SONG: "Jump, Jump, Jump."

SONG: “Jump, Jump, Jump”.

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Based on “Fish and Adaptation: Mangrove Fish Jumps into Air in Warming Water”, Nature World News, 21 Oct 2015, as used in the post “Global warming might make the fish jump.”

ABSTRACT: First, let me say that this was done on time, even early. It started as a jokey thing I was singing to my son while he was watching me play guitar on the couch, and I decided what the hell. They call it “playing” music for a reason. (I guess if I spoke …

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SONG: All Praise Black Ice

SONG: “All Praise Black Ice”.

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Based on “New Horizons Finds Blue Skies and Water Ice on Pluto”,, 8 Oct 2015, as used in the post “There’s water ice on another planet. Not Mars. Pluto.”


Laryngitis followed by a business trip and here I am, a couple weeks late. I hope the brass section makes up for that.

(Yes, there’s brass in there, somewhere. I really need help mastering these things, but one does what one can in between everything e…

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Science Art: Taf. V: Feuer-Salamander by Bruno Dürigen.


Fire salamanders.

They don’t look so hot.


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Science Art: Chemical Laboratory room. Experimental Research labs, Burroughs Wellcome and Co. Tuckahoe, New York

Click to embiggen

Welcome to Wellcome.

They’ve got all kinds of wonderful things in their image gallery, including this marvelous experimenter in an even more marvelous experimental lab.

In 1935, this was where the future was made.

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Science Art: Idolo de ignota localidad, Idolo de Arica, Idolo de ignota localidad.

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Three idols, from the Anales del Museo Nacional de Chile, published between 1892 and 1910.

I found them in the Biodiversity Heritage Library, which is usually full of biological specimens.

These three, however, are a little different… even if no one knows where two of them came from. Arica is a port city near two valleys that divide the Atacama Desert in north Chile.

He (or more likely she, even though as described in the text, “no hai tetas” and “la barba es d…

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Maybe… just maybe… we’re getting as much sleep as we always did.

16 October 2015 // 0 Comments

It sure doesn’t feel like it, but Scientific American has some research to suggest that all these screens and electric lights really aren’t ruining our primal, natural-born sleep schedules… as much as the A/C is: The researchers looked at people living in three hunter-gatherer societies in rural parts of Africa and South America. Investigations showed that these traditional peoples slept slightly less than 6.5 hours a night on average. In comparison, people in industrial societies usually average seven to eight hours per night. “We find that contrary to much conventional wisdom, it is very likely that we do not sleep less than our distant ancestors,” said the study’s senior author, Jerome Siegel, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. However, the researchers also found that insomnia may have been more rare in ancient times than it is now. This finding suggests that looking to the past could lead to new ways of […]

My great-grandmother was stressed when she was pregnant AND IT FREAKS ME OUT!

8 August 2014 // 0 Comments

Science Daily has yet more research on the heritability of stress, with research that shows the effects of stress on one pregnant mom can last four generations: A first generation of rats were subjected to stress late in pregnancy. The following two generations were then split into two groups that were either stressed or not stressed. The daughters of stressed rats had shorter pregnancies than the daughters of those who had not been. Remarkably, the grand-daughters of stressed rats had shorter pregnancies, even if their mothers had not been stressed. As well as shorter pregnancies, the rats whose grandmothers and mothers experienced stress displayed higher glucose levels than the control group. In addition, rats whose grandmothers or mothers who were stressed weighed less. Gerlinde Metz [of Canada’s University of Lethbridge], senior author of the article, says: “We show that stress across generations becomes powerful enough to shorten pregnancy length in rats and induce hallmark features […]

The cool bedroom weight-loss plan.

1 August 2014 // 0 Comments

VCU researchers have found a cool way to boost your body’s supply of (metabolism-raising) brown fat cells – by turning down your air conditioning: Researchers found that mild, prolonged cold exposure – in the range commonly achieved in climate-controlled buildings – is sufficient to expand brown adipose tissue mass and activity, while exposure to warm temperatures result in suppression of this tissue. Brown adipose tissue is a specialized form of fat tissue that produces heat by burning energy to maintain an organism’s core temperature. In the study, published last month in the journal Diabetes, researchers studied the effects of long-term exposure to mild cold on fat cells in five healthy, lean male volunteers. They spent a total of four consecutive months sleeping in the temperature-controlled rooms at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Research Center. They were able to perform normal activities during the day. During the first month, the overnight temperature was “neutral” at […]

Fish are saving the planet.

9 June 2014 // 0 Comments

Aquaman may have had more going for him than he gets credit for. Scientific American reveals the amazing power fish have to reverse global warming: By assigning a dollar value to carbon stored in ocean ecosystems, two recent scientific reports are attempting to make nations reconsider the true worth of their fishing activities. The first, a new assessment backed by the Global Ocean Commission, roughly estimates that fish and other aquatic life in the high seas absorb enough carbon dioxide to avert $74 billion to $222 billion in climate damage per year. A second recently published study found that each year, deep-sea fish swimming off the United Kingdom’s and Ireland’s shores capture and store a quantity of carbon emissions worth €8 million to €14 million on the European carbon market, or up to $20 million. … The first study, led by the University of Southampton in the U.K. and the Marine Institute of Ireland, sheds […]

Young blood renews old brains.

5 May 2014 // 0 Comments

PhysOrg reveals a new discovery in vampire science – that infusion of blood from young mice makes old mice brains youthful again: …[T]hey also conducted a critical experiment that was far from sophisticated, said Tony Wyss-Coray, PhD, the senior author of the study and a professor of neurology and neurological sciences [at Stanford]. The scientists simply compared older mice’s performance on standard laboratory tests of spatial memory after these mice had received infusions of plasma (the cell-free part of blood) from young versus old mice, or no plasma at all. “This could have been done 20 years ago,” said Wyss-Coray, who is also senior research career scientist at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System. “You don’t need to know anything about how the brain works. You just give an old mouse young blood and see if the animal is smarter than before. It’s just that nobody did it.” … When the investigators compared […]

We can get embryonic stem cells… by cloning adults.

29 April 2014 // 0 Comments

Nature introduces yet another ethical wrinkle into the production of stem cells, with new techniques to create cell-generating embryos from adult cells: On 17 April, researchers led by Young Gie Chung and Dong Ryul Lee at the CHA University in Seoul reported in Cell Stem Cell that they had cloned embryonic stem-cell (ES cell) lines made using nuclei from two healthy men, aged 35 and 752. And in a paper published on Nature‘s website today, a team led by regenerative medicine specialist Dieter Egli at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute describes ES cells derived from a cloned embryo containing the DNA from a 32-year-old woman with type 1 diabetes. The researchers also succeeded in differentiating these ES cells into insulin-producing cells. … At present, studies to test potential cell therapies derived from ES cells are more likely to gain regulatory approval than those testing therapies derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, […]

Aging-reversing remedy ready for human trials. It already works on mice.

1 April 2014 // 0 Comments

The Las Vegas Guardian Liberty Voice is turning back the hands of time with the latest study that promises to reverse aging: The study was published in the peer reviewed science journal Cell after researchers from both the U.S and Australia made the breakthrough discovery. Lead researcher David Sinclair of the University of New South Wales says he is hopeful that the outcome can be reproduced in human trials. A successful result in people would mean not just a slowing down of aging but a measurable reversal. The study showed that after administering a certain compound to the mice, muscle degeneration and diseases caused by aging were reversed. Sinclair says the study results exceeded his expectations, explaining: I’ve been studying aging at the molecular level now for nearly 20 years and I didn’t think I’d see a day when ageing could be reversed. I thought we’d be lucky to slow it down a little bit. […]

Slime logic. Who needs silicon chips?

28 March 2014 // 0 Comments

Science Daily has a lively take on computing, with new circuits made of living slime molds: Andrew Adamatzky (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK) and Theresa Schubert (Bauhaus-University Weimar, Germany) have constructed logical circuits that exploit networks of interconnected slime mold tubes to process information. One is more likely to find the slime mold Physarum polycephalum living somewhere dark and damp rather than in a computer science lab. In its “plasmodium” or vegetative state, the organism spans its environment with a network of tubes that absorb nutrients. The tubes also allow the organism to respond to light and changing environmental conditions that trigger the release of reproductive spores. In earlier work, the team demonstrated that such a tube network could absorb and transport different colored dyes. They then fed it edible nutrients — oat flakes — to attract tube growth and common salt to repel them, so that they could grow a network […]

Should you really eat that lobster? On invertebrates and pain…

28 February 2014 // 0 Comments

New Scientist takes a surprisingly nuanced look at the way things like oysters and shrimp might actually be responding to trauma. They’re not all the same. Research shows that, as much as we want a guilt-free crab boil, invertebrates do feel pain… some of them: Unlike crustaceans, insects seem to have no pain-related behaviours. If an insect’s leg is damaged, for example, it does not groom or try to protect the limb afterwards. Even in extreme cases, insects show no evidence of pain. Imagine a praying mantis eating a locust, says Smid. With its abdomen opened up, the locust will still feed even while being fed on itself.

Mother’s milk made to order.

17 February 2014 // 0 Comments

Breastfeeding, the Australian Broadcasting Corp tells us, is a little more bespoke than one might expect: “Mothers are producing different biological recipes for sons and daughters,” says Katie Hinde, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University. Studies in humans, monkeys and other mammals have found a variety of differences in both the content and the quantity of milk produced. One common theme: baby boys often get milk that is richer in fat or protein — and thus energy — while baby girls often get more milk. … It’s not yet clear why human mothers produce such different milk for their babies, says Hinde. There is evidence, however, that the stage is set while the baby is still in utero. Hinde published a study last week that showed that the sex of the foetus influences the milk production of cows long after they are separated from their calves &emdash; typically within hours of the birth. The study […]

Everybody ages… well, except when they don’t. Meet the Peter Pans.

11 December 2013 // 0 Comments

Nature uncovers the secret lives of creatures that never grow old: A comparison of standardized demographic patterns across 46 species, published today in Nature, suggests that the vast diversity of ‘ageing strategies’ among them challenges the notion that evolution inevitably leads to senescence, or deterioration of mortality and fertility, with age, says Owen Jones, a biologist at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, who led the study. “By taking a grand view and doing a survey across species, we found plenty of violations of this underpinning theory,” says Jones. To compare fertility and mortality patterns, the authors assembled published life-history data sets for 11 mammals, 12 other vertebrates, 10 invertebrates, 12 vascular plants and a green alga, and standardized the trajectories — dividing mortality rates at each point in the lifespan by the average mortality rate. They found no association between the length of life and the degree of senescence. Of the 24 species […]

Death is slow. Slower than we thought.

27 August 2013 // 0 Comments

Discovery takes a long look at a slow death… watching life leave cell by cell… bit by bit: David Gems from the Institute of Health Aging at University College London, who led the study, explained: “We’ve identified a chemical pathway of self-destruction that propagates cell death in worms, which we see as this glowing blue fluorescence traveling through the body. It’s like a blue grim reaper, tracking death as it spreads throughout the organism until all life is extinguished.” … Scientists now cannot revive every single cell in a body, once it’s aged out of commission. But if the worm study is any indication, researchers might be able to stop the calcium signaling biochemical spread of death under other non-aging-related circumstances. So there’s hope.

SONG: “Regenerative Medicine”

24 August 2013 // 0 Comments

SONG: “Regenerative Medicine” [Download] (To download: double right-click & “Save As”) ARTIST: grant. SOURCE: Based on “Decellularized Mouse Heart Beats Again After Regenerating With Human Heart Precursor Cells,” Science Daily, 13 August 2013, as used in the post “A regenerated heartbeat.” ABSTRACT: Maybe I should count this one as late, but I’m still awake and when I woke up, it was the 23rd, and there was a heck of a lot going on today, so this is today and not tomorrow and dammit, this thing is on time. (I’m still one penitential cover in the hole… I haven’t forgotten.) Anyway, this is a post-rock song, done under the influence of equal parts Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Gethan Dick (see the Honorary Troubadours list for more on her). Hearts! That were so dead they weren’t even there – and look! BACK TO LIFE! That’s pretty whoooah. There’s a double bass in here, and a didjeridu […]

A regenerated heartbeat

14 August 2013 // 1 Comment

Science Daily reports on a rebuilt heart – a mouse heart remade with human stem cells – that they’ve gotten to start beating: For the first time, a mouse heart was able to contract and beat again after its own cells were stripped and replaced with human heart precursor cells, said scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. … For the project, the research team first “decellularized,” or removed all the cells, from a mouse heart, a process that takes about 10 hours using a variety of agents. Then, they repopulated the remaining heart framework, or scaffold, with multipotential cardiovascular progenitor (MCP) cells. These replacement cells were produced by reverse engineering fibroblast cells from a small skin biopsy to make induced pluripotent stem cells and then treating the iPS cells with special growth factors to further induce differentiation. “This process makes MCPs, which are precursor cells that can further differentiate into three kinds […]

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