Neal Goldman’s Inform Technologies LLC converts news into math as each article is calculated in a multi-dimensional universe of topics to match the relevance to a news reader’s interests. Adding to its unique offering allowing users to dig deeper into stories, the news aggregator now offers audio, video, and RSS.
Using laser pulses that last just 70 femtoseconds (quadrillionths of a second), physicists have observed in greater detail than ever before what happens when atoms collide. The experiments at JILA, a joint institute of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado at Boulder, confirm a decades-old theory of how atoms–like tennis balls–briefly lose form and energy when they hit something. The results will help scientists study other atomic-scale processes and better understand the laws of physics.
Using Genetrace, Christos Ouzounis and colleagues at EBI (European Bioinformatics Institute) were able to construct a microbial evolutionary diagram that shows the exchange of genetic material across distant species.
Since the time of Darwin, the evolutionary relationships between organisms have been represented as a tree, with the common ancestors at the base of the trunk and the most recently evolved species at the tips of the branches. Microbiologists have argued for a long time that this representation doesn’t really hold true for microbes, which often exchange genes among different species. Their claim has been that the evolution of these organisms is better represented by a net.[Press Release] (pdf)
Biology News | EMBL
To get a grip on horizontal gene transfer, they used a method called GeneTrace, previously developed by Victor and Christos. GeneTrace infers horizontal transfer from the patchy presence of a gene family in distantly related organisms. The data generated by GeneTrace allowed them to draw ‘vines’, representing horizontal-genetransfer events, connecting branches on the evolutionary tree. In all, more than 600,000 vertical transfers are observed, coupled with 90,000 gene loss events and approximately 40,000 horizontal gene transfers. Thus, although the distribution of most of the gene families present today can be explained by the classical theory of evolution by descent, anomalies of these patterns are revealed by the ‘minority report’ of horizontal exchange.
Tim Klimowicz‘s time-lapse visualization, Iraq War Fatalities maps fatalities in action of the US-lead coalition military based on data from icasualties.org and globalsecurity.org. Mapping all deaths may have been great, but Klimowicz explains how his initial endeavor to do so became an apparent impossibility due to the lack of documentation.
via information aesthetics]]>
“Today’s Front Pages” is Newseum‘s interactive presentation of front pages from more than 300 newspapers from around the world. [launch] (map view)
Sixty-eight of the front pages are selected for an outdoor exhibit located at Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street in downtown Washington, D.C., future site of the Newseum. Front pages are chosen to represent each of the 50 states as well as a selection of other countries. The electronic files are printed out on large-format printers at the Newseum offices in Arlington, Va., and are then transported to the Pennsylvania Avenue site and mounted inside the 98-foot-long steel and Plexiglas display by 8:30 a.m., seven days a week.
Regenerative medicine scientists at the University of Florida’s McKnight Brain Institute have discovered a cell culture method that may be able to produce a limitless supply of a person’s own brain cells. [article]
via Science Blog
“It’s like an assembly line to manufacture and increase the number of brain cells,” said Bjorn Scheffler, M.D., a neuroscientist with UF’s College of Medicine. “We can basically take these cells and freeze them until we need them. Then we thaw them, begin a cell-generating process, and produce a ton of new neurons.”
If the discovery can translate to human applications, it will enhance efforts aimed at finding ways to use large numbers of a person’s own cells to restore damaged brain function, partially because the technique produces cells in far greater amounts than the body can on its own.]]>
Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine have successfully isolated stem cells from human skin, expanded them in the laboratory and coaxed them into becoming fat, muscle and bone cells. [article]
via Biology News
â€œCompared to bone marrow, a skin biopsy is easy to take, so it offers advantages for clinical use,â€? said Shay Soker, Ph.D., associate professor of surgery at Wake Forestâ€™s School of Medicine. â€œThe cells can be obtained from any small sample of human skin.â€?
â€œBecause these cells are taken from a patientâ€™s own skin, there would not be problems with organ or tissue rejection. . . The ability to engineer tissues from a patientâ€™s own cells may overcome two major problems in transplantation medicine: immune rejection and tissue shortage,â€? said Anthony Atala, M.D., director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and senior researcher on the project.]]>
In less than a week NASA’s Deep Impact mission will collide with comet Tempel 1 with a 1 meter wide impactor at 23,000 mph after a voyage of 173 days and 431 million kilometers (268 million miles). [Impact test video] (made of dust, ice, window cleaner and Worchestershire sauce over garden perlite) [interactive feature]
“The last 24 hours of the impactor’s life should provide the most spectacular data in the history of cometary science,” said Deep Impact Principal Investigator Dr. Michael A’Hearn of the University of Maryland, College Park. “With the information we receive after the impact, it will be a whole new ballgame. We know so little about the structure of cometary nuclei that almost every moment we expect to learn something new.”]]>
“We looked at hummingbird flight for 70 years with high speed cameras, but still could only make assumptions and educated guesses about what was happening,” said Douglas Warrick, an assistant professor of zoology at OSU. Scientists from Oregon State University, the University of Portland and George Fox University used digital particle imaging velocimetry (PIV) to capture the subtleties in the movement of air surrounding the hummingbird’s wings to discover exactly how they manage to hover. [article]
via Nature | Physorg
“What the hummingbird has done is take the body and most of the limitations of the bird, but tweaked it a little and used some of the aerodynamic tricks of an insect to gain a hovering ability,” Warrick said. “They make use of what is, in other birds, an aerodynamically wasted upstroke. Coupled with taking advantage of leading edge vortices â€“ which you can only produce to substantial effect if you’re small â€“ and voila, you’re hovering for as long as you want.”
via Guardian Unlimited]]>