First Time Photo Captures Double Helix Structure of DNA

For the first time in history scientists have taken a photo that shows the double helix shape of DNA clearly. Using an electron microscope, Enzo di Fabrizio from the University of Genoa, Italy, did what was once thought to be impossible.

The structure of DNA was first hypothesized (and later understood to be spot on) by Francis Crick, who  received a Nobel Prize for discovering the structure.  Interestingly, after remaining unable to piece together the details of the structure for some time, Crick was reportedly able to comprehend it fully while under the effects of LSD.

After Crick and his colleagues made the discovery, the double helix structure was further validated using x-ray crystallography.  Even that was still just convincing speculation.   Despite learning that DNA is a double helix in school, no one had any actual visual evidence for this claim and it remained a theory backed by some pretty solid mathematics.

Well, solid mathematics is now backed by solid photography.  Case closed.

Take a good, long look at that picture – that’s what you look like under an electron microscope.

 

Sources:

http://io9.com/5964239/scientists-snap-a-picture-of-dnas-double-helix-for-the-very-first-time?utm_source=io9.com&utm_medium=recirculation&utm_campaign=recirculation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Crick

Cute Baby Animal Pictures Increase Productivity

 

cute baby cat duck baby animal

funny-pics.co

A study from Hiroshima University has found that viewing pictures of baby animals throughout the day increases efficiency, productivity, and accuracy while at work.

Hiroshi Nittono asked 48 female and male students to answer questions before and after viewing a particular set of pictures.  They either viewed baby animals, adult animals, or delicious food.  The group that viewed baby animals before answering the questions did much better.  They were able to focus more clearly and felt happier and more at ease.

According to the study:

This is interpreted as the result of a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing. For future applications, cute objects may be used as an emotion elicitor to induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and office work.

Next time you plan on going for a drive around the block, do us all a favor and look at a baby penguin first, will ya!?

 

Sources:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0046362?imageURI=info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0046362.g003#s3

 

UVB-76, The Most Mysterious Radio Station on the Planet

UVB-76, aptly nicknamed ‘The Buzzer,’ is a radio station that has been broadcasting since at least 1982 from an unknown, though widely speculated upon location in Russia.  It broadcasts on the frequency 4625 khz, and its broadcasts are generally an endless series of buzzing sounds, interrupted with a series of Russian names 3 times in the last 27 years.  Have a listen to the radio station and I’m sure you will agree; it is strangely spooky, especially the voices.  Many people have speculated on what the station might be used for, such as a numbers station, a way to measure the ionosphere, or possibly some type of Russian military spy relay.  The truth is that there is no hint of an explanation for it.

The vocal interruptions are described in the following quote:

At 21:58 GMT on Christmas Eve 1997, 15 years after it was first observed, the buzzing abruptly stopped; to be replaced by a short series of beeps, followed by a male voice speaking Russian who repeated the following message several times:

“Ya — UVB-76. 18008. BROMAL: Boris, Roman, Olga, Mikhail, Anna, Larisa. 742, 799, 14″.

On September 12th 2002 another voice was heard, this time so distorted that only part of the message could be recognised:

“UVB-76, UVB-76. 62691 Izafet 3693 8270″.

Finally, on February 21st 2006, a third message was transmitted which said:

“75-59-75-59. 39-52-53-58. 5-5-2-5. Konstantin-1-9-0-9-0-8-9-8-Tatiana-Oksana-Anna-Elena-Pavel-Schuka. Konstantin 8-4. 9-7-5-5-9-Tatiana. Anna Larisa Uliyana-9-4-1-4-3-4-8.”

If you are interested in reading more about the buzzer this Wired article contains a vast amount of specific information, as specific as one could regarding such a strange enigma.

There is also a website devoted to streaming the station 24/7 called UVB-76.net.

Happy listening…

 

Sources:

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/09/ff_uvb76/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UVB-76

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/09/ff_uvb76/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2EKWgTNEYU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOWExpS6q0c

Stanford Creates Highly Sensitive, Self-Healing Plastic Skin

Although there have been major advances for over a decade in synthetic skin and self-healing plastics, nothing compares to the sensitivity, degree of healing, or conductivity of the new self-healing skin created by researchers at Stanford Institute.

The researchers combined the “self-healing ability of a plastic polymer and the conductivity of a metal” to create the breakthrough new material.

The healing properties of the skin are extraordinary as the researchers have shown by taking:

“a thin strip of the material and cut it in half with a scalpel. After gently pressing the pieces together for a few seconds, the researchers found the material gained back 75 percent of its original strength and electrical conductivity. The material was restored close to 100 percent in about 30 minutes. What’s more, the same sample could be cut repeatedly in the same place. After 50 cuts and repairs, a sample withstood bending and stretching just like the original.”

The material is also sensitive enough to detect the pressure of a handshake, or the flexing of a joint.

Researchers believe the creation will be used for prosthetics, electrical and wire coating, as well as a protective plastic shell for various commercial products. Electrical components in hard to reach places would no longer need repairs, they could handle it on their own.

I say wrap absolutely everything in this material.  Clothes, cars, monitors, phones, walls, condoms… everything.

 

 

 

Sources and Related Readings:

Stanford News- Stanford’s touch-sensitive plastic skin heals itself

Wondergressive- Hairy Men Everywhere Rejoice: New Bandages Painlessly Remove From Skin

Suicide the Leading Cause of Injury Mortality in the United States

That’s right, currently, more people kill themselves than die in car crashes in the United States.  A new study from the American Journal of Public Health has revealed a startling truth that many people are downright refusing to believe.

In the last decade suicide has increased by 15% while deaths from car accidents have decreased by 25%. Cars are safer, and people are more miserable.

According to the study:

“Suicide ranked first as a cause of injury mortality, followed by motor vehicle traffic crashes, poisoning, falls, and homicide. Females had a lower injury mortality rate than did males.”

Not to worry, I’m sure doctors have a solution up their sleeves.  More anti-depressants!