Category Archives: Science

‘Professor’ Nico Rosberg explains Mercedes F1 science

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg explains the physics of Formula 1′s new turbo engines and compressors to BBC Sport’s Lee McKenzie.The German, who won the Australian Grand Prix on the opening weekend of the 2014 season, takes a keen interest in the sport’s science and technology in order to gain an advantage over his opponents. However, Rosberg says the new technology means he has a lot more to think about when he is behind the wheel.

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The Planets to Scale

planets to scale
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Robert Hooke Got An Ant Drunk For Science

Robert Hooke was a scientist, artist, and nemesis to Isaac Newton. In his spare time, he engaged in one of the most celebrated science art projects. To do so, he was forced to get an ant drunk. Yes, really. The artistic and scientific project in question was the Micrographia, a book of detailed and beautiful drawings of insects and other living things. It presented the bugs and mosses that people saw every day in a new light. Rather than being … Continue reading

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Knowing what to keep and what to trash: How an enzyme distinguishes cellular messages

Every once in a while, we are forced to sort that stack of papers on the kitchen counter. Interspersed between the expired coupons and dozens of takeout menus are important documents like your car insurance or electric bill. So it isn’t an option to simply drop it all in the trash at once – you need to read through the messages to be sure that you don’t lose vital information. In the cell, proteins similarly read through messages to distinguish … Continue reading

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Groovy Baby!


This is what the grooves of a vinyl record look like under an electron microscope. Image: Chris Supranowitz (

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Ebola: How easily do germs spread on planes?

The risks of catching an infection from an ill passenger are not as high as you would think, says Christine Pearson, a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. “It’s not any more dangerous than any place where you are in touch with lots of people – like a shopping mall food court for example. John Oxford, a virologist at Queen Mary University, London, agrees. He points out that the aeroplane ventilation goes from … Continue reading

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What is the universe expanding into?

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When Your Skin Smells Sandalwood Oil, It Heals Itself

Your nose isn’t the only part of your body capable of taking a whiff. In the past decade, scientists have discovered olfactory receptors lingering in strange places—in sperm, in the spine, and even in the kidneys. Now researchers in Hanns Hatt’s lab at Germany’s Ruhr University Bochum have identified scent receptors somewhere much more accessible: the skin. What’s more, these receptors appear to be involved in healing. Here’s Bob Roeher, writing for New Scientist: They found that Sandalore—a synthetic sandalwood oil … Continue reading

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Remote tribe members enter another village, catch flu

Advocates for indigenous tribes are worried over incidents last month when some members of one of the last uncontacted tribes in the Peru/Brazil region, across borders, left their home in Peru and entered the village across the border, making contact for the first time with people in a settled Ashaninka community. The seven were sickened, alarming researchers about the risk of how diseases may decimate previously isolated peoples with no immunities. Responding to the risks of disease transmission, a government … Continue reading

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How an Embryo Grows

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Why Are Revolutionary Scientists Young?

Einstein, Newton, Darwin, and Hawking are just some of the young scientists that have profoundly shaped science. Why is youth a key element in a revolutionary scientist. Note: this vlog contains a fair deal of conjecture. I invite healthy discussion and debate.

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Africa builds ‘Great Green Wall’ of trees to improve farmlands


Stretching over a space of 9,400,00 square kilometres and covering most of North Africa, the Sahara is the largest non-polar desert in the world. And it’s getting bigger. According to the US’s Public Education Center website, the effects of climate change are causing the Sahara to creep into bordering countries such as Senegal, Mauritania, and Nigeria, which poses a serious threat to their farmlands and agricultural productivity. The Guardian reports that by 2025, two-thirds of Africa’s arable land could be … Continue reading

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Newly-found gut virus ‘abundant in humans’

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown virus living in the human gut, according to a study in Nature Communications. Exploring genetic material found in intestinal samples, the international team uncovered the CrAssphage virus. They say the virus could influence the behaviour of some of the most common bacteria in our gut. Experts say these types of viruses, called bacteriophages, have been shown to play a role in chronic diseases. Led by a team at San Diego State University in the … Continue reading

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This tree produces 40 different types of fruit


An art professor from Syracuse University in the US, Van Aken grew up on a family farm before pursuing a career as an artist, and has combined his knowledge of the two to develop his incredible Tree of 40 Fruit. In 2008, Van Aken learned that an orchard at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station was about to be shut down due to a lack of funding. This single orchard grew a great number of heirloom, antique, and native … Continue reading

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The 20 Amino Acids

amino acids
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Aogoshima Island

This is an aerial view of Aogoshima Island, one of about a dozen volcanic islands south of Tokyo in the Philippine Sea, seven of which are inhabited. Aogoshima is the southernmost of these inhabited islands. In the Western Pacific, the Pacific Plate is subducting beneath a series of plates, including the Eurasian plate to the North beneath Japan and the Philippine Sea plate here. That subduction leads to a linear series of volcanoes trending south from Tokyo where the Pacific, … Continue reading

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Is the universe a bubble? Let’s check: Making the multiverse hypothesis testable


Perimeter Associate Faculty member Matthew Johnson and his colleagues are working to bring the multiverse hypothesis, which to some sounds like a fanciful tale, firmly into the realm of testable science. Never mind the big bang; in the beginning was the vacuum. The vacuum simmered with energy (variously called dark energy, vacuum energy, the inflation field, or the Higgs field). Like water in a pot, this high energy began to evaporate — bubbles formed. Each bubble contained another vacuum, whose … Continue reading

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These microbes have a truly ‘shocking’ diet

Electric bacteria ‘eat’ electricity. So far researchers have found that Shewanella and Geobacter love to feast on electric power, and they are searching for more species. As shocking as this diet may sound, microbiologist Kenneth Nealson from the University of Southern California in the US thinks this shouldn’t come as a surprise as life is basically a flow of electrons. He told New Scientist: “Life’s very clever… It figures out how to suck electrons out of everything we eat and … Continue reading

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Rare apple mutation found in Kingston


When Mel Staples asked her eight-year-old son to pick apples from a tree on their property she was baffled at the small harvest he returned with. “I picked up one and it was a like a granny smith apple and a red delicious apple had both been cut in half and then joined together. “It was just this perfect line right through the middle of the apple and it was just the weirdest thing,” says Ms Staples. The apple was … Continue reading

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Devils Tower


Devils Tower is anigneous intrusion or laccolith in the Black Hills near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River. It rises dramatically 1,267 feet (386 m) above the surrounding terrain and the summit is 5,114 feet (1,559 m) above sea level. Devils Tower was the first declared United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Monument’s boundary encloses an area of 1,347 acres (545 ha). In recent years, about 1% of the Monument’s 400,000 annual visitors climbed Devils Tower, mostly using traditional climbing techniques. The Arapaho, Crow, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Lakota, and Shoshone tribes had cultural … Continue reading

Posted in Earth Sciences, Geology, Places | 2 Comments