UC San Diego bioengineers have created the first stable, fast and programmable genetic clock that reliably keeps time by the blinking of fluorescent proteins inside E. coli cells. The clock’s blink rate changes when the temperature, energy source or other environmental conditions change, a fact that could lead to new kinds of sensors that convey information about the environment through the blinking rate.
Cast away on a desert island, surviving on what nature alone can provide, praying for rescue but fearing the sight of a boat on the horizon. These are the imaginative creations of Daniel Defoe in his famous novel Robinson Crusoe. Yet the story is believed to be based on the real-life experience of sailor Alexander Selkirk, marooned in 1704 on a small tropical island in the Pacific for more than four years, and now archaeological evidence has been found to support contemporary records of his existence on the island.
Good news has turned out to be bad. The ocean has helped slow global warming by absorbing much of the excess heat and heat-trapping carbon dioxide that has been going into the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
Frogs and salamanders, those amphibious bellwethers of environmental danger, are being killed in Yellowstone National Park. The predator, Stanford researchers say, is global warming.
Biologists have long suspected that amphibians, whose moist permeable skins make them susceptible to slight changes in the environment, might be good bellwethers for impending alterations in biodiversity during rapid climate change.
What stands a better chance of surviving 50 years from now, a framed photograph or a 10-megabyte digital photo file on your computer’s hard drive? The framed photograph will inevitably fade and yellow over time, but the digital photo file may be unreadable to future computers – an unintended consequence of our rapidly digitizing world that may ultimately lead to a “digital dark age,” says Jerome P. McDonough, assistant professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Although we know quite a bit about the lifestyle of dinosaur; where they lived, what they ate, how they walked, not much was known about their sense of smell, until now.
Do “undecided” voters actually make their choices before they realize? That is a question University of Virginia psychology professor Brian Nosek and his colleagues are trying to answer.
If Barack Obama had taken his mother’s surname and kept his childhood nickname, American voters might literally see “Barry Dunham” as a quite different presidential candidate, a new study suggests. A name significantly changes our perception of someone’s face and race, according to research in the journal, Perception.
What is the connection between crumpled paper and marine algae? Saddle-like shapes similar to those found in an Elizabethan “ruff” collar, say the physicists at the Laboratory for Statistical Physics at the Ecole normale supérieure.
The natural world behaves a lot like the stock market, with periods of relative stability interspersed with dramatic swings in population size and competition between individuals and species.