Incredible winners of "Small World" microscope photography competition


This is the eye of a honey bee peppered with dandelion pollen, magnified at 120x.

The image, by Ralph Grimm, won Nikon's Small World 2015 Photomicrography Competition.

“In a way I feel as though this gives us a glimpse of the world through the eye of a bee,” says Grimm. “It’s a subject of great sculptural beauty, but also a warning- that we should stay connected to our planet, listen to the little creatures like bees, and find a way to protect the earth that we all call home.”

Below, the second, third, fourth, and fifth place winners.

Kristen Earle, Gabriel Billings, KC Huang & Justin Sonnenburg's "Mouse colon colonized with human microbiota (63x):"

Dr. Igor Siwanowicz's "Intake of a humped bladderwort (Utricularia gibba), a freshwater carnivorous plant (100x):"

Daniel H. Miller & Ethan S. Sokol's "Lab-grown human mammary gland organoid (100x):"

Dr. Giorgio Seano & Dr. Rakesh J. Jain's "Live imaging of perfused vasculature in a mouse brain with glioblastoma:"

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Sit down already: standing desks aren't healthier than seated ones


For half a decade, studies have been demonstrating a link between sitting and dying, prompting many of us (including me) to try out standing desks. Read the rest

If you can see the baby in this photo you may be more prone to hallucinations or psychosis


Can you spot the baby in this image? Researchers at the Universities of Cardiff and Cambridge found that volunteers who showed early signs of psychosis were much better at recognizing the baby than a group of people who did not have psychosis.

Can't see the baby? Good for you! See the original photo.


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Watch these busy beetles devour delicious flesh


UC Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology employ a colony of flesh-eating beetles to clean the meat off the bones of animals whose bones they want to preserve for posterity. (KQED's Deep Look)

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Laser shines through fly's skin, controls its heart by activating doped cells


Eliza writes, "A researcher from Lehigh University has invented a light-based pacemaker for fruit flies, and says a human version is 'not impossible.' The pacemaker relies on the new technique of 'optogenetics,' in which light-sensitive proteins are inserted into certain cells, allowing those cells to be activated by pulses of light. Here, the proteins were inserted into cardiac cells so the researchers could trigger the contractions that produce heartbeats." Read the rest

Citizen journalists vs San Francisco's hydrophobic pee-reflecting paint


San Francisco recently doubled the number of walls it was coating with hydrophobic paint, which is supposed to deter wall-pissing by making the urine spray back all over the pee-er. Read the rest

'Dracula fish' and snub-nosed monkeys among 200+ new species discovered in Himalayas

Bompu litter frog,  newly discovered in India. [Sanjay Sondhi]

“A sneezing monkey, a walking fish and a jewel-like snake are just some of a biological treasure trove of over 200 new species discovered in the Eastern Himalayas in recent years,” reports the World Wildlife Foundation today.

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Nobel Prize in Chemistry honors DNA research that could lead to new cancer treatments

Professors Sara Snogerup Linse, Goran K. Hansson and Claes Gustafsson, members of the Nobel Assembly, reveal the 2015 winners at the Royal Swedish Academy in Stockholm.  [Reuters]

Three scientists won the world's top science prize today, for their "mechanistic studies of DNA repair." Their work mapped how cells repair deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) to prevent damaging errors from appearing in genetic information.

Tomas Lindahl, Paul L. Modrich and Aziz Sancar today received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “having mapped and explained how the cell repairs its DNA and safeguards its genetic information,” the New York Times reports.

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Big Data's religious faith denies the reality of failed promises, privacy Chernobyls


Maciej Ceglowski (previously) spoke to a O'Reilly's Strata Big Data conference this month about the toxicity of data -- the fact that data collected is likely to leak, and that data-leaks resemble nuclear leaks in that even the "dilute" data (metadata or lightly contaminated boiler suits and tools) are still deadly when enough of them leak out (I've been using this metaphor since 2008). Read the rest

Algorithmic guilt: defendants must be able to inspect source code in forensic devices


Some day, you may be the defendant in a criminal trial that turns on whether the software in a forensic device reached a reliable conclusion about a DNA test or other piece of evidence. Wouldn't you like to have your own experts check the source code on that device? Read the rest

How pee brought us the modern world


Urine is golden so it must have some link to gold, thought medieval alchemists seeking to devise methods to transmute base metal into gold.

Not quite, but they did discover that pee is rich with the miraculous bearer of light, aka phosphorus. (American Chemical Society)

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Genocide, not genes: indigenous peoples' genetic alcoholism is a racist myth


I've heard -- and repeated -- the theory that addiction rates among indigenous people in the Americas was caused by genetics -- specifically, that "new world" populations hadn't gone through the European plague years' genetic bottleneck that killed everyone who couldn't survive on alcoholic beverages (these having been boiled during their production and thus less likely to carry infectious diseases). Read the rest

PocketLab: a $100 scientific "Swiss Army knife"


The PocketLab is billed as a "Swiss Army Knife of science." Launched via Kickstarter, the small device contains numerous sensors to measure acceleration, force, angular velocity, magnetic field, pressure, altitude, and temperature and send that data to smartphones or laptops. According to inventor Clifton Roozeboom, it's a tool for students and citizen scientists who can't afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars on lab equipment and will get the data they need from this $100 gadget. From IEEE Spectrum:

“If you are doing a classic experiment in AP physics, you might have, say, a track and a pulley and you want to attach a sensor to a cart to measure acceleration, force, and momentum transfer,” says Roozeboom. “The typical gear available is wired, plugs into a specialized handheld gadget with a host of menus to navigate. The students spend a lot of time understanding how to use the gear instead of learning concepts.” In other traditional physics experiments, Roozeboom says, the device can be attached to a rocket to study projectile motion, stuck to a pendulum to look at harmonic motion, or placed inside a tube to measure changes in pressure with volume.

Video demo: Read the rest

Podcast: the only way to get evidence-based policy is to embrace ambiguity in science


In the 2015 Sense About Science lecture (MP3), Tracey Brown discusses the worst casualty of politicization of science, from fluoride to climate change -- the truth. Read the rest

Want to clone your dog? That'll be $100,000

Ken (left) and Henry were created with DNA from  skin cell of another pet. [NPR]

A booming biotech business in South Korea has new customers in America, because everyone wants to clone their dog. Read the rest

Rush Limbaugh: water on Mars is a leftist conspiracy


Who needs the Onion? "Don't know how long it's going to take, but this news that there is flowing water on Mars is somehow going to find its way into a technique to advance the leftist agenda." Read the rest

Water on Mars, NASA reveals

Dark narrow streaks called recurring slope lineae emanate from the walls of Garni crater on Mars. [NASA]

NASA says these streaks are proof that water flows on Mars. NASA

Well, this is big. NASA today revealed that new findings from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide “the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars.” Read the rest

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