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Orphan Black is Back

Clones Are People Too: The Science and Science Fiction of BBC America’s Orphan Black. BBC America's science fiction series Orphan Black has returned for a second season, with Tatiana Maslany reprising her extraordinary performance playing half a dozen different clone characters. Meanwhile, in the real world, scientists have created cloned embryonic stem cells from the DNA of two adult humans. [Previously]
posted by homunculus on Apr 26, 2014 - 66 comments

De-extinction

The Mammoth Cometh. "Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening — and it’s going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad." [Previously, Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 27, 2014 - 74 comments

Get familiar with our phylogeny

Organisms Do Evolve. An evolution-themed parody of "Wrecking Ball" (possibly nsfw) by Carin Bondar.
posted by homunculus on Jan 14, 2014 - 12 comments

Mouseunculus

Mouseunculus: How The Brain Draws A Little You. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jul 25, 2013 - 16 comments

Does success spell doom for Homo sapiens?

State of the Species: Will the unprecedented success of Homo sapiens lead to an unavoidable downfall? [Via]
posted by homunculus on Oct 28, 2012 - 46 comments

Hacking the President’s DNA

Hacking the President’s DNA. "The U.S. government is surreptitiously collecting the DNA of world leaders, and is reportedly protecting that of Barack Obama. Decoded, these genetic blueprints could provide compromising information. In the not-too-distant future, they may provide something more as well—the basis for the creation of personalized bioweapons that could take down a president and leave no trace."
posted by homunculus on Oct 26, 2012 - 45 comments

Empire of Evolution

Evolution Right Under Our Noses. "A small but growing number of field biologists study urban evolution — the biological changes that cities bring to the wildlife that inhabits them." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jul 26, 2011 - 42 comments

Animals

The Creature Connection: Our love for animals can be traced to our capacity to infer the mental states of others, which archaeological evidence suggests emerged more than 50,000 ago. This article is part of a NYTimes series on the relationship between humans and the animals we raise. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Mar 18, 2011 - 21 comments

Kurzweil vs. Myers

Ray Kurzweil: Reverse-Engineering of Human Brain Likely by 2030. PZ Myers: Ray Kurzweil does not understand the brain.
posted by homunculus on Aug 18, 2010 - 195 comments

Adaptation to High Altitude in Tibet

Tibetans May Be Fastest Evolutionary Adapters Ever. "A group of scientists in China, Denmark and the U.S. recently documented the fastest genetic change observed in humans. According to their findings, Tibetan adaption to high altitude might have taken just 3,000 years. That's a flash, in terms of evolutionary time, but it's one that's in dispute."
posted by homunculus on Jul 2, 2010 - 12 comments

Misunderstanding Darwin

Misunderstanding Darwin: Natural selection’s secular critics get it wrong. Ned Block and Philip Kitcher review Jerry Fodor's (previously) and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini's book What Darwin Got Wrong. Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini respond: “Misunderstanding Darwin”: An Exchange.
posted by homunculus on Mar 20, 2010 - 62 comments

Discovering bacteria's amazing communication system

The secret, social lives of bacteria. "Bonnie Bassler discovered that bacteria 'talk' to each other, using a chemical language that lets them coordinate defense and mount attacks. The find has stunning implications for medicine, industry -- and our understanding of ourselves." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Apr 10, 2009 - 52 comments

The Spark of Life

Sparks of Life. "That the electric 'spark of life' figured prominently in debates over the nature of life in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries is well known. Less well known is the fact that prior to this period, gunpowder was often identified with the substances that were necessary to life, if not as a vitalistic spirit, then as an essential element in the animation of the body. The idea of a spark of life went back to ancient times, likening living beings to the glowing embers of a fire. In the Old Testament, for example, the wise woman of Tekoah begs for the life of her son, pleading 'they will stamp out my last live ember.' But from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, this vital flame was often equated with gunpowder. There was fire in the blood: not electric, but pyrotechnic fire."
posted by homunculus on Feb 20, 2009 - 11 comments

Homo Evolutis

Juan Enriquez: Tech evolution will eclipse the financial crisis. "Even as mega-banks topple, Juan Enriquez says the big reboot is yet to come. But don't look for it on your ballot -- or in the stock exchange. It'll come from science labs, and it promises keener bodies and minds. Our kids are going to be ... different."
posted by homunculus on Feb 18, 2009 - 41 comments

Invasional Meltdown

What Invasive Species Are Trying to Tell Us. "Walking snakeheads, carnivorous snails, and the superpredator from the reef: The invasion has begun." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 16, 2009 - 46 comments

Evolution and Emancipation

Darwin the abolitionist. "The theory of evolution is regarded as a triumph of disinterested scientific reason. Yet, on the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species, new research reveals that Darwin was driven to the idea of common descent by a great moral cause." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 8, 2009 - 24 comments

The Genomic Self

My Genome, My Self: Steven Pinker considers what we can expect from personal genomics. Searching for Intelligence in Our Genes: Carl Zimmer looks at the hunt to learn about the role of genes in intelligence.
posted by homunculus on Jan 10, 2009 - 6 comments

Islam and Evolution

Bracing for Islamic Creationism (PDF). "To avoid a vast rejection of evolution in the Muslim world, scientists can present the theory as the bedrock of biology and can stress its practical applications." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Dec 17, 2008 - 47 comments

Otoliths

The Orienting Stone. "A snowy white stone that gives shape to the universe: as it happens, we all carry within our skulls the vestige of such a thing, a kind of existentially reversed qibla (this one perspectival, the other metaphysical) that gives us our sense of being at the center of things, the sense that we are upright at the origin point of a three-dimensional space..." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Dec 3, 2008 - 22 comments

The gene is in an identity crisis

Now: The Rest of the Genome. "Only 1 percent of the genome is made up of classic genes. Scientists are exploring the other 99 percent and uncovering new secrets and new questions."
posted by homunculus on Nov 11, 2008 - 13 comments

Clones produced from mice frozen for 16 years

Production of healthy cloned mice from bodies frozen at −20°C for 16 years. Mammoths next?
posted by homunculus on Nov 4, 2008 - 22 comments

How We Evolve

How We Evolve: "A growing number of scientists argue that human culture itself has become the foremost agent of biological change, making us — for the past 10,000 years or so — the inadvertent architects of our own future selves." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Oct 9, 2008 - 49 comments

New Reef Creatures Found in Australia

Hundreds of New Reef Creatures Found in Australia. Hundreds of new marine creatures have been discovered in three Australian reefs by CReefs, a census of coral reefs which is part of the Census of Marine Life, a ten-year initiative to assess global ocean diversity.
posted by homunculus on Sep 19, 2008 - 12 comments

The origin of the anus

Getting to the bottom of evolution: Genetic study investigates the origin of the anus.
posted by homunculus on Sep 18, 2008 - 52 comments

Why there are still monkeys

Why are there still monkeys?
posted by homunculus on Aug 25, 2008 - 110 comments

Superbugs

Superbugs. "The new generation of resistant infections is almost impossible to treat."
posted by homunculus on Aug 9, 2008 - 55 comments

Stem Cell Breakthrough

Scientists report a breakthrough in stem cell production: Stem cells created from ALS patient and used to make neurons. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 1, 2008 - 39 comments

Lateral gene transfer and the history of life

Festooning The Tree Of Life. Carl Zimmer describes new research on lateral gene transfer which makes the Tree of Life look more like a Gordian Knot.
posted by homunculus on Jul 20, 2008 - 15 comments

Translucent Creatures

Photo Gallery: Translucent Creatures. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jul 9, 2008 - 25 comments

Journey to the center of the brain

Mapping the Structural Core of Human Cerebral Cortex. A new study of the connections in the brain has identified the brain's central hub.
posted by homunculus on Jul 4, 2008 - 14 comments

Octopus

How Smart Is the Octopus? [Via Pharyngula]
posted by homunculus on Jun 24, 2008 - 60 comments

Yale Environment 360

Yale Environment 360 is an online environment magazine from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. It has a lot of great material, like "Biodiversity in the Balance" by Carl Zimmer and "Carbon’s Burden on the World’s Oceans" by Carl Safina and Marah J. Hardt. [Via Zimmer's blog The Loom]
posted by homunculus on Jun 18, 2008 - 6 comments

What Is A Species?

What Is A Species? "To this day, scientists struggle with that question. A better definition can influence which animals make the endangered list."
posted by homunculus on Jun 8, 2008 - 11 comments

Suspending Life

Suspending Life. "If almost every species on Earth was killed some 250 million years ago, how did our ancient ancestors survive and evolve into us?"
posted by homunculus on Apr 18, 2008 - 31 comments

Regrowing Limbs

Can People Regenerate Body Parts? "Progress on the road to regenerating major body parts, salamander-style, could transform the treatment of amputations and major wounds."
posted by homunculus on Mar 18, 2008 - 37 comments

Children's Hospital Boston

Interactive Features at the Children's Hospital Boston's Website. [Via Mind Hacks.]
posted by homunculus on Dec 17, 2007 - 4 comments

Why are evolutionary biologists bringing back extinct deadly viruses?

Darwin's Surprise. "There may be no biological process more complicated than the relationships that viruses have with their hosts. Could it be that their persistence made it possible for humans to thrive?" [Via Disinformation.]
posted by homunculus on Nov 27, 2007 - 63 comments

Surrealistic Lilliputian Realm

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.
posted by homunculus on Nov 20, 2007 - 20 comments

Swarm

From Ants to People, an Instinct to Swarm. Carl Zimmer looks at the work of Iain Couzin. [Via The Loom.]
posted by homunculus on Nov 13, 2007 - 17 comments

A Profound Sense of Time

A Profound Sense of Time. "PZ Myers on the process that prompts the growth of all vertebrates from embryos to unspecialized segments to multicellular animals."
posted by homunculus on Oct 20, 2007 - 12 comments

Life

The Meaning of Life. "We create life, we search for it, we manipulate and revere it. Is it possible that we haven't yet defined the term (PDF)?" [Via The Loom.]
posted by homunculus on Sep 6, 2007 - 43 comments

Video Ergo Sum

Virtual Out-of-Body Experience. Using two procedures to deliberately scramble a person's visual and tactile senses, neuroscientists are able to induce "out-of-body" experiences in people. The effect is the same as the 'rubber hand illusion', but extends the effect to the whole body instead of just one limb (you can try the hand illusion for yourself).
posted by homunculus on Aug 24, 2007 - 11 comments

Genetic discrimination

U.S. military practices genetic discrimination in denying benefits. "Those medically discharged with genetic diseases are left without disability or retirement benefits. Some are fighting back."
posted by homunculus on Aug 20, 2007 - 43 comments

Prime Vertebrae

Prime Vertebrae. PZ Myers discusses the critical difference between having six or seven cervical vertebrae.
posted by homunculus on Aug 13, 2007 - 15 comments

Evolution and Cooperation

In Games, an Insight Into the Rules of Evolution. Carl Zimmer writes about Martin Nowak (previously mentioned here), a mathematical biologist who uses games to understand how cooperation evolved. [Via MindHacks.]
posted by homunculus on Aug 11, 2007 - 4 comments

Embryo-free Embryonic Stem-Cells

Simple switch turns cells embryonic. "Researchers have finally hit the jackpot: Embryo-free embryonic stem-cells!"
posted by homunculus on Jun 7, 2007 - 55 comments

Encyclopedia of Life

The Encyclopedia of Life project will create a compendium of every aspect of the biosphere. It aims to compile data on all of Earth's 1.8 million known species on one Web site, and will include species descriptions, pictures, maps, videos, sound, sightings by amateurs, and links to entire genomes and scientific journal papers. E. O. Wilson is getting his wish. [Via BB.]
posted by homunculus on May 9, 2007 - 31 comments

A Pliocene love that dare not speak its name?

How Do You Get Crabs From A Gorilla? One of many little evolutionary cases Carl Zimmer tackles in The Parasite Files.
posted by homunculus on Apr 18, 2007 - 28 comments

Sea squirts are totally sweet

Sea Squirt Regrows Entire Body from One Blood Vessel. Most famous as the creature that settles down and eats its own brain (though that is not exactly correct), it appears the humble sea squirt has spectacular regenerative abilities as well, thanks to regeneration niches packed with stem cells. All glory to the sea squirt!
posted by homunculus on Mar 6, 2007 - 19 comments

Stem cell research guidelines

The National Academies have finally released suggested guidelines for research with embryonic stem cells and chimeras.
posted by homunculus on May 3, 2005 - 3 comments

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