Archives for May, 2011

Could Skin Cells Think?

Figure 4: Synaptic responses of HFF-iN cells. There seems to be a brain-centric theme emerging this week in groundbreaking science. Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have reported in Nature the first example of transforming human skin cells into functional nerve cells. Could skin cells someday be able to “think”? Could they be…

Growing a Brain in a Dish

Source. That doughnut shape decorated with bright green spots, some connected by red pathways, amidst sky blue neighbors could be an artist’s creation, but is the result of a creative scientific attempt to grow an active brain in a dish, complete with memories. Really.

Evolution Rap, Like This!

The Rap Guide to Evolution Music Videos, sponsored by the Wellcome Trust. I’ve been exploring the use of rap and pop culture to teach science and mathematics, ranging from Lupe Fiasco to Linkin Park, but that topic is for another day. But anyone interested in evolution, whether student or teacher, could find this “Evolution Rap”…

The World’s Best Functional Food?

Source. Watching the “Pirates of the Caribbean 4 – On Stranger Tides” this weekend with my children reminded me that pursing a “fountain of youth” is a timeless tale that plays out in our lives in many ways. For example, you see this everyday in our grocery stores, in the form of “functional foods.” Cereals…

Lithgow Gingrich Proxy

Online social media played a major role in the 2008 Presidential election and is already looming large in the early stages of the 2012 Presidential bid. Newt Gingrich made a dramatic statement recently about Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal:

Figure 1. Miniaturized radio transmitters attached to bumblebees. (a) Transmitter attachment on a Bombus terrestris individual kept in a glass tube with opened gauze where the transmitter is fixed with superglue. (b) Nectar collecting individual of Bombus terrestris on Phacelia flower having a transmitter attached. (c) Bombus terrestris individual with attached transmitter, foraging on red…

Maybe it’s just me, but I see beauty in this. Scientists at the University of Manchester have created high resolution images of a 49 million year old spider encapsulated in fossilized amber resin using X-ray computed tomography, typically used in medical imaging.

Last year, I taught a short course at Gilead Sciences in California and was impressed by not only the high quality of their scientific research but their efforts to increase access of their HIV medications to developing countries. Now Gilead has joined a group of pharmaceutical companies to try something bold and innovative – to…

A Cry Is Just A Cry

Every parent knows the frustration of responding to a baby’s cries. Are they hungry? Wet? In pain? Need a hug? Tired? According to Dunstan Baby Language, you can interpret these cries with confidence, reducing your stress and making you a better parent. Really?

Source. The Art of Science Learning is a superb blog about STEM education. Their posts provide us with insights from experts in science education. What would a young science student have to say?