Category Archive: microbiology

Jan 04 2012

The “Lost World” of Antarctica


The thing about Antarctica is it’s cold. Really cold. As in an average temperature of about 15 F on the warmer coastline and even more frigid in the interior. So maybe it’s no surprise that warm seeps and hydrothermal vent communities in that neck of the woods would march to their own beat. That’s exactly …

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Dec 28 2011

Sometimes a finger is just a finger

Yeti Finger

Headline, Yeti finger mystery solved using DNA. Guess what it is really is?

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Nov 22 2011

New scale for alien life proposed by astrobiologists

On a simmering ocean world, under an oversized blue-white star, the tendrils of one Qax reach out to the limb of another in the distance.

With over 700 exo-solar planets and counting, the infant intersection between astronomy and biology grew a new two-tiered rating system intended to identify worlds of interest. The first tier is obvious: earth-like worlds in mass and temperature, where water is a liquid (And pizza is not a vegetable). But the other set is less familiar:

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Nov 18 2011

Neuroscience is nearing a climax


Neuroscience is certainly nearing a climax, as this three-d map built using an active MRI of a female brain during orgasm indicates … it’s science I promise!

Nov 08 2011

Stem cells we can ALL agree on


The culture wars rage around embryonic stem cells vs. adult stem cells, there are pluripotent and totipotent cells, there are even cancer stem cells. But here’s a new stem cell technology we can all agree on: steak and burger stems cells! No, it’s not a joke, it’s real. At least that’s what a Dutch researcher …

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Nov 08 2011

Clash of the cultures today in Ohio and Mississippi

Two important votes in two very different states will test culture warriors and common sense today. Ohio voters go to the polls to vote on a recall of a recent bill pushed through by GOP Governor John Kasich restricting public employee unions — because nothing says constitutional liberty and small government like making it illegal for citizens to …

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Oct 27 2011

Ken Blackwell mangles science on Hardball

Human fertilization

If you know of uber right-wing warrior Ken Blackwell then you know that headline above reads like dog-bites-man. Blackwell was at it again on MSNBC’s Hardball Thursday evening, shilling for a personhood measure called Initiative 26 in Mississippi, where he tried to talk about the science of human development. Surprise! He mangles it hopelessly. Blackwell stated scientists – and the American people …

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Oct 13 2011

Hot, wet, paleo-planetary action

It’s strongly suspected that Mars was warmer and wetter in the past. It had to be above the freezing temperature of water at various times for the geological evidence uncovered by a suite of probes to make sense. But now we have the first hard estimate of just how warm ancient Mars may have been:

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Oct 12 2011

Culprit behind the Black Death revealed just in time for Halloween


The Black Death, a real life horror show that reverberates into our own era. Think of Halloween, or zombie movies, with the ravenous undead parading around in ghastly make up. Not to mention the suite of autoimmune diseases many descendants of the lucky survivors are, please pardon the term, plagued with.

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Oct 11 2011

Megasvirus may be a normal cell streamlined by evolution

There are plenty of grisly things in the natural world, and the universe of microbes is no different. But for some reason the life cycle of megaviruses disturbs me as much as any blood-sucking, brain-invading metazoan parasites known to science: The unusual size and gene content of the virus led one scientist to suggest that viruses …

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