sagansense:

Earth’s upper atmosphere—below freezing, nearly without oxygen, flooded by UV radiation—is no place to live. But last winter, scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered that billions of bacteria actually thrive up there.

Expecting only a smattering of microorganisms, the researchers flew six miles above Earth’s surface in a NASA jet plane. There, they pumped outside air through a filter to collect particles.

Back on the ground, they tallied the organisms, and the count was staggering: 20 percent of what they had assumed to be just dust or other particles was alive. Earth, it seems, is surrounded by a bubble of bacteria.
Now what? Read the whole story over at PopSci…

sagansense:

Earth’s upper atmosphere—below freezing, nearly without oxygen, flooded by UV radiation—is no place to live. But last winter, scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered that billions of bacteria actually thrive up there.

image

Expecting only a smattering of microorganisms, the researchers flew six miles above Earth’s surface in a NASA jet plane. There, they pumped outside air through a filter to collect particles.

image

Back on the ground, they tallied the organisms, and the count was staggering: 20 percent of what they had assumed to be just dust or other particles was alive. Earth, it seems, is surrounded by a bubble of bacteria.

imageNow what? Read the whole story over at PopSci

(via whydontyouwritemedarling)

jtotheizzoe:

I have a feeling that silk scarves printed with NASA satellite and Hubble images are a thing that some of you might need, in a “shut up and take my money” way.

Check ‘em out at Slow Factory.

jtotheizzoe:

Tripedal to the Metal
That’s some loco motion, huh? Found this neat little GIF showing how an ant’s legs move at a full gallop. While calmly strolling though the picnic grounds, ants have five of their six legs at a time in contact with the ground. But when it’s time to put the (tiny) pedal to the metal, they change their gait to this alternating tripod motion.
This pattern isn’t controlled by the insect’s brain, but rather by bundles of neurons in the leg called central pattern generators. While moving at such a clip, it just so happens that three legs is the minimum number it needs on the ground at a time to balance its rigid exoskeleton without toppling over.
Is that part of the reason that insects have six legs and not another number like four or eight? Or did the gait evolve to match the hardware? My guess is the latter, but I am not sure. What say you, insect folks? 
(GIF via NC State University)

jtotheizzoe:

Tripedal to the Metal

That’s some loco motion, huh? Found this neat little GIF showing how an ant’s legs move at a full gallop. While calmly strolling though the picnic grounds, ants have five of their six legs at a time in contact with the ground. But when it’s time to put the (tiny) pedal to the metal, they change their gait to this alternating tripod motion.

This pattern isn’t controlled by the insect’s brain, but rather by bundles of neurons in the leg called central pattern generators. While moving at such a clip, it just so happens that three legs is the minimum number it needs on the ground at a time to balance its rigid exoskeleton without toppling over.

Is that part of the reason that insects have six legs and not another number like four or eight? Or did the gait evolve to match the hardware? My guess is the latter, but I am not sure. What say you, insect folks? 

(GIF via NC State University)

currentsinbiology:

Pollen
Shamuel Silberman
Neve Monosson, Israel
Technique: Reflected Light, Fiber Optic Ilumination (40x)

currentsinbiology:

Pollen

Shamuel Silberman

Neve Monosson, Israel

Technique: Reflected Light, Fiber Optic Ilumination (40x)

wildcat2030:

How Do Sperm Recognize Eggs? Mechanism Finally Found
-
It’s the stuff of 3rd-grade sex ed: sperm meets egg to make baby. But, surprisingly, scientists have actually been in the dark about one crucial step: how the two sex cells recognize each other amidst the fluid frenzy in the Fallopian tubes. Now researchers have announced that they’ve found the missing piece of this fertilization puzzle, and that the discovery could lead to individualized fertility treatments and hormone-free birth control. Back in 2005, researchers found the first half of the the puzzle: a binding protein on the surface of sperm they called Izumol (after a Japanese marriage shrine). In the decade since then, scientists have been searching for Izumol’s counterpart on egg cells. Essentially, they’d found the plug but couldn’t locate the outlet. Today researchers at Cambridge announced they’ve found that outlet: a receptor protein on the surface of the egg cell. They’ve found it on the eggs of pigs, opossums, mice and even humans. (via How Do Sperm Recognize Eggs? Mechanism Finally Found - D-brief | DiscoverMagazine.com)

wildcat2030:

How Do Sperm Recognize Eggs? Mechanism Finally Found
-
It’s the stuff of 3rd-grade sex ed: sperm meets egg to make baby. But, surprisingly, scientists have actually been in the dark about one crucial step: how the two sex cells recognize each other amidst the fluid frenzy in the Fallopian tubes. Now researchers have announced that they’ve found the missing piece of this fertilization puzzle, and that the discovery could lead to individualized fertility treatments and hormone-free birth control. Back in 2005, researchers found the first half of the the puzzle: a binding protein on the surface of sperm they called Izumol (after a Japanese marriage shrine). In the decade since then, scientists have been searching for Izumol’s counterpart on egg cells. Essentially, they’d found the plug but couldn’t locate the outlet. Today researchers at Cambridge announced they’ve found that outlet: a receptor protein on the surface of the egg cell. They’ve found it on the eggs of pigs, opossums, mice and even humans. (via How Do Sperm Recognize Eggs? Mechanism Finally Found - D-brief | DiscoverMagazine.com)

(Source: betype, via ambedu)

jtotheizzoe:

Crocodiles vs. Alligators

If you’re staring imminent death in the face, it’s best to know which genus and species is staring back. Sadly, does not feature actual footage of crocodiles versus alligators, but I’ll let that slide.

Also, The Brain Scoop got a makeover! Do you love it? I love it. A great show just got greater. We’re all gonna have to step up our game to keep up with you, Emily

proofmathisbeautiful:

This is Your Brain on Engineering (GoldieBlox Easter PSA)

At age 2, girls start to identify with their gender. Or, more accurately, all kids start to understand that they have a gender, and become more aware of the social influences for how they should act as a result. In our culture, there are narrow blueprints called “boy” and “girl” that dictate to us all what is and is not the “right” way to act. These blueprints are pretty limiting — “boys don’t cry” and “girls are princesses” aren’t exactly the greatest life mottos. Gendered influences come from everywhere around kids: their parents, their friends, their teachers, the games they play, the movies they watch, the books they read… the list is endless, and all of it sends a message, sometimes negative and often limiting, about what is and isn’t a “girl thing” or a “boy thing.”

(via gender-and-science)

jtotheizzoe:

boop.
This man.

jtotheizzoe:

boop.

This man.

(Source: mrknittle, via itsfullofstars)

currentsinbiology:

Voodoo Dolls Prove It: Hunger Makes Couples Turn On Each Other (NPR) 
A lot of us know what can happen when we get hungry. We get grumpy, irritable and sometimes nasty. There’s even a name for this phenomenon: “Hangry, which is a combination of the words hungry and angry,” says psychologist from Ohio State University.
Bushman recruited 107 couples to study the relationship between blood sugar levels and anger. He assessed the quality of their relationships and taught them how to measure their blood sugar. Then he sent each volunteer home with something unusual: a voodoo doll and 51 pins.
After three weeks, Bushman and his team assessed the damage done to each doll. Volunteers who had low levels of blood glucose stuck more pins in the voodoo dolls than those who had high levels of blood glucose, Bushman and his team reported  Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Volunteers with lower levels of blood sugar stuck more pins in voodoo dolls of their spouses than people with higher levels. Courtesy of Brad Bushman

currentsinbiology:

Voodoo Dolls Prove It: Hunger Makes Couples Turn On Each Other (NPR) 

A lot of us know what can happen when we get hungry. We get grumpy, irritable and sometimes nasty. There’s even a name for this phenomenon: “Hangry, which is a combination of the words hungry and angry,” says psychologist from Ohio State University.

Bushman recruited 107 couples to study the relationship between blood sugar levels and anger. He assessed the quality of their relationships and taught them how to measure their blood sugar. Then he sent each volunteer home with something unusual: a voodoo doll and 51 pins.

After three weeks, Bushman and his team assessed the damage done to each doll. Volunteers who had low levels of blood glucose stuck more pins in the voodoo dolls than those who had high levels of blood glucose, Bushman and his team reported  Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Volunteers with lower levels of blood sugar stuck more pins in voodoo dolls of their spouses than people with higher levels. Courtesy of Brad Bushman

jtotheizzoe:

generalelectric:

If Earth’s water were drained into a single drop, it would measure about 950 miles in diameter. Roughly three percent is fresh water, and just one-third of that is easily accessible. Meeting the growing need for water is a critical challenge. Many countries rely on desalination to produce fresh water, but current techniques are typically energy-intensive, using enough energy globally to power nearly seven million homes. That’s why today GE is launching an open innovation challenge to improve the energy efficiency of water desalination. Find out more about the challenge here. GIF by Julian Glander and based on data from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

GE you put that water back right now, you hear me? We need that.

jtotheizzoe:

generalelectric:

If Earth’s water were drained into a single drop, it would measure about 950 miles in diameter. Roughly three percent is fresh water, and just one-third of that is easily accessible. Meeting the growing need for water is a critical challenge. Many countries rely on desalination to produce fresh water, but current techniques are typically energy-intensive, using enough energy globally to power nearly seven million homes. That’s why today GE is launching an open innovation challenge to improve the energy efficiency of water desalination. Find out more about the challenge here. GIF by Julian Glander and based on data from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

GE you put that water back right now, you hear me? We need that.