Category Archives: Science

Volcano Eruption in Papua New Guinea

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A visual guide to understand different types of stroke

Ischemic Stroke: The most common type of stroke is known as an ischemic stroke. Nearly nine out of 10 strokes fall into this category. The culprit is a blood clot that obstructs a blood vessel inside the brain. The clot may develop on the spot or travel through the blood from elsewhere in the body. Hemorrhagic Stroke: Hemorrhagic strokes are less common but far more likely to be fatal. They occur when a weakened blood vessel in the brain bursts. … Continue reading

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Researchers find ovarian cancer oncogene in ‘junk DNA’

Over the years researchers have made tremendous strides in the understanding and treatment of cancer by searching genomes for links between genetic alterations and disease. Most of those studies have focused on the portion of the human genome that encodes protein – a fraction that accounts for just 2 percent of human DNA overall. Yet the vast majority of genomic alterations associated with cancer lie outside protein-coding genes, in what traditionally has been derided as “junk DNA.” Researchers today know … Continue reading

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Banked blood grows stiffer with age, study finds

It may look like fresh blood and flow like fresh blood, but the longer blood is stored, the less it can carry oxygen into the tiny microcapillaries of the body, says a new study from University of Illinois researchers. Using advanced optical techniques, the researchers measured the stiffness of the membrane surrounding red blood cells over time. They found that, even though the cells retain their shape and hemoglobin content, the membranes get stiffer, which steadily decreases the cells’ functionality. … Continue reading

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We all live in Laniakea!

Superclusters – regions of space that are densely packed with galaxies – are the biggest structures in the Universe. But scientists have struggled to define exactly where one supercluster ends and another begins. Now, a team based in Hawaii has come up with a new technique that maps the Universe according to the flow of galaxies across space. Redrawing the boundaries of the cosmic map, they redefine our home supercluster and name it Laniakea, which means ‘immeasurable heaven’ in Hawaiian.

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What color is the Sun?


Ask anyone to draw a Sun and they will immediately reach for the yellow crayon. It seems normal. We’ve been using that yellow crayon for the Sun ever since we were little and all we could draw was the crappy front of a house and the Sun smiling in the corner. If we ever needed more evidence, we could just go outside and look at the sun and it definitely appears to be yellow. Thing is, though, that we see … Continue reading

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Neurons in our skin are performing advanced calculations


Researchers from Umeå University in Sweden have been studying a particular class of sensory neurons in the human tactile, or touch, system called ‘first-order neurons’ to discover that they possess some pretty incredible properties. These neurons branch through our skin to record the sensation of touch from many highly sensitive zones on our fingertips, and it’s now been revealed that they’re not just sending signals to the brain indicating that the skin has encountered some kind of object. It turns … Continue reading

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Mystery solved: ‘Sailing stones’ of Death Valley seen in action for the first time

moving stones

Racetrack Playa is home to an enduring Death Valley mystery. Littered across the surface of this dry lake, also called a “playa,” are hundreds of rocks — some weighing as much as 320 kilograms (700 pounds) — that seem to have been dragged across the ground, leaving synchronized trails that can stretch for hundreds of meters. What powerful force could be moving them? Researchers have investigated this question since the 1940s, but no one has seen the process in action … Continue reading

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What’s going on at SciFoo this year?


Thanks to Deskarati’s friend George Ford for pointing out this interesting blog by Dominic Cummings. – Deskarati Dominic recalls his experience at this years SciFoo Camp conference and lists some of the scenarios being discussed: 1) Extinct species are soon going to be brought back to life and the same technology will be used to modify existing species to help prevent them going extinct. 2) CRISPR  – a new gene editing technology – will be used to cure diseases and … Continue reading

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You have a bacterial ‘aura’ that follows you around


Auras belong in the realm of pseudoscience, but microbiologists may have just discovered an element of truth in the concept. Scientists have found a microbial ‘aura’ of unique and identifiable communities of bacteria living on people’s skin and in their homes. These communities follow people whereever they go and leave traces that can be used almost like a fingerprint to determine a person’s movements. The US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago conducted the research … Continue reading

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On this day in 1789 William Herschel discovered Saturn’s sixth-largest moon, Enceladus. The moon’s richly textured surface implies that Enceladus has been tectonically active in (geologically) recent times. Geyser-like jets of water vapor shoot into space from its south pole. Indirect evidence of a large subsurface ocean of water suggests that Enceladus could harbor extraterrestrial life. In Greek mythology Enceladus was one of the Gigantes (Giants), who according to Hesiod, were the offspring of Gaia, born from the blood that fell when Uranus (Sky) … Continue reading

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‘Gut Reaction’ – Part 2

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A whole organ has been grown inside an animal for the first time


Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have taken a group of cells from a mouse embryo and grown them into a fully functional thymus, an immune system organ, in an adult mouse. This is the first time a whole organ has been grown from scratch inside an animal, and the findings, which have been published in Nature Cell Biology, could pave the way for alternatives to organ transplants. The thymus is an organ that’s found near the heart … Continue reading

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‘Gut Reaction’ Part 1

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Scientists show type-1 and type-2 diabetes are caused by same underlying mechanism

Work by scientists at the Universities of Manchester and Auckland suggest that both major forms of diabetes are the result of the same mechanism. The findings, published today in the FASEB Journal (20 August), provide compelling evidence that juvenile-onset or type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetes are both caused by the formation of toxic clumps of a hormone called amylin. The results, based on 20 years’ work in New Zealand, suggest that type-1 and type-2 diabetes could both be slowed down … Continue reading

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Pulmonary alveoli seen under the microscope

An alveolus (plural: alveoli, from Latin alveolus, “little cavity”) is an anatomical structure that has the form of a hollow cavity. Found in the lung parenchyma, the pulmonary alveoli are the terminal ends of the respiratory tree, which outcrop from either alveolar sacs or alveolar ducts, which are both sites of gas exchange with the blood as well. Via Facebook.

Posted in Biology, Human Body | 3 Comments

Mouth bacteria can change its diet

Bacteria inside your mouth drastically change how they act when you’re diseased, according to research using supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC). Scientists say these surprising findings might lead to better ways to prevent or even reverse the gum disease periodontitis, diabetes, and Crohn’s disease. Marvin Whiteley, professor of molecular biosciences and director of the Center for Infectious Disease at The University of Texas at Austin, led the study published in April 2014 in the journal mBio. “What … Continue reading

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Stunning image from Saturn

This stunning image of the Saturn system was taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. This one shows the planet’s third largest moon, Rhea, in conjunction with one of the planet’s small, inner moons, Epimetheus. Credit NASA

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How bacteria “talk”

Thanks again to Phil Krause for pointing out this terrific TED talk by Bonnie Bassler 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.

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Injected bacteria found to reduce tumors in rats, dogs and humans

Bacteria found in soil called Clostridium novyi (C. novyi) is known to cause tissue-damaging infections. But researchers from John Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a modified version that triggers an anti-tumor response in rats, dogs and humans. The breakthrough could complement existing methods to provide better targeted treatment of cancerous growths. Led by associate professor of oncology, Shibin Zhou, the team first began investigating the potential of C. noyvi more than 10 years ago. The research was inspired by … Continue reading

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