The staff of Nature have picked their top five "most popular, most highly-linked to blogs written about science by scientists."
Isabelle Dinoire's face transplant was recently deemed a success by the surgeons who performed her operation. Dinoire had the operation last November after being mauled by her dog.
A study published in the most recent issue of Pediatrics shows that the rate of autism and related disorders increased even as thimerosal (a mercury preservative) was eliminated from vaccines and fewer children received the MMR vaccine. The study looked at 28,000 children over 11 years. This and other studies confirm that there is no evidence to suggest that the MMR vaccine increases the risk of autism.
World's smallest flag turned down by Guiness Book because they could not see it.
In 1984, Terry Wallis was in a serious traffic accident that left him in a minimally conscious state. In 2003, he miraculously regained the ability to speak. Doctors recently discovered that this man's brain has actually been able to make brand new nerve connections to replace those lost in the accident.
When "Magic Nano" cleaning spray went on the market in March, it got yanked almost immediately after over 100 people reported coughing fits and breathing problems. So was this the first health disaster for nanotechnology? No, considering the product didn’t contain any nanotechnology or nanoscale particles, just a nano marketing ploy.
The product used the name because it created a thin film on the surface you were cleaning but didn't use any nanoscale properties. The problem with the product was more about a poorly tested traditional aerosol.
We should keep this story in mind as nanotechnology finds its way into more and more products. Nanotechnology product expert, Neil McClelland, puts it well when he says,
"People are just starting to hear about nanotechnology and this issue will just help to bring the issue to the fore. But it would be disastrous for all concerned if the nature of nano is destroyed. Imagine if we had had a bad batch of penicillin at the beginning and wrote it off - that would have been a tragedy. The implications of nanotechnology in healthcare are massive. We have a moral obligation that this technology will do well."
A new fossil discovered in Spain contains the oldest known remains of an orb web – the classic structure created by spiders and made up of concentric circles joined by radiating spokes. The web was found in a piece of amber–fossilized tree sap–dating back to the early Cretaceous period, about 110 million years ago.
The oldest known spiders were scurrying about the planet around 400 million years. And fossils of spiders are common, but fossils of their extruded silk products are very rare. The recent find, locked inside the small piece of amber, contains twenty-six web strands along with remnants of typical spider prey such as a fly, a mite and a beetle.
“The advanced structure of this fossilized web, along with the type of prey that the web caught, indicates that spiders have been fishing insects from the air for a very long time,” said David Grimaldi, curator of invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History.
Two groups of spiders, Araneoidea and Deinopoidea, produce orb webs. Both types have similar proteins in their silk, but the former entraps prey with droplets of glue on the web strands, while the latter uses a dry Velcro-like substance for the same purpose. Scientists now think the two types arose from a common ancestor and then modified their individual trapping techniques.
What this all means is that spiders and their prey-snaring methods could have driven the evolution of insects and their defenses against such methods. Moths and butterflies are members of the family Lepidoptera, and are covered in scales that allow them to roll out of gooey web traps.
“And it happens that Lepidoptera evolved around the same time that spiders produced these webs,” Grimaldi said.
Can you picture how many seconds are in a day? One day equals 86,400 seconds. Here is a link to a clock that has a dot for every second in the day. You can watch them change color one by one. Unless, of course, you can think a better way to use your gift of life.
We all receive this gift equally, second by second, day after day, until we die. Use this gift wisely.