Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 2:04 pm
How a cucumber creates its curling tendril has stumped scientists for centuries, including Charles Darwin and Asa Gray. With the help of time-lapse photography and prosthetic tendril fabricated in the lab, physicist Sharon Gerbode, biologist Joshua Puzey and colleagues figured out why tendrils twist, according to a new study in Science.
Scientists in Germany have been able to get enough DNA from a fossilized pinky to produce a high-quality DNA sequence of the pinky's owner.
"It's a really amazing-quality genome," says David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston. "It's as good as modern human genome sequences, from a lot of ways of measuring it."
The pinky belonged to a girl who lived tens of thousands of years ago. Scientists aren't sure about the exact age. She is a member of an extinct group of humans called Denisovans. The name comes from Denisova cave in Siberia, where the pinky was found.
Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 11:58 am
Asparagus and tofu
Do vegetarians and vegans think they are better than the rest of us? Judging from personal experience, a good number of people who aren't vegetarian or vegan would offer a resounding "Yes" to this question.
Those individuals who publicly tout eating no meat, especially when their stated reason has to do with caring about animals, are thought to be telegraphing a message of superiority: My dietary choices make me a better person than you.
Two men from northwestern Missouri became ill after tick bites infected them with a previously unknown virus.
Two Missouri farmers have been infected with a brand-new tick-borne virus that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling the Heartland virus.
The men recovered but suffered serious illness that required hospital care and weeks of convalescence. Symptoms included fever, severe fatigue, headache and nausea. Their platelet counts plummeted, but even though platelets are necessary for blood clotting, the men didn't suffer abnormal bleeding.
People walk in the storm surge from Hurricane Isaac along Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. Isaac was later downgraded to a tropical storm as it continued to grind its way through the Gulf Coast, dropping torrential rain and generating dangerous storm surges.
Credit Gerald Herbert / AP
Isaac might not be in the same league as Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, but the latest storm to batter Louisiana's Gulf Coast is punching above its weight class in more ways than one, scientists say.
Hundreds of protestors rallied, this week, in Albany, New York. They are trying to put pressure on New York's Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo. They want him to reject a plan to expand natural gas drilling. Specifically, Cuomo's expected to decide in the coming days whether to allow more aggressive hydraulic fracturing to reach gas deposits that are locked deep underground. As North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann reports, people on both sides are mounting eleventh-hour campaigns to try and sway the governor.
Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 9:42 am
How much longer could Junior really stay in there?
Credit Olivier Lantzendorffer / iStockphoto.com
Babies are lovely but altogether helpless creatures.
Wouldn't it be better if tiny humans were born able to walk, like horses, or generally were readier for the rigors of the world, like, say, chimps?
Among primates, human have the least developed brains at birth, at least when compared to adult human brains. If humans were born as far along on cognitive and neurological scales as rough and ready chimps are, though, human pregnancy would have to last at least twice as long. Eighteen months in the womb, anyone?