Page 3.14

Wesley Dodson

Ebola: Horror and Hope for a Cure

As an unprecedented outbreak of Ebola crosses borders in West Africa, people are asking new questions about the virus and its potential to turn into a global pandemic (hint: it’s not gonna happen). Greg Laden writes “The disease is too hot to not burn itself out, and it has no human reservoir. Ebola accidentally broke…

DNA: The Web Inside the Strands

Only 1% of the human genome codes for proteins, which might make you wonder what the rest of the nucleotide sequence is good for. In 2012 the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (or ENCODE) announced that a full 80% of the genome played a biochemical role, interacting with proteins in some way. But a new study…

It’s still a sprawling action movie, complete with boilerplate plot, senseless acts of violence, and the satisfying crunch of large-scale destruction. But make no mistake: Guardians of the Galaxy is a riot, and Marvel’s master plan to take over Hollywood is well under way.

California Drought Feels Fine

On Significant Figures, Peter Gleick examines the rather relaxed attitudes of some Californians to an extreme drought fostered by three years of dry weather. Gleick writes “reservoirs are at record low levels. Deliveries of surface water to some farmers are lower than at any time in recent history. Streams are drying up and fisheries are being…

More Money than Brains

If the IT resources exist to simulate 90 billion neurons and 100 trillion connections between them, mediated by dozens of different neurotransmitters and organized into highly specialized networks, there’s still no reason to expect intelligence to emerge or a ghost to glom on to the machine.

How Alien Can a Spacefarer Be?

As our planet makes more and more noise, we can’t help but wonder why no one is paying attention. Are we alone in the universe? Or alone in our desire to discover new worlds? PZ Myers says “Spaceship building is never going to be a selectively advantageous feature — it’s only going to emerge as…

Disease control has made incredible strides in the last century, as interventions like vaccines and antibiotics have averted untold suffering. In 2014 we face a backlash as vaccine uptake drops, preventable diseases re-emerge, and bacteria continue to evolve resistance to our most powerful drugs. Yet even as the limits of these tools become apparent, scientific…

Choosy Moms Choose Measles

When a parent chooses not to vaccinate their child, they put many other people at risk. Some infants cannot be vaccinated due to medical complications, and even fully-vaccinated people are not always fully protected. Jessica Parsons tells the story of baby Finn on Aetiology, who was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at the age of 3…

Perovskite solar cells can not only emit light, they can also emit up to 70% of absorbed sunlight as lasers. Critical signaling molecules can be used to convert stem cells to neural progenitor cells, increasing the yield of healthy motor neurons and decreasing the time required to grow them. Mexican blind cavefish are so close…

Last Week on ResearchBlogging.org

Scientists use a ‘gene gun’ to insert a gene from a flowering plant called rockcress into the cells of wheat seeds. The genetically modified wheat became more resistant to a fungus called take-all, which in real life can cause “a 40-60% reduction in wheat yields.” T-cells from six HIV+ patients were removed from their bodies,…