CAMBRIDGE, England, Dec. 25 (UPI) — For the first time in history, researchers have successfully used human embryonic stem cells to create primordial germ cells, which become sperm and egg cells. —> Read More Here
The MESSENGER spacecraft will soon run literally on fumes.
The rules by which gravity sculpts the cosmos are mirrored in the Japanese art of paper folding – we show you how to do it yourself (full text available to subscribers)
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite detected hundreds of fires burning in various countries in western Africa on December 23, 2014.
By Bridgett Novak
(Reuters Health) – Animal research practices at a National Institutes of Health (NIH) facility in Poolesville, Maryland are being challenged by four members of Congress, who have asked the NIH director to commission a bioethical review of experiments being conducted on monkeys at the lab.
For the past 30 years, the Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, which is run by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), has conducted maternal deprivation experiments on hundreds of infant macaques that are bred to carry different versions of genes known to be risk factors for mental illnesses in humans.
Starting soon after birth, the baby monkeys are reportedly subjected to fear, stress, and pain-inducing tests; half are separated from their mothers to assess the effects of maternal deprivation. —> Read More Here
Please watch this 7-minute documentary on the Cape Parrot Project produced for global distribution by German television. How can we imagine a world without magnificent creatures like South Africa’s Cape parrot? Are we doing enough to protect our natural heritage? What can each of us do to turn this around? Why are we in this situation?
A recent study by WWF determined that the population sizes of over 3500 vertebrate species—mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish—have declined by over 50% just in the last 40 years. Tragically and irreversibly, wildlife populations around the world have declined by more than half in less than two generations. Our daily lives are filled with the chaos of modern life and we do not have time or energy to even think about everything in the natural world that we are just about to lose. Everyday we see stories in the news about dehorned rhinos, more dead elephants, beached whales, canned lions, disappearing species, and collapsing ecosystems.
Life is hard and there are enough problems at work, in our family life, with relatives and friends, and almost everywhere we look. Most of us would starve to death if we refused to eat food that was not a —> Read More Here
Oops, we forgot to tell you there’s an end-of-year exam. QI elf James Harkin will test you on Neanderthals, raindrops on the sun, Agatha Christie and more
The tropical low pressure area previously known as System 95S organized and strengthened into Tropical Cyclone Kate on Dec. 24 and the Cocos Keeling Islands are expected to feel its effects on Dec. 25 and 26. NASA-NOAA’s Suomi-NPP satellite passed over Kate after it formed.
In May 2013, the mathematician Yitang Zhang launched what has proven to be a banner year and a half for the study of prime numbers, those numbers that aren’t divisible by any smaller number except 1. Zhang, of the University of New Hampshire, showed for the first time that even though primes get increasingly rare as you go further out along the number line, you will never stop finding pairs of primes that are a bounded distance apart — within 70 million, he proved. Dozens of mathematicians then put their heads together to improve on Zhang’s 70 million bound, bringing it down to 246 — within striking range of the celebrated twin primes conjecture, which posits that there are infinitely many pairs of primes that differ by only 2.
Now, mathematicians have made the first substantial progress in 76 years on the reverse question: How far apart can consecutive primes be? —> Read More Here
Each year people worldwide buy pre-cut, or cut down themselves, a Christmas tree. To the tune of about 33 million trees in the United States alone. Does all of this tree lopping hurt the environment? We sort through the stats to find an answer. —> Read More Here