Wishing all my SU friends and visitors a great
Wishing all my SU friends and visitors a great
This is the site of a company which grows and sells plants of native British origin – but there’s more to it than just ecommerce.
The site has a newly opened forum to support people who are interested in wildflowers. There’s not a lot of activity in it at the moment, though!
I’m not sure I’d buy through them, but the easy access to information about native British plants could well be of benefit to me.
Found via Real Oasis – an excellent garden-related blog.
Press release (more in-depth): http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-12/hhmi-slm122705.php
Invisibility cloaks and malaria
Plasmodium falciparum – Institut Pasteur
Not wearing invisibilty cloak in this pic 😉
The world’s deadliest malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, sneaks past the human immune system with the help of a wardrobe of invisibility cloaks. If a person’s immune cells learn to recognize one of the parasite’s many camouflage proteins, the surviving invaders can swap disguises and slip away again to cause more damage.
The latest study shows how the parasite can turn on one cloaking gene, and keep dozens of others silent until each is needed in turn. The key is a DNA sequence near the start of a cloaking gene, known as the gene’s promoter. This not only turns up production of its protein, but also keeps all other cloaking genes under wraps.
Many children do not survive malaria long enough to develop immunity. And without continuous exposure, hard-won immunity may disappear.
From the page: “Discovery of European Marsupial Further Proof of Land Bridge Between Continents During Dinosaur Age”
Review to follow – nice bit of paleontology!
Unified physics theory explains animals’ running, flying and swimming
Eadweard Muybridge – Animal Locomotion #617, 1887
A single unifying physics theory can essentially describe how animals of every ilk, from flying insects to fish, get around. This is the so-called “constructal law” – which arises from the basic principle that flow systems evolve so as to minimize imperfections — energy wasted to friction or other forms of resistance — such that the least amount of useful energy is lost.
Researchers found that animal locomotion is no different than other movements, or flows, animate and inanimate: they all develop in space and in time such that they optimize the flow of material. In the case of animal locomotion, this means that animals move such that they travel the greatest distance while expending the least amount of energy.
The researchers say their findings have important implications for understanding factors that guide evolution by suggesting that many important functional characteristics of animal shape and locomotion are predictable from physics.
Original research publication: http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0040029 (rather heavy going, but pretty pics!)
Functional Plasticity in Living Adult Mouse Brain
Researchers from MIT have dispelled a commonly held belief that adult brain cells don’t grow, when they discovered remodelling of dendritic branch tips in the visual cortex in living mature mice.
Go here for a fuller description, plus video views of neurones in living mouse brains.
Scientists have previously tended to focus on trying to regenerate the long axons, such as those damaged in spinal cord injuries — the new finding suggests a different part of the cell should be targeted: the dendrite. “Dendrite,” from the Greek word for tree, is a branched projection of a nerve cell that conducts electrical stimulation to the cell body.
The discovery might have future clinical implications…
Phoebe can’t get enough snow!
Phoebe loves snow. When I let her out this morning she tore round the
garden like a mad thing for ages, stopping every so often to roll in it.
I was looking through some old family photos and found this. My dad made this snowwoman
in the early 1960s – and claims it is the only creative thing he’s ever done.
The willow in the background is the tree we hung our swings from – it’s no longer there,
but my dad still lives in the same house, where he was born.
Scientists find ‘mass dodo grave’
Partially reconstructed dodo
The “beautifully preserved” bones of about 20 dodos have been discovered at a dig site in Mauritius. No complete skeleton has ever been found in Mauritius, until now, and the last full set of bones was destroyed in a fire at a museum in Oxford, England, in 1755.
DNA self-assembly used to mass-produce patterned nanostructures
Scientists have used the self-assembling properties of DNA to mass-produce nanometre-scale structures in the shape of a 4×4 grids, on which patterns of molecules can be specified. They said the achievement represents a step toward mass-producing electronic or optical circuits at a scale 10 times smaller than the smallest circuits now being manufactured.
To demonstrate their ability to mass-produce grids with infinitesimal patterns, the scientists created batches of trillions of separate grids with the letters “D,” “N” and “A” written with a protein that can be seen through atomic force microscopy: