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You Have Electronic Skin

Your skin has resistance with memory.  That makes it like a memristor, researchers at the University of Oslo are saying.  A memristor is a device that remembers the last current it experienced, and varies its resistance accordingly.     New Scientist explained what they found: They found that when a negative electrical potential is applied […]

Go to the Cell, Thou Sluggard

Solomon ordered the lazy man, Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise (Proverbs 6:6).  Today, he would probably tell lazy materialists needing wisdom to consider the cell.  Several recent scientific papers and news stories illustrate why materialism faces a stiff challenge from design features found in the fundamental units of […]

Amazing Animals

Three recent articles about amazing animals and fossils deserve entries of their own, but due to lack of time, will be corralled here lest, like strays, they wander off. Turtle navigation:  Wired Science has a beautiful photo of a marine turtle in an article about how they achieve a difficult navigational skill: determining longitude from […]

Plant Accelerates 600 G’s

Among the fastest organisms in the world is – a plant.  The bladderwort Utricularia, a carnivorous plant that lives in the water, sucks in its prey in a thousandth of a second with an acceleration 600 times the force of gravity.     New Scientist and Science Daily reported on work by the University of […]

This Is Your Brain on Bytes

It’s mind-boggling time.  Some recent articles have tried to quantify the information capacity of the eye, the brain, and the world.  Ready?  Think hard. Eye boggle:  Your eyes contain about 120 million rods and 6 million cones each.  If each receptor represents a pixel, that is 2 x 126 million pixels, or 252 megapixels.  And […]

How Bacteria Use Their Flagella

Do an imaginary mind-meld with a bacterium for a moment.  Visualize yourself encased in a membrane, surrounded by fluid.  You have no eyes, ears, or hands.  You need to find where food is, and avoid danger, so you have organelles that can take in molecules that provide information about what is going on outside, where […]

Amazing Mammals

As the Superbowl approaches, millions of spectators will enjoy the feats of our own sports heroes.  But what if animals put on games with their capabilities?  Human athletes would find it hard to compete. Swimming:  A polar bear performed a phenomenal feat of endurance swimming, reported the BBC News.  According to a zoologist who observed […]

Molecules as Traffic Cops

One of the cutting-edge developments in cell biology and genetics is the realization that there are networks of molecules that are regulated by other molecules.  Some molecules stimulate growth while others repress it.  The dynamic interplay between signals, hormones, repressors and other processes somehow leads to “homeostasis” – a dynamic balance that is responsive to […]

Cell Division Involves “Vast Array of Molecules and Processes”

Scientists continue to probe the roles of individual proteins in the symphony of molecules involved in cell division.  An article on Science Daily discussed work at Rockefeller University to understand one such protein named PRC1 that acts as a kind of molecular foreman for spindle orientation.  The opening paragraph is the notable part: Just before […]

Year-End Closeout

The sun is rising on 2011, but we need to clear the deck from 2010.  Here are ten 2010 headlines to acknowledge as the ball drops in Times Square, to avoid dropping the ball completely before moving on to 2011. Cells:  Many cancer cells have an “eat me” tag, said Science Daily. Early Man:  “Rodents […]

Plants Outsmart Darwin

There are wonders in plants that continue to be uncovered with the tools of science.  Two recent papers in PNAS lend support to the feeling that plants are smarter than assumed. Trash collection:  Humans usually only employ one trash collection service, but plants have two.  Four Chinese investigators found redundant pathways in plant cells for […]

Christmas Stocking

Christmas is upon us, and then the new year.  Many interesting news stories have come prancing from the roof with too little time to unwrap them.  We leave them hanging on the mantle, with our astute readers able to pick the fresh oranges from the fruitcakes, the hot picks from the lumps of coal. Morality:  […]

Brain Synapse Machinery Is Finely Tuned

The New York Times published a brief article on brain facts that is astonishing, when you think about all that goes on in thinking.  Nicholas Wade reported on a new inventory of the proteins involved in the synapses, the key junctions between neurons.  The research team, led by Seth Grant of the Sanger Institute near […]

Mummified Trees Found in Arctic

Like Narnian children finding a zoo of lifeless stone statues in the White Witch’s wintry realm, scientists have come across frozen trees, leaves and seed pods deep in the Canadian arctic.  “The dry, frigid site is now surrounded by glaciers and is completely treeless,” said National Geographic News.  What deep magic left this mummified forest […]

Plant Wonders Are in the Details

When you step on a weed growing out of a crack in the sidewalk, do you have any idea what kind of amazing machinery you stepped on?  Maybe a closer look will help. Communications and switching systems:  When a seed sprouts, it needs to first grow upward in the dark while trying to protect itself.  […]
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