Bacteria have a Hobo Code. Next month's Science News carries a pretty interesting overview about the cutting edge of microbial science, including recent studies showing "in many mammals a microbial community ferments various sweats, oozes and excretions into distinctive scents that reveal age, health and much more to knowing noses in a select social circle". That's right, microbes are posting status updates to each other through smells, sharing with other microbes what they've learned about host animals.
One piece of paper. "It was an experiment to see how long it could last. Draw a comic, rub it off, and draw another over the top. Once it had finished, a second experiment was started on another piece of paper. Current data - one piece of paper can survive an average of 65 cartoons being drawn on it" [via mefi projects]
Nova Science Now recently ran a segment on lightning (quicktime, real, and windows video here). I figured that subject was over and done with shortly after Franklin flew a kite, but it turns out we don't really know exactly what causes a bolt to start. The coolest part of the segment was these researchers in Florida. Scientists know how hard it was to observe, monitor, and even find lightning bolts, so these guys built their own rig. High-powered model rockets attached to a couple thousand feet of wire, which is grounded to larger metal structures on the ground. The result? Shoot a rocket into a storm cloud and you get instant lightning you can count on, measure, and control.
The Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence (PDF). A fascinating new theory from physicist turned renegade evolutionary theorist, Gregory Cochran (see this Atlantic Monthly cover story on Cochran's already path-breaking germ theory of disease), and genetic anthropologist Henry Harpending, proposes that a unique evolutionary history, and a number of improbably clustered neurologically related genetic diseases among Ashkenazi Jews could help explain their incredible intelligence test scores and extraordinary intellectual achievements (e.g. Ashkenazi Jews are 3% of the American population but win 27% of the Nobel Prizes). The paper is set for publication in the Journal of Biosocial Science, and is already getting major press in the New York Times and The Economist. Does the recent Harvard fracas over Larry Summers herald a new "arms race" in academic debate about genetics, man and society for the 21st century? [compelling post by Jason]
Today is World AIDS Day, and to commemorate this event (and the day without art and day without weblogs), I'll be posting AIDS/HIV-related links and I ask you all to do the same. A good information resource for today is the CDC's FAQ on AIDS. And I bet you've never seen the virus' life cycle before.
When you reach an error page on this manic-depressive server's site, you get some very interesting results. This is not your typical 404, it's a whole lot more.
The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Looks like this weekend will be the time to go outside and get that killer tan you always wanted.
As the Human Genome Project gets closer to unlocking the entire genetic code that makes up human beings, Clinton is urging researchers to keep it open to all. Apparently many pharmaceutical companies have patents on chunks of the code and uses for it. The government funded research continues to be posted to the web, hopefully the entire database will be available when they're done.
We are not alone.... a new planet outside of our solar system was found today. It's only a matter of time before the little green men come down to greet us.
Although this is dated, it is still interesting. The long-story-short is someone left some spam out on a plate to see if would ever decompose. This person also left out other items for comparison. Check out the archived experiments for past projects and notes.
NASA scientists are successfully growing heart tissue in bioreactors. Need a kidney? No prob, need a heart? Got one. With tech like this, I should probably take up smoking!