Life Science

The cost of male pheromones

A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University examined the costs of reproduction in roundworms, otherwise known as C. elegans. They discovered that male roundworms can send two kinds of pheromones that prime females for reproduction. One type of pheromone they studied sparks the onset of puberty in young female worms while the other prolongs fertility in aging females. …

Ever been to a CON? Like, ComiCON, or CONvergence? One of the best parts of a CON is the science, often involving panels with interesting science experts, or perhaps even a film or two. Well, Twin Cities denizen Ryan Johnson founded and organized a new thing, which is set up as a film festival, to…

It’s called a Black-Waved Flannel, but none of us are fooled. We know where that came from. It’s probably finished consuming its brain meal and is looking for a new host.

The oldest evidence for microbial life has been found in Greenland, with fossilized 3.7 billion year old stromatolites (layered bacterial colonies) found in the rocks. Here’s what they look like: And here’s the abstract of the paper: Biological activity is a major factor in Earth’s chemical cycles, including facilitating CO2 sequestration and providing climate feedbacks.…

23,000 Dead In The US Per Year

Ever year about 23,000 people die of infections from antibiotic resistant bacterial. Here is a film of bacteria evolving from regular old bacteria into killer superbugs. On a coffee table size Petri dish. You can get the story at NPR, where you will learn that “Getting more people to understand how quickly bacteria evolve antibiotic…

Evolution caught in a movie

It’s a standing joke that creationists demand a complete time-lapse recording of evolution before they’re going to believe it. Joke no more: we’ve got one. It’s a movie of bacteria evolving antibiotic resistance. I don’t even need to explain it, because the video explains everything that’s going on. Different old joke now: But they’re still…

344-352/366: Wetland Walk

Another in the sadly delayed wrapping-up of my photo-a-day project. These are all pictures from a hike in the Vischer Ferry Nature Preserve over in Clifton Park. We took the kids over there one time, but a thunderstorm started coming in before we got very far. While the kids were at my parents’, I decided…

Friday Cephalopod: Kaiju

Rodent birth control

News out of Flagstaff, Arizona reports that a biotechnology company in the area, SenesTech, has developed a birth control for rats that was recently cleared by the Environmental Protection Agency. The new drug comes in the form of a sweetened liquid bait that has been shown to reduce rodent populations by as much as 40%. It works in female rats by…

As the EPA begins implementing the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, the chemical industry is already busy pushing the agency to limit scrutiny of various widely used but highly toxic chemicals.