Category Archives: Science

Scientists in China may have finally created living mice using artificial mouse sperm in a dish

Courtesy: Xiao-Yang Zhao/Qi Zhou/Jia-Hao Sha
Courtesy: Xiao-Yang Zhao/Qi Zhou/Jia-Hao Sha

Researchers claim to have made artificial mouse sperm in a dish

Researchers in China have found a method for being able to make “rudimentary” mouse sperm in a dish. What is even more interesting is that they then claim to be able to produce offspring from that artificial sperm and they even have three living mice as a result of their experiments.

Maybe in a few decades we can create artificial sperm for humans to deliver customized DNA?

Via Sciencewrld

Venus flytraps can count, say scientists

venus flytrap

The Venus flytrap’s habit of chowing down on flies and other bugs may be centered around its ability to count — as in how many times it needs to be touched before clamping down on its prey, according to a new study.

While the carnivorous plant does not apply Common Core math solutions to know when it’s meal time, the Venus flytrap has the ability to keep track of the number of times it is touched, allowing it to react on a routine basis to bugs.

Head over to Newsmax for this interesting story.

Astrobiologists Revise the Chances of Finding Advanced ET Civilizations

A rapid increase in our knowledge of alien worlds has dramatically changed the way scientists are interpreting the famous Drake equation. You can find the Cornell astrophysics paper describing this here: A New Empirical Constraint on the Prevalence of Technological Species in the Universe

MIT Technology review has a write up on what this means here.

In the Cornell paper they address the cosmic frequency of technological species. Recent advances in exoplanet studies provide strong constraints on all astrophysical terms in the Drake Equation. Using these and modifying the form and intent of the Drake equation they show that we can set a firm lower bound on the probability that one or more additional technological species have evolved anywhere and at any time in the history of the observable Universe.

The researchers find that as long as the probability that a habitable zone planet develops a technological species is larger than ~10?24, then humanity is not the only time technological intelligence has evolved. This constraint has important scientific and philosophical consequences.

Fermi redux

Weaving nanowire into textiles to create self-heating garments

 nano-wires

From Technology.org:

To stay warm when temperatures drop outside, we heat our indoor spaces — even when no one is in them. But scientists have now developed a novel nanowire coating for clothes that can both generate heat and trap the heat from our bodies better than regular clothes. They report on their technology, which could help us reduce our reliance on conventional energy sources, in the ACS journal Nano Letters.

Follow the link to read more at Technology.org

New Clock Keeps Perfect Time for 5Billion Years

At the heart of this new clock is the element strontium. Inside a small chamber, the strontium atoms are suspended in a lattice of crisscrossing laser beams. Researchers then give them a little ping, like ringing a bell. The strontium vibrates at an incredibly fast frequency. It’s a natural atomic metronome ticking out teeny, teeny fractions of a second.

Listen to the NPR story…

NASA: Astronauts May Hibernate For Mars Trip

NASA

NASA is looking for ways to reduce the cost of sending humans to Mars. Their study explores dramatically cutting the cost of a human expedition to Mars by putting the astronauts into a deep sleep called “torpor” that would use existing medical procedures to reduce astronauts’ metabolic functions. Torpor can also occur naturally in cases of hypothermia.

Blended with intravenous feeding, a crew could be in a state of hibernation for the transit to Mars, which at best would be 180 days each-way.

Check out Discovery News for more details.

U.S. Astronaut Leroy Chiao: America Should Embrace China For Mars Missions

Leroy Chiao

In a short Q&A interview with Forbes Magazine, Chinese-American astronaut Leroy Chiao advocates embracing China, rather than shunning it, in the new space race to Mars . He also talks about the recent spying charges USA and China are batting back and forth and what that should mean wrt better cooperation in space.

Leroy also touches on the current Russia/USA relations and gives a little insight into the impact it’s having on the shared space exploration efforts onboard the International Space Station.

I totally agree with Leroy on the China+USA collaboration to get to Mars. We’re both highly motivated countries regarding space exploration. China in particular may be willing to foot more of the $$$/RMB cost if there’s more sharing of technology between us. I think we stand a better chance of pulling off this huge effort working together, rather than in isolation.

Head on over to Forbes for the interview.

Check out Leroy’s personal site with videos he’s appeared in, links to his op-eds and more.

Huge waves measured for first time in Arctic Ocean

As the climate warms and sea ice retreats, the North is changing. An ice-covered expanse now has a season of increasingly open water that is predicted to extend across the whole Arctic Ocean before the middle of this century. Storms thus have the potential to create Arctic swell – huge waves that could add a new and unpredictable element to the region.

A University of Washington researcher made the first study of waves in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and detected house-sized waves during a September 2012 storm. The results were recently published in Geophysical Research Letters.

“As the Arctic is melting, it’s a pretty simple prediction that the additional open water should make waves,” said lead author Jim Thomson, an oceanographer with the UW Applied Physics Laboratory.

Read the rest of the article from University of Washington, originally reported by Hannah Hickey

Jane Austin, Game Theorist

Jane Austin 

Jane Austin, a game theorist? Oh yes, apparently she was exhibiting in her stories some of the traits we value in game theory today…and this is 100+ years before the concept became science.

The Freaknomics podcast talks to Michael Chwe.

Michael Chwe is an associate professor of political science at UCLA whose research centers on game theory and, as he puts it, “its applications to social movements and macroeconomics and violence — and this latest thing is about its applications maybe to literature.”

The literature in question? The novels of Jane Austen. Chwe discovered that Austen’s novels are full of strategic thinking, decision analysis, and other tools that would later come to be prized by game theorists like those as the RAND Corporation just after World War II.

 

Old Bones Found Along Rail Line Yield Secrets Of The Black Death

human bones

Black death was not spread by rat fleas, say researchers.

Evidence from skulls in east London shows plague had to have been airborne to spread so quickly.

From the AP:

You can learn a lot from a tooth.

Molars taken from skeletons unearthed by work on a new London railway line are revealing secrets of the medieval Black Death — and of its victims.

This week, Don Walker, an osteologist with the Museum of London, outlined the biography of one man whose ancient bones were found by construction workers under London’s Charterhouse Square: He was breast-fed as a baby, moved to London from another part of England, had bad tooth decay in childhood, grew up to work as a laborer, and died in early adulthood from the bubonic plague that ravaged Europe in the 14th century.