holy crap, this stuff is really cool

jtotheizzoe:

I have nothing to add here.

It’s a magic number. What would we do without Ed Yong to explain this stuff to us?

They can be perpetually pregnant! Also, the diagram he included is informative, if not odd. Finally, this might be why marsupials like joeys are born so prematurely developed (they run out of space).

In closing:

crookedindifference:

Graphical timeline of the Universe

This more than twenty billion years timeline of our universe shows the best estimates of the occurrence of events since its beginning, up until anticipated events in the near future. Zero of the scale is the present day. A large step on the scale is one billion years, a small step one hundred million years. The past time have a minus sign, e.g. the oldest rock on Earth was formed about four billion years ago and this is marked at -4e+09 years. The “Big Bang” event happened 13.7 billion years ago.

carlconnor:

Images taken from an electron microscope

  1. A wood or heathland ant, formica fusca, holding a microchip
  2. The surface of a silicon microchip
  3. Eyelash hairs growing from the surface of human skin
  4. The surface of a strawberry
  5. Bacteria on the surface of a human tongue

More…

thenewenlightenmentage:

The Origins of a Torus in a Galactic Nucleus
(PhysOrg.com) — Quasars are among the most energetic objects in the universe, with some of them as luminous as ten thousand Milky Way galaxies. Quasars are thought to have massive black holes at their cores, and astronomers also think that the regions around the black holes actively accrete matter, a process that releases vast amounts of energy and often ejects a powerful, narrow jet of material. Because they are so bright, quasars can be seen even when they are very far away, and this combination of being both highly energetic and located at cosmological distances makes them appealing to astronomers trying to figure out the nature of galactic center black holes (our own Milky Way has one) and the conditions in the early universe that prompt these monsters to form.
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thenewenlightenmentage:

The Origins of a Torus in a Galactic Nucleus

(PhysOrg.com) — Quasars are among the most energetic objects in the universe, with some of them as luminous as ten thousand Milky Way galaxies. Quasars are thought to have massive black holes at their cores, and astronomers also think that the regions around the black holes actively accrete matter, a process that releases vast amounts of energy and often ejects a powerful, narrow jet of material. Because they are so bright, quasars can be seen even when they are very far away, and this combination of being both highly energetic and located at cosmological distances makes them appealing to astronomers trying to figure out the nature of galactic center black holes (our own Milky Way has one) and the conditions in the early universe that prompt these monsters to form.

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expose-the-light:

Sunset on Mars
Sunset colors on Mars appear opposite of those typically seen on Earth. The central blue glow appears when the Martian atmosphere scatters the sunlight, the same phenomenon that makes the Earth’s sky blue. Powdery dust suspended in the atmosphere gives the rest of the sky a copper color. The Sun appears only about two-thirds the size that it does on the Earth.

expose-the-light:

Sunset on Mars

Sunset colors on Mars appear opposite of those typically seen on Earth. The central blue glow appears when the Martian atmosphere scatters the sunlight, the same phenomenon that makes the Earth’s sky blue. Powdery dust suspended in the atmosphere gives the rest of the sky a copper color. The Sun appears only about two-thirds the size that it does on the Earth.

How does the gender of parents matter?

scipsy:

Claims that children need both a mother and father to be socially and psychologically adjusted presume that women and men parent differently in ways crucial to development, but is it true?

Biblarz and Stacey (2010) analyzed the findings from 81 studies and concluded that:

The entrenched conviction that children need both a mother and a father inflames culture wars over single motherhood, divorce, gay marriage, and gay parenting. Research to date, however, does not support this claim. Contrary to popular belief, studies have not shown that ‘‘compared to all other family forms, families headed by married, biological parents are best for children’’ (Popenoe, quoted in Center for Marriage and Family, p. 1). Research has not identified any gender-exclusive parenting abilities (with the partial exception of lactation). […]

Our review of research […] suggests that strengths typically associated with mother- father families appear at least to the same degree in families with two women parents. We do not yet have comparable research on children parented by two men, but there are good reasons to anticipate similar strengths among male couples who choose parenthood. […]

Every family form provides distinct advantages and risks for children.

Successful parenting is not gender specific.

lifethroughgeologictime:

Living Fossil - Coelacanth
Coelacanth is a lobe-finned fish that dates all the way back to the Devonian, and were believed to have gone extinct around the end of the Cretaceous. Before its rediscovery in 1938 it was thought to be the “missing link” between fish and tetrapods, though it is apparently no longer the case that it is the link, coelacanth is still closer related to tetrapods than to ray-finned fish. It has remained roughly unchanged for ~400 million years. There are two living species, Latimeria chalumnae (West Indian Ocean Coelacanth (pictured above,)) and L. menadoensis (the Indonesian Coelacanth.) Its rediscovery in 1938 after virtually falling off the fossil record qualifies it as probably the best example of the Lazarus Taxon. 
Photo is from the Wikimedia Commons, its information can be found at this link.

lifethroughgeologictime:

Living Fossil - Coelacanth

Coelacanth is a lobe-finned fish that dates all the way back to the Devonian, and were believed to have gone extinct around the end of the Cretaceous. Before its rediscovery in 1938 it was thought to be the “missing link” between fish and tetrapods, though it is apparently no longer the case that it is the link, coelacanth is still closer related to tetrapods than to ray-finned fish. It has remained roughly unchanged for ~400 million years. There are two living species, Latimeria chalumnae (West Indian Ocean Coelacanth (pictured above,)) and L. menadoensis (the Indonesian Coelacanth.) Its rediscovery in 1938 after virtually falling off the fossil record qualifies it as probably the best example of the Lazarus Taxon

Photo is from the Wikimedia Commons, its information can be found at this link.

scinerds:

X-Rays Reveal What’s Below Fish’s Scales

  1. Lookdown Fish
  2. Torrent Loach
  3. Viper Moray Eel
  4. Porcupine Fish
  5. Wedge-Tail Triggerfish
What are we calling “mind-reading?”

fuckyeahneuroscience:

Mind-reading program translates brain activity into words

(click above to watch the accompanying video)

Scientists have picked up fragments of people’s thoughts by decoding the brain activity caused by words that they hear.

The remarkable feat has given researchers fresh insight into how the brain processes language, and raises the tantalising prospect of devices that can return speech to the speechless.

Though in its infancy, the work paves the way for brain implants that could monitor a person’s thoughts and speak words and sentences as they imagine them.

Such devices could transform the lives of thousands of people who lose the ability to speak as a result of a stroke or other medical conditions.

and a response: Is this really mind-reading? 

Translating brain activity into words is clever, but a long way from decoding and reconstructing human consciousness

Most studies that garner “mind reading” headlines use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI, or brain-scanning), to record the brain’s responses to certain stimuli. Typically, subjects are shown a limited set of stimuli, such as pictures, and their brains are scanned to record activity in the visual cortex associated with each one. They are then shown the same set of images again, and the responses are compared to the pre-determined activity patterns to predict which one they are viewing at any given time.

Recent advances in these techniques now enable researchers to do something even more remarkable – they can decode brain activity to accurately reconstruct novel images that the subjects have never seen before. And last year, another team of researchers from Berkeley extended this approach to reconstruct novel pictures from brain activity. This is possible because the primary visual cortex contains groups of neurons that respond in stereotypical ways to specific features of an image, such as contrast and the orientation of edges.

But do they constitute mind-reading?

Researchers have demonstrated a striking method to reconstruct words, based on the brain waves of patients thinking of those words.

The technique reported in PLoS Biologyrelies on gathering electrical signals directly from patients’ brains.

Based on signals from listening patients, a computer model was used to reconstruct the sounds of words that patients were thinking of.

The method may in future help comatose and locked-in patients communicate.

Several approaches have in recent years suggested that scientists are closing in on methods to tap into our very thoughts.

In a 2011 study, participants with electrodes in direct brain contact were able to move a cursor on a screen by simply thinking of vowel sounds.

A technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging to track blood flow in the brain has shown promise for identifying which words or ideas someone may be thinking about.

By studying patterns of blood flow related to particular images, Jack Gallant’s group at the University of California Berkeley showed in September that patterns can be used to guess images being thought of -recreating “movies in the mind”.

[Read More]