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Little Animals, Big Technologies

You can’t always say bigger is better.  In the animal world, some of the smallest critters have capabilities that belie their size and compare well with their less dimensionally-challenged brethren.  Bee secure:  Honeybees are being trained to sniff bombs.  Really.  Read all about it in a press release from Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Bees were […]

Plants Have an Immune System, Too

We know that animals fight disease with an army of patrols swimming in blood, but how do plants cope?  They are exposed to pathogens, too: everything from bacteria to fungi, worms and insects.  Without a central nervous system or circulatory system to help, are our gentle green friends at the mercy of what comes?  The […]

New Technology Visualizes Animals in the Womb

Many have seen the videos of human babies developing in the womb, but what do animals look like before birth?  Rhiannon Edward began an article in The Scotsman with some glimpses: An unborn elephant, tiny but perfect in every way.  A dolphin swimming in the womb, just as it will have to swim in the […]

Take Your Flu Pill: Vitamin D

Vitamin D may be a multi-purpose germ fighter.  An article by Janet Roloff in Science News1 gathered evidence from several research labs that strongly suggests this molecule triggers the formation of one of the body’s effective antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal agents: cathelicidin.  In its activated form, vitamin D binds to a short section of DNA called […]

Outsource Our Energy Woes to the Microbes

Do we need to dig for oil forever?  Do we need to fret and fume over energy policy as more consumers compete for decreasing resources?  What if there were a virtually inexhaustible supply right under our noses?  That’s what the American Society for Microbiology asked in a press release reproduced by EurekAlert.  “The answer to […]

A Cell Technology Show

The basic units of life continue to astound scientists with their tricks.  Here are a few recent samples: Valuable junk:  The complementary or “antisense” strands of certain RNAs that latch onto messenger RNAs are not just junk anymore.  Science Daily reported that these genetic oddities, “previously thought to have no function, may in fact protect […]

Scientists Force Rapid Natural Selection in Lizards

Scientists transported a predator to a Caribbean island and watched some of the lizards evolve longer legs to run faster.  Then, as some of them took to climbing trees, their hind legs grew shorter.  They are calling this a test of natural selection, and are amazed the effects took effect so rapidly – in one […]

Darwin Credited with Intelligent Design

Exclusive  In an unusual mix of metaphors, a pioneer in advanced computing technology gave a lecture at JPL on 11/14 entitled, “Intelligent Design: Using Evolution to Create Complex Systems.”  By evolution, it was clear that astronomer Dr. Richard Terrile meant the Darwinian kind.  The point of his presentation was that humans can mimic the processes […]

It’s Hard to Break a Bone

People wearing a cast right now may not feel comfortable, but should be thankful it’s hard to break a bone.  Scientists at Max Planck Institute discovered “a novel construction principle at the nanoscale which prevents bones from breaking at excessive force,” making them “nearly unbreakable.”  Because of the way the rigid components of bone tissue […]

Urchin Genome Hyped by Media as Human Cousin

The publication of a new genome for a plant or animal is becoming routine.  For some reason, the news media instantly jumped on claims that the genome of the sea urchin, published in Science, means that evolution is all but figured out, and that we should each feel a special place in our hearts for […]

Brain Compensates for Eye Movements

Your eyes are continually jumping in little movements called saccades, yet your brain interprets the view as a steady image.  How can that be?  Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh are on the track of finding out “why our shifty eyes don’t drive us crazy.”  They’ve discovered that the signal that sends a command to […]

Junk Is the Essence of Mankind

Christians may proclaim “God don’t make no junk” but evolutionists boast of our junky heritage.  Erika Check wrote in Nature this week,1 “It’s the junk that makes us human.”  She was referring to non-coding DNA, long considered “junk DNA.”  There is growing awareness that these sections of unclear function are involved in the regulation of […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  It’s a Gas

This week’s entry by Sara Goudarzi in Live Science requires no comment.  The title of the article is, “Life’s Origin a Gas.” Life on Earth emerged out of thin air, scientists now say.     By mimicking in a lab the gases that could have been present on early Earth, researchers have concluded that a […]

Bacterial Flagellum Multitasking and Assembly Described

Since the bacterial flagellum has become a de facto icon of the intelligent design movement, it’s instructive to see what new discoveries come to light on the molecular machine par excellence.  Two papers appeared recently. Ferry Boats:  A Cambridge team publishing in PNAS1 studied how the parts get to the assembly site.  The studied one […]

You’ll Love Beetle-Foot Tape

If beetles can do it, scientists should be able to: climb the wall, that is.  Some researchers at Max Planck Institute have invented an adhesive that sticks to glass like beetle feet.  The secret was to manufacture thousands of microscopic pads that adhere to smooth surfaces by van der Waals forces (the attraction of neighboring […]
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