06 September, 2012 – This Week in Science


Genome ENCODeD, Why Buy Organic, Tiger Graveyard Shift, Bird Funerals, TWIWRD, Ancient Life Signs, And Much More…

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Here on this Week in Science… Coming up next!!!

Genome ENCODEd
The genome has been encoded! Shortly after the human genome has been sequenced scientists started working tirelessly to figure out what all the elements of a genome code for. 30 papers have since been released, 6 of which appear in Nature. All suggest that around 80% of the genome are functional (code for proteins) as opposed to the 1.5% that we previously thought.

Organic for Health?
In a comprehensive comparison of hundreds of studies out of Stanford, California, it has come to light that organic food is not better for you. However, many organic vegetables and fruits are higher in phosphorus, and organic milk products are often higher in omega-3’s.

BLair’s Animal Corner
Tigers on the graveyard shift
Wild tigers in Chitwan national park have altered their activity schedule to work around the humans who share their habitats. The question is, will this new adaptation to human sprawl effect tigers or other species?

Bird Funerals
Scrub-jays may, in fact, mourn the dead. Recent research out of UC Davis proved that wild scrub-jays called out warnings to other jays when they spot a dead fellow. What’s more, they ceased foraging behavior for a day and gathered around the fallen comrade. Are they holding a bird funeral, or checking for threats to their own lives?

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World Robot Domination:
Fast Cheetah
The pentagon has recently funded research to create a robot that can sprint like a cheetah. It has no head, but the four legs can run at 28.3 miles per hour, and has been modeled after the fastest land mammal. The aim is to assist war fighters, or perhaps a really really fast robot soldier

Mind Controlled Leg
Researchers out of Long Beach, California, have created a prosthetic leg that can be controlled by a cap that detects the electrical impulses in your brain. Luke Skywalker’s robot hand, here we come!

Signs of Extremely Ancient Life
We have previously found fairly unequivocal evidence that life existed 2.7 billion years ago. Recent analysis of sulfur isotope ratios indicates life at 3.5 billion years ago, only very shortly after the earth was still molten lava… Life always finds a way!

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