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Katye Faulkner
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Via +Bill Carter :

Late for #sciencesunday - but well worth the repost. 

Also as +Rugger Ducky​ points out: "in the comments of the linked article she even tells you what to buy and how to do it."

http://www.microbeworld.org/component/jlibrary/?view=article&id=13867
 
A brief and beautiful bit of science via +Colossal: the bacteria on an 8-year-old's handprint. If you read through the comments at the original source (http://www.microbeworld.org/component/jlibrary/?view=article&id=13867), creator Tasha Sturm gives the details of the process she used to make this, in case you want to take and culture a handprint as a memory of your own children.

(It's not exactly something you would normally do at home, since it requires a temperature-controlled place for it to incubate and the result is a biohazard, but knowing my readers, there are probably several of you who are thinking "I could set that up with my jam-making supplies in ten minutes!" or something.)

It's worth remembering that most of these bacteria aren't particularly dangerous; our world, and our bodies, are chock-full of them. But when you let them grow up to macroscopic size, you can see all sorts of beautiful shapes within.
We all know our bodies are home to countless millions of bacteria and microorganisms, but without seeing them with our bare eyes it's almost impossible to comprehend. This petri dish handprint created by Tasha Sturm of Cabrillo College, vividly illustrates the variety of bacteria found on h
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Now we need a way to create a sealed and self sustaining mini biodome for them. ;)
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You're probably still recovering from the #GoT finale but this cool #interactive map might help! #data #dataviz
Alliances, schemes and murder in "Game of Thrones": Interactive chart mapping relationships between 116 men, wolves and dragons.
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The Dino-chicken project

copied from pg: I was watching a program on the Discovery Channel about how scientists were attempting to gain a better understanding of genetics by trying to reverse-engineer a chicken into something more dinosaur-like. One thing that the scientists on the show accomplished was to have embryonic chicks develop tails by repressing certain genes.

Could you better explain to me how they accomplished this?

Hello Daniel. What a great question. Doesn't the dino-chicken project sounds like a real-life version of Jurassic Park?! Actually, the main scientist behind the project, Jack Horner, served as the technical advisor for the Jurassic Park films. He is interested in how embryological development in chickens can help us understand dinosaur DNA. 

You see, chicken DNA contains remnants from their dinosaur ancestors. If scientists can control the expression of some genes, and basically silence chicken-specific development, they can essentially uncover the remnant ancestral dinosaur genes, and see what grows during this altered chicken development.

It?s almost like unlocking the secret dinosaur growth patterns within a chicken embryo. It?s strange to think that these ancient dinosaur traits are lurking silently in birds. Actually, birds have latent abilities to grow teeth, scales, hands and even tails with lots of vertebrae! And, if you look at a chicken embryo through even a fairly low magnification microscope, you can see that it goes through a stage of development when it has a dinosaur-like tail. In the normal course of chicken embryo development, something stops the growth of this tail, so that the chicken ends up with a stunted structure called the pygostyle instead. Over the course of evolution, from dinosaur days to modern day chicks, the growth and purpose of this hodgepodge of dinosaur tail bones was redirected. 

Nowadays, scientists can use molecular genetic techniques to ask which genes changed during this evolutionary time period, and eventually caused the tail to go away.

Essentially, scientists can turn back the evolutionary clock, through the specific study of the genetic switches that control development. So, here is a general overview of how you can do such an experiment with a chicken embryo, and what the molecular genetic manipulation techniques are. 

First of all, you need a chicken embryo.

This is basically just an undeveloped egg that you know has been fertilized. With these eggs, you can carefully remove part of the shell to create a window onto the embryo.

As long as you keep this window covered, and keep the egg under sterile conditions, the embryo will continue to grow normally. 

This window not only allows you to observe the embryo as it grows, but it also allows you to manipulate something, then continue to watch how the embryo changes or grows differently after your manipulation!

To experimentally turn genes on or off in a chicken embryo, you need to introduce something that will interact with the chicken embryo?s DNA. 

This is usually extra genetic material, such as a gene sequence that codes for a protein called a transcription factor.

When this extra genetic sequence is introduced into the chicken embryo, it will be read by the cells there and the transcription factor protein will be produced.

When a transcription factor changes the expression of certain genes during embryonic development, this can have a potent effect on the way an embryo is shaped. 

Scientists already know what some of those shape-controlling genes are (transcription factors or other regulatory genes), so they basically go after those first. They can either turn those genes on or off, which will indirectly control the expression of different sets of other genes. 

So how do you introduce extra genes into a chicken embryo? 

To do this, you have to do something called transfection.  

Transfection is when you introduce nucleic acids (extra DNA or RNA) that will disrupt expression of a certain gene. To perform transfection, scientists create transient holes in the cell membranes of the chick embryo, through which the genetic material can pass.

These holes can be created chemically, with calcium phosphate or cationic lipids, or electrically, by passing a small amount of electric current through the embryo.

When these holes open up, the genetic material can pass into some of the embryo?s cells and, with some luck, will become incorporated into the animal?s nucleus.

There, they will control the expression of the chicken embryo genes. 

Horner?s lab can use techniques like these to experiment with different on / off switches for gene expression.

Through trial and error, and watching how the embryo turns out after each transfection experiment, they can eventually figure out which genes control tail development. Ultimately, these types of experiments could have a broader impact than just telling us how chickens may have evolved from dinosaurs (though that?s pretty interesting in itself!).

The results could illuminate spinal cord development in general, and direct scientists to therapies that are relevant for human spinal cord injury.

To learn more about making windows on eggs for scientific experiments, check this out: http://www.jove.com/index/details.stp?ID=306 

The Larsson lab at McGill University is doing amazing research on this front: http://redpath-staff.mcgill.ca/larsson/home.htm.

For more on embryology, development, and evolution, see: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/Atavism-Embryology-Development-and-Evolution-843

For more on Jack Horner?s research, check out his book, How to Build a Dinosaur, or visit his lab website: http://www.montana.edu/wwwes/facstaff/horner.htm.

More info:

Dino-Chicken Gets One Step Closer
http://www.livescience.com/50886-scientific-progress-dino-chicken.html

"Talk of a "chickenosaurus" lit up the science world last week when researchers announced they had modified the beak of a chicken embryo to resemble the snout of its dinosaur ancestors. But although some experts have lauded the feat, a beak is just one of many modifications needed to revert a chicken into a dinosaur.

Given these obstacles, how close are scientists to creating a dino-chicken? ... "
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Believe It Or Not, Most Published Research Findings Are Probably False by Simon Oxenham

"The rise of the Internet has worked wonders for the public's access to science, but this has come with the side effect of a toxic combination of confirmation bias and Google, enabling us to easily find a study to support whatever it is that we already believe, without bothering to so much as look at research that might challenge our position — or the research that supports our position for that matter. ...

The claim that "most published research findings are false" is something you might reasonably expect to come out of the mouth of the most deluded kind of tin-foil-hat-wearing-conspiracy-theorist. Indeed, this is a statement oft-used by fans of pseudoscience who take the claim at face value, without applying the principles behind it to their own evidence. It is however, a concept that is actually increasingly well understood by scientists. It is the title of a paper written 10 years ago by the legendary Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis. The paper, which has become the most widely cited paper ever published in the journal PLoS Medicine, examined how issues currently ingrained in the scientific process combined with the way we currently interpret statistical significance, means that at present, most published findings are likely to be incorrect.

Richard Horton, the editor of The Lancet recently put it only slightly more mildly: "Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue." Horton agrees with Ioannidis' reasoning, blaming: "small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance." Horton laments: "Science has taken a turn towards darkness." 

Last year UCL pharmacologist and statistician David Colquhoun published a report in the Royal Society's Open Science in which he backed up Ioannidis' case: "If you use p=0.05 to suggest that you have made a discovery, you will be wrong at least 30 percent of the time." That's assuming "the most optimistic view possible" in which every experiment is perfectly designed, with perfectly random allocation, zero bias, no multiple comparisons and publication of all negative findings. Colquhorn concludes: "If, as is often the case, experiments are underpowered, you will be wrong most of the time."

The numbers above are theoretical, but are increasingly being backed up by hard evidence. The rate of findings that have later been found to be wrong or exaggerated has been found to be 30 percent for the top most widely cited randomized, controlled trials in the world's highest-quality medical journals. For non-randomized trials that number rises to an astonishing five out of six.

Over recent years Ioannidis' argument has received support from multiple fields. Three years ago, when drugs company Amgen tried to replicate the "landmark publications" in the field of cancer drug development for a report published in Nature, 47 out of 53 could not be replicated. When Bayer attempted a similar project on drug target studies, 65 percent of the studies could not be replicated.

The problem is being tackled head on in the field of psychology which was shaken by the Stapel affair in which one Dutch researcher fabricated data in over 50 fraudulent papers before being detected. The social sciences received another blow recently when Michael LaCour was accused of fabricating data; the case exposed how studies are routinely published without raw data ever being made available to reviewers.  ... "

Another resource: Why Most Published Research Findings Are False
http://statweb.stanford.edu/~tibs/sta306bfiles/ioan.pdf
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Katye Faulkner

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Liver cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to detect, but synthetic biologist Tal Danino had a left-field thought: What if we could create a probiotic, edible bacteria that was "programmed" to find liver tumors? His insight exploits something we're just beginning to understand about bacteria: their power of quorum sensing, or doing something together once they reach critical mass. Danino, a TED Fellow, explains how quorum sensing works — and how clever bacteria working together could someday change cancer treatment.
Liver cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to detect, but synthetic biologist Tal Danino had a left-field thought: What if we could create a probiotic, edible bacteria that was "programmed" to find liver tumors? His insight exploits something we're just beginning to understand about bacteria: their power of quorum sensing, or doing something together once they reach critical mass. Danino, a TED Fellow, explains how quorum sensing works — a...
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‘Irish slaves’: the convenient myth
LIAM HOGAN 14 January 2015

The conflation of indentured servitude with chattel slavery in the ‘Irish slaves’ narrative whitewashes history in the service of Irish nationalist and white supremacist causes. Its resurgence in the wake of Ferguson reflects many Americans’ denial of the entrenched racism still prevalent in their society.

link to article: https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/liam-hogan/%E2%80%98irish-slaves%E2%80%99-convenient-myth

copied from pg: It was with a heavy heart and no small amount of anger that I decided it was necessary to write a public refutation of the insidious myth that the Irish were once chattel slaves in the British colonies. The subject of this myth is not an issue in academic circles, for there is unanimous agreement, based on overwhelming evidence, that the Irish were never subjected to perpetual, hereditary slavery in the colonies, based on notions of ‘race’. Unfortunately this is not the case in the public domain and the ‘Irish slaves’ myth has been shared so frequently online that it has gone viral.

The tale of the Irish slaves is rooted in a false conflation of indentured servitude and chattel slavery. These are not the same. Indentured servitude was a form of bonded labour, whereby a migrant agreed to work for a set period of time (between two and seven years) and in return the cost of the voyage across the Atlantic was covered. Indentured servitude was a colonial innovation that enabled many to emigrate to the New World while providing a cheap and white labour force for planters and merchants to exploit. Those who completed their term of service were awarded ‘freedom dues’ and were free. The vast majority of labourers who agreed to this system did so voluntarily, but there were many who were forcibly transplanted from the British Isles to the colonies and sold into indentured service against their will. While these forced deportees would have included political prisoners and serious felons, it is believed that the majority came from the poor and vulnerable. This forced labour was in essence an extension of the English Poor Laws, e.g. in 1697 John Locke recommended the whipping of those who ‘refused to work’ and the herding of beggars into workhouses. Indeed this criminalisation of the poor continues into the 21st century. In any case, all bar the serious felons were freed once the term of their contract expired. 

“White indentured servitude was so very different from black slavery as to be from another galaxy of human experience,” as Donald Harman Akenson put it in If the Irish Ran the World: Montserrat, 1630-1730. How so? Chattel slavery was perpetual, a slave was only free once they they were no longer alive; it was hereditary, the children of slaves were the property of their owner; the status of chattel slave was designated by ‘race’, there was no escaping your bloodline; a chattel slave was treated like livestock, you could kill your slaves while applying “moderate correction” and the homicide law would not apply; the execution of ‘insolent’ slaves was encouraged in these slavocracies to deter insurrections and disobedience, and their owners were paid generous compensation for their ‘loss’; an indentured servant could appeal to a court of law if they were mistreated, a slave had no recourse for justice. And so on..

A dangerous myth

The prevalence and endurance of this myth is partly due to the fact that it is buttressed by two long-standing narratives. The first narrative comes from the arena of Irish nationalism, where the term 'slavery' is used to highlight the political, social and religious subjugation or persecution that the Irish have historically suffered. In this narrative, the term ‘Irish slaves’ refers specifically to those who were forced onto transport ships and sold into indentured servitude in the West Indies during the Cromwellian era. The 'innocent' usage of this phrase is, to a degree, understandable and its conflation with chattel slavery generally occurs due to a mixture of ignorance and confusion. More objectionable is the canon of pseudo-history books like O'Callaghan's To Hell or Barbados or Walsh and Jordan's White Cargo, which knowingly conflate indentured servitude and chattel slavery. The ‘Irish slaves’ myth is also a convenient focal point for nationalist histories as it obscures the critically underwritten story of how so many Irish people, whether Gaelic, Hiberno-Norman or Anglo-Irish, benefited from the Atlantic slave trade and other colonial exploits in multiple continents for hundreds of years.

The second narrative is of a more sinister nature. Found in the websites and forums of white supremacist conspiracy theorists, this insidiously claims that indentured servitude can be equated with chattel slavery. From Stormfront.org, a self-described online community of white nationalists, to David Icke’s February 2014 interview with Infowars.com, the narrative of the ‘White slaves’ is continuously promoted. The most influential book to claim that there was ‘white slavery’ in Colonial America was Michael Hoffman’s They Were White and They Were Slaves: The Untold History of the Enslavement of Whites in Early America. Self-published in 1993, Hoffman, a Holocaust denier, unsurprisingly blames the Atlantic slave trade on the Jews. By blurring the lines between the different forms of unfree labour, these white supremacists seek to conceal the incontestable fact that these slavocracies were controlled by—and operated for the benefit of—white Europeans. This narrative, which exists almost exclusively in the United States, is essentially a form of nativism and racism masquerading as conspiracy theory. Those that push this narrative have now adopted the ‘Irish slaves’ myth, and they use it as a rhetorical ‘attack dog’ which aims to shut down all debate about the legacy of black slavery in the United States.

In the wake of the Ferguson shooting, both of these narratives were conjoined in a particularly ugly fashion. Many social media users, including some Irish-Americans, invoked this mythology to chide African-Americans for protesting against the structural racism that exists in the United States (see a collection of tweets on ‘Irish slaves’, gathered by the author). Furthermore, they used these falsehoods to mock African-American calls for reparations for slavery, stating “my Irish ancestors were the first slaves in America, where are my reparations?” Those that share links to spurious ‘Irish slavery’ articles on social media have also been appending their posts with the hashtags #Ferguson and #NoExcuses . No excuses? This myth of convenience is being utilised by those who are unwilling to accept the truth of their white privilege and the prevalence of an entrenched racism in their societies. There is clearly comfort to be found in denialism.

The conflation present in both narratives has been abetted by the deliberate use of a limited vocabulary. The inclination to describe these different forms of servitude using the umbrella term “slavery” is a wilful misuse of language. It serves to diminish the reality of the chattel slave system that existed in the New World for over three centuries. It is also a reminder that the popular use of such a simplistic term as ‘modern-day slavery’ can reduce clarity and hinder our collective understanding of both the present and the past.
The conflation of indentured servitude with chattel slavery in the ‘Irish slaves’ narrative whitewashes history in the service of Irish nationalist and white supremacist causes. Its resurgence in the wake of Ferguson reflects many Americans’ denial of the entrenched racism still prevalent in their society.
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Yes, it is true, with the exception of Irish prisoners were sent to Australia.
I remember a TV series. (Against the Wind) in 1978.
At the beginning of each chapter, an announcement noted that the series was based on real events. Sometimes I remember the music of the series. I think because in Mexico many injustices occur, similar to what happens in the history of Against The Wind.
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Do you know how the internet gets across the ocean? This amazing map shows every cable that makes it possible.
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PUTTING A SMILE ON THE FACE OF EVERY CHILD IN A WHEELCHAIR

"Magic Wheelchair is a nonprofit organization that turns wheelchairs into the envy of every trick-or-treater. Ryan & Lana Weimer, the founders of Magic Wheelchair, have five children, three of which, have been born with a form of Muscular Dystrophy called Spinal muscular Atrophy and will require the use of wheelchairs for the entirety of their lives. Each Halloween Ryan has made the biggest baddest costumes he could for his kids. These wheelchair costumes have been tremendously successful; They have even been featured in newspapers, on television, and the subject of a very successful Kickstarter campaign. Magic Wheelchair seeks to do this for every child confined to a wheelchair. The children pick the costumes and we are proud to showcase the uniqueness and individuality of each child."
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Brian Fagan takes us on a journey into the late Ice Age world of the Cro-Magnons, the first full modern Europeans, who arrived in their homeland before 40,000 years ago. Who were these people? Where did they originate? And what made them different from earlier, more archaic human beings who lived alongside them? Professor Fagan explores the complex and still mysterious relationship between the incoming Cro-Magnons and their Neanderthal neighbors, who became extinct about 30,000 years ago. Was it climate change, brain power, superior technology, or sheer overwhelming numbers that marginalized the Neanderthals? The lecture ends with a brief look at the remarkable cave art of the late Ice Age, the earliest known artistic tradition in the world.
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