a friend of mine (who is a nurse) posted this a few minutes ago. i really wish conservative legislators would get their heads out of their asses and realize that sex ed is important (not abstinence only or abstinence plus—wtf?). Full on sex ed, including what consent means and what it doesn’t mean. Our kids are going to have sex anyway. Obviously. But maybe then all girls with vaginas will know the difference between their urethra and vagina and not be ashamed to know about those parts.
[submitted by idontreallylikecandy]
A jawfish nurses a clutch of his own eggs in the shallow waters of the Philippines near Coron Island. The male fish incubates around 400 eggs inside his mouth but has to open it slightly for the water to circulate and provide oxygen for the eggs. Breeding with jawfish works when a female lays her eggs in a male’s mouth and he fertilises and incubates them.He will hide the eggs in a burrow while feeding on zooplankton as they float by.
Picture: Zafer Kizilkaya/Photoshot/Solent News (via Pictures of the day: 21 March 2014 - Telegraph)
The orchid mantis is a VERY popular critter these days, and rightly so. Native to southeast Asia, they are BEAUTIFUL examples of how intricately the forces of natural selection can operate on a genome. The reasoning behind such mimicry is pretty apparent, right? The mantis mimics an orchid flower and thus, has easy access to unsuspecting prey.
Not so fast…
Despite its popularity, there is not a lot of literature out there that has looked at the ecology of the orchid mantis. For starters, it is totally unknown as to what flower, if any, the mantis is mimicking. What little data exists shows that the orchid mantis is frequently found on the flowers of Straits rhododendron (Melastoma polyanthum). A study done in 2013 looked at whether or not the mantis’ disguise offers an attractive stimulus to potential prey. Indeed, there is some evidence for UV absorption as well as convincing bilateral symmetry that is very flower-like. They also exhibit the ability to change there color to some degree depending on their background.
The most interesting aspect of all of this is that the most convincing (and most popular) mimicking the orchid mantis displays is during the juvenile phase. Indeed, most pictures circulating around the web of these insects are those of immature mantises. The adults tend to look rather drab, with long, brownish wing covers. However, they still maintain some aspects of the juvenile traits.
The fact of the matter is, we still don’t know very much about this species. To date, no orchid has ever been identified as being the driving force behind this mimicry. It is speculated that the mimicry is both for protection and for hunting. It just goes to show you how easily popular misconceptions can spread. Until more studies are performed, the orchid mantis will remain a beautiful mystery.
Not a single one of the cells that compose you knows who you are, or cares.
Just a reminder that your whole is far greater than the sum of your parts.
At least we know and care who they are!
Top 5 misconceptions about evolution: A guide to demystify the foundation of modern biology.
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Here’s an updated version of the common misconceptions about evolution. I much prefer this one, on account of correctly spelling “descent” vs “decent” :)
Peripheral nerves of a mouse embryo
Unlike the brain and spinal cord that are housed in protective bone, peripheral nerves connect regions of the body to the central nervous system like telephone cables. Peripheral nerves relay movement information from the brain to the muscles, for example, or sensory information from the skin to the brain. Remarkably, and also different from the brain and spinal cord, peripheral nerves have a tremendous capacity to regenerate when injured. Severed peripheral nerves grow about 1 mm per day (about an inch per month) until the two severed ends reconnect and innervate a once paralyzed muscle.
Image by Zhong Hua, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
MRI scan of a human subject from the cranium to the feet.
I can’t be the only one that sees prosciutto, right?
I looked at this and thought about how the fat is marbled through the muscle, like this is a leg roast I’m looking at buying. The stomach-to-thigh transition is the most interesting one as the image spirals and tapers to the knee.
3D printing with stem cells could lead to printable organs
A potentially breakthrough 3D-printing process using human stem cells could be the precursor to printing organs from a patient’s own cells.
Some day in the future, when you need a kidney transplant, you may get a 3D-printed organ created just for you. If scientists are able to achieve that milestone, they may look back fondly at a breakthrough printing process pioneered by researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland in collaboration with Roslin Cellab, a stem cell technology company.
The printer creates 3D spheroids using delicate embryonic cell cultures floating in a “bio ink” medium. They end up looking like little bubbles. Each droplet can contain as few as five stem cells. Basically, this comes down to the printer “ink” being stem cells rather than plastic or another material.
Dr. Will Shu is part of the research team working on the project. “In the longer term, we envisage the technology being further developed to create viable 3D organs for medical implantation from a patient’s own cells, eliminating the need for organ donation, immune suppression, and the problem of transplant rejection,” Shu said in a release from Heriot-Watt.
Perhaps most importantly, the stem cells survived the printing process and remained viable. Shu says this is the first time human embryonic stem cells have been 3D printed. Printing out organs may be far down the line, but it’s just one potential application. The method could also be used to print out human tissue for drug testing.
The research results have just been published in Biofabrication under the title “Development of a valve-based cell printer for the formation of human embryonic stem cell spheroid aggregates.”
Hangover Mastery of the Day: Become a partying champion with this handy hangover how-to from AsapSCIENCE. There’s a lot of dubious drinking advice out there, so it’s good to have the straight-up, scientific dope all in one place.
This was a great addition to their mini-series on hydration and alcohol. watch all of them, it’s currently at three videos but I’m sure Mitch and Greg would love and be so encouraged by having a larger audience.
‘Brinicle’ Ice Finger of Death - BBC
As sea water freezes to form surface ice, the remaining brine sinks, being much denser and colder than the surrounding water. As it descends, the surrounding water freezes upon contact, creating a ‘brinicle’, a frozen sheath of ice that grows downward towards the sea floor. When it touches the sea floor, it kills anything it touches, encasing them in a tomb of ice.