I love a little science with my coffee.
- The internet has been a-buzz since Angelina Jolie’s New York Times op-ed about her decision, based on gene test results, to undergo a double mastectomy and dramatically reduce her risk of breast cancer. But does the science support her decision? And what is the math behind her 87 percent risk of cancer?
- When aphids attack, plants send out an alarm, and it looks like they do it by calling each other on the fungiphone.
- It usually takes months to design a flu vaccine. Using a combination of gene sequencing and synthetic biology, a research team was able to cut the design time for a vaccine against a new flu strain to about a week. (Boston Globe subscription required)
- Dolly the sheep was created through a process called nuclear transfer. It’s a process for creating stem cells that’s never worked with human cells — until now.
- As previously mentioned, the cicadas are afoot, which could be great if you’re hungry. Because they’re edible. Just like a lot of other bugs.
- And while we’re on the subject of food: Lab-grown meat doesn’t come cheap — a five-ounce burger will run about $325,000. But as a proof of concept, it could open the doors to big reductions in resource use and gas emissions associated with raising and slaughtering livestock.
- Dog’s are more than Man’s best friend. We may have evolved hand-in-hand, er, hand-in-paw over thousands of years.
- Our ability to hear relies on three tiny bones — the malleus, incus and stapes — in the middle ear; they carry vibrations from the eardrum to cochlea (where the vibrations get translated into nerve signals). Scientists have now found the oldest known examples of the three bones, from the 2 million year-old skull of a human ancestor found in South Africa.
- To get a feel for biodiversity, you don’t have to look to the rainforest or the ocean. Just look at the dirt under your feet.
- Having trouble with complex math problems? A gentle electric shock to the brain might help. (No sticking fingers into sockets, please.)
And if you want to read some awesome science blogging, I recommend checking out the list of this year’s Science Seeker Awards.
UPDATE: Last thing I’ll say about cicadas, I swear (for now). I just listened to this Radiolab podcast about cicadas and their “orchestra of sex.” Click through to hear it for yourself.