Have you ever read something and immediately felt like you must share with as many people as possible?
The internet is full of misinformation, especially in the political realm…..and then there is the information that serves absolutely no redeeming value……and this is one such……..
(Newser) – Bats in India have a good thing going on: Scientists analyzing a colony of about 420 fruit-eating bats there observed males performing cunnilingus on females, LiveScience reports. Over more than 13 months, researchers saw 57 cases of sex, both intercourse and oral. Males gave oral sex for an average of about 50 seconds, intercourse for another 10 to 20, and more oral for another 94 to 188. Scientists noted that longer pre-sex cunnilingus led to longer copulation, which may enhance conception. Or the males may give oral sex to clean off the sperm of other bats, but that “would be maladaptive after mating, as there is a risk of removing the male’s own sperm.”
Okay, let me have it! I got to hear some thoughts on this one!
It is the weekend and I do love me some sciencey stuff. I know you have seen Jurassic Park 1-33 or ever how many spinoffs there have been but just how possible is the premise of the movie?
I found this and thought I was just too cool to ignore…….
In 1983, a genuine freak of nature was lost to science. The gastric-brooding frog – Rheobatrachus silus – was native to the rainforests of Queensland, Australia and best known for giving birth through its mouth, having incubated its offspring in its stomach. But habitat loss and disease saw the species officially declared extinct.
Until now. Scientists in Australia have announced that they have brought the frog’s genome “back to life”. Employing a cloning technology called somatic cell nuclear transfer, they used tissue obtained from samples of a frog kept in a freezer since the 1970s to implant a “dead” cell nucleus into a fresh egg from a similar species.
None of the embryos created survived for more than a few days, but the “Lazarus Project” team believe their work is a landmark moment for the new science of “de-extinction” – the artificial recreation of lost species that featured fictionally in the Jurassic Park films. “Now we have fresh cryo-preserved cells of the extinct frog to use in future cloning experiments,” says team leader Professor Mike Archer of the University of New South Wales, in Sydney. “We’re increasingly confident that the hurdles ahead are technological and not biological, and that we will succeed. Importantly, we’ve demonstrated already the great promise this technology has as a conservation tool when hundreds of the world’s amphibian species are in catastrophic decline.”
Last week, scientists and conservationists met in Washington DC to thrash out the ethical, moral and technical questions of, as they admit, “playing God”. A central question is whether such cloning techniques “bring back” an extinct species, or just create a new one that looks exactly like the old one.
“That remains to be seen,” said the conference organisers. “It is one reason to do the research: is the genome the species? The answer will vary from species to species. De-extincted plants should flourish as if they’d never left, if suitable pollinators are still around. But if California condors had gone extinct, it’s unclear if they could be brought back fully, because the young rely on parental training.”
Archer says his focus is now on cloning the extinct Australian thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger. However, at the conference talk was already moving on to targeting other extinct species, such as the woolly mammoth and dodo.
Okay, I know someone has got to have something to say about this……thoughts?
More sciencey stuff….and I wish I was more versed in this type of science but but fortunately I will stick to politics and economics….stuff I am comfortable with….for now……
(Newser) – Scientists have spotted four-stranded DNA in humans for the first time and say it could provide a key to fighting cancer, the BBC reports. A Cambridge University team revealed the find to Nature Chemistry last year, saying the “quadruple helix” may arise when a cell is unstable or in a dysfunctional state—like one that leads to cancer. “We need to prove that; but if that is the case, targeting them with synthetic molecules could be an interesting way of selectively targeting those cells that have this dysfunction,” said Cambridge chemist Shankar Balasubramanian.
They found that four-stranded DNA occurred most often when a cell is copying its DNA right before dividing. That could link the quadruple helix to cancers, which are often caused by genes that mutate to boost DNA replication. Perhaps synthetic molecules could curb the out-of-control cell proliferation that leads to tumors: “I’m hoping now that the pharmaceutical companies will bring this on to their radar,” said Balasubramanian. Some 60 years ago, two other Cambridge scientists burst into a pub and announced their discovery of the “secret to life”: the DNA double helix.
Hopefully this could be the key to solving the cancer cure problem……but then I ask…..who will control the cure? My bet is on big Pharma…..and they will be allowed to make up for their R&D…….in other words….lots of cash in profits.
Sciencey stuff is always a joy to write about……and I look for the topic of climate change to find its way back into the political discourse……and this article was a good find….it may help the debate (something I doubt very seriously)…….what causes climate change? Will it effect humans in a good way? Maybe a bad way?
A recent piece of research has found a possible link to why we, as a species, evolved to the point we are at today……
(Newser) – Early humans evolved in fits and starts due to rapid environmental changes—not gradually as scientists used to think, according to a new study. Analyzing lake sediments in northern Tanzania, scientists from Penn State and Rutgers University concluded that climate change altered the landscape back and forth from grassland to woodland five or six times over 200,000 years, the Telegraph reports. That would have changed food availability, diet, and means of acquiring good—which “can trigger evolutionary mechanisms,” says Penn State professor Katherine Freeman.
“The result can be increased brain size and cognition, changes in locomotion and even social changes—how you interact with others in a group.” Several factors may have triggered the climate changes about 2 million years ago, including changes in sea temperature and the Earth’s movement around the sun. Any change in the amount of sunshine, for example, would have altered rain patterns that in turn affected plant patterns. “The research points to the importance of water in an arid landscape like Africa,” says a graduate student on the project. The findings conflict with the “Great Drying,” the view that Africa gradually dried out over 3 million years.
Will we evolve again into abetter species? Or will we totally destroy our chances of continuing?
I could do a review of a campy scifi movie made a couple of years ago…a movie about a genetically alter fish that becomes uncontrollable…..but why when there are more real things to write about……
Newser) – Americans will likely be digging into the first meal from a genetically modified animal—a salmon—in about a year. The FDA has declared that salmon engineered by AquaBounty Technologies is safe to eat and poses no threat to the environment, reports the AP. The ruling makes it all but certain that the agency will grant final approval for the creature that critics call “Frankenfish,” reports the New York Times.
Those who partake will be eating an Atlantic salmon that has a growth-hormone gene from Pacific Chinook salmon. Scientists also added a gene from a fish called the ocean pout that keeps the growth-hormone gene on constantly. The upshot is that these salmon get big in a fraction of the usual time. They will be raised in farms and all will be bred to be sterile females, though the AP says a small percentage might be able to breed. That has critics worried about what might happen if they escape. The FDA review was actually completed months ago, and the White House has been accused of delaying its release for political gain. Slate has an investigative piece on that angle.
This is where I part ways with scientist……I do not think that genetically altered anything is a good idea…..there is always the chance that it could turn on us and bite us in the ass……
There is yet another story of interest to those that like the study of man or anthropology…….My daughter should witness this and then we will talk……
(Newser) – The discovery of three new fossils, unveiled today, illuminate and confirm a line of human evolution that is more complicated than scientists once thought. The groundbreaking bones, about 2 million years old and unearthed in Kenya, prove that there were at least two Homo species—in addition to Homo erectus—living simultaneously with each other before the dawn of modern Homo sapiens, reports the New York Times. “Human evolution is not this straight line it was once thought to be,” says one paleoanthropologist, and East Africa “was quite a crowded place, with multiple species.”
The fossils were found between 2007 and 2009 (by the mother-daughter Leakey team) and appear to hold the key to a mystery dating back to 1972, when a peculiar, unidentifiable skull, dubbed 1470, was located in the same area. The new fossils, which are remarkably similar to 1470, provide strong evidence that 1470 was not merely an odd-looking ancient human but a different offshoot of the Homo genus. (The AP notes that that the discovery by the famed Leakeys is being met with some skepticism in the field.)
looks like the savannahs of East Africa were a lot more busy with hominids than we were lead to believe…….and it looks like there were sub species or something similar…..you may concede now!
First, I love my daughter and she is as quick witted as I am….but when it comes to our ongoing argument on the Neds/Cros….she is wrong!
A little background …..I say that the Neds are a separate sub species and my daughter says they are the natural progression between Neds and Cros…….that is a short version of the debate……I have found some more evidence for her to consider…….
(Newser) – Newly discovered bits of “foreign DNA” in modern Africans indicate that a mysterious “sister species” may have walked the earth with Neanderthals and humans, according to scientists. The DNA doesn’t resemble DNA from any modern-day humans, nor from Neanderthals, whose DNA sometimes shows up in modern-day Europeans. “We’re calling this a Neanderthal sibling species in Africa,” said Joshua Akey of the University of Washington. He believes human interbreeding occurred with the mystery species 20,000 to 50,000 years ago when Neanderthals were waning in Europe, and modern humans were beginning to spread out from Africa, reports the Washington Post.
So modern man began ranging out of Africa about 50,000 years ago and the Neds were waning in Europe…to my mind they are separate…..if modern man has no similar DNA then how can the Neds be a natural progression of the evolution of man? (This is my comment on the findings)
A skull with unusual features found in Nigeria could be a remnant from the vanished species, notes the Post. Many scientists are not surprised that another species—and even others—existed and died out in the shadow of us. But others are skeptical, particularly because of the dearth of fossil and archaeological evidence. Stanford paleoanthropologist Richard Klein told the New York Times that it’s irresponsible for geneticists to publish findings on the origin of humans without trying to reconcile them with fossil and archeological evidence.
But I still see NO evidence that the Neds made to long trip from Africa around the Mediterranean and then into Southern Europe….I am still convinced that there a two separate species……what can I say…..the DEBATE GOES ON!
As I my readers know my daughter and I have a difference of opinion on the Cros and Neds…….and we have a good argument almost every time it is brought up……she was a forensic anthropology major in college way before it became popular and she thinks she has it all over the old man…..HA!
I found another research paper that will probably start another row with her……first, she thinks that man began walking upright to hunt and I say it was basically to observe what was happening while they made their way to the next tree………
In a piece written by Ann Gibbons for the HufPo………..
Talk about a high-fiber diet: the newest member of the human family, Australopithecus sediba, ate enough bark, leaves, and fruit that its appetite was more like that of a chimpanzee’s than a human’s. That is the conclusion of a new study, in which an international team of researchers used state-of-the-art methods to analyze the diet of two australopithecines that fell into a death pit in Malapa, South Africa, almost 2 million years ago.
The creatures’ preference for foraging in the forest surprised researchers, who thought that by this time in human evolution, most members of the human family would be eating a broader range of foods from different habitats, such as noshing on savanna grasses and tubers—or the animals that fed on them. Although our lineage had long since split from chimpanzees, Au. sediba‘s “diet looks as much like a chimp’s or a giraffe’s than anything else,” says co-author Peter Ungar, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
Ever since the discovery of the remarkably well-preserved partial skeletons of a female and juvenile male in 2008, researchers have wondered where Au. sediba fits in the human family tree—and if members of this species acted more like early members of our genus Homo or Australopithecus, which were both living in Africa at this time. Although classified as an australopithecine, the creatures were partly ape, with a tiny brain, long arms, a chimp-sized body, and a narrow birth canal. But they also were part human, with short fingers, a long thumb used for precision gripping, and a brain that had begun to reorganize more like a human’s, prompting some to think they may be a candidate ancestor of our genus. So any new window on their behavior could help researchers understand what they were like “as animals that were once alive,” says Ungar. “We thought, let’s try to get at their diets to see what they ate and what type of habitat they lived in.”
the Au. sediba individuals ate more C3 plants than any other hominin tested. The carbon in its diet was “unusual for hominins,” and “more typical of giraffes.” Among hominins tested, its diet most closely resembled that of Ardipithecus ramidus, a more primitive hominin that lived 4.4 million years ago in Ethiopia. Ungar also examined the patterns of microscopic wear, or microwear, on the teeth and found that Au. sediba ate harder foods similar to those Au. robustus and H. erectus ate, but not as soft as food typically consumed by Au. africanus, another South African species that some researchers thought was closely related to Au. sediba
It seems that early man may have been more in common with the blue butted baboon than some cute ape woofing down a banana………this should start a whole new dialog with my daughter….damn I love this stuff!
I know you saw what his name’s movie, Avatar….I mean the whole damn world saw it…..did you like it? Is it believable? Really?
Source: New Scientist
”The ultimate goal is to create a surrogate, like in Avatar, although that’s a long way off yet,” says Abderrahmane Kheddar, director of the joint robotics laboratory at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan.
Teleoperated robots, those that can be remotely controlled by a human, have been around for decades. Kheddar and his colleagues are going a step further. “True embodiment goes far beyond classical telepresence, by making you feel that the thing you are embodying is part of you,” says Kheddar. “This is the feeling we want to reach.”
To attempt this feat, researchers with the international Virtual Embodiment and Robotic Re-embodiment project used fMRI to scan the brain of university student Tirosh Shapira as he imagined moving different parts of his body. He attempted to direct a virtual avatar by thinking of moving his left or right hand or his legs.
Okay, this is officially cool!
Ah…..the weekend and I do not have to think about the political, the seedy underbelly of American society….and I found the perfect sciencey thing….and we all know that I love sciencey stuff, huh?
I have always enjoyed the stuff on ocean exploration and thought that there was a better way of doing this….and voila!
How about the SeaOrbiter?
Underwater space station
Comparisons have been made between The SeaOrbiter and the International Space Station (ISS), fuelled no doubt my rumours that both NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) are interested in using it. Not just that, but Jean-Loup Chrétien, the first French astronaut, is involved in the design of the ship and its anti-collision system is based on the one used by the ISS.
Using ocean currents and wind to explore the oceans, SeaOrbiter would be unique among underwater sea stations, such as Aquarius near Key Largo in Florida, due to the fact that its mobile. Crewed by six crew members, six scientists and room for six others (perhaps astronauts in training?), the SeaOrbiter would drift across the oceans, whilst research is done below the waves. Only the lookout deck, navigation department and communications would rise about the sea, whilst the research decks would be pressurised to enable the scientists to do daily dives and other scientific missions.
The project has drawn acclaim in France, with the French State Minister of Ecology and the Sea, Jean-Louis Borloo naming the SeaOrbiter as one of the leading tools for his “Grenelle de la Mer”, saying the oceanic platform would be essential for better understanding the ocean. President Sarkozy has even mentioned the project in a speech over the summer, winning it the backing of companies such as DCNS, the shipbuilder, and Thalès, the defence electronics group.
As you’d expect however, it is not a cheap venture. Rougerie, whose love of the oceans is driving him to launch half a dozen of the vessels, says he has half the the US$52.7 million needed to build the prototype, however he is confident that support will be forthcoming.
Come on…you gotta admit that this is the coolest thing ever!