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I Know I Said the Killing Needed to Stop

And i only just got rid of my mutant jade-plant-turned-vine and mostly dead bamboo, but can i have this?

I mean, it's a closed system, so it can totally survive on its own. It doesn't really need me to do stuff like water it daily and crap. And it would be a GREAT experiment in Darwinism. And survival in hostile environments...

By min | October 28, 2013, 1:47 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

Science Catches Up To Comics

You know how Apocalypse gets in his little box to regenerate his body so he can live pretty much forever?

Science is figuring how to do that for reals.

Horvath next looked at pluripotent stem cells, adult cells that have been reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state, enabling them to form any type of cell in the body and continue dividing indefinitely.

"My research shows that all stem cells are newborns," he said. "More importantly, the process of transforming a person's cells into pluripotent stem cells resets the cells' clock to zero."

In principle, the discovery proves that scientists can rewind the body's biological clock and restore it to zero.

Your cells can be reset to the beginning. That's immortality. That's...prolly actually going to end up more like Resident Evil than it is Marvel Universe immortality. Shit.

And by the by, i don't appreciate breast tissue being the bit that ages in dog years. Cause women needed more ammo on the negative self-image front. Thanks, Nature.

By min | October 22, 2013, 11:56 AM | Comics & Movies & Science | Comments (0)| Link

Nanotech donuts

Speaking of being paranoid, i recently read this article in an older issue of Scientific American (bathroom reading, hence out of date). This original post doesn't seem to say much and there doesn't seem to be much more out there about it, so i don't know what to make of it, if anything. I don't even eat donuts. But probably it won't turn you into a Phalanx drone or allow terrorist ninjas to disable your pacemaker.

By fnord12 | October 21, 2013, 11:20 AM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

The horror of nature

First, i was doing some "research" on frog/rat relations for a comic review i'm working on, and i came across this.

Second, here's a Boing Boing article describing how in real life our wildlife would make short work of zombies, complete with multiple videos of animals being disgusting and/or ferocious.

Just thought i would share!

By fnord12 | October 18, 2013, 12:06 PM | Science & Ummm... Other? | Comments (1)| Link


Yes, scientists have been breeding jellyfish in space.

By fnord12 | October 18, 2013, 10:49 AM | Godzilla & Science | Comments (1)| Link

R2, Do You Remember???

I wonder if it works better than the voice-activated R2 robot they pawned on the unsuspecting fandom.

This first version of Talos was designed to carry out several simple functions. The original concept was to use the robot for telepresence operations, like guarding the lab at night. The robot can retrieve an object and bring it to a person; it can respond to several simple voice commands, like "follow me" or "shake hands"; it can be controlled by a remote application on a tablet computer; and it can dance, as an entertainment function.

I also hope you can program it to say "OK" in the Abe's Oddysee voice when you tell it to follow you.

By min | October 17, 2013, 2:52 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

Robot Door Lock

I'm not entirely sure how i feel about this. What if there's a malfunction and now you're locked out of your house? Or it just keeps unlocking the door for anyone who comes by?

The Goji works three different ways: unlocking via Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) and a Goji smartphone app, unlocking via a programmable digital key fob, or unlocking via a physical key. The Smart Lock comes with four digital keys and two physical keys in the base $278 package.

The interesting part comes when you send someone a digital key that works via the app, but only at certain dates and times. You can program access for someone to only get into your home on, say, Tuesday afternoon.

Once the door unlocks, the built-in front LED screen greets you by name. Or, alternatively, it tells you that you can't enter. The front piece flips down to reveal the standard keyhole, in case you prefer more traditional entry -- or need a backup way to enter.

On the other hand, the digging for my keys thing has become a slight (slight) annoyance since we've gotten the Prius. Before, i always had the key out cause it was on the same keyring as my car keys which were in the ignition. Now, my car keys (and subsequently, all of my keys) are usually in some pocket in my bag, and ofc i never remember to start looking for the key until i'm standing in front of my door, in the dark, with about 5 things in my hands. This usually results in me dropping the most delicate and expensive item i'm holding. It's never my coat. It's always my Ipod or my phone. Always.

By min | October 17, 2013, 2:40 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

And More Monkey News

(yes, yes, i know. apes.)

In a study of young bonobos at an African sanctuary, scientists found that the socially and emotionally "competent" among the group were more likely to cuddle other apes to comfort them when they were in distress.

In turn those bonobos were more likely to recover quickly from an upsetting experience, such as a fight. This mirrors the way that children have been found to react, suggesting the primates manage their emotions in much the same way.

The researchers believe that, as in humans, the bond between mother and offspring may play a crucial role in developing the social competence in our close primate relatives.


I find it interesting that they put "competent" in quotes. Here's a little contrast in competence:

On my first day of pre-school, i cried like a little bitch cause as far as i was concerned, i had just been dumped in a room full of strangers. I refused to speak, and i refused to take my jacket off no matter how much the aides cajoled. One other pre-schooler came up and comforted me and tried to get me to see it wasn't so bad there. Prolly by the second week or so, i started to believe her.

Contrast this to my reaction to seeing a person in distress (especially someone i am friends with) as both a child and an adult: Abject horror. Then an awkward pat on the shoulder or a hug if they're really upset cause movies and tv have taught me that is the appropriate action when someone is crying. Inside i'm secretly hoping they'll hurry up and get over it or someone else will come along so i can get the hell out of there. I'm prolly also hoping they don't get any shnoz on me.


By min | October 15, 2013, 8:44 AM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

Cyborg Monkeys

Do i really need to say more? That should be enough to make you click on the link.

Oh, fine.

Exciting news on various important science and tech beats today, as we learn that boffins have achieved breakthroughs in the allied fields of brain-chipped monkeys, robotics and cybernetics. To wit, they have been working out how to equip monkeys wielding robot arms with a sense of touch.

Rather than monkey, robot, or monkey-robot cyborg combination butler-Terminators, however, this research is aimed at making robot arms for human beings work better. This research is funded by our old friends at the US military bonkers-boffinry bureau DARPA, hoping to deliver better replacement limbs for American troops injured in the Wars on Stuff.

By min | October 15, 2013, 8:37 AM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

Whoop Whoop

Remember when Robn got the whooping cough and we mocked her for getting a turn of the century disease felt really bad for her? Apparently, getting vaccinated for something doesn't actually make you immune forever. Why don't they tell us this? Why don't they say "make sure you go back to your doctor to get a booster when you're 30/40/50"?? Prolly cause doctors are assholes.


The problem is the pertussis vaccine itself. In 1992, U.S. doctors began switching to a new formulation with fewer side effects. But the CDC, which monitors infectious disease outbreaks, is learning the hard way that it just doesn't work very well. "It wanes, and it wanes more quickly than we expected," says CDC epidemiologist Stacey Martin. Scientists are trying hard to find out why.

In the meantime, more than 228 million Americans--some kids and teens, as well as most adults--think that they are protected from whooping cough, but they are not.

Pertussis is caused by bordetella pertussis, a bacterium that has been around for at least 400 years. The microbes attach to tiny, hairlike structures in the lungs and release toxins that cause a terrible and persistent cough. Every outburst projects live bacteria into the air, and anyone within three feet can breathe them in and become infected.


In November 2012, the CDC announced the results of its own analysis of the California outbreak. The agency found that the vaccine's effectiveness begins to drop after one year, and that five years after the final dose, it provides only 70 percent protection. An Australian study recently reported that kids who were given the acellular vaccine as infants were more than three times as likely to get pertussis between 2009 and 2011 than were those who received the whole-cell version.

The CDC began recommending a tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) booster shot for most people over age 11, including adults up to age 64, in 2005. But as of 2010, only 8 percent of the adult population had actually received one. Moreover, an ongoing CDC investigation suggests that, like the childhood vaccine, the adult Tdap booster lasts only a few years at most.

Now i'm wondering if i need to get pertussed. I'm surrounded by college students all day. It's nearly as bad as daycare. *whoop whoop*

By min | October 1, 2013, 2:51 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

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