Archive for June 7th, 2012
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have for the first time transformed skin cells — with a single genetic factor — into cells that develop on their own into an interconnected, functional network of brain cells. The research offers new hope in the fight against many neurological conditions because scientists expect that such a transformation — or reprogramming — of cells may lead to better models for testing drugs for devastating neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.
[Last month] scientists from Yale University and the University of Colorado at Boulder released an online demonstration version of a new global Map of Life. The map depicts the locations of over 25,000 different species. The scientists are currently seeking feedback on how best to improve people’s experience of using the map and on what new features would be the most valuable to add to the map in the future.
Even gravitational monsters can get the heave-ho. Two mysterious bright spots in a disheveled, distant galaxy suggest that astronomers have found the best evidence yet for a supermassive black hole being shoved out of its home.
If confirmed, the finding would verify Einstein's theory of general relativity in a region of intense gravity not previously tested. The results would also suggest that some giant black holes roam the universe as invisible free floaters, flung from the galaxies in which they coalesced. Although loner black holes may be an entity that has to be reckoned with, they would still be rare, notes theorist Laura Blecha of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The 2.3% medical device tax, unless it's repealed, could stifle innovation and cause the U.S. to lose its competitive edge in the global medtech industry, write Reps. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., and Jason Altmire, D-Pa., who are leading an effort to stop the levy. A bill that would roll back the tax has 239 co-sponsors and is slated for a House vote this week, they write.
Astronomers have found the faintest galaxy [green spot near the center of image above] yet seen in the deep, distant reaches of space, an object whose light has taken 13 billion years to reach us.
The tiny galaxy, which existed about 800 million years after the Big Bang created the universe, is among the top 10 most distant objects known.
With forests and fish stocks declining, water demand rising and lack of action on climate change, humanity's path is anything but sustainable, the UN warns … scientists warns that life on Earth may be on the way to an irreversible "tipping point.”