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Eye Sends Information at Ethernet Rates

Neuroscientists from Pennsylvania and New Jersey calculated the information rate of the eye.  Using guinea pigs (real guinea pigs, not humans as guinea pigs), they came up with a number and interpolated it for humans: In the classic “What the frog’s eye tells the frog’s brain,” Lettvin and colleagues showed that different types of retinal […]

A Second Code Controls the DNA Code

More has been discovered about the histone or nucleosome code (see 02/17/2004), a second genetic code independent of the DNA genetic sequence that directs the formation of proteins.  The New York Times (see also Science Daily) reported on work by scientists at Northwestern University who found that the wrapping of DNA around nucleosomes (made of […]

Genetic Loss Is Evolution’s Gain

Three scientists in the University of California system found that “Repression and loss of gene expression outpaces activation and gain” among recently duplicated genes.  Surprisingly, publishing in PNAS,1 they claim the non-intuitive hypothesis that this the mother of evolutionary invention.  From the abstract: Evolutionists widely acknowledge that regulatory genetic changes are of paramount importance for […]

Titan’s Land-o’-Lakes Found

The Cassini spacecraft has found features that look like methane lakes in the northern latitudes of Titan (see JPL press release).  The large dark patches, some about 30 miles across with rounded edges, appear to be associated with fluid channels.  Radar echoes cannot determine for sure whether the surface is liquid (dark means smooth, light […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week Judges Swamped

What can editors do when too many entries come in a week?  Print them all, and let the public decide: Fear Factor:  Ker Than, proposing in LiveScience that fear of snakes led to the rise of humans: “To avoid becoming snake food, early mammals had to develop ways to detect and avoid the reptiles before […]

Cell Untangles Its Own DNA

DNA is packed like spaghetti in a basketball (07/28/2004), but must constantly be accessed by transcribers, duplicators and other molecular machines.  Scientists at the Karolinska Institute, according to EurekAlert, have found a complex of protein machines that know how to untangle DNA.  Machines that can keep DNA from separating too early (cohesins) and keep DNA […]

Eye Can See Clearly Now

The cornea has no blood vessels.  That’s weird.  But it’s a good thing, or we would be looking through a network of threadlike strands all the time.  According to EurekAlert, scientists at Scheppens Eye Institute decided to find out how the cornea stays clear.  They found that it is heavily stocked with a special protein, […]

Darwinism Confirmed!  How?  Finch Beaks Got Smaller!

Randolph E. Schmid of Associated Press (see ABC News) seems hardly able to contain his excitement.  “Finches on the Galapagos Islands that inspired Charles Darwin to develop the concept of evolution,” he wrote, “are now helping confirm it by evolving.”  This sounds like big news.  How, exactly, are they evolving?  “A medium sized species of […]

Saturn E-Ring Oxygen Bubble Blown by Enceladus

From a distance, the little moon Enceladus at Saturn looks for all the world like a leaking water balloon.  The Cassini Mission just released a new photo of Enceladus that fits that description well.  The plumes are faintly visible emanating from the south pole of the 300-mile-across moon as it orbits beyond the rings.  A […]

Why Your Knuckles Pop

Science reporter Corey Binns occasionally decorates LiveScience with articles about the human body that are informational as well as amusing.  His latest is about cracking knuckles and creaking joints.  We have four kinds of joints (pivot, ball-and-socket, sliding and hinge), which he illustrates with diagrams that look like machinery.  The pops and creaking noises, he […]

Evolutionists Find Pegasus in the Gene Epic

When you conjure with genes, you never know what might appear.  Japanese scientists, publishing in PNAS,1 tried to find evolution in mammalian retroposons and found an unexpected relationship.  New Scientist explains: “You could call it a batty idea, but bats seem to be more closely related to horses than cows are.”     “Despite the […]

Plants Use Electrical Sunscreen

Perhaps only a scientist, or a kid, would worry about how a plant doesn’t get sunburn, but it took elaborate scientific work for six months to find the answer.  EurekAlert told about research at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State that found how plants get rid of excess solar energy.  They use carotenoids, molecules responsible […]

Rubisco “Highly Tuned” for Fixing Atmospheric Carbon

Rubisco sounds like a brand of cracker or something, but it’s actually an air cleaner your life depends on.  It’s an enzyme that fixes atmospheric carbon for use by photosynthetic microbes and plants.  In doing so, it sweeps the planet of excess carbon dioxide – the greenhouse gas implicated in discussions of global warming – […]

Reach Out and Touch Some Robot

The news media were excited to report an advance in materials science last week that could pave the way for touchy-feely robots (see BBC News, News @ Nature, LiveScience and National Geographic News, for instance).  Two scientists produced a thin film with touch resolution comparable to that of a human finger, an order of magnitude […]

Foot Facts: Frogs and Flies Fulfill Feet Feats

How do frogs walk on wet leaves without slipping?  Eric Jaffe in Science News1 describes how they have dual-purpose footwear: a mucous film that holds on by wet adhesion, plus microscopic bumps that protrude above the wet layer to make dry contact.  Though a frog foot doesn’t appear as fancy as that of a gecko, […]
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