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Showing posts with the label Coffee Table Science

Elephants- Nature's masterpiece

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Apart from being big memory hoarders, elephants display a whole lot of emotion, we are just starting to understand. These gentle giants are known to have big brains as well as big hearts (metaphorically as well). This fun TED-Ed to remind us how magnificent the elephant truly is.


Cloak of Invisibility very much a possibility!

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Meteor in Russia, why should I care?

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The meteor that slammed near the Ural mountains in Russia on Friday, 15th February, sent waves that not only broke some glass windows in the neighboring area but also shook news agencies that flashed amateur footage for the next day or two. Here's a an amateur footage if you missed it.

While astronomers and star gazers were busy waiting  for 2012 DA14 's, a near-Earth Asteroid, fly-by our planet, the 'Russian meteor'  as it is called now, moved in swiftly into our atmosphere and made its presence felt , before hitting a frozen lake in the Chelabinysk area. So, what difference does it make to our lives, if a two-meter wide rock falls from the sky?
Broadly speaking, the Russian meteor incident raises three questions:
First,  of New Life!
According to theory of Panspermia, life originated elsewhere (in the solar system or outer space ) and came to the Earth via meteroids and developed here. Analyses and experiments have shown that bacteria can survive forces to the order …

Strange laws of attraction in birds!!!

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Cell: “I’m not ruled by my genes”

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One often comes across the phrase “It’s in my genes” in our day-to-day life. Less than a century after their discovery, the words 'DNA' and 'genes' are commonly used by all and are also a common topic of speculation in the academic as well as the non-academic world. Some scientists believe that "the living body/cell is just a mere vehicle produced and used by the genome to carry on information ahead in time generation after generation”.
Readers with a biology background are aware of the “Central Dogma of Molecular Biology”; for others let me just brief it. It proposes that DNA in genes produces RNA which in turn produces proteins that give a phenotype to  an individual. It also states that the transfer of information is unidirectional  (DNA to cell ) and not the other way round. This is considered to be the basis of molecular biology.
I would like to discuss a few implications of crediting DNA /genes with life in a cell.
Is Inheritance a property of just the DNA?
It i…

Optical Illusion - different shades of grey!

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This is quite interesting! What do you think ??


Allergies and The Hygiene Hypothesis

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Have you ever gone to a kid’s birthday party and every time someone got up for the food table the host would go on with a list of what could be probable allergens in the dish? With kids today being allergic to perpetually everything (except junk food), throwing a birthday party may be the worst nightmare for any host! But all jokes apart, anyone would have noticed that the list of allergies seems to be getting more and more bizarre.
Our connection with microbes
Our tiff with the microbial world kick starts quite early in our neonatal life. When the fetus is growing inside its mother’s womb, it is protected from this microbial world. After it is born, it gets introduced into a different environment- one abundant in microbes. These microbes rapidly colonize the gut and respiratory tract, to the extent that at the cellular level they exceed human cells by ten times! But these microbes are actually beneficial to the human body. They provide a constant stimulus for the development and matu…

Solar ship! The answer to our fuel woes!

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Flying has always been a human dream. Whether it be the Wright brothers in the past or the low-cost airlines in the present, all have worked towards making this dream come true. Luxuries of modern day flights are an added reason to take the aerial route to your destination.  However, the rising demand for fuel and shrinking supplies have taken away the 'low cost' from airlines. Increasing prices of flying not only affects flight enthusiasts but also affects activities such as large scale farming and emergency services such as air ambulances. Adapting a newer energy source will soon be a necessity in the future, but are we future ready? Well, the Solar ship is. 
We often look for ways to make our day-to-day lives more eco-friendly but Canada based Solar Ship has taken 'going green' to an all new level. Inspired by the Zeppelin's of the late 1800s, Solar Ship is developing aircraft that are powered by sunlight. Yes, sunlight powers the movement of these crafts that ca…

The amazing underwater!

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This is a must watch! Truly breathtaking....



No more monkeying!

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Optogenetics is a method of probing neural circuits with the help of a combination of genetics and optics. In this method light-sensitive genes from microbial organisms are used along with light in order to receive a response from neurons. This is a very amusing method which is proving to be very helpful and a recent study has added a whole new dimension to this method of altering neural activities.
The study used optogenetics and showed that the behaviour of monkeys can be altered using pulses of blue light which is known to activate specific brain cells. This result has provided the inspiration to develop a similar therapy for human beings. Previously this type of study was done on rodents and invertebrates but the result derived from the reaction in the brain of monkeys proved more helpful. The validation of the result was done with the use of an MRI and tests focussing on neurons responsible for specific eye movements. Both brain activity and subtle alteration in the eye movements …

How safe is your fridge bottle?

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Music and the Brain

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Children at N.Y. Zoo (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)
If you thought music was just a means of entertainment, you are in for a surprise. Recent studies show that there is in fact a lot to music than what meets the “ear”.
In recent years many acoustic experts and researchers have carried out experiments to show a correlation between brain function, cognition and music. One such experiment studied and compared the brain responses and sound recognition of pre-school children who were being trained in music to those who were not. It was observed that children who received musical training not only had better sound recognition but their auditory cortex appeared modified in comparison to the other group. The children also demonstrated enhancement in memory and attention level in comparison to the non-musical group.
Musical training is also observed to have a remarkable impact on children suffering from dyslexia. Training in music is believed to act …

Eat spinach and keep Cancer at bay!

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Yes you heard it right, scientist believe that eating spinach can actually reduce the risk of getting colon tumours from 58% to 32%.
For all those from the old school of genetics may say that this may not be true, as variations at the genetic level can actually make a person prone to cancer, and offset the occurrence of it as well. But the world of oncogenetics just got more complicated. Scientists believe that though this may be true, there are other factors involved in the development of cancer and tumours. There has been, over the recent years, a keen interest in the role of epigenetics (factors out of genetics), such as diet, environmental toxins, lifestyle etc. which may be playing a role in diseases.
One such key epigenetic factor, which has baffled scientists are micro RNA. No one till date has put a finger on what role these tiny fragments of RNA have, except for expressing and silencing genetic codes. The best part, they do so without manipulating them genetically.  So hence th…