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Genetics: Alternate Reading Frames May Be Common

Imagine a book written in a language where there were no spaces, and every word was three letters long.  Now imagine that you could get one story by starting at the first letter, and a different story by starting at the second letter, and another by starting at the third letter.  That’s the situation with […]

Crows Use Tools in Sequence

51; Watch a one-minute video clip on the BBC News.  A New Caledonian crow in New Zealand figures out how to use three tools in sequence to get at food that is out of reach.  This amazing display of animal intelligence surprised researchers at the University of Auckland who already knew about the legendary problem-solving […]

Flies Turn on a Dime

51; A fly can turn 180 degrees in one tenth the time it takes you to blink an eye.  Beating their wings 250 times a second, they don’t even have to think about each wing beat, PhysOrg said about studies at Brown University using high-speed cameras and image tracking software.  “[Attila] Bergou discovered that flies […]

Teeth Resist Cracking

51; Here’s a story to share with your dentist.  You can crack a tooth, but it takes a lot of force.  This should be surprising, since tooth enamel is as brittle as glass.  The way the enamel develops, researchers found, absorbs excess energy and gives your teeth an extraordinary crack resistance.     “Human enamel […]

Your Inner Postal Service

51; Zip codes – those five- or nine-digit numbers on mail – have an analogue in every one of your cells.  Like a city,1 a cell has information to ship from place to place.2  To make sure that the manufacturing instructions for protein parts arrive at the appropriate assembly site, the shipper puts a molecular […]

Bacterial Flagellum Can Tune Its Swim Speed with Network-Controlled Brakes

51; What’s new with flagella?  These are the favorite toys of intelligent design supporters, because they are irreducibly complex molecular machines that evolutionists rarely attempt to explain by a Darwinian process.  More fodder for their position comes from a paper in Cell1 that finds that bacteria can fine-tune their swimming velocity by means of a […]

Bats Exhibit Aerodynamic Superiority

They may look clumsy fluttering around in the twilight air, but “Flexible, highly articulated wings give bats more options for flight than birds: more lift, less drag, greater maneuverability.”  Thus reads the caption to a picture of a bat in flight on a Brown University press release.  Researchers at Brown U are studying the differences […]

How and Why Whiskers Whisk

Scientists at Weizmann Institute found some interesting things about whiskers, reports EurekAlert.  While working with rats, they noticed that the whiskers are always in motion, twitching and sensing objects around them.  They discovered that two kinds of neurons are involved in sending whisker signals to the brain.  The “whisking” neurons are active all the time, […]

Live at the Improv: DNA Polymerase

When a DNA reader hits an unfamiliar line, it improvises, reports EurekAlert: Prof. Zvi Livneh and Ph.D. student Ayelet Maor-Shoshani of the Biological Chemistry Department cut a DNA strand — from the bacterium E. coli — and inserted material similar to that which composes crude oil in between both its ends.  As expected, the regular […]
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