April 29, 2014
Pointing Out The Obvious

Pointing Out The Obvious

“If you were to cross paths with one of your farming ancestors (circa 7,500 to 2,000 B.C.), he’d shove you to the ground, kick sand in your face, and jog off into the sunset with your mate slung over his shoulder. And even with somebody else’s partner slung over his other shoulder, you’d probably never catch up to him. Such has been our musculoskeletal decline in only a handful of millennia.”

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October 22, 2013
Why Humans Need Sleep

A team of researchers at the University of Rochester may have identified the physiological reason for why humans need sleep. Turns out, our brains are basically taking out the trash. More or less.

A new study has found that the cleanup system in the…

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May 6, 2013
Nightmare Fuel, Shark EditionSay what? 
Shark embryos cannibalize their littermates in the womb, with the largest embryo eating…View Post

Nightmare Fuel, Shark Edition

Say what?

Shark embryos cannibalize their littermates in the womb, with the largest embryo eating…

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August 19, 2012
“Legitimate Rape”

Rep. Todd Akin, the newly-christened GOP Senate nominee in Missouri, said in a Sunday interview that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy. From the Washington Post:

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in a clip posted to YouTube by the Democratic super PAC American Bridge. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin added: “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

He later apologized for his ridiculously stupid remarks, but said he stands by his belief that abortion, even in the case of pregnancy resulting from rape, should never be allowed.

I’m still baffled by the notion of “legitimate rape” and the ways in which a female body can shut down a pregnancy when that happens — probably with the biological off switch. Regardless of his beliefs, do we really want someone in a political power of position who doesn’t even know the fundamentals of biology?

July 24, 2012
The Miracle of the Sea Turtle

Watch the miraculous journey of infant sea turtles as these tiny animals run the gauntlet of predators and harsh conditions. Then, in numbers, see how human behavior has made their tough lives even more challenging. The lesson is don’t be jerks to sea turtles dude.

Lesson by Scott Gass as part of TED, animation by Veronica Wallenberg and Johan Sonestedt. [via explore]

July 23, 2012
Artificial Jellyfish Built From Rat Cells

This is not science fiction: “Bioengineers have made an artificial jellyfish using silicone and muscle cells from a rat’s heart. The synthetic creature, dubbed a medusoid, looks like a flower with eight petals. When placed in an electric field, it pulses and swims exactly like its living counterpart.”

July 12, 2012
Rare Photos of Lions Attacking a Hippo

Photographer Andrew Schoeman captured a rare encounter in 2006 between two male lions and a young hippopotamus at South Africa’s Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve.

Sabi Sands is part of the larger Kruger National Park ecosystem, and of the 4,000 kills by large carnivores that occurred at Kruger between 1988 and 2000, only one was a hippo killed by lions. Further, between 1933 and 1966 there were 46,181 kills by carnivores — only six of which were hippos killed by lions. Four of those had occurred during a severe drought, when food was scarce.

Experts think the young hippo in this battle might have been ill, making it an easy target for the lions. Eventually, the hippo lost his fight and was drowned in the river by the two lions.

July 10, 2012
Watch This Clam Eat Salt

This is at once the most fascinating video and the most repulsive video I’ve seen in a long time. At the same time, all I can think about is how tasty that clam would be steamed in white wine and garlic and drizzled with drawn butter. [via kottke]

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July 9, 2012
All Glory to the Hypnosquid!

Michael Bok, a graduate student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, filmed a video of a dead Longfin Inshore Squid (Loligo pealeii). Amazingly, the squid’s still-active chromatophores could be seen expanding and contracting, so Bok set the footage to  Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major” to hypnotic effect.

Chromatophores, pigment-filled cells controlled by the animal’s muscles, are responsible for manipulating a squid’s changing color patterns. Who needs art when you have biology? [via io9]

June 15, 2012
A Honeybee Sting

UC Davis Communications Specialist Kathy Keatley Garvey, who works in the Department of Entomology, says she has taken a million photographs of bees in her lifetime, but none quite as amazing as when a honeybee stung her friend.

Garvey managed to snap four photos of the sting, including the one above showing the bee’s abdominal tissue bridging the stinger and the bee. I suppose that’s why bees die after stinging someone?

"As far as I know, nobody’s been able to record anything like this," Garvey told the, aptly-named, Sacramento Bee. Unsurprisingly, the photo won the first-place gold feature photo award in an Association for Communication Excellence competition. [via highdefinite]

April 13, 2012
Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Discovered

McMaster University researchers discovered the bacteria in an underground cave isolated for more than four million years.

“It changes everything we knew about antibiotics and antibiotic resistance,” says Hazel Barton, associate professor of biology at the University of Akron, who teamed with Gerry Wright, scientific director of McMaster’s Institute for Infectious Disease Research, on the study.

“We think antibiotic resistance has appeared because we use antibiotics in the clinic,” said Barton. “But if you go to a site where the bacteria haven’t been exposed to any antibiotics, they turn out to be resistant to almost every drug we use in the clinic. That suggests resistance is not something that has emerged in the 20th century but something that has been hard-wired into bacteria for millions and potentially longer years.”

The cave is a starved environment, forcing bacteria to constantly fight each other and resist attacks.

“Antibiotics are chemical weapons between the bacteria,” she explains. “One organism might be scavenging a nutrient and another organism wants it, so it makes an antibiotic to kill that organism and take its nutrients. Resistance comes about to resist that chemical attack and survive.”

That sound you just heard was my mind exploding.

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