Thursday, 31 May 2012

Project finished

I declare this 5 month project finished!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Cannibal eats homeless man's face in Miami

Cyclists and passersby rode past oblivious to the horror of Rudy Eugene.

Eugene pounced on a homeless man and for over 18 minutes gnawed at his face, taking his eyes, lips and nose.

The victim has been identified as Ronald Poppo, a man who has lived on Miami's streets for the last three decades.

Poppo is in critical condition and the attack is thought to not be targeted, he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

After several 911 calls by bystanders, police arrived and ordered Eugene to back down.

He reportedly turned around and growled before returning to the attack.

Police shortly after gunned him down.

Before                                                                                                                                After

Reportedly over 75% of the Poppo's face is missing after being cannibalized.

Sgt. Armando said: "He had his face eaten down to his goatee. The forehead was just bone. No nose, no mouth".

'Bath Salts'

Containing mephedrone and and other amphetamine-like chemicals, they are known to induce a psychotic insanity.

Eugene suffered from cocaine psychosis, which builds up an intense heat internally leading to the need to strip off clothes in order to cool down.

The attack has been likened to that of a zombie attack with some relating it to scenes from 'The Walking Dead', a hit show on AMC.

A detailed toxicology report will take several weeks.

Piecing evidence

Police found that the night before Eugene partied wildly and may have taken drugs then.

Eugene's girlfriend said that he acted strangely the night before the attack.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Chemical extracted from seaweed may combat arthritis

The Hawaiian coral reefs are under invasion from these so called 'nuisance' seaweed.

Arthritis is the inflammation of one of more joints, usually in the hands.

After analysis, scientists found that the seaweed is a cyanobacterium.

Through the evolution progress of millions of years, these species have undergone a rigorous adaptation which has allowed them to evolve complex and numerous strategies for competition with similar species.

The species undergoes rapid growth under what is usually stressful condition.

The cyanobacteria organism has accelerated growth when exposed to UV, high solar radiation and high temperature.

Biologists took samples of the seaweed after observing it was dominating the ocean floor and bleaching the coral reef.

When they analysed it, it contained hanaucins, a natural potent anti-inflammatory.

Researchers say: "They could be used in the future to treat other chronic diseases from arthritis to cancer to heart trouble."

Friday, 25 May 2012

Exams are over!

Finally, after a lot of hard work, the dreadful exams are now finished, so week commencing on Monday, I'll be writing for you guys!

However from June 1st - 16th I will be in Africa so for half of June I'll be away and you'll have to wait that bit longer :)

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Exam time!

It is now exam season so there will not be many articles being posted.

I will try to get some out though when I have time, thanks and I'll see you all in a couple weeks!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Blonde hair evolved independently in Pacific islands

A new genetic line for blonde hair has been discovered among the Solomon islands and Fiji.

The locals have a striking unique characteristics- their hair.

People often thought that the gene was introduced by trading, locals thought it was due to the sun beating on their hair.

But in fact, it is a mutation independently.

Blonde hair is not believed to be due to a single incident, as it has been discovered that blonde hair evolved separately at at least two independent times.

One thing which startled researchers was that the blonde hair had only one shade.

You either had blonde hair, or you didn't. There was no streaks or variations.


Scientists tested 2 groups, one with blonde hair, the other with dark.

They found that they had different versions of a gene called TYRP1, involved in the color of hair.

One letter of the code coded for the color, switching C to T resulted in changing the color to blonde.

The gene is recessive, so both parents must have this gene.

This explains why this shade is distinct to the people from the islands as the population is low.

Some mutations will die out, some will stay, for example blonde hair.

This shows us that mutations happen anywhere, independent and can sometimes be isolated.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Scientists find oldest human blood

A bit about Otzi

Otzi the iceman lived roughly 5,300 years ago.

The mummy was found back in 1991 and is Europes oldest mummy.

Last Thursday scientists discovered what they believe to be the oldest traces of human blood ever seen.

Otzi was examined and found in a glacier and was discovered to have been felled by an arrow wound.

Professor Albert Zink said "So far, this is the clearest evidence of the oldest blood cells."

Over the last 2 decades scientists have probed Otzi's body for clues to his enviroment.

Scientists have examined his stomach, teeth and bowels.
A reconstruction of what he may have
looked like

Otzi has type-O blood and was roughly 45 when he died.

Doughnut cells

While examining Otzi, Zink said he found 'doughnut shaped' cells, much similar to today's red blood cells.

To confirm his results, Zink and his team used another method called the Raman spectroscopy method.

A laser beam illuminates a tissue sample and analysis of the spectrum of the dispersed light allows molecules to be identified.

The second experiment confirms Otzi's blood as the oldest documented human blood discovered.

Zink hopes his team can probe Otzi further for analysis on his enzymes, proteins and immune system also.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Dinosaurs passing wind may have induced climate change

Cows are known for their contribution to global warming- namely the large quantity of methane (90 million tonnes annually). But how about dinosaurs?

Sauropods were around about 150-160 million years ago.

Recognizable by their long necks and huge bodies, they were herbivores.

Some of them, particularly the Diplodocus (weighing up to 45 tonnes) , are the largest mammals to walk the earth.

Using a mathematical model structured from cows, they estimate that dinosaurs produced over 500 million tons of gas every year.

The key is in the vast number of microorganisms in the gut of the dinosaur.

These microorganisms ferment the plant in the dinosaur producing the potent methane gas.

Professor Graeme Ruxton, St Andrews University said the herbivores spent over 150 years exuding these gases.
Methane is a greenhouse gas, it absorbs radiation from the sun and traps it.

Compared to carbon dioxide, methane absorbs 20x more radiation.

The dinosaurs looks down at the industrial age, where roughly man produced about 180 million tonnes of gas annually.

The study suggests these gases were essential in maintaining the warm climate the dinosaurs lived in.

The calculations actually imply that the dinosaur population emitted more methane than we do currently in modern times on the whole.

The study was published in the journal Current Biology.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

10 Things you didn't know 5 minutes ago! (Part 9)

10. We are running out of helium

You may be thinking 'what on earth do we need helium for?'..

Helium is used in most technologies, from cooling down super magnets to producing LCD screens to keeping kids happy at fairs.

9. The universe is beige

Back in 2001, astronomers confirmed the universe as a kind of white brown.

Astronomers posted an article on it and asked for suggestions as what to call it, many people submitted ideas and 'Cosmic Latte' was chosen.

8. Nearly all commercial banana trees are clones

A perfect example of selective breeding, we all want the longest, curviest, tastiest bananas of them all (no pun intended).

But if a deadly virus emerges, it's sure to wipe out our favorite fruit.

7. You might be able to tell how aggressive someone is by the length of their finger

Finger length is linked to testosterone exposure in the womb.

The shorter the index finger is compared to the ring finger, the more rowdy the person may be.

6. Giant squids are cannibals during sex

Giant squids are known for their (obviously) giant size.

They can grow up to 25m in length, have eyes the size of your head and boasts a 1.5m penis.

But however they have a brain weighing 15g..

Giant squids have been found to have tentacles from their own species in the gut, suggesting cannibilsm.

This is because males must command their endowment with a tiny brain, and while plunging it into the females arms, they often miss and hit the beak. (ouch)

5. We blink 25 times a minute

Now I've said that, you're going to concentrate on how much you're blinking and it's going to annoy you.

4.  Spider silk varieties

There is not just one type of spider silk, there are thousands. Each species of spider has about 7 different varieties, each made by their own secret recipe of proteins.

Darwin's own

3. Spider silk strength

The strength of spider silk is comparable to high quality steel at the same thickness.

However the silk can suffer a lot more strain, able to stretch nearly 50% more than the original length. 

The strongest spider silk is 10x more durable than kevlar, and is produced by the Darwin's Bark spider.

2. Decaying meat smells worse than decaying vegetables

This is because back in prehistoric times we didn't know what was good, what was bad.

What smells disgusting to us is heaven to flies.

This is because decaying meat is more dangerous than vegetables and so our bodies have adapted to stay away

The way it does that is do make the smell absolutely reek.

1. It takes 2 and a half months for sperm to mature

Sentinels from the matrix!
Each sperm cell takes 2 and a half months to be ready for the big journey! (the long 175 millimetres).

Where do they stay you ask? There's a sperm nursery at the top of the testis called the epididymis where they are stored until they grow up.

Please share your comments below!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

There will be a post tomorrow!

Laptop is just being finished off now, should be up and running tomorrow, see you then!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Fear of not having enough to eat may lead to obesity

Obesity is becoming a growing concern over recent years, as youth obesity skyrockets, general population obesity is climbing also.

While too much food causes obesity, lack of it seems like it'll head that way too.

Low income families who struggle to put food on the table (often called food insecurity) often correlate with obesity.

Previous studies indicate the problem starts during infancy.

Researchers Dr Gross and her team assembled 201 mothers with toddlers from poorer background to undergo the study.

They asked them how often they regulate food, napping and various other activities.

Results showed that they fed their infants at irregular times.

When infants were hungry, they would receive no food.

When infants ate and became full, parents pressured them to eat even more resulting in obesity.

This is also seen by mothers who control their child's eating times, instead of the child being able to have food when they want.

"This work suggests that in addition to addressing hunger and malnutrition, it is critical that policy efforts be made to work with food-insecure families to prevent the opposite problem; obesity" Dr. Gross said.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012