ScienceSunday2013-07-30 22:05:01
Ready to Quake?

A stunning collection of images and a thoughtful analysis of Mt. Fuji's volcanic potential in the #ScienceEveryday  post.


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[Mount Fuji Set to Erupt]

The pressure in Mount Fuji's magma chamber is higher than it was in 1707 — the last time the nearly 4,000-meter-high Japanese volcano erupted — causing volcanologist to speculate that a disaster is imminent.

In May 2012 Masaki Kimura, a professor from Ryukyu University, warned that a massive eruption within three years would be likely because of several major factors: steam and gases are being emitted from the crater, water eruptions are occurring nearby (twenty-eight quakes in the past seven days), massive holes emitting hot natural gases are appearing in the vicinity and finally, the warning sign that pushed the professor to make the announcement, a 34km-long fault was found underneath the volcano. The fault, experts suggested, could indicate a total collapse of the mountainside if there is another significant shift, and it would probably cause a collapse in the event of an eruption, leading to huge mud and landslides.


Mount Fuji is nearly 100 kilometers (60 mi) south-west of Tokyo. Mount Fuji's exceptionally symmetrical cone, which is snow-capped several months a year, is a well-known symbol of Japan and is visited by sightseers and climbers year-round. This symmetrical cone — frequently depicted in art and photographs world-wide — is in fact a stratovolcano

A stratovolcano is a tall, conical volcano built up by many layers (strata) of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. Stratovolcanos are characterized by a steep profile and periodic explosive eruptions and quiet eruptions. The lava that flows from stratovolcanoes typically cools and hardens before spreading far due to high viscosity. The magma forming this lava is often felsic, having high-to-intermediate levels of silica (as in rhyolite, dacite, or andesite), with lesser amounts of less-viscous mafic magma. Extensive felsic lava flows are uncommon, but have travelled as far as 15 km (9.3 mi).

Stratovolcanoes are sometimes called "composite volcanoes" because of their composite layered structure built up from sequential outpourings of eruptive materials. They are among the most common types of volcanoes, in contrast to the less common shield volcanoes. Two famous stratovolcanoes are Krakatoa, best known for its catastrophic eruption in 1883 and Vesuvius, famous for its destruction of the towns Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD. Both eruptions claimed thousands of lives. 


It may help to think of this impeding eruption in a way that resembles Mount St. Helens. Experts believe that although Mount Fuji is nearly 1,000 meters taller — it will erupt with roughly the same power as Mount St. Helens. 

The historical eruptions of Mount Fuji have been in the VEI 4-5 range on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI). A volcanic eruption ranking in at a VEI 5 produces about 1 cubic kilometer of ejecta and does "paroxysmal" damage to the surrounding area.

This quote helps explain paroxysmal eruptions:

"As viscous, high-pressure magma explodes from a large, shallow reservoir — examples include Krakatoa in Indonesia or Santorini in Greece — spanning the spectrum of volcanism for days on end; a Plinian ash column shoots miles into the stratosphere, glowing avalanches sweep downward, and tens of cubic miles of airborne ejecta bury the countryside. After such eruptions, the entire volcano often collapses piecemeal into its empty magma chamber. The resulting caldera — a basin many miles across and perhaps a mile deep — may be filled by the ocean or by a lake like Oregon's Crater Lake."

When Mount Fuji erupts again, what could be expected would be a large plinian eruption with pyroclastic flows and lahars, along with ash deposits all across the Tokyo area. Included in the photo album attached to this post is a map detailing ash deposits from the last time it erupted — in 1707 — a VEI 5.

#scienceeveryday #volcano #mountfuji #japan #disaster  
Volcano Discovery link detailing 28 quakes in the past 7 days near Mt. Fuji:
+WIRED article that inspired the post:
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  • ScienceSunday2013-07-29 03:29:46
    Her Dopamine is Dope

    Thanks to +Michelle Quevedo for creating and sharing these super cool chemical necklaces. She really is a molecular muse.

    #ScienceSunday   #scisunABS  

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    Alien Script? Nope.
    These are really cool molecular pendants.
    Who says Chemistry isn't pretty? (okay, maybe it's just me)
    I find molecular structure to be kind of cool. :-)
    Guys, if you're looking for a gal who likes tech, science, anime and scifi- it may be a good indication she may already share these interests if she's wearing one of these. I'm just sayin'...
    Top Left: G and C of DNA
    Top Right: Dopamine
    Bottom: Serotonin
    Scientist turned artists Raven Hanna creates molecular structure jewelry. What a Rock Star! Yeah, I'm a nerd...

    #chemistry #molecular #art #scientists #scifi #sciencesunday #design #nerd #geek  
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  • ScienceSunday2013-07-01 05:00:49
    Bat Embryo

    The image shows a bat embryo at 80 days, when the support of what will eventually become the bat's wing have already begun to come into shape. Bone is shown in red and cartilage in blue.

    For more on how bats get off the ground, check out this story from Science Now  back in 2006 (the earliest we could find proper credit for the image - if someone else knows the origin, just let us know!):

    photo by Scott Weatherbee, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

    h/t to +M Monica for the #ScienceSunday  share.

    (folks: remember to circle the page so that we can tag people in to give credit for their shares)


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    A bat embryo. 
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  • ScienceSunday2013-06-29 15:06:52
    Unchained science
    Thanks +Yonatan Zunger for sharing this great video from +Steve Mould using slow motion video to explain the behavior of a beaded chain "flowing" out of a beaker.

    #ScienceEveryday   #SciSunCH  

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    This video is definitely worth five minutes of your time. Steve Mould does something really simple -- takes a really long beaded chain in a beaker, and drops the chain over the side. And what happens is pretty magical, so he films it in slow motion and explains, very clearly, why it happens.

    What are you seeing here? Part of it is simply gravity: the weight of the chain that's hanging over the side is pulling the rest of the chain over. Part of it is waves in the motion of the chain. Part of it is the fact that the chain can't change direction infinitely quickly. And all of it will, as io9 puts it (, melt your brain.

    via +Jennifer Ouellette, who finds the coolest damned stuff on the Internet. If you're not following her, you should be.
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  • ScienceSunday2013-06-02 22:36:15
    Periodic Table of Meat

    Earlier today we shared a periodic table of Jazz ( and a periodic table version of Scrabble ( So, since it is dinner time across much of North America, we thought it only fitting to share the periodic table of meat. Now where is our periodic table of desserts?? Oh, wait here it is:

    note: non-meat eaters do not despair, there are also periodic tables of vegetables ( and cheese (

    Happy eating!

    #ScienceSunday   #scisunABS  

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    Next up is a topic around many a dining table and kitchen.   #Meat .  As many have discovered throughout history, there is a definite science to procuring the perfect cut of meat (and sometimes, a good deal of interpretive dance, as well) for a delicious entree.  

    So, if like myself, you find you're often in trouble, then here is the perfect poster to hang in your kitchen (or fold up in your wallet for those trips to the store) for identifying the perfect selection of animal protein to serve with any non-meatless meal.

    On the other hand, #WhenInDoubtAlwaysChooseBacon .

    There were a variety of likely original sources for this particular periodic table, but I got it from:

    #ScienceMeme the Universe.
    #ScienceSunday #ScienceEveryDay
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  • ScienceSunday2013-06-02 22:06:57
    The Mark of a True Scientist

    Ok, be truthful: Who out there feels compelled to touch a plate once the waiter/waitress says, "Be careful, the plate it really hot."  ??  Chances are it's not really that hot, right? But there's only one way to know for sure....

    #ScienceSunday   #scisunABS  

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    #sciencesunday #scienceisawesome  
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  • ScienceSunday2013-05-26 14:53:48
    Mixed Signals

    A rare disorder which turns muscle into bone. A mutation in the gene ACVR1(activin receptor type-1) results in fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). The mutation causes the ACVR1 protein to have the amino acid histidine substituted for the amino acid arginine at position 206. This causes endothelial cells to transform to mesenchymal stem cells and then to bone.

    #ScienceSunday #SciSunRR  

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    The Girl Who Turned to Bone

    Find out more about Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva in this article from the atlantic, written by +Carl Zimmer.

    When Jeannie Peeper was born in 1958, there was only one thing amiss: her big toes were short and crooked. Doctors fitted her with toe braces and sent her home. Two months later, a bulbous swelling appeared on the back of Peeper’s head. Her parents didn’t know why: she hadn’t hit her head on the side of her crib; she didn’t have an infected scratch. After a few days, the swelling vanished as quickly as it had arrived.

    When Peeper’s mother noticed that the baby couldn’t open her mouth as wide as her sisters and brothers, she took her to the first of various doctors, seeking an explanation for her seemingly random assortment of symptoms. Peeper was 4 when the Mayo Clinic confirmed a diagnosis: she had a disorder known as fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP).

    Her diagnosis meant that, over her lifetime, she would essentially develop a second skeleton. Within a few years, she would begin to grow new bones that would stretch across her body, some fusing to her original skeleton. Bone by bone, the disease would lock her into stillness.

    Peeper’s condition is extremely rare—but in that respect, she actually has a lot of company. A rare disease is defined as any condition affecting fewer than 200,000 patients in the United States. More than 7,000 such diseases exist, afflicting a total of 25 million to 30 million Americans.

    Starting in the 1980s, Peeper built a network of people with FOP. She is now connected to more than 500 people with her condition—a sizable fraction of all the people on Earth who suffer from it. Together, members of this community did what the medical establishment could not: they bankrolled a laboratory dedicated solely to FOP and have kept its doors open for more than two decades. They have donated their blood, their DNA, and even their teeth for study.

    “I’ve seen 700 patients with FOP around the world, and it’s clear that there’s a lot of different ways to divide patients,” Kaplan said. One identical twin might be only mildly affected, while the other would be trapped in a wheelchair. Some patients developed a frenzy of bones as children, and then inexplicably stopped. “I’ve seen it go quiet for years and years.”

    In 1992, Kaplan hired a full-time geneticist named Eileen Shore to help establish a lab for the disorder. Shore had worked on fruit-fly larvae as a graduate student, and as a post-doctoral researcher, she had studied the molecules that allow mammal cells to stick together as they develop into embryos. Kaplan didn’t mind that Shore knew almost nothing about FOP. What he wanted in a geneticist was an expertise in development: the mystery of how the body takes shape. IFOPA’s money—as well as gifts from other private donors and an endowment accompanying Kaplan’s professorship at Penn—made it possible for him to work single-mindedly on FOP for more than two decades. 

    First, they set out to understand how the disease worked. Based on their conversations with patients, they learned that bone growth could be caused by even slight trauma to muscles. A tumble out of bed or even a quick brake at a stoplight might cause a flare-up—a swelling that may or may not lead to new bone growth. A visit to the dentist could do the trick, if the jaw was stretched too far. Even a flu shot to the biceps was enough. Some flare-ups subsided without any lasting effect, while others became nurseries for new bone.

    Most people with the condition develop their first extra bone by the age of 5. Their second skeletons usually start around the spine and spread outward, traveling from the neck down. By 15, most patients have lost much of the mobility in their upper bodies.

    Kaplan, Shore, and their students worked out the microscopic path of FOP: At the start of a flare-up, immune cells invade bruised muscles. Instead of healing the damaged area, they annihilate it. A few progenitor cells then crawl into the empty space, and in some cases give rise to new bone.

    “Your muscle isn’t turning to bone,” says Shore. “It’s being replaced by bone.”

    In 1996, they reported in The New England Journal of Medicine that the blood cells of people with the condition contain an abundance of a particular protein called BMP4. For the first time, scientists had found a molecular signature of the second skeleton.

    To treat rare diseases, scientists first look for the broken gene. Kaplan and Shore suspected that FOP was caused by a genetic mutation that led the body to make too much BMP4. In the early 1990s, they didn’t have access to today’s sophisticated genome-sequencing tools, so they began sorting slowly through the human genome’s 20,000 genes.

    The first candidate was, of course, the gene that produces BMP4. Shore and Kaplan sliced this gene out of cells from people with FOP, sequenced it, and compared it with a version taken from people without the condition. Unfortunately, the two versions were a perfect match. Kaplan kept searching. If the culprit wasn’t that particular protein, he reasoned, it might be one of its known associates. Kaplan and Shore inspected gene after gene, year after year. But they failed to find a mutation unique to people with FOP.

    Studying families is one of the best ways to pinpoint a mutated gene. By comparing the DNA of parents and children, geneticists can identify certain segments that consistently accompany a disorder. Because most people with FOP never have children, Kaplan and Shore had assumed they couldn’t use this method. But then the online patient network began surfacing exceptions: a family in Bavaria, one in South Korea, one in the Amazon. All told, seven families emerged; Kaplan traveled to meet a few of them and draw their blood.

    Back in Philadelphia, Shore and her colleagues examined the DNA from these samples and narrowed down the possible places where the FOP gene could be hiding. By 2005, they had tracked the gene to somewhere within a small chunk of Chromosome 2. “It was a huge step,” says Shore. “But there were still several hundred genes in that region.”

    By a fortunate coincidence, scientists at the University of Rochester had just studied one of those several hundred genes. They had discovered that the gene, called ACVR1, made a receptor. The receptor grabbed BMP proteins and relayed their signal to cells. In the margin of the paper in which the scientists described ACVR1, Kaplan wrote, “This is it.”

    A rare disease is a natural experiment in human biology. A tiny alteration to a single gene can produce a radically different outcome—which, in turn, can shed light on how the body works in normal conditions. As William Harvey, the British doctor who discovered the circulation of blood in the 17th century, observed more than 350 years ago, “Nature is nowhere accustomed more openly to display her secret mysteries than in cases where she shows tracings of her workings apart from the beaten paths.”

    Finding the FOP mutation was a coup, but Kaplan and Shore still had no idea how it worked. They set about studying baby teeth from young patients, as well as mice they genetically altered, to observe the mutation in action. Seven years later, they had pieced together an understanding of the far-reaching effects. The ACVR1 receptor normally grabs onto BMP proteins and relays their signal into cells. But in people with FOP, the receptors become hyperactive. The signal they send is too strong, and it lasts too long. In embryonic skeletons, the effects are subtle—for example, deformed big toes. Only later, after birth, does the mutation start to really make its presence known. One way it does this, Shore and Kaplan learned, is by hijacking the body’s normal healing process.

    Say you bruise your elbow, killing off a few of your muscle cells. Your immune cells would swarm to the site to clear away the debris, followed by stem cells to regenerate the tissue. As they got to work, the two kinds of cells would converse via molecular signals. Shore and Kaplan suspect that BMP4 is an essential part of that exchange. But in someone with FOP, the conversation is more of a screaming match. The stem cells kick into overdrive, causing the immune cells not just to clear the damage but to start killing healthy muscle cells. The immune cells, in turn, create a bizarre environment for the stem cells. Instead of behaving as if they’re in a bruise, these cells act as if they’re in an embryo. And instead of becoming muscle cells, they become bone.

    In the context of FOP, new bone is a catastrophe. But in other situations, it could be a blessing. Some people are born missing a bone, for example, while others fail to regenerate new bone after a fracture. And as people get older, their skeletons become fragile; old bone disappears, while bone-generating stem cells struggle to replace what’s gone.

    FOP may be an exquisitely rare bone condition, but low bone density is not: 61 percent of women and 38 percent of men older than 50 suffer from it. The more bone matter people lose, the more likely they are to end up with osteoporosis, which currently afflicts nearly one in 10 older adults in the United States alone. For decades, doctors have searched for a way to bring back some of that bone. Some methods have helped a little, and others, such as estrogen-replacement therapy, have turned out to have disastrous side effects in many women.

    Giving someone a second skeleton is not a cure for osteoporosis. But if Kaplan and his colleagues can finish untangling the network of genes that ACVR1 is a part of, they could figure out how to use a highly controlled variation on FOP to regrow bones in certain scenarios. “It’s like trying to harness a chain reaction at the heart of an atom bomb,” he told me, “and turning it into something safe and controllable, like a nuclear reactor.”

    The search for a cure is accelerating, thanks in part to new programs designed to incentivize the study of rare diseases. A different drug option, currently being investigated by a team of scientists at Harvard Medical School, has benefited from these programs. In a broader experiment in 2007, the scientists tested more than 7,000 FDA-approved compounds on zebra-fish embryos, watching for whether any of them affected the animals’ development. One molecule caused the zebra fish to lose the bottom of its tail fin. When the scientists looked more closely at this compound, they discovered that it latched onto a few receptors, including ACVR1—the receptor that Shore and Kaplan had recently discovered was overactive in FOP patients.

    The Harvard researchers wondered whether the drug could work as a treatment for FOP. They tinkered with the compound, creating a version that had a stronger preference for ACVR1 than other types of receptors. When they tested it on mice with an FOP-like condition, it quieted the signals from ACVR1 receptors, thereby stopping new bones from forming.

    Thanks to Kaplan’s enduring fascination with her disease, Jeannie Peeper can now realistically imagine a time—perhaps even a few years from now—when people like her will take a pill that subdues their overactive bones. They might take it only after a flare-up, or they might take a daily preventative dose. In a best-case scenario, the medication could allow surgeons to work backwards, removing extra bones without the risk of triggering new ones.

    At 54, with an advanced case of FOP, Peeper does not imagine that she’ll benefit from these breakthroughs. But she is optimistic that her younger friends will, and that one day, far in the future, second skeletons will exist only as medical curiosities on display. All that will remain of her reality will be Harry Eastlack, still keeping watch in Philadelphia, reminding us of the grotesque possibility stored away in our genomes.

    #ScienceSunday   | +ScienceSunday 
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  • ScienceSunday2013-04-29 01:59:33
    Escher's Floor

    #ScienceSunday   #scisunABS  

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    Wonder what their stairs look like? M.C. Escher lizards parquet floor:
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  • ScienceSunday2013-03-07 09:43:35
    Happy Anniversary, DNA Double Helix!

    This happened a few days ago, but Happy 60th Anniversary DNA! Genentech employees celebrating the anniversary of the discovery of DNA by forming a human DNA strand. Over 2,600 participated!

    Original paper by Watson and Crick:

    Good article explaining the context of this discovery:

    #ScienceEveryday      #SciSunBS
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  • ScienceSunday2013-03-05 00:16:46
    Join us for another Science HOA, brought to you by +ScienceSunday. An estimated 1% of the human genome codes for genes: those snippets of information that define us as individuals and as a species. What about the vast remainder? Is it the "dark matter" of biology or just "junk DNA"? You may recall the ENCODE project which made a splash in the news with the claim that 80% of the genome was functional. Now comes the push back, with scientists challenging that statement as an overreach. What is ENCODE? What does it tell us and perhaps as important, what does it not tell us? If you have any questions for our panel, please leave them on the Event page as always.

    This +ScienceSunday panel discussion will be hosted by +Rajini Rao, +Buddhini Samarasinghe and +Scott Lewis. Joining us will be +Ian Bosdet and +Josh Witten, two scientists that have written extensively about this topic. We hope you can join us as we attempt to decode the controversy!

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  • ScienceSunday2013-03-03 14:46:18
    Sunday Comics

    +Kofi Amihere brings us news about fantastic voyage into the human brain, set as a graphic novel.

    #ScienceSunday #SciSunRR  

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    Neurocomic takes readers on an adventure in the brain

    Artist Matteo Farinella and neuroscientist Hana Ros of University College London collaborated to create a graphic novel called Neurocomic about a hapless character who is sucked into a human brain where he encounters bizarre creatures and famous neuroscientists. The objective is to introduce the neurochemical workings of the brain to a wider audience, so entertainment, storytelling and clever metaphors are just as important to the enterprise as the science

    Image Source :
    +The Guardian video on their collaboration :
    Trailer by Richard Wyllie :
    To learn more visit

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  • ScienceSunday2013-02-24 16:36:50
    The Deadly Opposition to Genetically Modified Food
    Guest curator +Richard Smith made some great comments in a post about this article from via +Slate
    The OP is here: thanks +Michelle Beissel 
    Some outdated information was mentioned during a civil discussion of this hot topic. Here's how Richard dissect those claims.

    The "Golden Rice hoax" link is just completely out of date. I can see how some of the points might have been concerns ten years ago when people had less information, but they have all been shown to be irrelevant or false, with the exception of the claim that changes in agriculture have contributed to the vitA deficiency problem.

    The "Ban GM Foods" link is a campaign organisation, so it's a terrible source of information. But for the sake of discussion, I'll address the main points briefly:

    claim: Golden Rice not proven safe to eat
    No indeed, nor are any other kind of rice, carrots, bread, or water. Aside from the fact that nothing can be proven safe, Golden Rice need only be held to the same food safety standards as other food. There is no biological reason for it to be harmful. The beta-carotene retinoids thing is equally true of any source of beta-carotene, and one needs an extremely high dose to start seeing toxic effects. That dose isn't even approached in retinol acne treatments, so citing it in the context of GR is completely silly.

    claim: Golden Rice not proven safe for the environment
    Again, there is no reason to hold GR to higher standards here than any other kind of rice.

    claim: Golden Rice not proven effective
    It has been shown to be effective:

    claim: Better alternatives are available
    Those alternatives are not better in the immediate sense in that they won't save more lives faster or cheaper. In the long run, it would obviously be ideal if nutritional standards were raised to a level where sufficient vitA was available in everyone's diet, but that is a long term goal and much more complex. The immediate goal is to save lives. Nobody is claiming GR should be the only approach. But all the evidence suggests it will be a part of the solution.

    claim: Changing agricultural models have contributed to vitamin A deficiency
    This point is a red herring because, while it's true, it's not at all an argument against GR. Agricultural and economic factors as well as massive population growth have contributed to the vitA deficiency crisis. The agricultural model changed to support the massive growth in population, and without it a vast number of people would starve. The current situation is still terrible, but much less so than before.

    Regarding claims at :
    The main thesis of that piece is a straw man - he's attacking claims nobody is making. I don't think there are any GMOs being used in an agricultural setting which claim to increase intrinsic yield. They are all about changing the inputs to manage losses (to weeds, pests or diseases). The next generation of engineered plants will probably focus much more on improving yield potential. But actually, there are many specific instances in which yield is practically enhanced by Bt corn, and the UCS document from 2009 that the piece claims to be referencing ( lists many of these.

    Some other important points:

    claim: All increases to date have been due to achievements in traditional breeding
    This is absolutely false. Much yield increase to date has resulted from non-traditional breeding (like molecular marker assisted breeding, embryo rescue, etc.) and from increases in inputs (nutrients, pesticides, water). Over the last 20 years or so, increases in yield by traditional breeding have stalled. All the plant breeders I know are now looking to breeding as a tool more for introducing valuable resistance traits from wild relatives or related varieties, rather than as a way to increase yield potential.

    claim: In 2003, the World Bank and the UN [...] concluded that GE crops have no role to play in relieving poverty
    No, they didn't. They highlighted some of the potential risks and concerns, mainly about the patent system and the control of seed production by corporations (which is not specific to GM crops at all), and concluded that biotechnology is likely to be valuable in a variety of ways. Full report here (

    claim: GM crops were responsible for the farmer suicide crisis in india
    No, there's no evidence of that at all. The farmer suicide crisis predates the introduction of GM crops to India, and probably has complex socioeconomic causes. See:'_suicides_in_India and

    claim: [Bt crops introduced in India] do not produce viable seeds
    Again, this is widely believed by anti-GMO people but is completely false. The technology to do this was developed by the USDA in the 90s through a spin-off company. Monsanto bought that company and then shut it down, pledging never to use the technology. Terminator technology has never been used in commercial seed (

    We've covered GMO before:

    SSHOw: Roundup Ready GM Corn Study
    One Farmer's View of GMO
    Guide through the maize

    Uninformed, misinformed and anti-science comments/profiles will be deleted and blocked. Here's why: uncivil online comments can skew a reader's perception of science, see

    #ScienceSunday   #SciSunCH  
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  • ScienceSunday2013-02-21 04:47:00
    WHO can turn their heads 270 deg and survive? And HOW do they do it?

    An interesting use of imaging to answer a long-standing question. Don't try this at home (unless you are an owl)

    #ScienceSunday   #ScienceEveryday   #scisunABS  

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    Why Owls Don't Have Strokes

    Have you ever tried to turn your head around? I mean really around? Like 270 deg around? You can't do it, and it's a good thing, because if you did, you'd cut off the blood flow in the arteries that feed your brain and risk a stroke. 

    But owls can turn their heads 270 deg - without having strokes. How can they do that??

    A recent study used a combination of imaging techniques to determine what sorts of adaptations owls have that enable them to survive such extreme head turning. It turns out that some of their arteries have more "slack" than humans' do, and others are enclosed in bones (the foramina - really holes in the vertebrae) with huge amounts of air, which enables the arteries within to move freely and protected while the head rotates. Contrast that with the tight fit human arteries have within our foramina, which doesn't provide us with much give at all. The researchers also found that as the head turns, "reservoirs" of blood pool toward the bottom of the head, effectively providing a back-up of blood in case blood flow from some arteries does get cut off.

    The work recently won the Science / NSF Visualization Challenge for 2012 in the Posters & Graphics competition, and you can check out the original poster here:

    If you want to the head motion in action, check out this video of one of the study's authors (Fabian de Kok-Mercado) with a beautiful barn owl:  (note that the experiments were done on other owls that died of natural causes - the owl in the video wasn't one of the subjects).

    What do the results mean for humans? Can it help us prevent neck injuries? The answer, according to the authors in an interview with ScienceFriday (, is that it doesn't tell us anything about humans, but that's ok. de Kok-Mercado notes, "This goes to show that there are so many things on this planet that deserve a closer look."

    You can read more at Futurity (, and check out the full story at ScienceFriday (

    And for another recent post on all things owl, check out +Lacerant Plainer 's recent contribution for #ScienceSunday  :

    p.s. I know this story is from a few weeks ago, but I just came across it and I found it really cool, so I figured maybe there are a few other people out there who haven't heard about it yet.... Plus, this photograph from Doug Brown/Flickr (via Science360,  is simply too stunning not to share.

    #ScienceEveryday   when it's not #ScienceSunday  
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  • ScienceSunday2013-02-16 12:20:19
    Chimp Challenge

    Watch this fantastic video that is sure to make you rethink your opinion of yourself and our primate relatives.

    #ScienceEveryday   #SciSunRR  

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    Memory of chimps ‘far better than human'

    About Video: This video shows how chimpanzees can outperform humans in some mental tasks. The 12-year-old chimp was able to memorize random numbers in less than a second. 

    And this how I feel after watching this video

    Via Reddit at:
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  • ScienceSunday2013-02-11 20:58:34
    Drugs and Bugs

    Beautiful microbial images linked to an open access study showing how antibiotics disturb the microbial flora in our gut for your #ScienceEveryday  enjoyment. Thanks for the share, +ScienceSeeker!


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    Gut microbiota disturbance during antibiotic therapy

    Physicians and doctors are well aware of the problems of overprescribing antibiotics - most importantly, the promotion of antibiotic resistance in bacteria like MRSA. In particular, broad spectrum antibiotics, i.e. antibiotics that act against a wide range of disease-causing bacteria, are commonly administered as a placatory gesture - I have to prescribe something, else this patient will think I'm an incompetent buffoon' [writes the author]. As a side-effect, antibiotics can alter the body's normal microbial content (microbiota) by attacking the trillions of pathological and naturally-occuring, beneficial bacteria necessary for maintaining a healthy gut and other organ systems, thus providing the opportunity for drug-resistant microorganisms to flourish.

    Researchers at the University of Valencia analysed gut microbial communities in faecal samples from individual subjected to β-lactam therapy. Their proof-of-concept study demonstrated gut microbiota responses to follow-up β-lactam therapy, suggesting that antibiotics not only target specific pathogens, but also alter gut microbial ecology and interactions with host metabolism at a level much higher than previously assumed

    The results of their research serve as a reminder that antibiotics should continue to be reserved for the most compelling bacterial diseases, as such reactive changes in the normal gut flora are likely to promote the acquisition of antibiotic-resistance - the overgrowth of dangerous bacteria as well as the loss of 'good' bacteria.

    Via +Stephanie Swift of

    Full open access article via BMJ:

    Images and captions via +National Geographic.

    cc: +Microbiology +MicrobiologyBytes
    #ScienceEveryday #ScienceEveryday #Microbiology #Bacteria #bacterialflora  
  • 38 plusses - 3 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-02-10 15:36:24
    Stay stylish, #sciencesunday !


    Reshared text:
    How cool are these posters?

    This poster and more by Megan Lee here -

    #sciencesunday   #scienceeveryday  
  • 40 plusses - 1 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-02-06 11:32:17
    Genetic Matchmaker

    Send a Science-themed Valentine to your sweetheart.

    #ValentinesDay    #ScienceEveryday   #SciSunRR  
  • 52 plusses - 16 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-02-03 22:23:21
    [+] Amazing Visualization of Circuitry [+]

    We often are able to take things like electricity for granted, but here's a wonderful animation that shows how closed and open circuits work, as well as what needs to be done to ensure your light switch works properly! It's not just about hooking up the positive and negative nodes, but making sure you've created the correct pathways. Thanks +Jeremy Hall for this!

    #ScienceSunday   #SciSunSL  

    Reshared text:

    Following the invention of the vacuum tube in the early 1900's the transistor has continued to revolutionized modern civilization.  From radios, to telephones, to televisions, to personal computers, and smart phones.  The transistor is the fundamental building block of all modern electronic devices.

    There are 3 terminals on a basic transistor; the source, drain, and gate.  We turn the device 'on' by applying charge to the gate.  Once the gate is charged, the source and drain can then conduct between the positive and negative 'rails'.  

    And now you know.
    something i threw together for #sciencesunday   
  • 41 plusses - 2 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-02-03 20:52:58

    Hippothesis!!! :D Punny Science h/t +Michael R!
    via For #ScienceSunday   #scisunRP  
  • 51 plusses - 1 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-02-01 23:49:08
    Fund Me, Maybe?

    Hilarious parody, eat your heart out Carly Rae Jepsen.

    #ScienceEveryday   #SciSunRR  

    Reshared text:
    Here's my science. Fund me, maybe?

    I found this brilliant parody this morning. Enjoy!   #scio13  
  • 41 plusses - 4 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-01-27 09:29:12
    DNA clues from the past, insight into our origins

    Fantastic share from +Thomas Kang about a recent bit of anthropology research for #ScienceSunday .


    Reshared text:
    DNA Analysis Reveals Common Origin of Tianyuan Humans and Native Americans, Asians
    An international team of scientists has sequenced nuclear and mitochondrial DNA extracted from remains of a 40,000-year-old human found at the Tianyuan Cave site near Beijing, China. The results show Tianyuan humans shared a common origin with ancestors of many present-day Asians and Native Americans.

    Humans with morphology similar to present-day humans appear in the fossil record across Eurasia between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago. The genetic relationships between these early modern humans and present-day human populations had not yet been established.

    The team, including Dr Svante Pääbo and Dr Qiaomei Fu from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, extracted nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from a leg bone found in 2003 at the Tianyuan Cave site, located outside Beijing.

    For their study, described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists used new techniques that can identify ancient genetic material from an archaeological find even when large quantities of DNA from soil bacteria are present. They then reconstructed a genetic profile of the leg’s owner.

    “This individual lived during an important evolutionary transition when early modern humans, who shared certain features with earlier forms such as Neanderthals, were replacing Neanderthals and Denisovans, who later became extinct,” Dr Pääbo said.

    The findings reveal that the Tianyuan human related to the ancestors of many present-day Asians and Native Americans, but had already diverged genetically from the ancestors of present-day Europeans. In addition, this early modern human did not carry a larger proportion of Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA than present-day people in the region.

    #science #ScienceSunday
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  • ScienceSunday2013-01-21 02:03:54
    The Moon Hoax - Not

    SG Collins has a wonderful video explaining why landing men on the moon back in the 60s wasn't a hoax - it simply wasn't possible given the technology we had at the time. In an interview with +Eric Weiss for SkepticsOnThe.Net, he says:

    I’ve been working in film / video since 1978. For much of that time I was a cameraman.... My specific reason for making ‘moon hoax not’ was because the idea had been on my mind for several years and I wanted to get it off my chest already. I noticed that a lot of people just don’t know about the difference between the technology profiles of 1969 and today and the true believers don’t care, of course. I had one guy from YouTube tell me that it was possible to mount a front projection system on the lunar rover to produce fake moon footage.  He didn’t seem to understand about how front projection works, or how matchmove works — or that we didn’t have motion-tracking technology in the 1960s.

    (you can see the full story here:

    Well worth a watch on this #ScienceSunday
     h/t to +Simon Garnier 

    Reshared text:
    Great video! In 1969, we had the technology to send a man on the moon, but not to fake it :-)

    via +Chris Gachot 

    #sciencesunday   #scienceisawesome   #scienceeveryday  
  • 29 plusses - 3 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-01-14 01:26:31
    The Week in Science Review

    courtesy of +Dena Ricketts for #ScienceSunday  


    Reshared text:
    Just a small sample of some of the amazing things we learned and discovered this week.

    Giant squid footage:
    Largest known structure:
    8.6 metre long ichthyosaur:
    New exoplanet candidates:
    Wrinkly finger study:
    Largest barred-spiral galaxy:

    #sciencesunday #scienceeveryday  
  • 29 plusses - 3 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-01-13 14:09:19
    Plus One for Pluto

    Laying on the guilt. How do you feel, #ScienceSunday readers?


    Reshared text:
    Not that Pluto's bitter or anything.......

    #ScienceSunday  +ScienceSunday 
  • 44 plusses - 5 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-01-10 17:08:07
    Dark Lightning?

    Have you ever heard of it?  Check out this great video on the phenomenon to learn more!

    #ScienceEveryday  (for when it's not #ScienceSunday)

    Reshared text:
    Dark lightning in space

    Amazing phenomena observed in space and is caused by storms.

    #scienceeveryday   #darklightning  
  • 32 plusses - 0 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-01-06 20:37:57
    We do enjoy the punny and cleverly worded science. :) #ScienceSunday   

    Reshared text:
  • 47 plusses - 6 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-01-06 04:09:24
    Seratonin and the Dopamines: The Happiness Tour!

    Kicking off #ScienceSunday   with a few of our favourite neurotransmitters!

    From previous posts on Seratonin and Dopamine....

    Think That's Not Fair? Your Serotonin Must Be High!
    +Chris Robinson notes: Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is involved in mood, sleep, memory, cognition, appetite, bowel issues, migraine, blood pressure, pain, nausea, premature ejaculation…I could go on. The authors of this study hypothesize that serotonin also plays a role in how we respond to unfair offers... What they found here was a negative correlation. The MORE serotonin transporters you had, the less likely you were to reject unfair offers. The authors interpret this to mean that people with lower levels of serotonin transporter had a harsher sense of “fairness”, than those with higher levels of serotonin transporter, and were more inclined to reject unfair offers. 

    Gut Bacteria Regulate Happiness
    +Chris Robinson  writes: This research shows that normal adult brain function depends on the presence of gut microbes during development. Scientists at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre in UCC used a germ-free mouse model to show that the absence of bacteria during early life significantly affected serotonin concentrations in the brain in adulthood. The research also highlighted that the influence is sex dependent, with more marked effects in male compared with female animals.
    Sex and Drugs and Rock & Roll: Music as a Natural Drug
    +Allison Sekuler writes: Music can give you chills and goosebumps, and music can be addictive. But the music that turns one person on may just annoy someone else...

    What makes music so pleasurable?  and why does some music float our boats more than others? The short video [in the post linked above] gives a quick overview of some of the science behind music, and the way (the right) music can affect our brains similarly to sex, food, and drugs.

    The Dopamine Connection  The bottom line is that listening to music we enjoy increases the effective and functional connections in the mesolimbic system, which is linked to reward processing (e.g., Menon & Levitin, Neuroimage, 2005: This system of the brain was designed to promote biologically adaptive behaviours, like eating and having sex. One of the key factors driving the system is dopamine - the motivation/reward/pleasure neurotransmitter. Of course, you can have too much of a good thing, so dopamine and the mesolimbic system is also linked to less adaptive behaviours, such as drug addictions. It turns out dopamine release can also be linked to music, even though it's a very different sort of stimulus than food, sex or drugs.

    The Role of Dopamine in Superstition
    +Allison Sekuler explains why professional athletes may be more superstitious than the average person....

    and finally, you can see how Neural Stem Cells Show Promise for Parkinsons
    +Rajini Rao writes In Parkinsons disease, cells producing dopamine die off (for unknown reasons), resulting in tremors, rigidity and worse. Treatment consists of supplements of dopamine and surgical implantation of wires that provide electrical impulses for movement. For a decade, scientists have been trying to regrow nerve cells using stem cells, but these cells only made limited amounts of dopamine. Also, there were concerns that dopamine neurons developed from human stem cells could trigger growth of tumors.

    Recently, Lorenz Studer's group at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC found the right chemical signals to coax stem cells into dopamine neurons. The neurons survived and restored activity in three animal models: mouse, rat and monkeys. The primate work was important because previous studies had shown that rodent brains required fewer working neurons to overcome symptoms.

    Now you know why we love these neurotransmitters so much!

    #ScienceSunday   #SciSunABS  

    h/t to +Andrij Harasewych for the OP below

    Reshared text:
    #science   #sciencesunday  +Memetic Engineering +ScienceSunday 
  • 45 plusses - 6 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-01-01 00:12:25
    Happy New Year

    From our genes to yours.

    #ScienceEveryday   #SciSunRR  
  • 79 plusses - 7 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-12-30 14:14:44
    Is the Earth Really Round?

    You don't have to be a flat-earther to enjoy this fascinating and fast paced video from +MinutePhysics .

    H/T to +Wolfgang Alexander Moens for the #ScienceSunday share.

  • 16 plusses - 4 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-12-23 15:25:44
    Ho Ho Ho

    Holmium, of course. Santa needs to brush up on the Periodic Table.

    Thanks for the tag, +Chris Veerabadran !

    #ScienceSunday   #SciSunRR  

    Reshared text:
    Math Greetings

    For solution go here:

    #mathematics   #science   #holidayseason   #foxtrot   #funny   #sciencesunday   #scienceeveryday   #mathjoke  
  • 19 plusses - 3 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-12-16 13:03:44
    The Chemistry of Antacids

    Our stomach secretes hydrochloric acid (HCl) to help in digestion of food. Too much acid triggers symptoms of heartburn and stomach distress. Antacids are usually sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) that neutralize acid releasing CO2 gas and salt (NaCl). The effervescence is from the CO2 bubbling out. For more on antacids, see

    #ScienceSunday   #SciSunRR  

    Reshared text:
    Effervescent: Antacid Tablet In A water Sphere
  • 31 plusses - 4 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-12-09 20:26:41
    The Periodic Table of Elements

    via +Justin Chung for #ScienceSunday  (which also happens to fall on #Punday)

    Reshared text:
    Periodic Table!

    This is pure awesome! A visual pun for #SundayPunday and #ScienceSunday!

    "Periodic Table of Elements" made by Nazila Alimohammadi and Anna Clark in 2003 at Wake Forest University. Actinide and lanthanide series are the bench. (Photo: Larry WFU)

    #geek #humor #periodictable #elements #chemistry #science
  • 52 plusses - 6 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-12-09 06:50:57
    Micro-Algae Lamp

    What a fantastic way to kick off this week's #ScienceSunday ! Thanks for the share +Trev Warth, this is great! Make sure to watch the video that shows how this algae lamp can absorb 1 ton of CO2 PER YEAR - truly amazing!


    Reshared text:
    This microalgae lamp absorbs 150 times more CO2 than a tree!

    Wow, this concept has the potential to be awesome, in the true sense of the word. Earth changing. If these lights were everywhere it would have a great effect on CO2 levels.

    If the figures are correct then roughly every five of these lights in use would counter the CO2 emissions annually by one car based on average mileage. However that green glow, while environmentally symbolic, would put an eery feel over everything and probably dampen a lot of people's moods. Something would need to be done about that :)

    Shamengo pioneer Pierre Calleja has invented something truly remarkable--a light powered by algae that absorbs CO2 in the air--at the rate of 1 ton PER YEAR, or what a tree absorbs over its entire lifetime! The microalgae streetlamp has the potential to provide significantly cleaner air in urban areas and revolutionize the cityscape.


    #sciencesunday  +ScienceSunday 
  • 29 plusses - 4 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-12-03 04:18:45
    Lesson on reciprocity in monkey business 101
    Dr. de Waal demonstrates that monkeys are prosocial. From a paper with Dr. Suchak:
    Monkeys benefit from reciprocity without the cognitive burden.
    Suchak M, de Waal FB.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Sep 18;109(38):15191-6. Epub 2012 Sep 4.
    The debate about the origins of human prosociality has focused on the presence or absence of similar tendencies in other species, and, recently, attention has turned to the underlying mechanisms. We investigated whether direct reciprocity could promote prosocial behavior in brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). Twelve capuchins tested in pairs could choose between two tokens, with one being "prosocial" in that it rewarded both individuals (i.e., 1/1), and the other being "selfish" in that it rewarded the chooser only (i.e., 1/0). Each monkey's choices with a familiar partner from their own group was compared with choices when paired with a partner from a different group. Capuchins were spontaneously prosocial, selecting the prosocial option at the same rate regardless of whether they were paired with an in-group or out-group partner. This indicates that interaction outside of the experimental setting played no role. When the paradigm was changed, such that both partners alternated making choices, prosocial preference significantly increased, leading to mutualistic payoffs. As no contingency could be detected between an individual's choice and their partner's previous choice, and choices occurred in rapid succession, reciprocity seemed of a relatively vague nature akin to mutualism. Having the partner receive a better reward than the chooser (i.e., 1/2) during the alternating condition increased the payoffs of mutual prosociality, and prosocial choice increased accordingly. The outcome of several controls made it hard to explain these results on the basis of reward distribution or learned preferences, and rather suggested that joint action promotes prosociality, resulting in so-called attitudinal reciprocity.

    h/t +Zen Faulkes and +Robert E. del Sol and many others.
    #ScienceSunday   #SciSunCH  
  • 25 plusses - 2 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-12-02 13:31:24

    Always up for some science humor here at #ScienceSunday.

    Reshared text:
    An oldie but a goodie

    #sciencesunday   #science   #scienceeveryday   #scienceisawesome  
  • 50 plusses - 6 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-26 03:45:12
    Think positive
    #ScienceSunday  isn't over yet. Nice share +Dena Ricketts 

    h/t +mary Zeman 

    Reshared text:
  • 45 plusses - 9 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-18 22:40:32
    This is Just About the Coolest Thing We've Seen All Day!

    In case you didn't get your full 007 fix watching Skyfall, +John Whalen brings us this amazing video of robots playing the 007 theme song.  Robots are always good for a #ScienceSunday   post. And robots playing 007 is even better ;)

    Reshared text:
    Here you go, some robots FLYING robots that are playing 007, all under the guise of being so "cool"
    #sciencesunday   #robots  
    complete total and utter mini flying robot swarm insanity
  • 36 plusses - 3 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-17 18:27:05
    Intersecting Angles between #caturday and #scienceeveryday !

    Reshared text:
    Physics Cat

    calculative #caturday  (via The New Yorker magazine)
  • 33 plusses - 1 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-12 02:04:59
    Another View of Chemistry Cat?

    via +Matt Lerner for #ScienceSunday  

    We never get enough of Schrödinger's cat here at +ScienceSunday  - and if you're looking for a great holiday gift, why not consider this t-shirt?? 

    Reshared text:
    #ScienceSunday   #ScienceEveryDay  +ScienceSunday 
  • 49 plusses - 0 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-12 01:55:34
    The Coffee-Ring Effect

    What could be more exciting than watching a drop of liquid dry? Watching it dry super-magnified and in super-hi-speed!  

    +Ryan Ash shares a great video based on work published last year from the +University of Pennsylvania: Yunker, Still, Lohr, and Yodh Shape Dependent Capillary Interactions Undo the Coffee Ring Effect. Nature, 18   August 2011.

    The video shows how the ring that forms around the edge when a drop dries depends critically on the shape of the drop and on the materials within the drop, including the shape of the particles within that material - if you can change the shape, you can change the coffee-ring effect. 

    Although it may sound a bit esoteric, the problem has quite practical applications (think the problems people encounter when paint dries...).

    As this article (  in Discover magazine notes, "The coffee ring effect, as it’s known, isn’t just for armchair physicists. It’s been quite a nuisance for scientists designing inks and paints, since, as you can imagine, a painted wall that dries with all the color bleeding to edges or a printed page where each letter is white in the middle is not a success. This hurdle has been addressed with workarounds like additives to paint that hold particles in place as they dry or printing dots so small that the effect isn’t noticeable. But this work shows that tweaking the shape of the particles might be enough, suggesting that manufacturers could swap out hazardous solvents, for instance, for ellipsoid particles."

    And the video is just really cool ;)


    Reshared text:
    Coffee Ring Effect
  • 23 plusses - 3 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-04 20:58:31
    Truly open access science

    +Trev Warth has shared some evidence that open access science is really taking off. We're really glad to see our canine colleagues participating in #sciencesunday !

    Reshared text:
    Dog physics.

    #sciencesunday   #fidofriday  
  • 39 plusses - 3 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-04 06:42:15
    "Sometimes the simplest questions have the most amazing answers"

    We at #sciencesunday agree! That is one of the many reasons we love science, because of the amazing answers we find :) Check out this great video shared by +Mohammed Al Sahaf about why trees are so tall.

    Tag your science posts with #sciencesunday and circle +ScienceSunday for more SCIENCE!

    Reshared text:
    Trees Are Freaking Awesome!
    The long waiting answer to how tall trees suck water to the top.

    #sciencesunday   #veritasium  
  • 31 plusses - 2 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2014-06-29 20:12:03
    Sandy Science
    Bringing the science of lungs to the beach...

    Now that has warmed up across much of North America, people are planning more and more trips to the beach. They'll relax, read a book, do some body surfing, and maybe even build a sand castle.

    But why not bring a little science to the sand? This image of a set of lungs is a great example of how a day at the beach can breathe life into the sand, making it both a relaxing and educational experience.

    Should anyone be ambitious enough to create other science sand sculptures, feel free to tag us in with #sciencesunday and #sandyscience ;)


    h/t +Joanne Manaster and +Derya Unutmaz

    Reshared text:
    Sand lungs
    Fascinating anatomic sand sculpture, art and science!


    #Art #Science
  • 95 plusses - 14 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2014-06-09 01:42:59
    Chemistry and Calligraphy

    We at +ScienceSunday love reminders of how well science and art can get along. +Mz Maau points us to another lovely example that will intrigue artists and science-lovers alike, and it certainly isn't the first. Be sure to look at other wonderful recent examples:

    Scientifically Correct "Art" by +Rakesh Yadav
    Accidental Art: Wood Painting with Fungi by +Rajini Rao
    Bulbing: More light to see what's not really there... by +ScienceSunday

    Here are previous collections put together by our art and science loving curator +Allison Sekuler, as well.

    Favorites of the Past
    Art of Science and Glass

    #ScienceSunday   #SciSunCB  

    Reshared text:
    Chemical Calligraphy - DNA Molecule -  - DScript BioChem and other Notations. All pics, text, pdfs, etc.. free to copy edit sell and use for commercial purposes, no royalty, fee, etc.
    Dscript 2D Alphabetical Intro -

    Some Short Stories in Dscript :

    Mad Science Inventions & Experiments :

    WireScript 3D writing system :
    NailScript Layered writing system :

    Facebook Collection : (Plz Like and share, it's not easy being an artist)
  • 61 plusses - 1 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2014-04-28 02:21:20
    Bulbing: More light to see what's not really there...

    The genius minds at Studio Cheha have created an interchangable LED lamp that doubles as an optical illusion.

    With respect to the science behind the illusion, it is an example of anamorphic perspective.  Using the principles of perspective, each of the 5 designs looks like it's 3D when viewed from the right position, although all of the lamps are etched 2D acrylic glass. The different designs can also all be fit into a single base, so you can rotate you illusions depending on your mood. 

    We've shared a number of examples of anamorphs before, and they are all worth a look, e.g.,

    Street Lizards via +ILLUSION (contains links to a number of other street anamorphs)

    Illusory Floating Colours via +Allison Sekuler


    Double Illusion: Anamorphic Necker Cube via +Allison Sekuler  (with a really cool walk-through video convincing you it's not really there...) 

    The Bulbing is being sold now through a +Kickstarter offer:, and even if you're not going to buy one (many of the categories are already sold out), it's worth a look to see how it works. 

    For some other 3D illusions, check out these past #ScienceSunday  posts:

    Follow the bouncing ball via +Malin Christersson & +Allison Sekuler

    The perception of ambiguous motion via +Allison Sekuler 
    with spheres: and kittehs:

    and, of course, +Liz Krane 's recent share on the perception of 3D illusions in none other than the praying mantis!

    #ScienceSunday   #scisunABS  

    h/t to +Gail Barnes (as @ZAGrrl on Twitter)
  • 37 plusses - 3 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2014-03-21 00:44:09
    Breaking the Rules

    How an enzyme from African Swine Fever virus  bypasses the rules of base pairing in DNA by switching the order of binding its substrates. First discovered by Arthur Kornberg in the 1950's, DNA polymerases are enzymes that make DNA from building blocks, following rules of "base pairing" to copy from a template. Pol X from the African Swine Flu virus has low fidelity, unlike conventional enzymes that follow strict rules. This property is useful in repairing damaged DNA and for allowing the virus to mutate at high frequency. 

    #ScienceEveryday #SciSunRR

    Reshared text:
    Every rule has its exceptions. Polymerases are no different, as +Rajendrani Mukhopadhyay finds out:

    #sciencesunday   #scienceeveryday  
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  • ScienceSunday2014-03-12 01:19:47
    Elephants Crack the Language Code

    Elephants are long-lived and large-brained, so it should come as no surprise that they can decode complex vocal cues and make their own. An exciting discovery of our pachyderm friends for #ScienceEveryday.


    Reshared text:
    Story in the Ottawa Citizen today (with no G+ share facility)
    Elephants can tell difference between human languages

    Study shows they differentiate male, female voices

    Wild elephants can distinguish between human languages, and they can tell whether a voice comes from a man, woman or boy, a new study says.

    That’s what researchers found when they played recordings of people for elephants in Kenya. Scientists say this is an advanced thinking skill that other animals haven’t shown. It lets elephants figure out who is a threat and who isn’t.

    The result shows that while humans are studying elephants, the clever animals are also studying people and drawing on their famed powers of memory, said study author Karen McComb.

    “Basically they have developed this very rich knowledge of the humans that they share their habitat with,” said McComb, a professor of animal behaviour and cognition at the University of Sussex in England.

    “Memory is key. They must build up that knowledge somehow.”
    The study was released Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    McComb and colleagues went to Amboseli National Park in Kenya, where hundreds of wild elephants live among humans, sometimes coming into conflict over scarce water. The scientists used voice recordings of Maasai men, who on occasion kill elephants in confrontations over grazing for cattle, and Kamba men, who are less of a threat to the elephants. The recordings contained the same phrase in two different languages: “Look over there. A group of elephants is coming.”

    By about a two-to-one margin, the elephants reacted defensively — retreating and gathering in a bunch — more to the Maasai language recording because it was associated with the more threatening human tribe, said study co-author Graeme Shannon of Colorado State University.

    “They are making such a fine-level discrimination using human language skills,” Shannon said. “They’re able to acquire quite detailed knowledge. The only way of doing this is with an exceptionally large brain.”

    They repeated the experiment with recordings of Maasai men and women. Since women hardly ever spear elephants, the animals reacted less to the women’s and boys’ voices.

    In yet another experiment McComb and Shannon altered female and male voices, making female voices sound male by lowering their tone and resonance, and males sound female by raising their pitches. But the clever elephants weren’t tricked, McComb said. They still moved away from the altered male voices and not the altered female voices.

    ScienceSunday curated by +Robby Bowles +Allison Sekuler +Rajini Rao +Chad Haney +Buddhini Samarasinghe #ScienceSunday +ScienceSunday

  • 44 plusses - 5 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2014-03-07 00:30:52
    First US Woman Geologist

    She was the first woman to receive a Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University, which she did in 1893. While studying at Johns Hopkins she was forced to sit behind a screen so as not to disturb the men.

    Via +STEM Women on G+ for  #ScienceEveryday  

    Reshared text:
    Florence Bascom Ph.D.

    Florence Bascom was one of the first women in the US to earn a Ph. D and was the first from Johns Hopkins University. She is known in Geological circles as the first woman Geologist and was the first hired by the U.S. Geological Survey back in 1896. By 1906, as one of the country's leading Geologists, Florence was recognized by her peers as a four-starred geologist in the first edition of American Men of Science.

    I don't know about you, but the way I read Dr. Florence Bascom's resigned and mildly contemptuous expression, she is saying "If we have to do this damn photograph let's get on with it so that I can get out of this uncomfortable frock and get back to work!"

    More here (pdf):

    This picture is used by Wikipedia but is also part of a huge trove of what appear to be copyright free images shared by +Smithsonian Institution Archives and via +Mary Mangan to celebrate International Women's Day and Women's History Month.

    Many more images here:
  • 51 plusses - 2 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2014-02-10 22:11:17
    Bursting Bubbles

    As +Lacerant Plainer explains, the understanding of how bubbles form, burst, and fill space is applicable to many fields of science. As was covered yesterday, they can also be more than just a pretty picture (

    h/t +Charles Strebor for bring the post to attention for  #ScienceEveryday  when it's not #ScienceSunday .


    Reshared text:
    Bubble Physics : Computer simulations of bubbles helps in understanding fluid dynamics and much, much more. The humble bubble is fascinating indeed.

    Simulation of bursting bubbles : Pic on top right - In collaboration with the Technical University of Munich, scientists simulated 15,000 bursting bubbles using 6.4 million threads on Sequoia, the IBM machine at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory listed as the third-fastest supercomputer in the world. The simulation could lead to advances in kidney stone and cancer treatment as well as improvements in high pressure fuel injector technology. Collapsing bubbles could also be used to shatter kidney stones due to their high pressure. Collapsing bubbles could also be used to destroy tumorous cancer cells and to precisely deliver cancer drugs exactly where they are needed.  (

    UC Berkeley research : Two UC Berkeley researchers have now described mathematically the successive stages in the complex evolution and disappearance of foamy bubbles (the images right middle and bottom are based off of a computer-generated video that uses their equations). The work has applications in industrial processes for making metal and plastic foams (like those used to cushion bicycle helmets) and in modeling growing cell clusters, which rely on these types of equations. The problem with describing foams mathematically has been that the evolution of a bubble cluster a few inches across depends on what’s happening in the extremely thin walls of each bubble, which are thinner than a human hair. ( )

    Soap Bubble science : Soap bubbles can help to solve complex mathematical problems of space, as they will always find the smallest surface area between points or edges. A bubble can exist because the surface layer of a liquid (usually water) has a certain surface tension, which causes the layer to behave somewhat like an elastic sheet. However, a bubble made with a pure liquid alone is not stable and a dissolved surfactant such as soap is needed to stabilize a bubble. A common misconception is that soap increases the water's surface tension. Actually soap does the exact opposite, decreasing it to approximately one third the surface tension of pure water. Soap does not strengthen bubbles, it stabilizes them, via an action known as the Marangoni effect. As the soap film stretches, the surface concentration of soap decreases, which causes the surface tension to increase. ( )

    Bubbles as lenses : The main advantage of a bubble lens is just how quickly and easily researchers can reconfigure the bubble's location, size, and shape -- all of which affect the direction and focus of any light beam passing through it. Huang's team created separate simulations of the light beams and bubble lens to predict their behaviors and optimize conditions before combining the two in the laboratory. ( )

    Video Link: Meet the Scientists - Pop! The Sound of Bubbles

    UC Berkeley link :

    About Helen Czerski (bubble scientist) :

    Research paper on bubble lens:

    Wikipedia article on Soap bubbles:

    Main pic link on reddit:

    BBC link on the science of bubbles:

    #physics #science #bubble #bubbles #chemistry  
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  • ScienceSunday2014-01-19 06:51:08
    Can Sex Make You Smarter?

    Physical activity influences your brain, but what about when physical activity is combined with pleasure? For many people, that spells s-e-x.

    +Jeremy Dean's Psyblog gives a nice summary of research suggesting that having sex increases neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells) in regions such as the hippocampus, which plays a key role in memory. The results hold throughout our adult lifetimes, or at least throughout the adult lifetimes of rats.

    A related previous #ScienceSunday post ( via +Ward Plunet ) describes some of the details of one of these studies:

    The article cited ... compared neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells) and performance on one type of cognitive task (exploration of novel objects) in rats who were given the opportunity to mate 28 days in a row, 14 days in a row with 14 days off, or non-mating control rats. Having the chance to mate increased neurogenesis, and performance of middle-aged rats who mated 28 days in a row showed better performance on the novel object exploration task than did those who had stopped mating 14 days earlier or didn't mate at all. The authors note that neurogenesis and cognitive function can be improved in other ways than having sex, including enriched environments and exercise (both of which are encompassed in sex), but they speculate that combining physical activity/enrichments with enhancements to the reward system might do better than the other approaches alone (note that cognitive enhancements linked to exercise typically also disappear once you stop exercising).

    Additional research is needed to really understand the effect in humans, but early analyses suggest that there may be plenty of folks willing to sign up for that study ;)

    For more information about neurogenesis, check out these #ScienceSunday posts:

    Gene silencing spurs fountain of youth via +Ward Plunet t

    A case for caloric restriction via +Ward Plunet t

    and Fatty foods on your brain via +Derya Unutmaz z

    h/t +Fidem Turbāre in the Psychology Community for the OP

    #ScienceSunday #scisunABS

    Reshared text:
    Sex may make people smarter, according to the attached article which explains that "recent studies suggest that sexual activity causes neurogenesis in the hippocampus."

    In conclusion there is mention that "perhaps these studies start to explain why stressful activities like exercise are also so good for the brain, despite being stressful: they encourage the growth of new brain cells."
  • 30 plusses - 9 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2014-01-06 02:47:22
    Science Meets History 

    +L McGarity shares this fascinating post about an ancient city revealed after more than 1200 years under sea. A team of scientists from the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM), led by archaeologist Dr Franck Goddio, have unearthed some of the mysteries of this city, known as Heracleion to the Ancient Greeks.  Learn more:

    #ScienceSunday #SciSunATF

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    An Ancient City Is Discovered Underwater. What They Found Will Change History Forever

    When French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio stumbled upon some relics, it led them to one of the greatest finds of the 21st century.

    The city of Ancient Heracleion was engulfed underwater 1500 years ago. This grand city had been mentioned by the Greek writer Herodotus, the 5th-century BC historian. He had told a wonderful tale of Helen of Troy, who traveled to Heracleion, then a port of 'great wealth', with her Trojan lover, Paris.

    See more pictures & read more here:

    #Science #ScienceSunday #Heracleion #history
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  • ScienceSunday2013-10-07 03:41:48
    Red Panda

    Since the PandaCam at the +Smithsonian's National Zoo  has gone dark due to the lack of funds flowing, we thought people might need a bit of a panda fix, even if it is that of a "lesser panda."

    h/t to +John Baez for the share and the great background information about these creatures.

    #ScienceSunday   #scisunABS

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    The red panda or lesser panda is not closely related to the giant panda - but they're both absurdly cute, they both eat bamboo, and they're both endangered species.   They both have a 'false thumb' that's an extension of their wrist bone - good for climbing!  This is a great example of convergent evolution, where different species become more similar when they occupy similar niches.

    There are only between 2,500 and 10,000 red pandas alive on Earth.  We should save the bamboo forests where they live - and we can do it!   A community-managed forest in Ilam District of eastern Nepal is home to 15 red pandas which generate household income through tourism activitie. Villagers in the high-altitude areas of Arunachal Pradesh in India have formed the Pangchen Red Panda Conservation Alliance with a conserved forest area of 200 square kilometers.  Let's help out these folks! 

    The red panda, Ailurus fulgens, is the only living member of the genus Ailurus.  At first people tried fitting it into the families that include raccoons and bears.  But now it's in its own family, Ailuradae, which is part of a superfamily that also contains weasels.  

    In 2004, a tooth from a prehistoric red panda species was discovered in the United States.  The tooth is somewhere between 4.5 and 7 million years old.  There are also fossil red panda remains in Spain!  But now most of them live in Sichuan Province in China, with others in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Burma.

    If you're ever attacked by a red panda, just give it a pumpkin.
  • 57 plusses - 8 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-09-18 00:12:43
    In Sync!

    Very cool demo and explanation of why metronomes transition into synchrony by +Scott Lewis for #ScienceEveryday .


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    ◜◝◟◞◜◝◟ Coupled Oscillators ◞◜◝◟◞◜◝◟◞

    What happens when you start an 8 x 4 grid of pendulum metronomes on a moving surface? Awesome happens. 

    Now if these were on a firm surface, the oscillations of the metronomes would keep at the relatively same speed (depending on the metronome and its power). However, since the energy of the movement of the weighted pendulums is transferring into the movable surface, each metronome starts affecting the movement of one another. 

    Think of it this way... Have you ever jumped on a trampoline with someone? Now I know what you're thinking, these aren't going up and down (transverse), they're going from side to side (longitudinal). However, the way that the waves work are very similar! 

    Say you and I weight the same (100kg) and we're both putting forth the same amount of force down on the trampoline, but slightly out of sync... If you're on the trampoline first (in the trough) and starting to move your way back up while I land on the trampoline, I'll be transferring energy into the trampoline and launch you upwards at a greater velocity than you would have on your own. Eventually, if you and I keep putting forth the same amount of force, we'll start to synchronize. 

    The same goes here with these pendulums. The energy is being dispersed into the movable surface below. Over time, the movement of all of these metronomes will affect one another until they find equilibrium. They'll be moving at the same frequency!! 

    What's happening in this video is known as coupled oscillators, and it's a bit more complicated than my trampoline metaphor, but way more awesome. Studying coupled oscillators helps with understanding the way sound moves through a medium as well as the conductivity of heat! 

    H/T to io9, where I first saw this video.

    #ScienceEveryday   #Metronomes   #CoupledOscillators   #Pendulum  
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  • ScienceSunday2013-08-25 16:05:04
    Some sweet science
    Thanks +Lacerant Plainer and +Lorna Salgado for pointing us to this sweet article by +Smithsonian Magazine 

    #ScienceSunday   #SciSunCH  

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    The Science behind the Eternal Shelf Life of Honey : Modern archeologists, excavating ancient Egyptian tombs, have often found something unexpected amongst the tombs’ artifacts: pots of honey, thousands of years old, and yet still preserved. Through millennia, the archeologists discover, the food remains unspoiled, an unmistakable testament to the eternal shelf-life of honey. Honey can remain preserved in a completely edible form, and while you wouldn’t want to chow down on raw rice or straight salt, one could ostensibly dip into a thousand year old jar of honey and enjoy it, without preparation, as if it were a day old. Moreover, honey’s longevity lends it other properties–mainly medicinal–that other resilient foods don’t have.

    “Honey in its natural form is very low moisture. Very few bacteria or microorganisms can survive in an environment like that, they just die. They’re smothered by it, essentially.” What Harris points out represents an important feature of honey’s longevity: for honey to spoil, there needs to be something inside of it that can spoil. With such an inhospitable environment, organisms can’t survive long enough within the honey to have the chance to spoil. Honey is also naturally extremely acidic. “It has a pH that falls between 3 and 4.5, approximately, and that acid will kill off almost anything that wants to grow there,” Harris explains. So bacteria and spoil-ready organisms must look elsewhere for a home–the life expectancy inside of honey is just too low.

    Nectar, the first material collected by bees to make honey, is naturally very high in water–anywhere from 60-80 percent, by Harris’ estimate. But through the process of making honey, the bees play a large part in removing much of this moisture by flapping their wings to literally dry out the nectar. On top of behavior, the chemical makeup of a bees stomach also plays a large part in honey’s resilience. Bees have an enzyme in their stomachs called glucose oxidase (PDF). When the bees regurgitate the nectar from their mouths into the combs to make honey, this enzyme mixes with the nectar, breaking it down into two by-products: gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. “Then,” Harris explains, “hydrogen peroxide is the next thing that goes into work against all these other bad things that could possibly grow.”

    A jar of honey’s seal, it turns out, is the final factor that’s key to honey’s long shelf life, as exemplified by the storied millennia-old Egyptian specimens. While honey is certainly a super-food, it isn’t supernatural–if you leave it out, unsealed in a humid environment, it will spoil. As Harris explains, ” As long as the lid stays on it and no water is added to it, honey will not go bad. As soon as you add water to it, it may go bad. Or if you open the lid, it may get more water in it and it may go bad.”

    Article Link:

    More about honey as an antibiotic :

    #science #scienceeveryday #honey #bees #chemistry  
  • 35 plusses - 3 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-08-18 23:17:09
    Tick Borne Virus

    Public safety alert and informational post on a lesser known but dangerous virus. Prevention is key, and information leads to prevention. Thanks for the helpful write-up, +Carissa Braun .

    #ScienceSunday   #SciSunRR  

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    Powassan Virus and the Increasing Case Numbers

    The little known cousin of West Nile, Powassan is a rare, tick-borne encephalitis with a high fatality rate. The virus was first discovered in Powassan, Ontario in 1958 where a young boy was infected and eventually died from the disease. While there are two types of the Powassan virus, the one carried by the deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, the same tick that carries Lyme disease, is often the culprit. In contrast to Lyme disease in which 24-48 hours are needed to pass on the disease, the time to pass on the Powassan virus is much shorter with estimates saying as little as 15 minutes.

    Between 1958 to 2010, fewer than 60 cases were reported. Since 2008, this number has jumped with Minnesota alone reporting 21 cases. As expected of encephalitis, the symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties, and memory loss. The incubation ranges from one week or one month. Positive diagnosis is obtained from IgM serologic results. There is currently no medication  or vaccine to treat or prevent Powassan.

    With an increase number of cases, and a call from the Senate for the CDC to research more on this and other tick-borne diseases, it begs the question of why there is that increase. As with many diseases, it could be related to better diagnostic techniques, but there is also a correlation with ticks and warm weather. The number of unseasonable temperatures keeps rising, and many arthropods flourish due to it. There is also the increase of tick hosts. When populations of hosts increase, such as the white-footed mouse, ticks have more food and therefore a higher survival rate. Whether due to disturbances of nature, or a fluctuation in nature, there is a noticeable impact with the changes.

    In the end, until more research is done, prevention is key. Avoid areas with ticks if possible, use repellents with at least 20% DEET, treat clothing with permethrin, and remove ticks as soon as possible. As always, seek medical care right away if any odd symptoms appear after any tick bite. 

    In the News:



    #scienceeveryday , #sciencesunday  (+ScienceSunday; +Allison Sekuler, +Buddhini Samarasinghe, +Chad Haney, +Rajini Rao, +Robby Bowles)

    #bugseveryday  (+Chris Mallory)
  • 20 plusses - 4 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-08-11 04:24:28
    What Could be Sweeter than Science??

    Did you know that most of the popular artificial sweeteners were discovered by accident? and two of them because researchers forgot to wash their hands??

    Did you know that artificial sweeteners can be hundreds of times more sweet than sucrose for humans, but not for other animals? Or that cats don't taste the sweetness of sugar at all?

    and, Did you know that artificial sweeteners may actually make you fatter by giving your brain misleading signals? 

    Check out the video on The Science of Sweetness by +Hank Green to learn more. But rather than put that extra sugar or artificial sweetener in your coffee, why not get a dose of sweet science??

    Tag your science-related images, stories, original findings, and even puns with #ScienceSunday  and the SciSun curators (+Allison Sekuler , +Robby Bowles , +Rajini Rao , +Chad Haney  and +Buddhini Samarasinghe ) so we can find and share out posts. And remember, when it's not #ScienceSunday  , it's #ScienceEveryday  so tag those as well.

  • 18 plusses - 2 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-07-25 00:32:10
    The Pale Blue Dot

    That's us, and here's the story of how we got this picture!

    #ScienceEveryday   #SciSunRR  

    Reshared text:

    The image below ( is a processed color image of Earth from Saturn.  As Carl Sagan once wrote, “That's here. That's home. That’s us.”  The view of Earth as a pale blue dot demonstrates the rarity of our world, and the fragility of our lives.  It is easy to feel small and humbled by such a visage.

    But this image of our homeworld was taken by a probe 900 million miles away, a distance so vast that light takes 80 minutes to traverse.  And it was built by us.  Human hands crafted a machine capable of travelling to Saturn and looking back.  Human minds designed it.  We dreamed of a way to explore our solar system and we made that dream a reality.

    In a single lifetime we have climbed out of our nursery crib.  We’ve walked upon the surface of the Moon, sent rovers to explore Mars, built telescopes to gaze upon the farthest reaches of the universe.  We’ve scattered probes across our solar system, from our closest neighbors to its outer edge. 
    This is what humans do.  We seek, explore and dream.    We devise, and build, and learn.

    This picture of the Earth is an image not of our past, but of our future.  Yes, this is an image of home, but so is every picture of the starry heavens.  The universe is our home.  We are a part of it, and it is a part of us.

    Here is where we began, and this image is just the beginning.
  • 52 plusses - 3 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-07-14 09:55:48
    The Nuclear Option

    Amazing photograph showing what happens a mere illisecond after a nuclear bomb explodes. Thanks for the tag +Mohammad Hasan!

    #ScienceSunday     #SciSunBS  

    Reshared text:
    This photograph was captured by a Rapid Action Electronic camera in 1952, during the Tumbler-Snapper tests performed in Nevada.

    Only one millisecond after the bomb explodes, this 65.6-foot (20 meters) ball of fire appears in midair, with spikes that look like rotten teeth or stalactites of fire (called the rope trick effect).

    More information:

  • 59 plusses - 4 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-06-02 12:52:44
    Crowd Walking

    Collective locomotion, demonstrated by this species of Amazon caterpillars, is inspiring robotics:

    Caterpillars can also move in long processions. Read more about collective behavior here:

    #ScienceSunday   #SciSunRR  

    Reshared text:
    Erugues gregàries en moviment
    Gregarious caterpillars in movement

    L'autor no té en compte en la comparació que els de sota no aniran tan ràpids com anirien sols sense el pes del damunt. Tanmateix, la velocitat total probablement serà més alta.
    In the Lego comparison the author doesn't take into consideration the fact those on bottom will not walk as fast as they would alone, because all the weigh they carry. Anyway, the total speed will probalby be higher.

  • 51 plusses - 24 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-05-31 22:29:46
    Lick, Not Slick

    In fact, it is surprisingly rough! Read on...

    #ScienceEveryday #SciSunRR  

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    Close Up of a Cat Tongue

    Those barbs are called filiform papillae which are made of keratin making them rough. These ones don't contain taste buds. Fun fact, cats can't taste sweets, when you give them a piece of a marshmallow (because they love them) they are probably tasting the fats instead.

    #caturdayeveryday   #scienceeveryday  

  • 30 plusses - 4 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-05-19 06:23:29
    Science Posters

    Fantastic share from +Charlie Hoover to kick off this #ScienceSunday  showing a series of beautifully designed posters depicting various scientists. What's your favorite?


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    Steampunk Rock Star Scientist Posters

    Science all the things!

    source: .
    #science   #steampunk   #sciencesunday   #scienceart  
  • 41 plusses - 3 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-05-05 22:19:36
    Antibiotics for Dinner

    Earlier we shared +Sean Cowen 's post ( on molecular gastronomy, a movement that uses science to highlight the essence of ingredients in their various combinations.  In the post below,  +Ali Adelstein reminds us of another way science has altered our food.

    #ScienceSunday   #scisunABS  

    Reshared text:
    The True Cost of Cheap Food

    87 percent of the US supermarket meat (including beef, pork, chicken, and turkey products) tests positive for normal and antibiotic-resistant forms of Enterococcus bacteria. Between 2003 and 2011, antibiotic use on US livestock farms soared from 20 million pounds per year to 30 million pounds - a jaw-dropping 50 percent leap. These facilities now suck in 80 percent of the antibiotics consumed in the United States. The great bulk of these drugs are used not to treat sick animals, but rather to make them grow faster and keep them alive until slaughter under tight, filthy conditions ➜

    Facts and Numbers (Source →
    ● In 1998, the USDA implemented microbial testing for salmonella and E. coli 0157h7 so that if a plant repeatedly failed these tests, the USDA could shut down the plant. After being taken to court by the meat and poultry associations, the USDA no longer has that power.
    ● In 1972, the FDA conducted 50,000 food safety inspections. In 2006, the FDA conducted only 9,164.
    ● In the 1970s, the top five beef packers controlled about 25% of the market. Today, the top four control more than 80% of the market. 
    ● In the 1970s, there were thousands of slaughterhouses producing the majority of beef sold. Today there are only 13.
    ● The average American eats over 200 lbs. of meat a year.

    Related Article, Posts and Videos:
    ● Consumer Reports investigation: Talking turkey ➜
    ● What’s bugging your meat? Shit and antibiotics, probably ➜
    ● The truth about your food with filmmaker R. Kenner ➜
    ● Pharm Foods ➜
    ● The video the meat industry doesn't want you to see ➜
    ● Antibiotics and the Meat We Eat ➜
    ● US meat supply massively contaminated with superbugs ➜
    ● Whose kids do not eat fast food? ➜

    Images by Food,Inc. ( and CR (
  • 19 plusses - 2 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-04-22 02:59:51
    We Know What We're Doing on Earth Day Now...

    h/t to +Jeremy Hall for giving us a fun project to try out on #Earthday  :)

    #ScienceSunday   #scisunABS  

    Reshared text:
    Beakman's motor turns because its coil becomes an electromagnet, and it aligns itself to the small permanent magnet placed nearby.

    But... that should only ALIGN the coil, not spin it. The coil will spin because the coil's two wires act as a commutator (rotary switch.) The coil bounces up and down as it turns. This interrupts the current at just the right time, and allows the coil to turn upside-down with the current off. Then the wires touch, the electromagnet turns on, and the coil again tries to align with the small magnet. 


    here's a tutorial on how to make your own:  My Buckyballs Motor Tutorial.
  • 34 plusses - 1 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-04-05 03:08:09
    Speaking of Tesla...

    h/t to +Luna Roelans for another great #Tesla  share for #ScienceEveryday  

    #ScienceSunday   #scisunABS  

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    You, Sir, are my hero. - Nikola Tesla 

    #science   #scienceeveryday   #nikolatesla   #thomasedison   #radar   #xray   #deathray   #electricityresearch   #genius   #invention   #brilliant   #teslacoil  
  • 36 plusses - 1 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-03-14 00:51:18
    Seeing the Sound

    Presumably the reverse effect at the end is akin to the traditional wagon wheel effect - in which the sampling rate of the video recording device is out of synch with the rate of motion, leading to perception in the reverse direction (just as wagon wheels in old Western movies appeared to rotate backwards). 

    You can see (and play around with) the effect yourself at +Michael Bach 's Optical Illusion page:

    via +Andrew Filipe for #ScienceEveryday   #ScienceSunday   #scisunABS  

    Reshared text:
  • 39 plusses - 5 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-03-09 00:29:04
    Happy International Women's Day

    Check out the +STEM Women on G+ Page and the hashtag #STEMinspire   for a parade of superb posts from Google Plussers celebrating the accomplishments of STEM women!

    #ScienceEveryday   #SciSunRR   #stemwomen  
  • 36 plusses - 5 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-03-08 02:11:14
    The One Ring

    Now this is what we call jewelry! 

    #ScienceEveryday   #SciSunRR  

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    Periodic Table of Elements Cuff Bracelet!

    Jezebel Charms writes, "I've taken a vintage periodic table of chemical elements (lanthanides and actinides omitted) and finished it in a red tone so all the chemical element symbols are in red and the background shade is a ruddy brown. Finished with a heavily tarnished and aged effect."

    If only I had this while taking my #chemistry exams...


    #geek #jewelry #periodictable #elements #science #scienceeveryday
  • 51 plusses - 3 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-02-25 00:28:27
    Daytona Science

    Just in time to celebrate Jimmie Johnson's victory, +Liza Sperling brings us another version of the Periodic Table.

    See how INDYCAR is trying to help build interest in STEM fields in kids here:

    and more on the race here:

    #ScienceSunday   #scisunABS   #daytona500  

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    The Periodic Table Of Sports Cars
    This is scientific, right? 

    #sciencesunday   #science  
    +Daniel Fontaine 
  • 19 plusses - 1 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-02-24 13:47:29
    Launch for Lunch

    #ScienceSunday brings you the brilliant ballistics behind this amazing gif image. Check out the slow motion videos in the links!


    Reshared text:
    Chameleon Catapult

    Chameleons are among the slowest moving reptiles. But their protruding eyes swivel independently for a 360 degree range, so they can look for prey in different directions at the same time. When a hapless insect victim is detected, both eyes focus on it to judge range and distance with superb accuracy. 

    Ballistic Brilliance! The chameleon then launches its tongue, which is 1.5 times its body length, at speeds of 26 body lengths per second. That works out to 13.4 miles per hour or 6 meters per second . The initial acceleration is enormous: 500 m s−2 or 51g. For comparison, the space shuttle launches at 3g and humans pass out at accelerations approaching 10g. It takes less than a tenth of a second for the chameleon to snag its prey!

    Corkscrew Collagen: This impressive performance exceeds the capability of any muscle in biology by an order of magnitude. So what’s the secret behind the ballistics? The chameleon’s tongue has energy stored in concentric layers of a springy fiber, called collagen, wrapped around a stiff cartilage core. The powerful tongue muscle initially primes the spring by compressing it, to the same effect as a bow being pulled taut. When the tongue is launched, the spring uncoils explosively, slipping off the cartilage core. Once the sticky end snares the prey, the muscles work more slowly to reel it back in. This gives chameleons a competitive edge over lizards and other reptiles. Watch ▶

    Breakfast at Dawn: Another advantage to this strategy is that the chameleon can catch its prey even at chilly temperatures when its muscles slow down drastically: unlike birds and mammals, reptiles are cold blooded and at the mercy of their ambient temperature. Watch how only the retraction of the tongue is slowed at low temperatures ▶

    REF ▶

    Slo Mo ▶

    H/T to +Panah Rad for the gif ▶

  • 21 plusses - 5 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-02-20 12:29:43
    A Happy Ending

    Here is a heartwarming story of Yu, a 25 year old female turtle who was rescued from a fisherman's net in 2008 after losing her front limbs in a probable shark attack. She was sent to the Suma Aqualife Park in Kobe where she received prosthetic limbs to swim again. This was the 27th set that scientists tried before they got the artificial limbs to work well!

    #ScienceEveryday #SciSunRR

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    Blade Runner Turtle

    A female loggerhead turtle, who lost her front limbs in a shark attack, has been fitted with a soft vest to which prosthetic flippers are attached, enabling her to swim again. Loggerheads are an endangered species. Many die from untended fishing nets and trawls.

    Earlier, in 2004, a dolphin at an aquarium in Okinawa, southern Japan, became the first in the world to be fitted with a rubber tail fin. It lost its own tail due to illness.

    Read more at:

  • 49 plusses - 1 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-02-15 12:54:29
    Breaking News

    Keep up with the SLATEst from +Philip Plait 's column here:
    This is an evolving story, so do let us know if you hear anything new.

    #ScienceEveryday #SciSunRR  

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    A meteor weighing ~10 tons and traveling at supersonic speed (54,000 kph or 33,000 mph) streaked over the Russian Ural Mtns. earlier today at 9:20 am local time (0320 GMT). About 400 injuries are reported, mostly due to broken glass and damage to a local factory.

    A meteoride is a small piece of space debris – usually part of comets or asteroids – that is on a collision course with the Earth. When meteoroids enter the Earth's atmosphere they are called meteors. Most meteors burn up in the atmosphere, but if they survive the frictional heating and strike the surface of the Earth they are called meteorites. Currently, there is no technology to intercept such fast moving objects from crashing on earth.

    #RussianMeteor #ScienceEveryday  
  • 38 plusses - 12 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-02-10 19:43:33
    Make seeing a great bioluminescence display a life goal - along with Northern Lights

    I have seen several beautiful bioluminescence displays in my life, but it looks like I have to put this location on my travel list.

    #sciencesunday   #SciSunWP  

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    Blue Bioluminescence

    My college friends Neil and Abby managed to escape the snowpocalypse in Boston on more or less the last flight out to the Caribbean island of Vieques, a municipality of Puerto Rico. The last two photos are what they were looking at as Boston met waves of cold white, the scene they would be encountering now had they not changed their itinerary at the last minute.

    They had chosen the timing of their vacation to coincide with the new moon on Tuesday to view the bioluminescent dinoflagellates in the Bioluminescent Bay (also known as Puerto Mosquito, Mosquito Bay, or "The Bio Bay"), so I took the opportunity to learn a little about both Vieques and bioluminescent dinoflagellates.

    According to Wikipedia, the Bio Bay is considered "is considered the best example of a bioluminescent bay in the United States and is listed as a national natural landmark, one of 5 in Puerto Rico. The luminescence in the bay is caused by micro-organisms, dinoflagellates, which glow whenever the water is disturbed, leaving a trail of neon blue" (

    Here's more from Wikipedia:

    Bioluminescent Bay
    A combination of factors creates the necessary conditions for bioluminescence: red mangrove trees surround the water (the organisms feed off the dead leaves); a complete lack of modern development around the bay; the water is cool enough and deep enough; and a small channel to the ocean keeps the dinoflagellates in the bay. This small channel was created artificially, being the result of attempts by the occupants of Spanish ships to choke off the bay from the ocean. The Spanish believed that the bioluminescence they encountered there while first exploring the area, was the work of the devil ('El Diablo') and tried to block ocean water from entering the bay by dropping huge boulders in the channel. The Spanish only succeeded in preserving and increasing the luminescence in the now isolated bay.

    The text below is taken from the first page of a series of photos by National Geographic last year:
    The biological light, or bioluminescence, in the waves is the product of marine microbes called phytoplankton—and now scientists think they know how some of these life-forms create their brilliant blue glow.

    Various species of phytoplankton are known to bioluminesce, and their lights can be seen in oceans all around the world, said marine biologist and bioluminescence expert Woodland Hastings of Harvard University.

    "I've been across the Atlantic and Pacific, and I've never seen a spot that wasn't bioluminescent or a night that [bioluminescence] couldn't be seen," Hastings said.

    The most common type of marine bioluminescence is generated by phytoplankton known as dinoflagellates. A recent study co-authored by Hastings has for the first time identified a special channel in the dinoflagellate cell membrane that responds to electrical signals—offering a potential mechanism for how the algae create their unique illumination. *Voltage-gated proton channel in a dinoflagellate*
    Contributed by J. Woodland Hastings, September 21, 2011 (sent for review August 25, 2011)

    Speaking of Blue Bio, below are two links to videos; I listened to them to console myself for having difficulty fully comprehending the PNAS abstract above:
    Linda Ronstadt - Blue Bayou, Live in Atlanta 1977
    Roy Orbison - Blue Bayou

    #ScienceSunday #biology
  • 36 plusses - 3 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-02-03 08:07:15
    How Full is Your Glass?

    A very optimistic share from +Ryan Van Sickle for #ScienceSunday ! We love it!


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    Love the optimism here!

    #sciencesunday   #truth   #inspiration  
  • 40 plusses - 9 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-01-27 14:36:30
    Eyeball Lickin' Good

    This Namib Sand Gecko is a mostly nocturnal gecko inhabiting the coastal sand dunes of the Namib Desert. They can absorb moisture from their skin, and, apparently, off of their eyeballs by way of their tongue! 

    #sciencesunday   #scisunEK  

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    A gecko licks the morning dew off its eyeballs

    "This gecko is found on coastal sand dunes in Namibia. The nocturnal reptiles collect water on their eyeballs in the early morning when a mist bank descends as cool coastal air hits warm desert air. Then they lick it off to have a drink. It took photographer Isak Pretorius three days in to get the licking picture, following gecko tracks across the dunes through the mist".


  • 34 plusses - 5 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-01-14 02:08:40
    A Moving Post for #ScienceSunday  

    +Gail Barnes  knows we love visual illusions, and this is a great one by Beau Deeley. 

    To see more great illusory motion illusions, check out Akiyoshi Kitaoka's illusion pages:  (there are also versions in Japanese, Chinese, Serbian, and Portuguese).

    But be warned... the page has a disclaimer that says:  _This page contains some works of "anomalous motion illusion", which might make sensitive observers dizzy or sick. Should you feel dizzy, you had better leave this page immediately._

    #ScienceSunday   #scisunABS  

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    It's not a gif, yet it appears to move. Perfect optical illusion for #sciencesunday   #scienceeveryday  H/T to +James McNalley for sharing!
  • 36 plusses - 18 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-01-14 01:56:15
    Peeling Back the Layers

    No, thankfully, these are not tattoos , but they certainly do make you look at our bodies in a different way.

    Just in case you do want to see some real science tattoos though, we certainly do have them at #ScienceSunday  !

    check out: 

    +Allison Sekuler 
    Neural net: (Body) art meets science
    The best place to sit in a math exam

    +Buddhini Samarasinghe  What lurks beneath a scientist's lab coat

    +Ana Luiza Freitas  A LOVEly tattoo

    +Ed Yong  Electronic tattoos

    and, of course, you should visit  +Carl Zimmer 's Science Tattoo Emporium :

    h/t to +Lacerant Plainer for the #scienceeveryday  share
    #ScienceSunday   #scisunABS  

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    Scientific illustrator Danny Quirk creates breathtaking anatomical illustrations on peoples bodies using Sharpie markers and acrylic on latex.

    Description of Danny's work on his blog
    My anatomical works combine classic poses, in dramatic chiaroscuro lighting, with a very contemporary twist... illustrating what's underneath the skin, and the portrayed figure dissects a region of their body to show the structures that lay beneath. 

    Article h/t:

    Original Artist blog:

    #science   #scienceeveryday   #scienceart  
  • 26 plusses - 5 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-01-08 18:11:04
    The Biology of Color

    A short, very well narrated TED talk on how we see yellow light even though we only have receptors for red, blue and green light.

    #ScienceEveryday #SciSunRR  
  • 24 plusses - 5 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-01-06 18:32:35
    +Rajini Rao Shares this terrific post refining our understanding of neurodevelopmental mechanisms in autism. #ScienceSunday   

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    The Genetics of Autism

    Contrary to popular belief (and Jenny McCarthy), autism is the most genetic and inheritable of all neurodevelopmental disorders. Identical twins have >80% chance of shared diagnosis, versus a much lower ~10% chance in fraternal twins, a classic indication of underlying common genetic cause. 

    What is autism? Classical autism is part of a broader group of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) characterized by (i) impaired social communication and interaction, (ii) absence or delay in language and (iii) restricted, repetitive behavior. These features vary hugely, from severe intellectual disability to mild personality traits. Intellectual delays occur in 30-60%, and 30% also suffer seizures. Current rates of diagnosis are 1 in 88 children. This is partly due to a broadening of the diagnosis but could also reflect impact of changing environment on genetic susceptibility. 

    Monogenic cases of autism are known as syndromes. About 10% of children diagnosed with ASD have mutations in a single gene. The most common is Fragile X syndrome (FXS), which accounts for 5% of autism cases with as many as 50% of individuals with FXS meeting criteria for autistic disorder. Other syndromes that present with ASD are Tuberous Sclerosis, Retts, and Neurofibromatosis. Although the primary diagnosis is not ASD, the symptoms include ASD. 

    Polygenic disorders are caused by additive effects of multiple genes. Because inheritance patterns of autism are not Mendelian, it was initially thought to be polygenic, like traits of hypertension, height or skin color. Austism superficially fits this definition because of the continuous spectrum of characteristics. But, it’s a lot more complex because no single gene appears to account for more than 1% of the non-syndromic cases. 

    Heterogenic disorders occur when mutations at any of a number of different genes can give rise to the same phenotype. In autism, many of the mutations are unique, rare and arise de novo, not being found in parents or recent ancestry. Most mutations occur on only one allele (one of two copies of the gene). Many are copy number variations, affecting gene dosage, caused by insertions and deletions in the chromosome. The emerging theory is that many different mutations converge on a common function: synaptic transmission

    The synapse: Information transfer occurs at the synapse or junction between neurons. The first synapses in human cortex appear 40 days after conception. The most dramatic change takes place around birth. During the first three years of life, more synaptic contacts are formed, but only some will be stabilized. Many genes implicated in autism (image) function at the synapse, and the timing of appearance of autistic characteristics coincides with synapse maturation.

    REF: Autism and Brain Development. Walsh et al., Cell (free read)

  • 31 plusses - 1 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-01-06 05:28:25
    Sexy Science

    via +Chris Robinson (in the Psychology community) who writes: Here's a short but interesting video highlighting neurophysiological changes that occur during the sexual response cycle. And you thought all psych experiments were boring! A lot of the non-neuroscience information comes from Masters and Johnson's research during the 50's and 60's. The initial phase of the study examined sexual arousal in almost 700 participants!

    #ScienceSunday   #scisunABS  

    For a good organism:

    Reshared text:
  • 21 plusses - 5 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2013-01-02 23:39:04
    Reminds us of Avocado's number
    Thanks +Rich Pollett 

    #ScienceEveryday  when it isn't #ScienceSunday   #SciSunCH  

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    Oh, chemistry textbook. You’re so funny.   #scienceeveryday  
    Kind of how I imagined it at first. via:
  • 45 plusses - 8 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-12-30 14:25:26
    The Disappearing Trick

    Wouldn't you love to make some events in your life disappear? Perhaps you least 40 picosends worth of shenanigans ;) Check out this article that explains how tweaking the flow of light can mask a short lived event such as a covert computer operation.

    #ScienceSunday #SciSunRR  

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    A team at Cornell University, with support from Darpa, the Pentagon’s out-there research arm, managed to hide an event for 40 picoseconds (those are trillionths of seconds, if you’re counting). They’ve published their groundbreaking research in this week’s edition of the journal Nature.
  • 21 plusses - 1 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-12-17 02:26:53
    Great Tweets of Science

    What would have been flying around the Twittersphere  if @newton, @albert-e, and @darwin1 had been online?? 

    I'm on a boat! I'm on a boat! check out thz crazy turtles, yooooo

    h/t to +Anthony L. Do and  PhD comics Jorge Cham - and check out more of his work here:

  • 15 plusses - 6 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-12-16 20:31:56
    The iPhone of the 13th Century?

    +Liz Krane shares a TED talk discussing the astrolabe, a gadget used to tell time in the 13th century.  Tom Wujec has some interesting commentary on what we gain and lose with advancements in technology.  Make sure to check out the video and tell us your opinion on his comments.


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    The Astrolabe

    In this TED talk, it's described as the world's first popular computer -- the gadget of its time. It's worth a watch, just to see one in action: Tom Wujec demos the 13th-century astrolabe

    The astrolabe was used to tell time, to locate and predict the position of the sun, moon, planets and stars, cast horoscopes... it had so many uses, it really does sound like a computer. :)

    Learn more about them here:

    Photos by Evan Bench
    #ScienceSunday  / +ScienceSunday
  • 39 plusses - 0 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-12-14 01:53:43
    Math On Your Mind?

    Thanks for the instructions, +Andrij Harasewych !

    #ScienceEveryday   #SciSunRR  

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    Brought to you by math.

    #science   #scienceeveryday  +ScienceSunday  #sciencememe  +Memetic Engineering +Part-Time Scientists +Peter's Scifi page +Mz Maau +Feisal Kamil +Rajini Rao 
  • 36 plusses - 1 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-12-03 02:56:01
    Science Humour

    although, it's a little sad too....  Thanks to +Aida Hazlan for another great #ScienceSunday  share

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    For #ScienceSunday  !

    Archaeology and science in 1 :)
  • 38 plusses - 3 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-12-02 21:31:16

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    #mathematics #education #sciencesunday  
    Some Circles

    Given three points, that are not collinear, it is always possible to construct three circles that are mutually tangent.
    Given three mutually tangent circles, it is always possible to construct two new circles that are tangent to each of the three circles.
    Given five such circles, one can make various patterns by using repetitive reflections in circles.

    Interactive demo & How to do it:
    Apollonius Circles from Wolfram MathWorld:
    The Kiss Precise by Frederick Soddy
  • 35 plusses - 2 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-27 22:20:52
    Tracheal Tubing

    A "breathtaking" post on the tracheal system of insects for #ScienceEveryday  . Thanks for the share, +ScienceSeeker . 


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    How Do Insects Breathe?

    Have you ever wondered? Most insects have a tracheal system composed of spiracles (two openings on their thorax) which divide into chitinous tubes called tracheae. The tracheae further subdivide into smaller tracheoles that form a network throughout the body of the insect. The tracheoles are the site of gas-exchange.

    Oxygen from the air diffuses through the spiracles and into this tracheal system, and this is how an insect breathes. Smaller insects do not need a full tracheal system to breathe as their surface area:volume ratio is large enough to allow diffusion to occur.

    More about the insect tracheal system:
    Image via

  • 28 plusses - 5 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-25 21:33:34
    Antibiotic Resistance

    Excellent cartoon via +Monica Triviño for #sciencesunday .

    How does antibiotic resistance arise? It's usually due to a process known as horizontal gene transfer:

    Read more about antibiotic resistance here and remember why you should always take the full course of a prescribed antibiotic treatment, even if you feel better.

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  • 26 plusses - 2 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-25 08:57:55
    The down-side to being scientifically literate

    If you know how molecular biology works, you won't ever sit through an episode of CSI without shouting 'OMG you didn't balance the centrifuge!' or 'yikes no wonder all your PCRs are positive, you don't change tips in between loading samples in the wells!'

    True story.

    Thanks for the #sciencesunday share +Andrij Harasewych 

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    Over educated problems.

    #science   #sciencesunday   #overeducatedproblems  
    +ScienceSunday +Memetic Engineering +Part-Time Scientists +Rajini Rao +Feisal Kamil +Mz Maau 
  • 47 plusses - 6 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-23 20:33:01
    Second Sight

    An impressive breakthrough for the blind. Watch for a brief explanation: Second Sight - Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System .flv

    #scienceeveryday FTW!

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    Blind Patient Reads Words Stimulated Directly Onto Retina: Neuroprosthetic Device Uses Implant to Project Visual Braille

    For the very first time researchers have streamed braille patterns directly into a blind patient's retina, allowing him to read four-letter words accurately and quickly with an ocular neuroprosthetic device. The device, the Argus II, has been implanted in over 50 patients, many of who can now see color, movement and objects. It uses a small camera mounted on a pair of glasses, a portable processor to translate the signal from the camera into electrical stimulation, and a microchip with electrodes implanted directly on the retina.
  • 24 plusses - 0 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-21 03:29:02
    Happy Birthday Edwin Hubble

    Edwin Powell Hubble (November 20, 1889 – September 28, 1953) was one of the most influential cosmologists. His legacy continues with the Hubble Space Telescope, which has spent 22 remarkable years exploring and photographing the cosmos. Read more:

    Image via
  • 57 plusses - 3 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-19 16:59:01
    Mathematic puns are the first sine of madness - Johann Von Haupkoph.
    #scienceeveryday   #punday  
  • 43 plusses - 0 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-18 09:35:48
    Being Cold doesn't necessarily cause a Cold

    An old post from +arshath zameek that we somehow missed. Great #sciencesunday share!

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    Don't get wet!! you'll catch a cold!

    This is something that every one of us have heard and also maybe used on are children, siblings etc. But does it actually happen? do you actually catch a cold by getting wet? by sleeping with wet hair? walking in the cold?

    Being cold and wet does not cause colds. Cold is caused by a virus. There are many viruses which cause the cold, but the biggest culprit is the "rhinovirus". You need to be exposed to this micro organism to get a cold! 

    The infection is spread when you inhale the droplets containing the virus that are coughed out by a patient. That is why it is important to cover your mouth while coughing to prevent the virus from spreading the disease to others.  Viruses also can live on sinks, counters and other surfaces, which means you can catch a cold if you touch an object that was recently handled by someone with a cold, and then put your hands on your nose or mouth.

    Going out in the cold can make you susceptible for the disease due to the humidity (which is less) of the cold weather. This causes the drying of the mucus lining of the nasal passages making the virus to easily get into your body. 

    So yeah..go ahead an have an ice cream in the rain now :) 
    #sciencesunday   #medicine   #microbiology     #sciencesunday  
  • 32 plusses - 1 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-11-04 17:38:57
    Poincare disk model of hypnosis
    OK, I made the last part up. Thanks +John Baez for this mesmerizing GIF with great math behind it. Read on folks to figure out the science.


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    +Vladimir Bulatov does it again!  At each moment, this movie shows you a tiling of the hyperbolic plane by pentagons, four meeting at each corner, mapped onto a disc with four slits cut out.  This mapping is conformal, meaning that it preserves angles.  As time passes, the hyperbolic plane rotates and we see this crazy movie.

    For a more detailed explanation, with tons of great pictures, go here:

    Here's the short version: there's a way to measure distances on a disk that makes it into a model of the hyperbolic plane.  There are actually a number of way, but Bulatov - and Escher - use the Poincare disk model, because in this model straight lines look like portions of circles: very pretty.  Then, according to the Riemann mapping theorem you can map this disk in a conformal way onto a disk with 4 slits cut out.  The hard part is finding a formula for how to do it, and then implementing it on a computer.

    For more details, try these picture-packed pages:

    and this more advanced one:

  • 30 plusses - 1 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-10-29 22:38:03
    Halloween Caterpillar

    Don't forget to tag your Halloween images of #scienceeveryday for us to reshare. Remember that we can only +1 or comment on your posts if you add +ScienceSunday to your circles first. #halloween2012  

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    //Incredible 'skull' caterpillar


    The extraordinary specimen is the larvae of the pink underwing moth, an endangered species only found in the Australian rainforest. Ecologist Lui Weber photographed the rare caterpillar, which is characterised by a set of teeth-like markings set between spots that look like eyes with large pupils.

    Image Credit: Picture: Lui Weber/Rex Features/Telegraph
    Story: | MailOnline

    #scienceeveryday   #macromonday   #macrophotography  
  • 21 plusses - 6 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2012-10-29 00:25:06
    Vision for the Future

    A woman with retinitis pigmentosa has her vision restored. One of the most common inherited retinal degenerative diseases, there is no cure for retinitis pigmentosa. Enter the bionic eye this #sciencesunday .

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    Bionic Eyes

    Scientists have taken an important step towards helping visually impaired people lead independent lives after a bionic eye gave a blind Australian woman partial sight.

    Dianne Ashworth, who has severe vision loss due to the inherited condition retinitis pigmentosa, was fitted with a prototype bionic eye in May at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. 

    It was switched on a month later, and today researchers revealed the results.

    The device restores mild vision, where patients are able to pick up major contrasts and edges such as light and dark objects. 

    Researchers hope to develop it so blind patients can achieve independent mobility.

    'Di is the first patient of three with this prototype device, the next step is analyzing the visual information that we are getting from the stimulation,' Allen said.

    The operation itself was made simple so it can be readily taught to eye surgeons worldwide.

    'We didn't want to have a device that was too complex in a surgical approach that was very difficult to learn,' Allen.

    Similar research has been conducted at Cornell University in New York by researchers who have deciphered the neural code, which are the pulses that transfer information to the brain, in mice.

    'What we're going to be doing is restoring a type of vision which is probably going to be black and white, but what we're hoping to do for these patients who are severely visually impaired is to give them mobility,' Allen said.

    Earlier this year, a British team implanted a similar implant for the first time, and have already placed it in two other patients who are waiting for their devices to 'bed in' before they are switched on.

    The Bionic eye project in Aus:

    Article in Daily Mail:

    #bioniceyes   #science   #sciencesunday   #scienceeveryday  
  • 22 plusses - 0 comments - 12 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2014-07-06 13:23:38
    Double Displacement Reaction

    Reminding you of Chem101, a double displacement reaction is of the type:
                                                  AB + CD → AD + CB

    This reaction usually occurs in solutions, but can also happen when solid powders are shaken together. You can start with two white solids and end up with a bright yellow one, or two colorless solutions ending in a yellow precipitate (as this one seems to be!).

    #ScienceEveryday   #SciSunRR  

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    Potassium iodide and lead nitrate - In most chemical reactions, the two chemicals are already dissolved in a water solution. This is usually necessary to let the molecules and ions move so that can collide and have a chemical reaction. In this case no water is to be used. The two solids are simply mixed together to see if a reaction can occur. The reaction can take place only on the surfaces of the crystals - this is why the tube is shaken vigorously.

    The two powders undergo a chemical reaction in which a double replacement occurs. The lead ions combine with the iodide ions to make the yellow compound of lead iodide. The potassium ions combine with the nitrate ions to make the compound potassium nitrate which is white and cannot be seen because the yellow compound covers up the white compound. #ScienceSunday  
  • 49 plusses - 1 comments - 11 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2014-06-22 16:00:06
    Science hangover and leverage
    Thanks +Richard Green for another excellent #math  post.

    #ScienceSunday #SciSunCH

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    Massive Hangovers and the Harmonic Series

    This picture shows a stable deck of 52 cards in which the top card overhangs the bottom card by about 1.5 card widths. In theory, it is possible to do even better so that the overhang is almost 2.26 card widths. The reason for this has to do with centres of mass and the harmonic series.

    In order to understand where the number 2.26 comes from, it is helpful to keep track of the horizontal displacement of each card. We will measure horizontal distances from an origin at the rightmost edge of the top card, in such a way that each card is 2 units wide. The centre of mass of the top card is then 1 unit to the left of the origin. 

    The overhang of a stack of cards is the horizontal distance between the rightmost edge of the top card and the rightmost edge of the bottom card. In a stack of two cards, the way to create the largest overhang is to put the centre of mass of the top card above the rightmost edge of the lower card. The combined centre of mass of these two cards will then be half way between their individual centres of mass; in other words, 1.5 units to the left of the origin.

    Now consider creating an overhanging stack with n+1 cards by placing an overhanging stack with n cards on top of a single card. (This is probably not a good way to create a stack in practice, but it is mathematically helpful.) In order to maximize the overhang, the cards should be positioned so that the centre of mass of the top n cards is directly above the rightmost edge of the bottom card. If we define C(n) to be the horizontal distance between the centre of mass of the n-card stack and the origin, this shows that the size of the overhang for n+1 cards is equal to C(n).

    The centre of the bottom card of the new n+1 card stack is at a distance of C(n)+1 from the origin. The centre of mass of the new n+1 card stack is thus given by the weighted formula
    C(n+1) = (nC(n) + C(n)+1)/n+1,
    which simplifies to C(n+1) = C(n) + 1/(n+1). 

    Since C(1) = 1, we can solve this to show that C(n) is given by the sum of the first n terms of the harmonic series, H(n) = 1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + ... + 1/n. A famous property of this series is that it diverges to infinity. For example, if you were prepared to make n large enough, you could add up enough terms to make H(n) larger than 1000, or any other large number you care to specify. However, the divergence is very slow, and adding up the first million terms of the series only gives a total sum of about 14.39.

    Going back to the skewed stack of 52 playing cards, we now know that the size of the overhang for 52 cards is equal to H(51), which works out at around 4.5188. However, the width of a card is two units, so in terms of card widths, the maximum overhang is about 2.2594, which is where the figure of 2.26 comes from. 

    Since the series H(n) diverges to infinity, it is possible in theory to stack objects in this way so that the overhang is arbitrarily large. However, the thicker and heavier the objects become, the harder it is to achieve large overhangs.

    This post is based on a post in the blog ThatsMaths by Peter Lynch, who is a Professor of Meteorology at University College Dublin. The blog post also shows a photograph of a stack of ten biscuits (cookies) and a stack of ten volumes of the Encyclopædia Britannica

    Relevant links
    Peter Lynch's original blog post, Biscuits, Books, Coins and Cards: Massive Hangovers, can be found here:

    Here's an online harmonic series calculator by Jim Carlson which you can use to calculate values of H(n) for various n:

    #mathematics #scienceeveryday
  • 45 plusses - 4 comments - 11 shares | Read in G+
  • ScienceSunday2014-06-22 15:58:39
    Achrioptera fallax
    Here's another great post from +Corina Marinescu about a Madagascar stick insect.

    #ScienceSunday #SciSunCH

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    Achrioptera fallax is a stick insect species found in Madagascar.
    The males are a bright electric blue (with greenish tints) and have two rows of reddish orange spines along the edges of the femur. There are also dark coloured spines going along the sides and underneath the thorax. Males are brachypterous (incapable of flight) and have small reduced wings. The forewings are a bright yellow; the hind wings have a yellow ridge and are primarily red with a black centre. The male’s abdomen tip finishes like a club tail.

    The 7th and 8th tergum (abdominal segments) both extend outwards along the sides giving it the gradual shape of a hexagon. The 9th tergite is like the rest of the abdomen but has a pair of cerci for mating. Cerci are like claspers (which dragonflies possess) that help the male get a grasp of the female during copulation.

    Females have a duller outlook. They are a light brown with red spines covering the entire thorax and the top of the head. (Males have an absence of spines on the head). The femur has spines on the edges but not colourful like the males. There are a few patches of light cyan on the coxa, the inner part of the femur and sometimes the head. The female is also brachypterous. The only difference separating her from the male is that the yellow pigment on the wings is not at all as pronounced. The female’s abdomen ends in a point (because of her ovipositor) rather than finishing like a club. Both male and female possess white-ish stripes along the top and sides of the head. The male grows up to 13 cm in length while the female is much bigger and can grow up to 18, 5 cm in length.

    Watch video:
    Achrioptera Fallax Stick Insect


    #amazinginsects   #achriopterafallax  
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  • ScienceSunday2014-06-01 17:54:19
    A New Phage in Antibacterial Therapy?

    A #ScienceSunday  posts that starts with the fascinating history of how viruses were discovered and ends with a ray of hope for combating drug resistant bacteria. 


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    The Enemy of My Enemy

    ✇ Nearly 125 years ago, a British bacteriologist observed that the holy waters of the Ganges and Yamuna had curious bactericidal properties, limiting the spread of cholera. It took another 20 years before two microbiologists independently proposed the existence of viruses. Observing small clearings on a lawn of dysentery-causing bacillus on an agar plate, d'Herelle coined the term bacteriophage for the virus that devours bacteria; now affectionately abbreviated to "phage".  

    A Voracious Appetite: Found everywhere bacteria exist- in the soil, deep inside the earth's crust, within the bodies of animals and plants, and densely packed in the oceans, there are an estimated 1×10^8 different types of phages, each infecting only a specific type of bacteria.  Almost comical in appearance, a phage has its genetic material tightly packed into the capsid head, that can be injected through the stalk-like tail into the bacterial cell. Once inside, it can stage a peaceful coup (lysogenic) or burst open the bacterium (lytic) when it multiplies. It is estimated that there are up to 10^32 phages in our biosphere, destroying half the bacterial population every 48 hours! 

    Microbe Hunters: d'Herelle and his fellow scientists were quick to grasp the potential of phages as antibacterials. After consuming a preparation to confirm its safety, he administered the phage to a 12-year old boy with acute dysentery. The boy fully recovered. This set off a golden era in the commercial production and use of phages, centered largely in eastern Europe and Russia. In the 1940's, companies like L'Oreal and Eli Lilly marketed products with catchy names like Bacté-coli-phage and Staphylo-gel! There were set backs (d'Herelle's science partner in Tbilisi was executed by Stalin) and with the discovery of antibiotics in the 1940's, Western scientists lost interest in this line of medical research. Unfortunately, most published studies (written in Russian or Georgian) are not accessible to the western world and clinical trials did not follow current protocols of controls, making them difficult to assess retrospectively. 

    Evolutionary Arms Race: With growing resistance to antibiotics, a resurgence in phage therapy may be warranted. One advantage to phage therapy is that when bacteria develop resistance to a phage, we should be able to rapidly select (in a few days or weeks) for mutant phage versions in a tit-for-tat evolutionary arms race! Phage therapy is already around us in some form:the USDA has approved a phage spray (ListShield) that can be used on cheese, chicken, and processed meat to prevent infection with Listeria. Is this the start of a new phage in the way we treat bacterial infections? :)

    REF: (1)

    Image: T-phage infecting E. coli , false-colored EM via

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