28 fevereiro 2015

Moon Venus Mars Skyline

Taken on February 20, five different exposures made in rapid succession were used to created this tantalizing telephoto image. In combination, they reveal a wide range of brightness visible to the eye on that frigid evening, from the urban glow of the Quebec City skyline to the triple conjunction of Moon, Venus and Mars. Shortly after sunset the young Moon shows off its bright crescent next to brilliant Venus. Fainter Mars is near the top of the frame. Though details in the Moon's sunlit crescent are washed out, features on the dark, shadowed part of the lunar disk are remarkably clear. Still lacking city lights the lunar night is illuminated solely by earthshine, light reflected from the sunlit side of planet Earth.

from NASA http://ift.tt/1LU3clN

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Gene that makes human brain uniqueA strand of DNA that lies at...

Gene that makes human brain unique

A strand of DNA that lies at the heart of what makes humans unique in the animal kingdom has been identified by researchers in Germany.

Scientists in Dresden found a gene that drives the expansion of the human brain and helps to make it the most complex structure in the universe.

Researchers believe the gene plays a pivotal role in human cognition by ramping up dramatically the number of neurons in the neocortex, a brain region that is central to reasoning, language and sensory perception.

The gene is found in modern humans, but was also carried by neanderthals, who had brains at least as large as ours, and the mysterious Denisovans, a group of human ancestors known only from a few bone fragments in Siberia.

Wieland Huttner, director of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, who led the research, said the finding came from 25 years of work on the problem. “Our ultimate goal has always been to identify the changes in the genome that were responsible for us humans having larger brains than other primates,” he said.

The human brain has almost tripled in size over the past 7 million years into a 1,300cc organ containing 100bn neurons that consume a whopping fifth of our energy. The most rapid growth occurred in the past 2 million years. Homo erectus walked the Earth 1.8 million years ago with a brain size half that of a modern human’s.

“What we now have is a gene that is characteristic of a 1.3 litre to 1.4 litre brain, and that makes it very exciting,” Huttner said.

Tests on mouse embryos confirmed that the gene can have a profound impact on brain development. Embryos injected with the gene grew larger brain regions and some developed the crinkled brain surface that humans have. The folds allow more brain tissue to fit into the same sized skull.

Huttner’s group is now keen to breed mice that carry the gene into adulthood to see how their brains develop, and crucially to see whether any changes boost their intelligence, memory and learning skills.

“Will they learn better, or have better memories? That’s hard to say. But we should know that later this year,” Huttner told the Guardian. “We saw cortical folding in half of the mice. So the gene is sufficient to do that, but it won’t necessarily do it every time.” The scientists are investigating why the gene does not have the same effects every time.

The gene arose on the human lineage some time after our ancient ancestors and those of chimps split from the same evolutionary path more than 5 million years ago. Known as ARHGAP11B, the gene is a modified version of a far more common DNA strand that is found in organisms from simple yeast to mice.

Marta Florio, a neuroscientist at the Dresden lab, found that the gene was highly active in human brain stem cells that make neurons in the neocortex. Instead of the stem cells maturing and dividing into only two neurons, as happens in some animals, the gene makes the cells multiply and produce far more brain cells.

Florio, the first author of a report on the work in the journal Science, discovered a total of 56 genes that affect stem cells in the brains of primates, about a quarter of which are unique to humans. Some have not been identified before and could have their own major effects on human brain development.

“What is unique about humans is not going to come down to one gene only,” Florio said. “Cognition is a complex thing. We don’t think a single gene makes us smarter than other animals. What we can say is that this is probably a key part of what makes us human.”

But she does not think her lab will make super-intelligent mice any time soon. The ARHGAP11B gene seems to produce more brain cells in the neocortex, but that may not be enough to boost an animal’s intelligence on its own. More likely, Florio says, the brain needs other genes to make those neurons form functional networks in the brain. “You’d predict the mice would have more computational power, but the neurons have to form a network, and I’m sceptical that with one gene you will get that. It’s an exciting possibility, but we should be cautious about that happening.”

Image: Mouse cerebral cortex. Mouse embryos injected with the gene identified by scientist as key to human cognitive faculties grew larger brain regions and some developed the crinkled brain surface that humans have. Credit: Marta Florio and Wieland B. Huttner, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics


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Love this very topical cartoon by Gergely Dudás.Studying...

Love this very topical cartoon by Gergely Dudás.

Studying Psychology? GO HERE —> http://ift.tt/1eWNk1f for free psychology information & resources.

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Source for more facts follow NowYouKno

Source for more facts follow NowYouKno

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We investigated The Dress. This is what we found.

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Neurons that help predict what another individual will doEvery...

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Source for more facts follow NowYouKno

Source for more facts follow NowYouKno

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Astronaut Salutes Nimoy From Orbit

International Space Station astronaut Terry Virts (@AstroTerry) tweeted this image of a Vulcan hand salute from orbit as a tribute to actor Leonard Nimoy, who died on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Nimoy played science officer Mr. Spock in the Star Trek series that served as an inspiration to generations of scientists, engineers and sci-fi fans around the world. Cape Cod and Boston, Massachusetts, Nimoy's home town, are visible through the station window.

from NASA http://ift.tt/1Anq0nv

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(From CDC)

(From CDC)

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Why Did Dahomey Change Its Name?

Benin used to be named the Republic of Dahomey. That was its name in 1960, when the country gained independence from France. In 1972 there was a coup. The new government aligned itself with Marxist–Leninist ideals. In order to symbolize the revolutionary change, the regime renamed the country to Benin and changed the flag to a red five-pointed star on a green background. The flag didn’t stick, but the name has.

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February 28th 1953: Watson and Crick discover DNA structureOn...

Watson & Crick with their DNA model

Franklin's X-ray image of DNA

February 28th 1953: Watson and Crick discover DNA structure

On this day in 1953, scientists James D. Watson and Francis Crick discovered the chemical structure of DNA. They made the discovery of the double helix structure whilst building a cardboard model of the molecule in their laboratory at Cambridge University. Their model of DNA was based on an X-ray diffraction image taken by Rosalind Franklin and the fact that DNA bases are paired. They first announced their discovery to friends and it was not formally announced to the wider scientific community until April 25th. Watson, Crick and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries. The discovery was a groundbreaking moment for science, and lay the foundations for the research into DNA and the investigation of human genetics.

"We have found the secret of life."
- Francis Crick

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caraobrien:Resistance: The MovieAntibiotics were first...


Resistance: The Movie

Antibiotics were first massed-produced in the 1940s. Their ability to fight and kill bacteria revolutionized medicine and had profound effects on everything from agriculture to war. After less than 80 years, however, these miracle drugs are failing. Resistant infections kill hundreds of thousands of people around the world each year, and there are now dozens of so-called Superbugs each with its own challenges and costs. How did this happen? Using microscopic footage, harrowing personal stories, and expert insights RESISTANCE clarifies the problem of antibiotic resistance, how we got to this point, and what we can do to turn the tide.

Buy a copy here.

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FREE ON KINDLE TODAY!Classic Insights into Life and Human...


Classic Insights into Life and Human Behavior: (Timeless Psychology Book 2.) See following links.

http://ift.tt/1LV3hrf or http://ift.tt/1EyV5en

If you live outside the USA/UK just type the title or B00KPZJU3I into the Amazon search box.

If you like psychology, you’ll love this collection of classic insights from the golden age of the discipline when the doctrine of inquiry was quite simply, if it’s interesting; study it and then write about it.

In this volume you’ll learn about mind reading, Gestalt psychology, Sigmund Freud, the psychology of football, the power of music and the inspirational Helen Keller.

Written by people who shared an unquenchable curiosity to gain a deeper understanding of human behavior, the timeless psychology series is perfect for psychology enthusiasts looking for something thoroughly engaging to read and ponder.

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