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I saw it on the 'net [weird and crazy news]
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April 16, 2013
5:05 pm
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Freshly dyed sheep run in view of the highway near Bathgate, Scotland. The sheep farmer has been dyeing his sheep with a nontoxic dye since 2007 to entertain passing motorists.

http://photos.msn.com/slideshow/news/must-see-april-2013/23qv5t3h” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false;

April 16, 2013
6:12 pm
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I dye my sheep too.

April 16, 2013
6:40 pm
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:rofl:

April 26, 2013
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Was it Mass Effect where you could “melt” down your weapons and create new ones? It haz begun!

Kickstarter 3Doodler 3D Printing Pen Nothing of the Sort – But Somehow Raises $2 Million

Five days after launch on Kickstarter, the 3Doodler 3D printing pen boasted over 21,000 backers and $1.9 million in pledges. Their goal was $30,000! What’s so special about the 3Doodler? If nothing else, it rivals the lofty infomercial marketing heights of Slap Chop or ShamWow. But let’s get something straight—3Doodler is a crafting “pen” not a handheld 3D printing pen (whatever that even means).

100% of what makes a 3D printer a 3D printer is that it’s guided by a computer, not a human hand. Calling 3Doodler a 3D printing pen is like calling a ballpoint an inkjet printing pen. But 3D printing is hot—why not make some bucks while you can? And in their own words, “Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects.” Good and bad, deserving or not—let the funders decide. And they have, to the tune of almost $2 million.

So what is this multi-million dollar idea? 3Doodler is a crafting tool, the unholy union of a hot glue gun and a particularly shapely marker. The doodler uses 3D printing plastics (yes, there’s your link to 3D printing) to draw plastic shapes on paper, stand them up and even combine them to form structures. The plastic sets up fast enough to draw squiggles in the air, and they’ll maintain their shape.

Source: http://singularityhub.com/2013/02/27/kickstarter-3doodler-3d-printing-pen-nothing-of-the-sort-but-somehow-raises-2-million/” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false;

See it in action:

3Doodler Kickstarter Video

[youtube:18vo06wv][/youtube:18vo06wv]

Did you miss the “It’s Not Halo But Damn It’s Cool – 3D Printer”? See it here.

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May 1, 2013
6:06 am
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So I’m not totally certain, and I don’t want to start any rumors or anything, but it looks like they’ve found the eggs that turn into Aliens under a pyramid. You know, the Aliens that drool acid and feed on humans? Yeah, those ones.

Robot finds mysterious spheres in ancient temple

Hundreds of mysterious spheres lie beneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, an ancient six-level step pyramid just 30 miles from Mexico City.

The enigmatic spheres were found during an archaeological dig using a camera-equipped robot at one of the most important buildings in the pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan.

“They look like yellow spheres, but we do not know their meaning. It’s an unprecedented discovery,” said Jorge Zavala, an archaeologist at Mexico’s National Anthropology and History Institute.

Read more >>

Sigourney, where are you when we need you?

May 1, 2013
1:04 pm
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Interesting Chaos, but this statement disappointed me:

The mysterious spheres lay in both the north and south chambers. Ranging from 1.5 to 5 inches, the objects have a core of clay and are covered with a yellow material called jarosite.

Basically these are just brightly painted balls of clay. Here I was hoping for the return of the Targaryens.

May 1, 2013
8:43 pm
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If they can wake up from stone, they can wake up from clay ;)

May 3, 2013
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I don’t know about you, but as someone who is eagerly awaiting advancements in science and medicine, this scares the holy living crap out of me. Don’t usually post this kind of stuff, but I’ve been moved.

Why is Our Government Attacking Science?

By Phil Plait | Posted Wednesday, May 1, 2013, at 2:00 PM

I’m used to attacks on science; they’ve been endemic for years now. Antivaxxers, global warming deniers, creationists, what have you. And I’ve even gotten used to, at some level, egregiously antiscience rhetoric and machinations from government officials.

But over the past few days and weeks things seem to have gone to 11. I’m reeling from the absolute unfettered nonsense and sheer manipulation going on by our elected officials, and I’ll be honest: It’s scary.

To start, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who is a global warming denier, by the way, is the head of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. He has recently decided that the National Science Foundation—a globally respected agency of scientific research and investigation—should no longer use peer review to fund grants. Instead it should essentially get political permission for which research to fund.

This is not a joke. Smith wants politics to trump science at the National Science Foundation.

This prompted a brilliantly indignant letter from Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), who calls this idea “destructive” to science. She’s right. What Smith is doing strongly reminds me of Lysenkoism, when the Soviet government suppressed science on genetics and evolution that didn’t toe the party line.

In these attacks on the NSF, a few lines of research have been highlighted that sound silly out of context. We’ve seen this before from those on the far right who attack science, from Sarah Palin to the Wall Street Journal. But when you look more deeply into the research you usually find it’s actually quite important, leading to new insights in biology, medicine, and more.

While government funds science and should have oversight to make sure that funding is fairly granted, the best people to make the decisions about what constitutes good science are the scientists themselves, not agenda- and ideologically-driven politicians.

And there’s a bigger picture here as well. The entire endeavor of science must be allowed the freedom to pursue ideas wherever they lead, and must have the flexibility to pursue ideas that may not pan out. From a financial view, the ones that work invariably subsidize the ones that don’t. We can’t know in advance what lines of research will yield results, but the ones that do succeed benefit us, increasing our knowledge vastly and leading to a better understanding of the world. That’s a critical human endeavor, even ignoring the vast, overwhelming material benefit we get from scientific advances. And the huge return on investment we get as well.

What Smith is advocating is incredibly dangerous. When a society’s government starts dictating what can and cannot be investigated, scientific and creative progress stalls. Lysenko’s work, advocated by Stalin, led to the USSR falling almost irretrievably behind other, more progressive countries; ones like the United States.

That was a hard-won lesson in history for the Soviets, but apparently lost on many current American politicians.

Even leaders who support science are making terrible decisions right now that will have long-term consequences for American science. President Obama and the White House put out a budget for NASA that eviscerates planetary exploration. Not only that, it completely zeroes out NASA’s mission-specific education and public outreach (EPO) efforts (each mission has a separate budget allocated for EPO)*. The NASA budget and press release at the time were vague on details, but it’s now clear that the proposal will irreversibly damage NASA’s EPO, moving it to other agencies. That’s crazy. And I do mean 100 percent sheer craziness.

While these other venues (the Smithsonian Institution, the Department of Education, and, ironically, the NSF) are excellent groups, they are not prepared to take on NASA’s load of educational work. The experience and foundations built over many years will evaporate if this happens. And the real losers will be the American public, who clearly love NASA outreach. Why on Earth would you want to wipe out one of the most successful missions NASA does?

The American Astronomical Society, the largest organization of professional astronomers in the country, put out a statement expressing concern over this. I’ve been hearing outcries from all over the education community as well. The AAS statement calls the education proposal “deeply concerning”—a polite and politic phrasing really meaning “Holy crap what are you thinking?”

The only hope here is that Congress will not support the President’s budget, and their own version will restore these lost capabilities. Yes, Congress. After everything I wrote above, the irony is not lost on me.

The list goes on and on, of course. In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law a rule that will allow public money to go to religious private schools that teach creationism. There, at least, people like Zack Kopplin and others are fighting back. If you live in Louisiana, they can use your help, and I mean right now. Today.

And buzzing like a background hum in all of this is the sheer load of antiscience representatives sitting on the House Science Committee.

I have this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach, one I haven’t had since the Bad Old Days of George W. Bush’s administration, when scientific reports were routinely censored, when appointees with no qualifications and who were blatantly and arrogantly antiscience were put into positions of power in agencies like NASA, when science was essentially being rounded up and locked into a dark cupboard.

I know I focus a lot on these attacks coming from the far right—because that’s where the overwhelming majority originate—but in truth they’re coming from all directions, and it’s up to us to do something about it. Write your representative, write your senator. Tell them, politely, that you support science, you support the NSF’s ability to make its own decisions, you want NASA’s planetary budget to increase, not decrease, and that you support NASA’s own ability to reach out to the public.

Those government officials may be the ones doing all these awful things, but we’re the ones who, in the end, decide if they can even be in the position to make these attacks. And we need to do something about it.

*Correction (May 2, 2013 at 14:30 UTC): I originally said all of NASA’s EPO budget was zeroed out, but only the mission-specific budget has been eradicated. “Only” is a funny word here, since that is a major part of NASA’s outreach. Full disclosure: I worked for several years at Sonoma State University, paid with mission-specific EPO grants. Much of that funding goes into creating science, tech, engineering, and math educational efforts in the classrooms. The loss of this funding would be a huge loss.

Source: http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/05/01/attacks_on_science_government_antiscience_on_the_rise.html?wpisrc=most_viral” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false;

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May 3, 2013
7:03 pm
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Without getting into politics and finger-pointing, as a researcher, I can also attest to the current struggles with federal funding.

All of the research studies I work on are funded by the NIH. Within the past 10 years our research clinic has gone from packed and busy, to almost a ghost town on some days.

NIH struggles to fund studies because of the difficulties of forming budgets due to the “current state of affairs”. Basically NIH gets a big pot of money to fund new and continuing research. Studies are reviewed and scored and funding begins. The studies with the highest scores are funded first and then they work their way down the line until the pot is empty. Money varies from year-to-year based on what is allocated by Congress.

The delicate matter we are currently dealing with is that we have some big, multi-million dollar, studies waiting to be funded, but NIH can’t pull the trigger because they don’t know the size of their pot. In the meantime, studies end and people are either getting laid off or having hours cut while we pray for funding.

I am in a very delicate situation. My main study ends in July. Our renewal has been reviewed and received a very good score, but the NIH can’t pull the trigger on renewing the study because things are in such a mess in Congress. We are hoping to hear soon about some of our studies, but in the mean time we have to wait and wonder if we’ll have jobs.

Such is the risk on working with “soft” research money. When studies get funded, you are good to go, but when the funding expires and you have to apply for renewal, that is nervous time. The state of funding now is the worst it’s been – for the type of work I do – in years. This statement is echoed by my boss and he’s been in this type of work for almost 40 years!

Wow, I didn’t mean to get so heavy, but it kind of hits home. The stress of not knowing if I’ll have a job in a few months is taking a toll on me physically and mentally, so I guess I had some steam to blow off… :D

May 4, 2013
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Can I ask what science field of study you’re in? We’ve probably discussed it before, but it’s escaping me.

May 4, 2013
7:19 pm
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@CHa0s wrote:

Can I ask what science field of study you’re in? We’ve probably discussed it before, but it’s escaping me.

He researches breakfast hot sauces. Something something Tabasco…

Chunky salsa on my scrambled eggs? Yes please.

May 4, 2013
9:30 pm
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:rofl:

May 6, 2013
1:52 pm
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My main study is an osteoporosis study for men. We have 6 clinical sites in the US and 2 International sites. There are over 6000 participants enrolled across all the sites and 2013 marks the 13th consecutive year for funding. This is a fairly unique study because we are focusing on men and the issues they face as they get older and have more falls and fractures. Back in 2000 when the study recruited participants, you had to be at least 65 years old. This means our youngest guys are almost 80!

The study also has ancillary portions in which we’ve done dental health studies, we’ve done sleep studies, we’ve tracked them for prostate health issues like BPH and cancer and we’ve collected a lot of data on cardiovascular disease.

The other studies I work on deal with some of the following issues: hypertension, osteoarthritis of knees and hips and low testosterone.

One of the coolest that I’m involved with currently is a stem cell research study. This study involves trying to induce stem cell growth simply by drawing blood from an adult, treating it and then attempting to induce these cells to grow into specific tissue. This is a ventricular hypertrophy (thickening of the ventricles of the heart) study, and we are actually attempting to grow each participant’s heart tissue in the lab in the hopes of performing DNA testing to give us a better idea what genes may be responsible for certain types of heart disease.

Anyway, sorry to ramble on, but you asked. :braindead:

I’ve talked with my supervisor about a possible study to determine the benefits of daily tabasco use, but I’m not getting much support. Oh well, guess I can keep trying… :p

May 6, 2013
4:32 pm
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@Darth Tabasco wrote:

One of the coolest that I’m involved with currently is a stem cell research study. This study involves trying to induce stem cell growth simply by drawing blood from an adult, treating it and then attempting to induce these cells to grow into specific tissue. This is a ventricular hypertrophy (thickening of the ventricles of the heart) study, and we are actually attempting to grow each participant’s heart tissue in the lab in the hopes of performing DNA testing to give us a better idea what genes may be responsible for certain types of heart disease.

Very, very cool!

Did you read about how the 3-D bio printing research shows they should be able to replace those arteries with your own tissue within 5-10 years? But once the type of research you guys are doing pans out, they won’t even have to go under the knife.

May 9, 2013
11:22 pm
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[youtube:23zwgg20]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iflIOklflrg[/youtube:23zwgg20]

May 10, 2013
6:41 pm
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Cthulhu’s Pet? Giant Isopod (2.5 Feet!) Found Attached To Underwater Robot

Photo: Gwynzer

For the Love of Cute Kittens! It Looks Like a Sci-Fi Movie Prop

This just goes to show how little most of us know about the oceans. I’m sure some marine biologist reading this will go “Duh, it’s a Bathynomus giganteus, better known as giant isopod! An important scavenger in the deep-sea benthic environment…”, but the rest of us will just stare with our mouths open. Didn’t one of those make a cameo in District 9?

The photos above were posted by Reddit user Gwynzer. To explain the context, he wrote:

I work for a Sub-sea Survey Company, recently this beast came up attached to one of our ROVs. It measures a wee bit over 2.5 feet head to tail, and we expect it latched onto the ROV at roughly 8500ft depth. Unfortunately, the e-mail that these pictures were attached to came from a contractor, and the ship he was operating from (and therefore location) is unknown, so I can’t tell you what part of the Earth this beast was living.

What is this, Reddit? Is it edible?

To answer his/her question, it is edible. Apparently, “in northern Taiwan and other areas, they are not uncommon at seaside restaurants, served boiled and bisected with a clean lateral slice. The white meat, similar to crab or lobster in texture, is then easily removed.”

More giant isopods, though not quite as giant as the one above. Photos: Left is Creative Commons, Right is Public domain

Best quote about this whole thing comes from user Neuraxis on Reddit: “Do you realize how much sh*t you’re going to be in once Cthulhu finds out his dog’s missing?” Ha!

Read more/source: http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/cthulhus-pet-giant-isopod-25-feet-found-attached-to-underwater-robot.html

May 16, 2013
2:59 am
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A new treatment is curing some cancers in some people

[BBvideo 560,340:20wjifsr]http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21134540/vp/51897948&#51897948[/BBvideo:20wjifsr]

May 30, 2013
11:16 pm
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Duuuuude…. could you imagine seeing a real live Mammoth?!? At first I thought it might smell like a goat or a really smelly dog, but I bet they kept clean, being one of the most intelligent animals and all. Sure would be a trip to see one.

Mammoth blood? Siberian discovery sparks some wild and woolly claims

A May 13 photo provided by the Yakutsk-based North-Eastern Federal University shows a researcher working near a partial carcass of a female mammoth found on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean. Russian scientists claim that blood has been extracted from the carcass.

By Alan Boyle, Science Editor, NBC News

Russian researchers say they’ve recovered blood samples from a 10,000-year-old mammoth carcass found in Siberia, but outside experts are skeptical about the claims — and particularly about suggestions that the mammoth can be cloned.

“What makes the news here is that they have the liquid,” Stephan Schuster, a biologist at Penn State who helped decode the woolly mammoth genome several years ago, told NBC News. “But this could also be water that is now thawing and is running out with organic compounds that are in the carcass.”

The research team from North-Eastern Federal University in the Siberian city of Yakutsk says it’s blood.

“The blood is very dark,” Semyon Grigoriev, who headed the expedition to the Lyakhovsky Islands in the Siberian Arctic, said Wednesday in a university news release.

“It was found in ice cavities below the belly, and when we broke these cavities with a poll pick, the blood came running out. Interestingly, the temperature at the time of excavation was -7 to -10 degrees C [14 to 19 degrees Fahrenheit]. It may be assumed that the blood of mammoths had some cryoprotective properties,” he said.

It’s difficult for Schuster or other outside experts to render judgment on the claims, since the only information available on the find is what’s in the press. “I have no doubt that they have found something interesting, but what exactly it is … is hard to say at this moment,” Daniel Fisher, an expert on mammoths at the University of Michigan, told Scientific American’s Kate Wong.

Schuster said it’s conceivable that the fluid contains natural antifreeze. Experts have found that to be the case for lots of modern-day organisms in chilly environments. “It could come from the breakdown of biopolymers,” he said. “You have a lot of small organic components that would have the properties of being cryoprotective.”

Preserved muscle tissue from the carcass of a female mammoth takes on a reddish tinge when cut.

The Russian reports suggest that the partial female carcass is unusually well-preserved. Fragments of the mammoth’s muscle tissues “have a natural red color of fresh meat,” Grigoriev reported. That’s not unprecedented, however. There have been numerous reports about the recovery of mammoth meat that’s good enough to eat.

The big question focuses on what you can do with that preserved tissue and blood (or bloodlike goop).

“What they are saying without saying it is, ‘Oh, if we have blood, then the rest of the carcass might yield clonable DNA,” Schuster said. After all, Grigoriev is one of the leaders of the Russian-Korean “Mammoth Miracle” cloning project. He’s quoted as saying that the carcass had to be recovered in cold weather, “because the unique discovery would melt in summer or autumn, and the priceless material for the joint project ‘Mammoth Rebirth’ … could disappear from thawing and wild animals.”

The scientists who are working on the project have said a woolly mammoth could be cloned sometime in the next five years, but Schuster and other researchers involved in studying mammoth genetics are skeptical that there’d be enough intact DNA in any thawed-out sample to do the deed. So far, the best places to find mammoth DNA have been from the teeth, bones and hair rather than from the muscles or tendons — and even then, the pickings have been slim.

“None of us has ever seen a sample from a mammoth where the genome has not been completely shattered,” Schuster said. “The maximum we find is 100 base pairs, maybe 400 base pairs. You would need on the order of millions of base pairs, and there’s no such thing.”

Even if the DNA isn’t intact, it may still be possible to extract proteins from the tissues, just as proteins were extracted from the fossilized bone of a Tyrannnosaurus rex several years ago. Schuster said working toward that goal would be exciting as well as realistic.

“The case is rare enough, that everything inside the carcass needs to be investigated in the fullest,” he said. “Only after this has been done can we assess whether this find will really advance our understanding of the biochemical makeup of a mammoth. But I am less optimistic about learning more about the genetic makeup.”

Source: http://cosmiclog.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/30/18629517-mammoth-blood-siberian-discovery-sparks-some-wild-and-woolly-claims?lite&ocid=msnhp&pos=1

June 4, 2013
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New discoveries every year that result in lives saved and suffering ended. This one is very cool and hits close to home, as I know an adult who didn’t survive a battle with leukemia.

Cell therapy shows promise for acute leukaemia

A new type of ‘living drug’ has produced encouraging remission results in adults with aggressive leukaemia

A new treatment that genetically alters immune cells to fight cancer has produced remission in adults with acute leukaemia.

T-cell therapy, devised by Dr Renier J. Brentjens and his colleague Dr Michel Sadelain at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York, has been used for the first time with five adults suffering acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. The technique has been used successfully with children, but this type of cancer is more aggressive in adults, with a recovery rate of approximately 40% compared to 80-90% in young people.

The technique uses a patient’s T-cells – white blood cells that the body uses to fight cancers – to genetically engineer a new material that recognises cells carrying CD19, which is then reprogrammed to produce antibodies within the immune system.

David Aponte, 58, a sound engineer for ABC News, was diagnosed with the disease in 2011, and despite chemotherapy it returned in 2012. His oncologist, Dr Brentjens, suggested he join the T-cell study. After several days of treatment, Mr Aponte’s temperature rose to 105°F and he entered a ‘cytokine storm’, where his T-cells battled the cancer by producing the hormone cytokine. After eight days in intensive care, Mr Aponte’s leukaemia had gone, and he is still in remission today.

“We’re creating living drugs,” Dr Sadelain told The New York Times. “It’s an exciting story that’s just beginning.”

Source: Positive News

June 5, 2013
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Holy shit! Did you know it was possible to put information into DNA, like an email address? O.o

Kickstarter Replaces Lights with Glowing Plants!

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