Made in Mexico: Domesticated Sunflowers


New evidence confirms that the sunflower was domesticated in Mexico more than 4,600 years ago, contrary to the widely held belief that it was converted into a food crop only in the Mississippi Valley. Researchers use to believe Spanish conquistadors were responsible for bringing domesticated sunflowers to Mexico from the north. But genetic research on ancient seeds found at formerly inhabited sites indicate that indigenous people in different parts of Mexico were using sunflowers 1800 years before being conquered by the Spaniards.

LA Times has the story.

Med/Sci News Links 5-3-08


U.S. Congress bans genetic discrimination

Fully automated anesthesia

A new anti-evolution push

Surgery for backward, upside-down feet

Exoskeleton industry gears up

Living artificial kidneys

Plastic blood cells

Fetal cells may protect mom against cancer

Women’s voices are sexier during fertility peaks

Magician holds his breath for 17 minutes

Flowers bring wasps to orgasm

Testosterone makes female birds better fighters but worse parents

Nat. Geographic: Next Decade Will Be Cooler

Global Warming

Cooler climate may hit N.America and Europe Next Decade

If National Geographic prints it, it must be gospel.

A new forecasting model, based on past and present sea surface temperatures, suggests the imminent onset of a cool-down cycle for currents in both the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific.

Of course, it could turn out to be temporary with following decades getting warmer, but it’ll be hard to train people to prepare for heat tomorrow when it’s cool today.

The Holy Nanochip

Nanochip Quran

The smallest copy of the Quran in the world has been on display at The Bride Show this week drawing crowds of visitors to see one of the most fascinating and technologically advanced products set into spectacular pieces of jewelry.

These little books have 10,000 lines of text, are etched onto sapphire and spans 5.8mm by 9mm in size. This tiny bible of Islam is being marketed in small numbers to brides and grooms to adorn themselves on the ‘big day’.

Possible New Element Could Rewrite Textbooks


Recently, an international team of researchers bombarded each nucleus from a large pile of thorium through a mass spectrometer in search of a previously undiscovered superheavy element.

Lo and behold, while the most abundant isotopes found were in fact thorium, they also had a few hits of something with atomic weight of 292 which they believe equates to an atomic number of 122.

Up ’til now, 122 was a theoretical element that scientists suspected should be there but hadn’t been discovered nor created artificially. The temporary name assigned to 122 is “ununbibium,” or “one-two-two-bium.”

The big brains on campus believe ununbibium has a half-life of about 100 million years!

Time to update the periodic table, folks.

Flowers to be Planted on the Moon


It’s Pravda, take it with a grain of salt:

Scientists of Ukrainian Academy of Sciences Natalya Kozirovska and Irina Zayec proved it possible to plant herbs on the Moon. During the experiment they managed to plant marigold on the soil, identical to the Moon regolite.

Scientists imitated the Moon soil scientists took grind mineral anorthosite. This magmetic rock is nothing like fertile soil. In this rock flowers couldn’t survive for a long time. But as soon as certain bacteria were added, the plants revived and started blooming. Bacteria process magmetic rock, providing flowers with necessary minerals like kalium.

Skype 3.8 for Windows Gold Release

2 mobiles

Production version of Skype 3.8 for Windows is now available.

Start downloading it now

The newly released build brings you the following changes:

  • change: Updated Extras manager to version
  • change: Firefox plugin updated to version
  • change: Internet Explorer plugin updated to version
  • bugfix: Account creation without a valid email address was not communicated correctly
  • bugfix: Skype occasionally crashed on startup when some specific sound cards were set as windows default
  • bugfix: Skype did not always go to “Away” and “Not Available” status automatically
  • bugfix: After locking the screen, video froze or went blank
  • bugfix: When user was not able to connect he was forwarded to wrong webpage
  • bugfix: Windows Vista screensaver was not disabled during video call
  • bugfix: Any link containing “+” was not clickable in a chat
  • bugfix: Skype crashed when set web cookies got damaged
  • bugfix: Video resolution did not scale up correctly in some instances
  • bugfix API: App2App transfers were disabled when File Transfer was disabled
  • All localizations updated