which 'surrounds us and penetrates us' and 'binds the galaxy together.'"
But we'll use an amorphous cloud of nothingness.
Your Snow Angel Will Not Be As Good As The One A Great Horned Owl Left After Scooping Its Prey From The Ontarian Tundra
A couple of Christmases ago, I was in upstate New York with family and friends and it snowed like two feet. We took my kid outside to play and we built a snow man and a snow fort. My in-laws' best friends are a couple named Roberta and Viki. Roberta is an art historian. Viki is a museum director. They both have strong opinions and they joined us outside, where Viki found a patch of deep powder and let herself fall backwards into it to make a snow angel. She did the jumping-jacks move like you're supposed to do and got up to admire her work. "There!" she said. [...]
"I have been trying to capture this image ever since I saw the behavior of these fish and witnessed the incredible tornado that they form during courtship." —Sadly, marine biologist Octavio Aburto neglected to soundtrack the video he made of jackfish engaged in group mating behavior called "aggregation." (Hey, Jackfish are just like bloggers!) I would have gone with the Scorps. Or Dead or Alive (natch.)
Over the last year or two I began to develop what I initially thought was a severe case of dandruff in the area around my temples. The duration of this crisis was blessedly brief, because it turned out what I was seeing was actually the first foray into my sideheads by a colonizing force of gray hairs. (Technically it would be more accurate to describe them as silver, but given historical precedent it seems unlikely that anything on my body would somehow retain any kind of elegance or class, so I expect them to lose what little luster they have imminently.) My vanity is of the variety that so [...]
I can't wait til I can just think "Okay, rats, bedtime!" and my team of rat slaves will follow my wordless commands to take off my clothes, put on my pajamas, pull down my blankets and tuck me in for a good night's sleep.
I tend to vacillate between a) pretending that nothing really matters because our existence, no matter how highly evolved we like to tell ourselves we are, is essentially a meaningless and arbitrary journey through a course fraught with obstacles both external and self-made in which we think we are choosing our own direction when in reality we are being pushed along by a collection of chemicals whose only goal is to spread their own ingredients regardless of the damage it does to their current host and b) cowering in the corner when confronted by the certainty that there's no actual need to pretend, because it's all true. In those bleak [...]
"If someone shouts 'look behind you,' tadpoles in Michael Levin’s laboratory may be ready. The tadpoles can see out of eyes growing from their tails, even though the organs aren’t directly wired to the animals’ brains." —If a scientist offers to put an eye in your butt, and you're a tadpole, then it's probably legit.
Photo by D. Blackiston and M. Levin/Tufts University.
"People who are depressed or have anxiety don't overrate themselves, [psychologist Mark Horswill] said. The more severe the depression, the more likely they are to underrate themselves. That suggests the illusion of superiority may actually be a protective mechanism that shields our self-esteem, he added."
Professor George Church of Harvard Medical School believes he can reconstruct Neanderthal DNA and resurrect the species which became extinct 33,000 years ago. His scheme is reminiscent of Jurassic Park but, while in the film dinosaurs were created in a laboratory, Professor Church’s ambitious plan requires a human volunteer.
—Don't worry, potential surrogate moms: The professor thinks Neanderthals might've been smarter than us, in some way or another that might come in handy when Homo Sapiens are wiped out by an upcoming apocalypse.