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Showing posts with the label Science

Catching up with Science!

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There is a lot that is going around in the world and there is only so much time on our hands. Because we do so much of reading (you know, for obvious reasons) we are happy to bring to you the most interesting stories every month, published on other blog, news sites    and university website feeds.  Worms that have three sexes This is however, an earthworm! Now here’s a fun story that you can throw around in a group discussion to grab a few head turns. The worm in question is the Auanema rhodensis, a curious little (quite little) being that is found in the Connecticut and Virginia. Now three sexes in invertebrates are not uncommon, from earthworms to snails and even many fish are hermaphrodites. But what makes these A rhodensis so special is that they are self-fertilising   hermaphrodites, which is not heard of, at least till now. Diane Shakes professor of Biology at the College of William and Mary is one of the authors of the paper that speaks about these curious little s

Are introverts and extroverts different?

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My mother has often worried about the way I seem to enjoy my time. My definition of a good time is at home by myself doing whatever I want with some scrumptious food at my disposal. My mother is a creature from a different universe. She loves the world outside, she adores meeting new people, socialising and playing host whenever she possibly can. I cannot tell you the number of times this personality disparity has made me question the biological basis of our relation, but that is a topic for another time.   If it is not obvious to you by now, my mother and I are not exactly on the same spectrum of the personality scale, while she is a shiny, beamy extrovert who gets energised by the external world, I am the warm, silent introvert who passionately clings to quality me-time whenever I possibly can. While you wouldn’t want to get caught on one of our quality mother daughter time, this got me thinking about how deep this difference between extroverts and introverts really is.

Top 5 Extreme SEX in animals

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Leather whips, silk ribbons and fur straps, if you were under the impression that kinky was something exclusively human, think again, nature gets far more freaky than our conservative beds. When it comes to having wild sex, animals and insects take it to a whole new level.  From diving water beetles that catch the females, risk her life, just so that she copulates ; to mating plugs that literally means the male severs off his own genitals, sacrificing his life to secure paternity. Here is a look at some really cringe worthy wild sex stories, from the wild.   Cannibalism What is common between a praying mantis , Issei Sagawa , and the black widow spider? If sexual cannibalism was your vague guess, then you’re right. Sexual cannibalism is something of a normal phenomenon among the arachnid. And it is generally the male who gives his all (quite literally) to his mate. While many get cannibalized by the larger, more aggressive female, some like the Australian redback spider

Find your car in the parking space, with a little help from Science!

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Pressing a button on the key unlocks all of the car doors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) How often do we find ourselves in a situation where we are in the parking space with absolutely no idea about where the car was parked. The keyless entry systems that most cars are equipped with today, do make life a little easier but if you are really stuck in a place that is massively huge and the push button at your disposal is out of the range of your car's receiver. Well, if you watch this video, you will have a trick up your sleeve, the next time you are caught in a situation like this. The bottle of water you carry can be quite handy. If you have liked reading this post, why not follow our blog, using the Subscribe  on the screen  or following us on your favourite social media, whether it is  Facebook  or  Twitter  or  Google+ ) and resolving to read every post that we send your way. 

Coffee break in space [Coffee byte]

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Taking a coffee break is as human as going to the toilet. which is probably why NASA has put together some of the most brilliant scientist to crack the code on how to enjoy a Cup-A-Joe in outer space.

The science of Consumerism

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We live in a world where television, billboards, magazines and even toilets are hoarded with sales pitches trying to convince us that a particular brand of soup is what will rid us of our loneliness and make our lives happier. Every day we are bombarded with ideas and concepts to such an extent that we subconsciously start accepting them (almost like Inception). ‘Advertising’ is selling the viewer the idea that consumption (of a particular product) will lead to gratification. In fact, almost all advertisements tap into our insatiable appetite for prestige, power, happiness and status, making the idea quite seductive. Consumerism today has become a pastime, ideology and even a source of addiction.  In fact lots of economists and philosophers like to think of consumerism as the singular idea that has successfully taken over the world we live in today. People from all regions, religions and ages indulge in the idea that  - more is always better ! But really… is it? Over the

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?

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 de

Is Asafoetida the panacea we were looking for?

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Known as devil dung, stink gum etc. ferula, commonly known as 'hing' in Hindi, Asafoetida is a pungent smelling sap of an underground rhizome that grows primarily in Iran, Afghanistan, China and India. Famous in many cuisines as a flavour enhancer , asafoetida has long been an important ingredient in traditional remedies for combating trouble in the digestive tract, respiratory tract and even been used as a traditional contraceptive. Ferula asafoetida is also a popular home medicine for cough, cholera and chronic bronchitis. Because of its pungent odour and taste, it is many times used as a cure for hysteria as well. But like every traditional remedy , the medical value of Asafoetida is not taken very seriously. This trend of disregarding local medicines and home remedies can somewhere be related to the lack of having sufficient scientific backing . And like many home remedies, the trend of following it blindly through generations, doesn’t really help its cause i

Genes that come from No Where!

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Genetics has come a long way since the 1950’s. Although there has been progress made in unravelling the mysteries of our molecular heritage, we are constantly stumped by newer facts about our genetic code . And the one that leads the way is the mystery about Junk DNA. Genes, our molecular hereditary information, although bulky and cumbersome have a methodical way of working. Genes are transcribed into RNA which in turn are coded into protein, and these proteins finally get involved in the molecular build-up of our existence, thus making the genes where they come from, the foundation of it all. But not all of the gene or genetic material is really coded into protein. There is a major portion which is left out of this entire process and is not capable of coding for protein; this is called ‘ junk DNA ’. Interesting facts about ‘junk DNA’ have baffled the world of science, like the ‘junk DNA’ constitutes almost 95% of the human genome! For years the scientific world was