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Tag Archives: Science

Would You Eat This Lab-Grown Burger?

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The burger above is still, essentially, beef. However, it’s not meat from the cows you see out in the pasture; rather, it’s meat that’s been cultured in a Petri dish in a lab. The beef was “grown” by Professor Mark Post and his team at the Maastricht University. Their goal was to develop a humane way to meet the world’s ever-growing meat demands without over-taxing natural resources.

To produce one pound of meat, 2,400 gallons or so of water is required. It’s a more energy-intensive process than, say, cultivating crops, so it requires so much more fossil fuel for a smaller output. Cultured meat is Post’s solution to this, and many people think it’s actually a good idea–including Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin.Continue Reading

You’ll Never Look At Them The Same: This Is What A Mosquito’s Mouthpiece Looking For A Blood Vessel Under Your Skin Looks Like

Squeamish? Please abstain. It’s not as gory or gross a video, as much as it is a disquieting perspective on just what exactly it is that goes on under the skin when a mosquito catches you distracted, and starts to feast. The stunning footage was grabbed by Valérie Choumet at Paris’s Institut Pasteur, where she anaesthetized a mouse, stuck a microscope against a flap of its skin and convinced a mosquito to bite in the right spot. What you see is the insect’s mouthparts probing around, looking for a blood vessel.

The large central needle in the video is actually two parallel tubes—the hypopharynx, which sends saliva down, and the labrum, which pumps blood back up. When a mosquito finds a host, these mouthparts probe around for a blood vessel. They often take several attempts, and a couple of minutes, to find one. And unexpectedly, around half of the ones that Choumet tested failed to do so. While they could all bite, it seemed that many suck at sucking.

We’ll include only this video in the article, but if you’re interested in just what is going on, you should follow the link at the bottom. It leads to a National Geographic article with tons more detail and a couple more vids.

[ National Geographic ]

Biosensor Tattoo Lets Athletes Know When They’ve Reached Their Limits

Biosensor tattoo

Some athletes push themselves so hard that they end up hitting “the wall”, which is when their energy level suddenly dips and they just collapse, exhausted and completely spent. So why does this happen? Well, when a person performs vigorous activity for extended periods, lactate builds up and causes fatigue.

If you’re the type who’s keen on pushing yourself physically, then you might find a lot of use with this lactate-monitoring biosensor tattoo.

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Jupiter Cake Puts The Yum In Nerdalicious

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See? That’s an awful headline. Why? Because it doesn’t make sense. But at the same time, you get the idea. Right?… Anyway, the cake you’re looking at is Cakecrumb’s rendition of Jupiter. We like it because as geeks we’ve found that we’re fond of all things science (as well as tech), so we tend to look up at the skies occasionally, and we read space exploration news when they become available. And while this doesn’t count as space exploration, it does count as a delicious looking reminder that the little rock we inhabit has cousins that are as beautiful to look at as they are inhospitable to life. The multiple layers you see represent a theoretical “core comprised mostly of rock and ice… surrounded by a layer liquid metallic hydrogen, and the outer layer is composed of molecular hydrogen.”

We’ve posted about Cakebrumb’s geeky cakes once before, and we’re sort of starting to become fans. And yes, she does take on commissions, so if you’re really into it, she could make you one.

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[ Product Page ] VIA [ BoingBoing ]

Some Perspective: This Pale Dot Is Us. All Of Us.

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Every little kid born to royalty, every man sitting in a cafe writing the next great American novel, every river full of bear food, every cat, every single thing that makes up humanity… is crammed in those few pixels you see above. That tiny dot, that’s Earth. That’s the picture Cassini took on July 19th, some 900 million miles away, while orbiting Saturn. And it’s sobering. It’s a sobering picture because it gives you a tiny bit of perspective about our great blue planet. How tiny it looks next to the unimaginable interplanetary distances. And yet everything that ever was, anything that ever happened, happened on that dot.

It isn’t particularly easy to picture the Earth from Saturn because it’s often too close to the sun to point sensitive optical instruments at it. But Cassini got lucky here, and took the pic just as the sun was hiding away behind Saturn. And the shot “also marked the first time people on Earth had advance notice their planet’s portrait was being taken from interplanetary distances. NASA invited the public to celebrate by finding Saturn in their part of the sky, waving at the ringed planet and sharing pictures over the Internet. More than 20,000 people around the world participated.”

So yeah, that’s our science break. The picture below? That’s another one, of the Earth next to its moon. Nifty, eh?

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VIA [ NASA ]

These Wetsuits Will Make You Invisible To Sharks

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We’re all for getting in the water and sploshing around… Actually, scratch that; water isn’t our thing. Well, it’s not my thing, so I’m not going to encourage anyone to enter a realm that is clearly not intended for human presence. Between jelly fish, stingrays, piranhas and sharks, there are plenty of reasons to stay away. But if you’re going to do it anyway, might as well don these wetsuits that apparently make you completely invisible to sharks. The particular patterns and colours are invisible to the colorblind killing machines. Created by Hamish Jolly and Craig Anderson, working with the University of Western Australia, the suits work on the principle that even if sharks use other senses to find you (bleeding, much?), vision is used in the final approach. Since sharks see in black and white, the patterns on the suits make you either totally invisible to them, or unpalatable. Yeah, in one of the suits, the one geared towards surfers and called “The Diverter”, the shark takes a look at you and goes “ugh, gross”, and swims away. If staying alive is a priority of yours, being considered unappetizing by your predator should not be something to feel bad about.

Expect to see not only wetsuits with the patterns on the market, but stickers for the underside of surf boards as well. We’re not sure about price or availability though.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ DVice ]

What Happens If Superman Punches You In Real Life? (Spoiler: You Can’t Just Shake It Off)

Comic book nerd? Physics nerd? Both? Awesome! The video above is going to make you grin ear to ear for five minutes. It’s an engaging breakdown of what would happen if the Man of Steel were to apply his fist to your face, in reality.

VIA [ GeeksAreSexy ]

Video: Instant Ice

The video above shows a pretty dramatic example of supercooling at work. This is what happens when you cool water below its freezing point, but the water lacks any nucleation sites that are necessary to seed ice crystals. In other words, for water to turn to ice, it requires the presence of solid particles around which to start forming crystals. If the water is pure enough, you can take it down to −48.3 °C (−55 °F) while still in liquid form. But as soon as you pour it out onto something solid, the above happens.

Science.

VIA [ TheAwesomer ]

L’Uritonnoir is an Outdoor Urinal That Uses Pee to Turn Straw Into Compost

Urine Disposal Fertilizer

Today I learned one use for human pee and debunked a myth about it while I did my research. Respectively, they are as follows:

  • Human pee can be used to help transform a bale of straw into compost that can be used as fertilizer.
  • Human pee doesn’t really alleviate jellyfish stings and in some cases, might even make the sting even worse.

I don’t think I need to cover the second point, since it’s pretty straightforward. The first point, on the other hand, is a different story.

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