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Petra Perkins

Juno, Jupiter And The Battery Dude

Petra Perkins | June 27, 2016 | Science
What's all the jubilation about? Well, for one of the last people who touched the little spaceship's battery before it left the earth in 2011, it's a time for joyous celebration. That would be Mike Surline, a guy who knows batteries.
Michelle Scalise Sugiyama

Why Every Society Needs a Cartman

Michelle Scalise Sugiyama | June 26, 2016 | Science
South Park is on the threshold of its 20th season: what is the source of its staying power?
Don C. Reed


Don C. Reed | June 25, 2016 | Science
THE SINGAPORE RESEARCH STORY: edited by Hang Chang Chieh, Low Teck Seng, and Raj Thampuran; World Scientific Publishing, Inc. 2016 Reviewed by Don C. Reed Disclaimer: World Scientific published one of my books, "STEM CELL BATTLES: Proposition 71 and Beyond", so I am perhaps biased on their behalf. Question:...
John W. Traphagan

SETI, Imagining Extraterrestrial Civilizations, and War

John W. Traphagan | June 24, 2016 | Science
I've often thought it interesting that when SETI scientists imagine extraterrestrial civilizations, they usually think in terms of unified worlds that have one civilization. The image is very much unlike our world, in which we have multiple civilizations that are fractured and in conflict with other societies. The Brexit event...
Nathan Gardels

Weekend Roundup: When Politics Fails, Look to Unifiers Like Pope Francis and Yo-Yo Ma

Nathan Gardels | June 24, 2016 | World
When politics divides instead of unites, walls off instead of embraces, what, or who, can bind fractured societies? (continued)
Aaron Pomerantz

WATCH: This Is How Butterflies Create Their Brilliant Color

Aaron Pomerantz | June 23, 2016 | World
Here's the science behind their beauty.
Mario Livio

On Barbers, Liars, and Scientific Papers

Mario Livio | June 23, 2016 | Science
Outside the shop of a village barber hangs a neon sign that says: "I shave all and only those men in the village who do not shave themselves." Is there truth in advertising here? You would say that most probably yes. Clearly those men who shave themselves don't need the...
Michael Dobson

Dear Bill McKibben: This Is How You Can Ensure America Truly Leads On Climate

Michael Dobson | June 23, 2016 | Green
With the Paris Agreement leaving it up to the governments of individual countries to determine their own emission reduction targets, it is clear that the only way those targets will ever improve is if we - the citizens of those countries - insist to our governments that they do so.
Terrence McNally

Rapid, Low-Cost, Paper-Based Test For Zika

Terrence McNally | June 22, 2016 | Science
In early May, a rapid, low-cost, freeze-dried, paper-based, strain-specific diagnostic system for detection of the Zika virus was introduced by an international consortium of researchers led by synthetic biologist James Collins of Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. It could soon be used in the field to screen blood, urine or saliva samples.
Tim Young

Is Elon Musk Being Shortsighted, Or Should EV and Hydrogen Thrive Together?

Tim Young | June 22, 2016 | Business
Musk and those who criticize hydrogen fuel often point to the cost of production, stating that the energy output to produce and store hydrogen outweighs the positives of the element itself.
Max Galka

A Visual History Of Urbanization, From The World's First City In 3700 BC To The Present

Max Galka | June 22, 2016 | Science
By 2030, 75 percent of the world's population is expected to be living in cities. Today, about 54 percent of us do. In 1960, only 34 percent of the world lived in cities.
Rana X Adhikari

Birthday Black Holes

Rana X Adhikari | June 22, 2016 | Science
A few days after my birthday last year, the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) project detected its first ever signal from the collision of two black holes. For a brief moment, the gravitational waves (GWs) emitted by this cosmic crash put out 50 times...
Lab Notes

Could We Someday Predict Earthquakes?

Lab Notes | June 21, 2016 | Science
Earthquakes pose a vital yet puzzling set of research questions that have confounded scientists for decades, but new ways of looking at seismic information and innovative laboratory experiments are offering tantalizing clues to what triggers earthquakes -- and when.
Laura Faye Tenenbaum

A sea slug changed my life

Laura Faye Tenenbaum | June 26, 2016 | Science
This underwater photo of a sea slug was captured with a close-up lens in Monterrey, Calif., by my first SCUBA instructor, Thomas Chapin circa 1985. At 8 p.m. after a long day of work in the Houston humidity, Derek Rutavic, manager...
Aaron Pomerantz

WATCH: This Butterfly and Ant's Relationship Is... Complicated

Aaron Pomerantz | June 21, 2016 | World
TAMBOPATA, Peru -- Scientists have made a remarkable discovery about these butterfly thieves.
Sue Peters

Learn How To Sleep Like A Baby

Sue Peters | June 22, 2016 | Science
Newborns sleep about 16 hours a day, but as they age they develop a homeostatic mechanism that balances their increasing ability to stay awake and their ongoing need for sleep. The circadian rhythm of sunlight and darkness helps to drive one part of this mechanism.
Nicola Cellini

Is 'Eternal Sunshine' Almost Here?: How Sleeping May Help Us Conquer Our Fears

Nicola Cellini | June 22, 2016 | Science
We can't erase memories yet. But our lab is working on a new tool that could lessen the emotional impact of burdening memories by targeting them during sleep.
Paul Mashegoane

Are We More Intelligent Than Our Grandparents?

Paul Mashegoane | June 21, 2016 | Science
We are going through a profound change in the way we think, called the cognitive revolution. Over the last hundred years our lives have become ever more dominated by the need to think in abstract terms and categorize objects scientifically. The doubling and quadrupling of knowledge, or at least data,...
Medical Discovery News

A Mercurial Toxin

Medical Discovery News | June 21, 2016 | Science
Since ancient times, compounds containing mercury have been used in the treatment of skin diseases and other ailments. However, mercury toxicity was not fully appreciated until March 8, 1809 when two British ships, the HMS Triumph and HMS Phipps, came to the rescue of a Spanish ship that had been damaged in a hurricane. They rescued the crews and transferred the valuable cargo of mercury. Within weeks, the crews began to experience the effects of mercury poisoning, eventually many were hospitalized and some died. Mercury was known to ancient peoples and was even found adorning a 15th century BCE ceremonial cup in an Egyptian tomb. Aristotle authored the earliest record of what he called "fluid silver" or quicksilver in the 4th Century BCE. Mercuric chloride, calomel, was used as an antiseptic to kill bacteria while mercuric sulfide is used to make the bright red vermillion paint. Mercury was also commonly used in batteries, fluorescent lights, thermometers, barometers and felt production leading to dementia in those workers and the phrase "mad hatters" coined by Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland. Mercury has been used to extract gold and silver by a process of amalgamation. The Spanish ship was transporting mercury to South America for the extraction of silver. On March 16th some of the mercury was transferred into the sloop HMS Phipps. The cargo had been saturated with water leading to rotting containers with several tons of mercury leaking into the lower decks and holds of both ships. Mercury quickly contaminated everything on the lower decks. Within 3 weeks, mercury poisoning appeared among the crews. Symptoms of mercury poisoning were excessive saliva secretion, mouth ulcerations, and partial paralysis as well as lung and bowel complaints. At an estimated temperature below decks of 68 degrees F, the saturation point of mercury would have been 140 times the maximum allowable concentration. Those with the highest exposure, some of whom later died, suffered from dramatic swelling of their heads and tongues, lost their teeth and suffered from gangrene of the face and tongue. By mid-April, 200 men, one third of the crew, showed signs of mercury poisoning. On April 22nd, the men were transferred to hospital ships and the Triumph was inspected by four fleet surgeons. The Triumph was a large 79 gun ship of the line. The very different structure of the sloop HMS Phipps lessened the impact of mercury on board, though some of her sailors were also affected. The Triumph was cleaned and returned to service in June only to have fresh cases of mercury poisoning appear. By June 13th, she was ordered to sail home to England which took 40 days and despite numerous precautions, additional men became ill, but the symptoms were not as severe. The Triumph was emptied and little is known about her fate other than she became a quarantine ship before being broken up in 1850. Though poisoning with mercury was known, accidental poisoning by mercury vapor was rare and the incident on the Triumph is unique in the history of toxicology. It gave everyone a fuller appreciation for the dangers of mercury poisoning. Medical Discovery News is hosted by professors Norbert Herzog at Quinnipiac University, and David Niesel of the University of Texas Medical Branch. Learn more at...

Microscopic astronauts: BIOMEX and the search for life on Mars

ResearchGate | June 22, 2016 | Science
If you found life on Mars, would you recognize it? Cyprien Verseux explores life in space. He's currently living in an 11-meter-diameter dome in isolation on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano (read his account of the mission here), in Hawaii with six other scientists...
All posts from 06.27.2016 < 06.26.2016