And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour."
-William Blake, Auguries of Innocence
With deference to the genius of David Bowie, here’s Space Oddity, recorded on Station. A last glimpse of the World.
Huge thanks in the making of the video to the talented trio of Emm Gryner, Joe Corcoran and Andrew Tidby, plus Evan Hadfield and all at the CSA.
cellula e cellula was said by??
The phrase “Omnis cellula e cellula” is attributed to the Prussian scientist and founder of cellular pathology, Rudolf Virchow. Translated, it basically means, “All cells come from cells.”
I know everyone’s tired of Harlem Shake videos, but this C. elegans one is like the model system of Harlem Shake vids.
Also, if you haven’t tried it, go to YouTube.com, type in “do the harlem shake” in the search bar, press enter and wait.
Best Harlem Shake video ever.
The Flow (annotated) | MRK
Researchers explain the goals and structure of a new brain-mapping project
A proposed effort to map brain activity on a large scale, expected to be announced by the White House later this month, could help neuroscientists understand the origins of cognition, perception, and other phenomena. These brain activities haven’t been well understood to date, in part because they arise from the interaction of large sets of neurons whose coördinated efforts scientists cannot currently track.
“There are all kinds of remarkable tools to study the microscopic world of individual cells,” says John Donoghue, a neuroscientist at Brown and a participant in the project. “And on the macroscopic end, we have tools like MRI and EEG that tell us about the function of the brain and its structure, but at a low resolution. There is a gap in the middle. We need to record many, many neurons exactly as they operate with temporal precision and in large areas,” he says.
An article published Thursday in Science online expands the project’s already ambitious goals beyond just recording the activity of all individual neurons in a brain circuit simultaneously. Researchers should also find ways to manipulate the neurons within those circuits and understand circuit function through new methods of data analysis and modeling, the authors write.
Understanding how neurons communicate with one another across large regions of the brain will be critical to understanding how the brain works, according to participants in the project. Other efforts to map out the physical connections in the brain are already under way (see “TR10: Connectomics” and “Mapping the Brain on a Massive Scale”), but these projects look at static brains or can only get a rough view of how regions of the brain communicate. The new project will probably start applying its novel and yet unknown technologies on simpler brains, such as those of flies, and will probably take decades to achieve its goals.
Numerous leaders from the fields of neuroscience, nanotechnology, and synthetic biology are expected to collaborate on the effort. “We need something large scale to try to build tools for the future,” says Rafael Yuste, a neurobiologist at Columbia University and a member of the project. “We view ourselves as tool builders. I think we could provide to the scientific community the methods that could be used for the next stage in neuroscience.”
In addition to deepening fundamental understanding of the brain, the project may also lead to new treatments for psychiatric and neurological disorders. “If we truly understand how things like thoughts, cognition, and other features of the brain emerge, then we should have a better understanding of mood disorders, Parkinson’s, epilepsy and other conditions that are thought to arise from brain-wide circuitry problems,” says Donoghue.
Details about which technology ideas will be given the green light and how much money will support their development are expected to be revealed in the White House announcement that is still to come. The project is likely to be supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and private foundations, participants say. It’s not yet clear how much money will be needed or which technologies will be given priority.
Whichever particular technologies emerge, nanotechnology is likely to be involved, in part because of the need for smaller and faster sensors to record neuronal activity across the brain. Existing sensors can record the electrical activity of neurons, but these chips can typically monitor fewer than 100 neurons at a time and can’t record activity from neighboring neurons, which would be necessary to understand how neurons interact with one another. Paul Weiss, director of the California NanoSystems Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, a participant in the project, says that nanofabrication techniques could address this problem, with smaller chips bearing smaller electrical and even chemical probes. “We’ve had over a decade a fairly substantial investment in science and technology to develop the capability … to control how what we make interacts with the chemical, physical, and biological worlds,” he says.
Novel optical techniques could also aid the mapping project. Currently, many research groups use calcium-sensitive fluorescent dyes to study neuron firing, but Yuste wants to develop an optical technique that uses voltage-sensitive fluorescent dyes for a faster readout. “Neurons communicate using voltage,” he says. “We would like to develop voltage imaging so we will be able to measure neuronal activity directly.”
While many things about the project are uncertain, one thing is clear—there is going to be a lot of data to store, share, and analyze. “We have just begun to scratch the surface of how you deal with data in high-dimensional spaces,” says Terry Sejnowski, a computational neuroscientist at the Salk Institute. “If you are talking about one million neurons, no one can even imagine what that looks like–it is way beyond what we can perceive in three dimensions.”
The Science article also sketches out a rough time line. Within five years, it should be possible to monitor tens of thousands of neurons; in 15 years, one million neurons should be possible. A fly’s brain has about 100,000 neurons, a mouse’s about 75 million, and a human’s about 85 billion. “With one million neurons, scientists will be able to evaluate the function of the entire brain of the zebrafish or several areas from the cerebral cortex of the mouse,” the authors write.
Watch the full video: Blossoming into Science with actress Mayim Bialik
I love her so much awh
Director William Samuel and London-based studio Territory made this beautifully illustrated explainer of DNA for BBC Knowledge and Learning. Read more about their inspiration (hint!) and the BBC’s forthcoming site here.
What Is Light? Young’s Double Slit Experiment
Light is so common that we rarely think about what it really is. But just over two hundred years ago, a groundbreaking experiment answered the question that had occupied physicists for centuries. Is light made up of waves or particles?
The experiment was conducted by Thomas Young and is known as Young’s Double Slit Experiment. This famous experiment is actually a simplification of a series of experiments on light conducted by Young. In a completely darkened room, Young allowed a thin beam of sunlight to pass through an aperture on his window and onto two narrow, closely spaced openings (the double slit). This sunlight then cast a shadow onto the wall behind the apparatus. Young found that the light diffracted as it passed through the slits, and then interfered with itself, created a series of light and dark spots. Since the sunlight consists of all colours of the rainbow, these colours were also visible in the projected spots. Young concluded that light consist of waves and not particles since only waves were known to diffract and interfere in exactly the manner that light did in his experiment.
The way I have always seen this experiment performed is with a laser and a manufactured double slit but since the experiment was conducted in 1801 I have always thought that it should be possible to recreate the experiment using sunlight and household materials. That is basically what I did here. I will show the interference pattern I observed with my homemade double slit on 2Veritasium but I chose to use a manufactured double slit here to ensure that the pattern was impressive for observers at the beach.
Special thanks to Henry, Brady, and Rupert for their cameos, Glen for filming and Josh for helping create the apparatus. Thanks also to the Royal Society for allowing us to view the original manuscript of Young’s lecture and the University of Sydney for lending the double slits.
Music by Kevin Mcleod (incompetech.com) Danse Macabre, Scissors
Reading Michael Ruse’s “Pro Judice” for my philosophy of science course, which starts off, “As always, my friend Larry Laudan writes in an entertaining and provocative manner, but, in his complaint against Judge William Overton’s ruling in McLean v. Arkansas, Laudan is hopelessly wide of the mark.”
It’s five pages long. Stuff’s about to go down. Friendships are about to be tested.
A new study has shown that bee venom can kill the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have demonstrated that a toxin called melittin found in bee venom can destroy HIV by poking holes in the envelope surrounding the virus, according to a news release sent out by Washington University.
Nanoparticles smaller than HIV were infused with the bee venom toxin, explains U.S. News & World Report. A “protective bumper” was added to the nanoparticle’s surface, allowing it to bounce off normal cells and leave them intact. Normal cells are larger than HIV, so the nanoparticles target HIV, which is so small it fits between the bumpers.
“Melittin on the nanoparticles fuses with the viral envelope,” said research instructor Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, via the news release. “The melittin forms little pore-like attack complexes and ruptures the envelope, stripping it off the virus.” Adding, “We are attacking an inherent physical property of HIV. Theoretically, there isn’t any way for the virus to adapt to that. The virus has to have a protective coat, a double-layered membrane that covers the virus.”
This revelation can lead to the development of a vaginal gel to prevent the spread of HIV and, it seems, an intravenous treatment to help those already infected. “Our hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people could use this gel as a preventive measure to stop the initial infection,” said Hood.
The bee venom HIV study was published on Thursday in the journal Antiviral Therapy, according to U.S. News & World Report.
This study comes on the heels of news that a Mississippi baby with HIV has apparently been cured. The mother was diagnosed with HIV during labor and the baby received a three-drug treatment just 30 hours after birth, before tests confirmed the infant was infected. The child, now 2 years old, has been off medication for about a year and shows no sign of infection.
More than 34 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, according to amFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. Of these, 3.3 million are under the age of 15 years old. Each day, almost 7,000 people contract HIV around the globe.
The surprisingly beautiful process of extracting bismuth from Pepto-Bismol, by Melanie Hoff.
» First Documented Case of Child Cured of HIV
Scanning electron micrograph of HIV particles infecting a human T cell. (Credit: NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)
Mar. 3, 2013 — Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins University today described the first documented case of a child being cured of HIV. The landmark findings were announced at the 2013 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta, GA.
Dr. Persaud, an amfAR grantee, detailed the case of a two-year-old child in Mississippi diagnosed with HIV at birth and immediately put on antiretroviral therapy. At 18 months, the child ceased taking antiretrovirals and was lost to follow-up. When brought back into care at 23 months, despite being off treatment for five months, the child was found to have an undetectable viral load. A battery of subsequent highly sensitive tests confirmed the absence of HIV.
Confirmation of the cure was made possible by a grant the Foundation awarded to Dr. Persaud and Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga of the University of Massachusetts in September 2012. The grant allowed Drs. Persaud and Luzuriaga to establish a research collaboratory to explore and document possible pediatric HIV cure cases. The collaboratory includes renowned researchers Drs. Stephen Spector and Doug Richman at the University of California, San Diego; Dr. Frank Maldarelli at the National Cancer Institute; and Dr. Tae-Wook Chun at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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