When scientists were looking for the first person to test a new, superfast way of deciphering someone's entire genetic blueprint, they turned to James Watson – the guy who shared a Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA.
"They had to sequence someone, so they got me," he says.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 12:37 pm
By Adam Frank
Imagine every thousandth blood cell in your body has a tiny radio transmitter in it. Imagine that 10 times a second that transmitter sends each cell's location to a computer storing the data. Along with position, it also sends the concentration of a list of 10 chemicals encountered at receptors distributed at 10 sites over the surface of each cell. Now imagine following all those blood cells for an hour. That makes a billion blood cells being sampled 10 times a second for 3,600 seconds.
Twin spacecraft recently began orbiting the earth, and the probes have been sending back strangely beautiful recordings of the sounds of space. Scientists call it the chorus. The sounds come from the magnetosphere, an area where charged particles from the sun interact with the earth's magnetic field.
Space shuttle Endeavour begins a kind of farewell tour this week. The shuttle will set off on a cross-country trip to its retirement home, flying from Florida to Los Angeles on the back of a modified jumbo jet.
Along the way, the spaceship will stop off in Houston, home of NASA's Mission Control and, weather permitting, fly over NASA centers and various landmarks in cities that include San Francisco and Sacramento.
Anthropologists believe early humans evolved in Africa and then moved out from there in successive waves. However, what drove their migrations has been a matter of conjecture.
One new explanation is climate change.
Anthropologist Anders Erikkson of Cambridge University in England says the first few hardy humans who left Africa might've gone earlier but couldn't. Northeastern Africa — the only route to Asia and beyond — was literally a no man's land.
An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but what do you do when there are no apples? It's a question western Michigan's apple growers are dealing with this season after strange weather earlier in the year decimated the state's apple cultivation.
Michigan is the third-largest apple producer in the U.S. after New York and Washington, but the state's apples will soon be in short supply. Now in the middle of harvest season, growers are picking only 10 percent to 15 percent of their normal crop.
Here's an old, old, question, but this time with a surprise twist. The question is — and I bet you asked it when you were 8 years old and sitting on a beach: Which are there more of — grains of sand on the Earth or stars in the sky?
Obviously, grains and stars can't be counted, not literally. But you can guestimate.