Adding yet another piece of evidence to the modern debate, the NY Times reports on some science that shows that coffee's positive side. There is one annoying point about this article though. The author regularly refers to a "cup of coffee." How much is that? 12oz? A travel mug full? 5oz.? Need some unit here folks.
Three new panda cubs were born in China this past week. The new births, brings the total of giant pandas born in captivity up to six for the year. The giant panda is an exotic, endangered species mostly found in China. China considers these pandas a national treasure.
One of the three new panda cubs has created quite the stir. Six-year-old Zhang Ka gave birth to the heaviest cub ever born in captivity after the longest labor period. The new cub weighed in at 218 grams (half a pound). Ordinarily, most cubs weigh between 83 and 190 grams at birth. Zhang Ka was in labor for 34 hours making her labor the longest in panda reproduction history. Reports say both the mother and cub are doing well.
Breeding giant pandas in captivity is a cumbersome task. Female pandas ovulate once a year with a tiny conception window. There is a minute window of 24 to 48 hours where artificial insemination methods are conducted. Overall, there are about 1,000 giant pandas living in the wild and about 140 pandas living in zoos and breeding centers around the world (however most are in China).
Giant pandas are bear-like in shape with black and white coloration. Their ears, eye patches, legs and shoulder band are black while the rest of their body is white. Giant pandas live in temperate-zone bamboo forests in central China. Scientists are unsure of their life expectancies in the wild but in captivity the giant panda’s lifespan averages more than twenty years.
Just out of curiosity, what names would you pick for the new panda cubs?
A coronal mass ejection (CME, movie) is heading toward Earth and could spark a geomagnetic storm when it arrives on August 18th or 19th. The cloud was hurled into space yesterday by a C3-class explosion in the magnetic field of sunspot 904. Sky watchers, prepare for auroras.
Watch for Northern Lights Friday and Saturday night.
MIT has created an Energy Research Council which has been likened to the Manhattan Project.
"The urgent challenge for our time (is) clean, affordable enery to power the world," said MIT President Susan Hockfield.
Like ending WWII or going to the moon, research and development can provide solutions for many of the world's problems.
Some examples of the MIT research projects the Energy Research Council will be sponsoring and developing include:
Stay tuned to Buzz Blog. We will feature some of these projects soon.
A type of grass created by bioengineers in a lab has escaped out into the environment for the first time--at least that we've noticed.
The grass is being developed to resist the common herbicide Roundup. Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and Monsanto, who are engineering this grass, hope to use it on golf courses so that Roundup could be sprayed to kill weeds without killing the grass.
Well, I've been doing lots of research into nanotechnology and the social concerns around its use. Just like bioengineered crops, people worry that we don't have a clue what could happen if these plants or particles, in the case of nanotechnology, escape into the environment.
Could the genes from this Roundup resistant grass find their way into wild grasses? If they do it might be that much harder to eliminate weeds that grow wild in our environment.
Well, this story got me and some of my coworkers thinking about the definitions of genetic engineering and nanotech. In genetics we are manipulating DNA at the nanoscale. In nanotechnology we are manipulating molecules and atoms at the nanoscale. Despite having many people tell me that they are unique I still don't totally get it.
I think it mostly lies in the methods with which the different sciences go about manipulating things. The processes that genetic engineers use to create a new kind of grass are unique from those that nanotech scientists use to engineer something like carbon nanotubes.
So what do you think? I will ask around and see if I can get some answers to the question, "Is genetic engineering a type of nanotechnology?"
The HP Photosmart R727 is a camera that not only takes pictures but also has the ability to make individuals appear slimmer in photographs. This camera comes with a “slimcam” setting that supposedly compresses a photograph’s center without background distortion.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently drew a correlation between drinking excess amounts of soda or sugary drinks and weight gain. Researchers stated an extra soda or sugary drink a day can pile on fifteen extra pounds in a year.
Earning a bachelor's degree in science or engineering serves the degree holder well in the workforce, regardless of what job they do, according to a National Science Foundation (NSF) survey. The survey found that science degree holders generally report that science and engineering knowledge is important to their job, even if the graduate ends up doing non-technical work.
The international panel that was formed to establish a scientific definition of a planet will make a recommendation to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly that will increase the number of objects in out solar system that are defined as planets from nine to twelve.
The panel was originally formed to discuss the issue of Pluto’s status as a planet. Not only does the panel recommend retaining Pluto’s planetary status, but also promoting Ceres, Charon and "Xena" to planets. The new definition of a planet is that it has to orbit a star, not be a star itself, not a satellite of another planet, and massive enough that its gravitational forces compress it into a roughly round shape. This opens the door for many more objects in our solar system to be called planets, notably Vesta, Pallas and Hygiea. In fact, there may be more than 53 objects that meet the new criteria to be called a planet, and probably many more yet to be discovered.
The proposal is not final, and will be discussed on August 23 at the International Astronomical Union General Assembly meeting in Prague.
UPDATE: Turns out they changed the rules, and we now have only eight planets. Pluto doesn't qualify under the new definitions a planet. To be a “planet” it must:
1. Orbit a sun.
2. Have sufficient mass so that it assumes a nearly round shape.
3. And have sufficient mass to have "cleared the neighborhood around its orbit".