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FoldIt to Heinlein

It’s always cool to find some science articles, so I’m going to start of a bit strong with it today. First off,  some researchers over at the University of Washington have used video games to start  FoldIt, which is a game where users can guess how the protein will fold. Now, anyone who knows about the structure of protein knows how difficult it is to determine it (if you don’t, here’s the Science article for FoldIt that can help you understand it a bit better). Using crowd-sourcing to figure out some of the things of the universe is not a new idea of course ( Seti@home comes to mind), but the gaming angle brings other ideas to mind. If this game or another one like it could capture the same amount of users as say, Farmville, this could really help with research efforts in the future.

Alasdair Wilkins over at io9 posted a pretty interesting article on how our ticket to a longer life is not in the DNA in the cell nucleus, but in the mitochondria. I also read the abstract posted, and for some reason it set off certain flags in my mind. I conferred with a friend to help me figure things out, and to make things easier for those of you that don’t know much about cell or molecular biology, there’s a lot of other external factors that need to be addressed when it comes to DNA (Like how metabolism affects evolution in bats, for example).  While this take on aging  is a new and interesting one, I’m going to have to see some more research before we can start rubbing beetle juice on our faces.

While reading an article on James Franco he mentioned this poem, “The Clerks Tale“, by Spencer Reese. All you nine-to-fivers, give it a read, it’s a good one.

Top end it, I found one of my favorite quotes and decided to put it up. It’s from one of sci-fi’s greats, Robert Heinlein:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Cloning Neanderthals and other Science Links

I wanted to do a large one year anniversary post for this a couple of days ago, but honestly I have so much to do already that I don’t have time to fawn over that fact . It did remind me, however, that it has been a while since I’ve put up some stuff on science, so I’ve decided to put a little something down on this question: should we clone neanderthals? This article points out the way in which we can do it, and all the ethical implications of doing something like this.

On the cool side, German scientist have made a 3D invisibility cloak that covered a gold surface. This is a great proof of principle for how transformation optics can actually bend light around objects. what made me smirk was this little comment right here:

He added, however, that it would be many years before anything as large as a person, car or tank could be made to disappear with this technique

Leave it to a German to be thinking of invisible panzers.

Moving right along to another post-Axis nation, Japanese designers have made some cool elastic iron alloys. What’s really cool is that beyond its super-elasticity, the developers are trying to find ways of using it for stents for heart surgeries where the normal nickel titanium wire is too weak along with other uses.