It’s Friday morning, and I need me some science.
- Why did the rooster cross the road? To find his penis. But he couldn’t, and nor would 97 percent of all birds, because a single gene called Bmp4 interrupts penis development in birds.
- The first French wines came from…Italy?. That’s what archeologists from UPenn are saying, based on a study of a 2,500-year-old wine press and ancient amphoras.
- Do couples that meet online last? Science says YES!
- Cicadas (I know, here he goes with the cicadas again, you’re saying) chirp really loudly. Turns out, it’s because they essentially have their own built-in subwoofers.
- This. Is. So. Cool. What you’re looking at below is an image taken with an ultra-powerful kind of microscope called an atomic force microscope (AFM) of a single molecule that rearranged itself after being heated. With the AFM, a team of researchers came really close to watching the rearrangement take place in real time. You can see the bonds, for crying out loud!
- A dig in Wyoming has turned up a Triceratops trifecta, including what could be the most complete Triceratops skeleton ever found.
- Thank goodness for atomic bomb testing! The radioactive carbon released by above-ground tests conducted 50 years ago has helped neuroscientists determine that yes, parts of our brains can grow new neurons throughout our lives.
- Google Maps is good, but it can’t yet show you a 3D map of our neighborhood in the universe. For that, we turn to a team of cosmographers at the University of Lyon. (Wait until they figure out how to get Street View working intergalactically.)
- You know the saying, “They just don’t make ’em like they used to”? Looks like it could now be applied to drugs, too, because newer drugs just don’t seem to work as well as ones developed 40 or 50 years ago.
- Genome researchers from around the world are finally working out ways of openly pooling and sharing (with patients’ and contributors’ consent) the terabytes of gene sequence data that are collected every year.
- Forget the Human Microbiome Project. Bring on the Earth Microbiome Project.
- But speaking of the HMP…tell your dentist to relax a little about getting all the tartar off your teeth. He could be scraping away valuable data there about how the bacterial communities in our mouths have changed over the millennia.
- If you were going to draw a neuron, what would your drawing look like? If you were an undergraduate, it might look really precise; a professor might take, ah, creative liberties. Researchers think it comes from an inability among undergrads to “embody a neuron’s perspective.” My take: the less likely you are to get graded, the less precise you think you have to be. (Many thanks to reader Seanne F. for sending this in.)