Earth Day is April 22nd. It’s a day where we take a moment from our human-centered lives to stop and smell the roses, and the wildebeests, and the whales, and even the bugs. Focus on the planet for one day a year, and maybe we can learn to respect it on the other 364 days.
BBC America let these cute-as-hell kids narrate scenes from Planet Earth. Celebrate Earth Day through the eyes of a child, which apparently are focused on liking cheeseburgers :)
They’re right, David Brabrendroroh is pretty good, too.
(via kottke, and dedicated to nature-loving kids, old and young)
A great look into science and the scientific process - that is, the innovative, creative, and outside-the-box thinking that should be encouraged in order to carry out the scientific process.
Gamers outdo computers at matching up disease genes
The hope that swarms of gamers can help to solve difficult biological problems has been given another boost by a report in the journal PLoS One1, showing that data gleaned from the online game Phylo are helping to untangle a major problem in comparative genomics.
Full Story: Nature
It doesn’t have to be just fun and games! \o/
It doesn’t have to be just work and no play! \o/
Woolly mammoth cloning deal signed.
A joint research deal was signed yesterday between North-Eastern Federal University of the Sakha Republic in Russia and South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, marking the beginning of a project to clone cells from woolly mammoth remains recovered from Siberian permafrost.
As previously reported here, a mammoth could be born in five years if successful. The team will replace the nuclei of Indian elephant egg with the cloned mammoth DNA. The fertilised egg will then be placed in the womb of the Indian elephant for 600 day gestation period and birth.
While cloning extinct animals is controversial enough already, the team also includes Hwang Woo-Suk, who was found to have falsified data in a past stem cell research “breakthrough”.
Wooly mammoths … what further excuse do you need?
theanimalblog: juvenile Greater Anglehead Lizard (Gonocephalus grandis)
* aka Giant Forest Dragon, found in SE Asia. Diurnal. Occur in primary and secondary tropical forests.
(photo by Camera Trap)
This sure is a cute pokemon.
Actually, funny enough, this lizard reminds me of when I was in fifth grade or something and had this swimsuit that was black and white, but the upper half was patterned with polka dots and the lower half was patterned with stripes. Well, who knew, but I actually TANNED in those patterns, so I pretty much looked just like this lizard whenever I showered.
Pattern formation with fluorescent bacteria (TagBFP, mKate2 and sfGFP).
I can’t stress enough that you should go check out Fernan Federici’s full set on Flickr. Truly amazing stuff.
Federici isn’t just in it for the art, though. He’s a synthetic biologist using the “biofilm” building properties of bacteria to build defined forms in architecture, as well as using them as living biosensors. More at Synthetic Aesthetics.
Reminds me of these “photographic” bacteria developed here at UT-Austin years back.
Captive dolphins have picked up some new vocabulary. Not from each other, but rather from a “sounds of the sea” tape played during their performances.
When their handlers noted strange sounds coming from the tanks at night, they compared them to known calls and discovered they were mimicking and practicing whale calls they had heard on tape.
When the researchers used a computer program to compare auditory recordings of the whale calls with the mysterious nighttime noises, it showed that the two sounds were very similar. And because the dolphins had been captive their entire lives, they couldn’t have picked them up from real whales.
To get a second opinion, the team asked 20 human volunteers to listen to humpback whale sounds and wild dolphin sounds. Then the researchers played the nighttime vocalizations and asked the volunteers whether the sounds came from a whale or a dolphin. About 76% of the time, the volunteers classified the imitations as sounds from real whales
The dolphins were last reported to be working on whale disguises, surely as part of their world domination plan.
Amazing just on its own, but it also reminds me of the famous Lyre Bird, which has an extraordinary repertoire of chainsaws, car alarms, and camera shutter clicks (WITH motor drive)!
Now I wonder if the dolphins are simply mimicking the whale songs for fun (that is, with no new meaning ascribed to them), or if they’re actually incorporating the new sounds into their own “language”, just as the internet created its own lolspeak and language based off of onomatopoeia. (I can’t believe I spelled that correctly on the first try)
There are no scientific studies that I know of that say men and women differ in “mental abilities”, which is an awfully broad term on its own.
There are anatomical and developmental differences in male and female brains, but these differences have resulted in much myth and little truth. For instance, men have larger brains, on average, than women. But if having larger brains was a sign of greater mental faculties, then whales would have beaten us to fire and spaceships.
It’s important that we acknowledge that there are genuine genetic and biological differences in male and female development, but it’s equally important that we don’t extend these differences into myths of superiority. I’m a fan of what Stanford neuroscientist Josef Parvizi says about it:
“…if we are to entertain the idea that humans ‘experience’ life differently, and that different experiences mold the brain function differently, then we must also seriously consider that gender (along with class, ethnicity, age, and many other factors) would also contribute to this experience, and that they will contribute to molding of the brain…
So if women and men have systematically different life experiences and face dissimilar expectations from birth, then we would expect that their brains would become different (even if they are not innately dissimilar), through these different life experiences. Even if neuroscientists see differences in the brains of grown men and women, it does not follow that these differences are innate and unchangeable.
For instance, if girls are expected to be more adept at language, and are placed in more situations that require communication with others, it follows that the networks of the brain associated with language could become more efficient in women. Conversely, if boys receive more toy trucks and Lego’s, are given greater encouragement in math and engineering classes, and eventually take more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses, it follows that the sections of the brain associated with mathematics could become more efficient in men…
The tricky part is that we do not make the mistake of taking account of these differences as evidence for biological determinism.”
Beyond the social implications of such a question (which has, is, and will be a topic of many a debate and paper), I am reblogging this for its acknowledgment of the underlying biological differences (differences, and not inequalities) and the elements of behavioral conditioning and environment, the latter of which is too often overlooked.
Drew Berry’s astonishing animations of biology’s invisible processes and structures
“That is the chemical signaling system, sending out the stop signal, and it has … walked away.” (Taken completely out of context, but it nevertheless made me snicker even when in context.)
I wish I could spend the rest of my afternoon watching TED talks instead of wurking. :( But here’s a talk focusing on molecular visualization systems with updated sims of the DNA winding/replication video I just reblogged.
The best visualization of DNA I have ever seen
Did you know you have 6 feet of DNA in every cell? You do. This is how it fits.
Short and sweet, and who doesn’t love visuals! \o/
DNA Wrapping: I’m sorry, but seeing the flailing histones suddenly plonk down upon the DNA strand made me lol. But it doesn’t detract from my wonder over the whole process!
DNA Replication: This, frankly, is just simply amazing. Just think - biology had pretty much perfected the basic tenets of the industrial revolution several million years beforehand! :P