Archive for November, 2010

NCBI ROFL: Behold the power of cheese-o-vision!

By ncbi rofl | November 30, 2010 7:00 pm

125556562_8f007d39fbContribution of native pasture to the sensory properties of Ragusano cheese.

“Ragusano is a Protected Denomination of Origin cheese produced in the Hyblean area of Sicily. Sixteen samples of Ragusano cheese from two different treatments [pasture and total mixed ration (TMR)] were evaluated after 4 and 7 mo of aging. The color of the cheeses produced from milk of cows consuming fresh native pasture plants was much more yellow than cheeses from TMR fed cows (i.e., higher Hunter b value). Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: eat me, NCBI ROFL

To Make Gold Nanoparticles, Add a Dash of Cinnamon

By Jennifer Welsh | November 30, 2010 2:32 pm

mmmmm....tastes-like-nanoparticles“Is it just me, or do these gold nanoparticles taste like apple pie?”

Ok, you probably won’t hear that one around the lab (taste-testing the nano-gold is a strict no-no), but researchers have discovered a way to replace the toxic chemicals typically used to make gold nanoparticles with cinnamon.

Researcher Raghuraman Kannan explains in the press release:

“The procedure we have developed is non-toxic,” Kannan said. “No chemicals are used in the generation of gold nanoparticles, except gold salts. It is a true ‘green’ process.”

The cinnamon takes the place of the toxic agents that remove the gold particles from gold salts, explains Popular Science:

There are several ways to produce gold particles, but most involve dissolving chloroauric acid, also called gold salts, in liquid and adding chemicals to precipitate gold atoms. Common mixtures include sodium citrates, sodium borohydride (also used to bleach wood pulp) and ammonium compounds.

Read More

Guilt-Free Procrastination: This Online Game Could Cure Genetic Diseases

By Jennifer Welsh | November 30, 2010 11:02 am

phyloHave a brain for puzzles? What about ones that help advance science?

A new online game called Phylo is harnessing the power of idle brains on the Internet–asking any and all to help align genomic sequences. Human brain power is used instead of computer power because, as the researchers explain in the press release, humans are still better at some things than computers are:

“There are some calculations that the human brain does more efficiently than any computer can, such as recognizing a face,” explained lead researcher Dr. Jérôme Waldispuhl of the School of Computer Science. “Recognizing and sorting the patterns in the human genetic code falls in that category. Our new online game enables players to have fun while contributing to genetic research–players can even choose which genetic disease they want to help decode.”

Read More

NCBI ROFL: Sex differences in relative foot length and perceived attractiveness of female feet.

By ncbi rofl | November 29, 2010 7:00 pm

shoeSex differences in relative foot length and perceived attractiveness of female feet: relationships among anthropometry, physique, and preference ratings.

“Foot size proportionate to stature is smaller in women than in men, and small feet apparently contribute to perceived physical attractiveness of females. This exploratory study investigated the sex difference in relative foot length and interrelations among foot length, physique, and foot preference ratings in samples from Austria and Canada, each comprised of 75 men and 75 women. Read More

Indian Dentist: Elephant Tusk Surgery Was an "Elephantine Task"

By Jennifer Welsh | November 29, 2010 10:52 am

asian-elephantIn late November, Indian dentists set to work filling the largest cavity they have ever seen. Their patient, Devidasan the elephant, had a 20-inch-long crack in his tusk that had caused him pain for over five years, kept him from participating in festivals, and posed an infection risk.

Dentist CV Pradeep performed the unprecedented operation, which took two and a half hours to complete. The dentistry team used 47 times the amount of resin they would have used to fill a human tooth, and they modified their tools for use on the elephant’s tusk, Pradeep explained to BBC News:

“It was literally an elephantine task, because we had to find specialist equipment and modify it,” Dr Pradeep said. “The main difference between this and a similar operation carried out on humans is that we were not able to use X-ray screening, because none of our mobile X-ray units was large enough to suit the elephant’s needs.”

Devidasan was kept awake during the procedure, but the dentists report that he was fully cooperative. The dentists used the same procedure they would have for a cracked human tooth–just on a much larger scale. Pradeep told BBC News that Devidasan looked much happier after they were done with the filling. He is now fully healed and is back to participating in Hindu festivals.

This was the first elephant tusk-filling of its kind, so the dentists aren’t sure how long it will hold. They estimate it will stick for at least a few years, depending on how quickly the tusk grows.

Related Content:
Discoblog: That Elephant Can Smell You From a Mile Away
Discoblog: Meet the Prehistoric Elephantopotamus
Discoblog: Animal Prosthetics: False Limbs for Elephants, and Silicone Where You’d Least Expect It
Discoblog: Could DNA Tell Us Where Smugglers Get Their Ivory?
80beats: Elephant-Lovers Worry About Controversial Ivory Auctions in Africa
DISCOVER: Tusk Tales

Image: Wikimedia Commons

NCBI ROFL: When love makes you blind…literally.

By ncbi rofl | November 26, 2010 7:00 pm

eyeTransient monocular blindness precipitated by sexual intercourse.

“The physiological response to sexual activity includes an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity, heart rate and systolic blood pressure. Our patient experienced transient monocular visual loss every time he reached the climax of sexual intercourse, but never while performing strenuous physical exercise. Read More

NCBI ROFL: [Insert turkey baster joke here.]

By ncbi rofl | November 25, 2010 7:00 pm

turkeyHappy Thanksgiving from NCBI ROFL!

Effect of vaginal douching and different semen extenders on bacterial load and fertility in turkeys.

“A study on artificial insemination of Beltsville Small White turkeys investigated the effect on bacterial load and fertility of vaginal douching with diluents containing Gentamicin 400 microg/ml and different semen extenders. Read More

NCBI ROFL: Could you solve the floating peanut task?

By ncbi rofl | November 24, 2010 7:00 pm

pone.0010544.g001Evidence for emulation in chimpanzees in social settings using the floating peanut task.

“BACKGROUND: It is still unclear which observational learning mechanisms underlie the transmission of difficult problem-solving skills in chimpanzees. In particular, two different mechanisms have been proposed: imitation and emulation. Previous studies have largely failed to control for social factors when these mechanisms were targeted. METHODS: In an attempt to resolve the existing discrepancies, we adopted the ‘floating peanut task’, in which subjects need to spit water into a tube until it is sufficiently full for floating peanuts to be grasped. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals, NCBI ROFL

Chubby Kitties, Tubby Turtles, Mega Marmosets: Animals Are Fattening Up

By Jennifer Welsh | November 24, 2010 2:39 pm

fat-catA prophetic story from The Onion in 2003 seems to be coming true: our pets and even lab and wild animals are becoming obese alongside humans:

Amid a barrage of commercials for new diet dog and cat foods, many owners say that their pets are being held to impossibly high animal-body standards perpetrated by the media. “I don’t care what anyone says, my Sassy looks good,” said Janice Guswhite.

Back in the non-satirical world, the findings are alarming. A study of over 20,000 animals from 12 different populations, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found that over the last 20 years the animals in every population they studied have been growing significantly tubbier, paralleling the human obesity epidemic.

Not only pets are fattening up–the group also studied wild animals living near humans and animals living in labs and zoos. All of them have been chubbing-out over the last two decades. This could mean we are thinking about the obesity epidemic all wrong, lead author David Allison told Nature News:

Read More

Geckos Always Land on Their Feet—and So Does This Gecko-Bot

By Jennifer Welsh | November 24, 2010 12:58 pm

geckoThe gecko robot just keeps getting better. Not only can the robot climb up walls like the sticky-toed lizard, but it can automatically right itself while falling.

Geckos, like cats and buttered toast, can naturally turn themselves around in midair. Cats are able to right themselves because they are flexible and can twist their bodies around. The gecko, on the other hand, uses its large tail’s inertia to twist its body around to the correct orientation, explains Cosmic Log:

Within about a tenth of a second, the geckos flipped their tails around to induce body rotation. Then they spread out their tails as well as their feet into a “belly-down skydiving posture” position to stabilize the fall. All of the geckos that used their tails in this way landed on their feet, even in wind-tunnel tests–while none of the tailless geckos could do the same trick.

Hit the jump for a video of the gecko-bot in action.

Read More

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Discoblog

Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »