Robbing of bees has become an increasingly problematic crime as bee populations dwindle due to Colony Collapse Disorder and the price of a healthy hive rises. A swarm of thefts occur around this season every year in California as cells of thieves extract hives from almond orchards in the Central Valley, where 90% of all managed bees are brought every year. [more inside]
Last April, motivated by rumors of a Chinese paper published the next month that physically demonstrated the technical feasibility of editing human germline DNA with CRISPR by successfully modifying human embryos, a coalition of well regarded scientists assembled to address this fundamentally new ability and they called for an international summit. It was to be billed as a new Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA for a new age in order to lead a new global conversation on questions of whether and how to control human inheritance, which could only be dreamed of 40 years ago. This is a fundamental departure from the non-inheritable gene engineering with CRISPR covered on the blue recently. Thus, from December 1-3, the International Summit on Human Gene Editing, held as a collaborative effort between U.S. National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and The Royal Society, met to discuss the future of this technology and has come out with a clear consensus statement. [more inside]
V Martineau Illustration: The Miracle of Trees, Sciencia Illustrations, Levels Of Complexity, Plants, The Paper Birch Tree, Why The Sky Is Far Away [more inside]
Harvard University and XVIVO have come together again (Previouslyw/ a commercial focus, Previouslierw/an Academic focus) to add to the growing series of scientific animations for BioVisions -- Harvard's multimedia lab in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. 'Protein Packing' strives to more accurately depict the molecular chaos in each and every cell, with proteins jittering around in what may seem like random motion. Proteins occupy roughly 40% of the cytoplasm, creating an environment that risks unintentional interaction and aggregation. Via diffusion and motor protein transport, these molecules are directed to sites where they are needed.
Much of this is no doubt inspired by the beautiful art and explained illustrations of David Goodsell, a biologist at Scripps who has been accurately portraying the crowdedness of the cellular landscape for a long time now.[more inside]
Scientists Progress in Quest to Grow Muscle Tissue in Labs - "The researchers are now working on optimizing the growth of human muscle tissue, including finding a way to get blood flow to the tissue, the best source of cells and the best growing medium for the cells."
In this month's issue of Nature, Haruko Obokata and colleagues have made a breakthrough in the field of stem cell research, where they describe a unique cellular reprogramming phenomenon in which skin and blood cells could be converted into stem cells without the need to physically manipulate the nucleus or over-express reprogramming genes. Rather, the researchers subjected them to stress "almost to the point of death", by exposing them to various events including trauma, low oxygen levels and acidic environments. One of these "stressful" situations was simply to bathe the cells in a weak acid solution for about 30 minutes. Within days, the scientists found the cells had not only survived but had also recovered by naturally reverting into a state similar to that of an embryonic stem cell. The research suggests human cells could in future be reprogrammed by the same technique, offering a simpler way to replace damaged cells or grow new organs for sick and injured people. [more inside]
You're at a Broadway or off-Broadway show. Suddenly, a cell phone goes off, or the person next to you starts texting. If you're on stage, you could do what Patti LuPone did at Gypsy. You could write an open letter to the offender. Or, you could do what Kevin Williamson did last night.
The Hidden Life Of the Cell (57:24) There is a battle playing out inside your body right now. It started billions of years ago and it is still being fought in every one of us every minute of every day. It is the story of a viral infection - the battle for the cell. This film reveals the exquisite machinery of the human cell system from within the inner world of the cell itself - from the frenetic membrane surface that acts as a security system for everything passing in and out of the cell, the dynamic highways that transport cargo across the cell and the remarkable turbines that power the whole cellular world to the amazing nucleus housing DNA and the construction of thousands of different proteins all with unique tasks. The virus intends to commandeer this system to one selfish end: to make more viruses. And they will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. Exploring the very latest ideas about the evolution of life on earth and the bio-chemical processes at the heart of every one of us, and revealing a world smaller than it is possible to comprehend, in a story large enough to fill the biggest imaginations.
You may be familiar with molecular movies from my two previous megaposts collecting them, but this extended documentary uses original animation that is collected into a coherent educational narrative and is just so fucking gorgeous. Enjoy.[more inside]
Surrey Satellite Technology's STRaND 1 demonstrates a new generation of satellites built around smartphones. Tossed into orbit on an Indian PSLV, the toaster-sized microsatellite is based on an Android-powered Nexus One that will control the satellite, run apps, take snapshots, and phone home. While the U.K. leads the smartphone space race, NASA is testing its own PhoneSat series of nanosatellite prototypes. The University of Surrey explains how it works in this video.
The comment period for the DRAFT Wireless code [PDF] to address some cellular provider abuses is expiring soon (February 15th). Comments can be made here. Highlights of the draft code include:
- A $50 (or less) monthly cap on incurred fees.
- A limitation of cancellation fees equal to the remaining amount of the prorated incentive amount
- Mandatory unlocking at no cost for non subsidy phones with no waiting period.
- Limits on deposits and non payment cancellations.
- No termination fee, 15 day cooling off period
- Mandatory listing of limits on "unlimited" plans.
Six and a half hours of surgery later, he and his colleagues had dug out small chunks of bone from the woman's eyelid and tissue surrounding her eye, which was scratched but largely intact. The clicks she heard were the bone fragments grinding against one another.
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are a new service from U.S. weather service and FEMA. Starting in June, they will send a text message with a strange tone to your mobile device if you are in range of a Tornado Warning, Tsunami Warning or other major event (in the U.S. only). Major events include "Presidential Alerts." You do not need to sign up. Washington Post Capital Weather Gang has a few more details.
"The Secret Gestural Prehistory of Mobile Devices is cultural anthropology. It seeks to recover those moments of intuitive prehensile dexterity, when the famous and the ordinary alike felt the unconscious desire to occupy their hands for an as yet unknown purpose. Like Roy Neary's obsession with the image of Devil's Tower in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), this gesture was vague, uncanny and compelling. It is the intimation in images of a gestural second nature to come." [more inside]
All I want is to be left alone in my average home... But why do I always feel I'm in the twilight zone?
In August 2011, 35 ACLU affiliates filed 381 requests in 32 states with local law enforcement agencies seeking to uncover when, why and how they are using cell phone location data to track Americans. So how long do American cell phone carriers retain information about your calls, text messages, and data use? According to data gathered by the US Department of Justice, it can be as little as a few days or up to seven years, depending on your provider. (Via / More)
Starting Tuesday, AT&T and T-mobile subscribers will be taking their calls on the subway platforms, and possibly, on the train itself. Subscribers riding along the 14th Street corridor should be able to use their phones on the A, C, E, F, L, M, No. 1, 2 and 3 platforms. There is also expected to be service on the C and E platforms at 23rd Street. It it not clear yet if service will also work between stations, but we're sure we'll all find out soon enough. All stations are expected to be outfitted with cell service by 2016.
Art. 6(2)(c) of Directive 98/44/EC, passed by the EU Parliament and Council back in 1998, ruled that, among other things, "uses of human embryos for industrial or commercial purposes" were to be considered unpatentable because of their being contrary to "ordre public" or morality. After German researcher Prof. Dr. Oliver Bruestle was granted a patent concerning a method for creating nerve precursor cells on the basis of embryonic stem cells, Greenpeace Germany (in German) filed a lawsuit for annulment of the patent. The German Federal Court of Justice then referred to the European Court of Justice the question of whether embryonic stem cell therapy constitutes such a use of human embryos for industrial or commercial purposes, under Directive 98/44/EC. [more inside]
The Cell: An Image Library collects visualizations of single-cell structures, mechanisms and events. (via) [more inside]
The Rolling Shutter Effect: a mobile phone camera is fairly quick, but when the objects you are recording move faster than the scan rate, cool things happen. Mucho previously at MeFi.
With the passing of Executive Order 13505, Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells, in 2009 President Obama expanded federal funding and rescinded George W. Bush's policies that eliminated most federal funding and restricted human embryonic stem cell research to the use of existing, contaminated cell lines. On Monday, federal judge Royce C. Lamberth blocked this new order after protestations from James L. Sherley, a former scientist with the Boston Biomedical Research Institute, and Theresa Deisher, who operates the Ave Maria Biotechnology Company, which aims to do "pro-life" therapeutic research without the "taint of embryonic or electively aborted fetal materials". [more inside]
(Late) Friday Flash Fun: CellCraft. Build and improve a cell, learn how real cells work, and save the Platypus species!
For any who lament not being able to visit the Toonseum's Art Of Akira exhibit (previously), there is a good-sized Flickr set of cells and backgrounds available to explore.
"The ability to design and create new forms of life marks a turning-point in the history of our species and our planet." - Freeman Dyson, on the J.C. Venter Institute's creation of a cell controlled by a synthetic genome. We are now in the business of engineering life.
Interview with Martin Cooper, inventor of the first handheld cellular phone.
Solar power continues to become more economical with every passing month. The price of standard monocrystalline/polycrystalline 210W to 300W modules has halved, from above $3/watt to below $1.70/watt in the past 12 months. The Canadian province of Ontario has become the first location in North America to offer an aggressive feed-in tariff comparable to the feed-in tariffs in Germany and Spain, paying above 80 cents/kWh for power generated by small rooftop photovoltaic installations. The US federal government is also offering massive tax breaks for solar installations as part of the 2009 ARRA act. [more inside]
Cool app lets you zoom in from a coffee bean to a carbon atom, so that you can compare sizes. Along the way, you see a grain of sand, a skin cell and many other tiny things. This is the first time I've ever had a sense of these objects' sizes. Cells are actually bigger than I thought they were. I wish the zoomer would keep going. I want to see some sub-atomic particles on the scale.
31% of households get most or all of their calls on their cell phones. Unfortunately coverage remains problem, particularly indoors. Some rather interesting folk remedies have been suggested, but the preferred solution appears to be your own personal cellular antenna. Trials have been going on for a while now. And with a crystal clear 3G signal in your house, you may just want to skip setting up your own wireless network entirely.
Need a little Tolstoy while you're waiting in line? How about some Mark Twain on the subway? Booksinmyphone puts - surprise! - books in your phone, for free.
In a recent Roundtable on Creative Capitalism hosted by TIME, CK Prahalad, author of "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid" brings to our attention the insight that "the essence of poverty is the assymetry of information" and that this asymmetry was now changing due to the availability and affordability of mobile phones in developing nations. Jeffery Sachs supports him by pointing out that the digital divide was being closed by market forces not civic efforts. Global leader Nokia has already leapt into the breach by opening a Research Center in Nairobi, Kenya in order to develop concepts and products that are of value and relevance for those at the Base of the Pyarmid. The ubiquitious little cellphone has now been spotlighted as a key tool for poverty alleviation, although the debate continues. [previously]
Fascinating 3D renderings of different processes inside of a human body. Yes, the style is quite similar to The Inner Life of The Cell, but this one is different. Dissolving of the pills was definitely entertaining. It would be great if a doctor could comment on the other processes that are displayed.
toneshared is a library of free mobile phone ringtones made by electronica/alternative musicians. From the subtle to the mashed to the downright annoying.
Arthur de Pins. Cheeky French illustrations and animations. Some mildly NSFW.
After recent promising results demonstrating the ability to change mouse skin cells into stem cells, researchers have replicated this change in human skin cells in papers published in Science and Cell (access to full articles requires subscription) . The White House, somehow, is trying to take credit for this. The potential of all this: huge.
The Inner Life of an Intelligently Designed Cell? Remember The Inner Life of a Cell animation (discussed here)? Apparently the Discovery Institute (recently discussed here) is showing it in presentations with a new title and narration, and without attribution.
The son of industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger (creator of the distinct styling of the Apple IIc and subsequent products, as well as founder of frog design) shares memories and photographs (auf Deutsch; Google cache) of Apple's early attempts at an iPhone.
cell mobile phone helped police find the body of missing student Kelly Nolan. "The average citizen is not aware that they are carrying a location-tracking device in their pocket..."
Tappity is a free guide to mobile-friendly sites. From your browser, you can search for or add sites, and rate sites in the database. You can also set up a homepage of favorite links. This is displayed when you navigate to Tappity from your mobile. It's a seemingly simple idea that's been making my train commute fly by.
Are mobile phones wiping out our bees? Electromagnetic waves from cell phones and other sources may be the cause behind the mysterious bee colony collapses in the US and Europe, a serious problem for food crops.
Michael J. Fox makes an impassioned plea(YouTube) to Missouri voters asking them to vote for Claire McCaskill for the us Senate.
Dead Ringers: the Science Museum asks us the question "should we upgrade our mobile phone?" "No" and "no" say the Times and the Observer, but we still do: on average every 18 months. What's the problem? Well it isn't just the lead, arsenic, beryllium and brominated fire-retardant cases (pollutants all) disappearing into our land fills (which are not covered by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive [WEEE] in Europe). Coltan also goes into our phones. It occurs mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and as such our demand for upgrades has been contributing to a war (despite mobile phone companies' claims to the contrary, coltan is not regulated like timber). If we must upgrade, we can at least recycle or hack our old phones.
Cooking Behind Bars. In 1986, upon my arrival at the county jail, my cooking lessons began. There, I witnessed men using empty toothpaste tubes as spoons, and burning toilet paper to heat up coffee or reheat the food served. Complete with recipes.
The Banana Cell Phone Cover - Just in time for Christmas! Hey, it looks like he's talking into a banana.
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