This morning, I think I’ll have some science with my coffee.
- And the government is back in business! Time for federal science to go back to work, and to check the damage. And start that trip to Antarctica.
- In a new breakthrough in synthetic biology, a research team has recoded the entire genome of a bacterium such that its genes, while still written with DNA, speak a new genetic language. It’s like taking English and swapping in French spelling, pronunciation, and syntax, but still having it understood by English speakers. I think.
- How can you trace infections following surgery back to their source? Follow the glowing antibiotics.
- Researchers think they have a better understanding now how the chytrid fungus, which has been killing epic numbers of frogs worldwide, does it’s dirty work: it shuts off the frog’s immune system before it can knock the fungus out.
- How can we help save coral from increasing water temperatures and acidity from global warming? How about genetic manipulation (aka selective coral breeding)?
- Folks, we have a correlation between the number of hits a football player takes to the head and the level of functional brain damage. It’s a small study, and it’s using fMRI (the value of which is sometimes questioned), but it’s a start.
- The discovery in Georgia (the country, not the state) of a group of early hominid skulls with an amazing mix of primitive and not-so-primitive features has paleontologists scratching their own heads, wondering, “Were there really as many species of early humans as we thought?”
- Having genes that resist damage from the sun’s UV radiation is great, but testicular cancer seems to an awfully high price to pay for them.
- Would you want to be piranha proof? If I lived in piranha-infested waters, I know I would. Which is probably why the arapaima, which does, wears piranha-proof armor.
- Remember that part of Jurassic Park where they used blood from a fossilized mosquito to get the DNA needed to create dinosaurs? Researchers have indeed found a fossilized mosquito with an abdomen full of blood. But don’t get your hopes (and fears) up…after 46 million years, any DNA is long gone.
- This is the story of a biology professor who pulled a small worm out of his lip and, in the process, became known as the 13 person in the United States ever to be infected by the nematode Gongylonema pulchrum.
- Take a moment to see the world as a cat does.
And on a more serious note:
- The effects of the sexual harassment revelations I wrote about yesterday have taken on a new intensity as women across the science communications community have started questioning their talents and creativity, asking, “Did I get that break because of my abilities, or my looks?” as well as the flip side, “Did I NOT get that break because of my abilities, or my looks?” Karen James, a scientist and writer at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Maine, started collecting and curating the reactions across Twitter on a Storify page called Ripples of Doubt. I encourage you to read it, and to search the hashtag #ripplesofdoubt on Twitter.