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joi, 12 iulie 2012

Jurassic Park in a Petri dish: Scientists bring 500 million-year-old bacteria back to life - what could possibly go wrong?

A 500 million-year-old bacteria has been brought back to life in a laboratory at Georgia Tech in an experiment with echoes of Jurassic Park's disastrous recreation of the dinosaurs.

The researchers have resurrected a 500-million-year-old gene and inserted it into a modern E Coli bacteria.

The 'Frankenstein' germ has thrived. In the lab, the creation has now lived through 1,000 generations.

Robot Dinosaurs Printed in 3-D Using Fossil Templates

A hobbyist found the first nearly complete dinosaur skeleton in New Jersey in 1858, during the era of gentlemen scientists, gas lamps and extremely ruffled skirts. A century and a half later, paleontologists are still working in one dig in the southern portion of the state. Kenneth Lacovara, a paleontologist at Drexel University in Philadelphia, inherited the site from generations of paleontologists before him.

Some of Lacovara's plans for what he finds here, however, are entirely new. Over the past few years, he has started a few projects using the latest technology for paleontology. His latest plans include making robotic dinosaurs using a 3D printer.

Simbolul lebedei în miturile lumii antice

Potrivit DEX, LÉBĂDĂ,  lebede, s.f. 1. Gen de păsări acvatice, mai mari decât gâsca, cu pene albe sau (rar) negre și cu gâtul lung și arcuit (Cygnus); pasăre care face parte din acest gen. ♢ Cântecul lebedei = ultima operă sau manifestare (înainte de moarte) a unui mare creator sau interpret. 2. (Art.) Constelație din emisfera boreală; Crucea. – Din sl. lebedĩ.

Așadar termenul a pătruns în limba română prin slavonescul “lebedi”. Denumirea științifică “cygnus”(lat.) provine la rândul ei din greaca veghe unde semnifica “pasăre închinată lui Apollo”. Dar Appolo era zeul Soarelui la greci, zeul luminii. Legatura dintre lebădă și lumină este însă mult mai evidentă în etimologia termenilor “swan”, “schwan”. Jung este cel care a făcut o apropiere între radicalul “sven” și termenul sanscrit “svan”care înseamnă “a fremăta”. În opinia lui Jung “cântecul lebedei” nu este decât manifestarea mitică a izomorfismului etimologic dintre lumină și cuvânt”.

Glow in the dark

LAST week scientists at CERN, Europe's main particle-physics lab, finally ran the Higgs boson to ground. The discovery of the Higgs, whose existence was first predicted in 1964, is a powerful demonstration of the predictive powers of the Standard Model of particle physics. But other scientists have powerful theories of their own, even if they get less press than particle physicists do. A paper just published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society reports another predictive triumph, this time for astronomers.

Serious Issues with Plate Tectonics

David Pratt’s publication in the year 2000 enumerates multiple problems affecting the theory of plate tectonics and seafloor spreading.

The above schematic of Alaska reveals regions of rock strata that appear to have “accreted” to an original craton. Southern Alaska is composed of fragments in all shapes and sizes, each one telling its own tale. They are all “exotic terranes”, formed at different places and times. How they were transported to their present location, and why some are rotated with respect to adjoining terranes is a mystery.

The Islamist pyramid scheme

Radical Muslims want to tear down Egypt’s pyramids and take over the world. The least the rest of us can do is take them seriously.

Islamist political victories in Egypt have invigorated the debate in certain circles over what to do with the country’s historical sites, or as the extremists call them, the symbols of pagan idolatry. The most pious Muslim theologians do not see the ancient statues, carvings and pyramids as important tourist destinations so much as affronts to their beliefs. Bahraini Sunni leader Abdal-Latif al-Mahmoud called on the Egyptians to “destroy the Pyramids and accomplish what [Egypt’s Muslim conqueror] Amr bin al-As could not.” Abdel Moneim Al-Shahat, a leading member of Egypt’s radical Nour party, suggested that should the pyramids be too difficult to dismantle, structures that have stood for five millennia ought at least be covered in wax to hide them from view.

Freud, profet sau şarlatan?

De curând a apărut o excelentă biografie a celui numit chiar de biograful său „evreul fără Dumnezeu", cel care prin cartea sa de interpretare a viselor a dat lumii coşmaruri, genialul şi intens diabolizatul Sigmund Freud.

În lucrarea „Freud, o viaţă pentru timpul nostru", apărută în româneşte la Editura Trei, istoricul american Peter Gay îl compară pe Freud cu Darwin făcând referire la modul în care ambii savanţi au scandalizat întreaga lume prin teoriile lor. Dar, dacă în ceea ce-l priveşte pe Darwin omenirea s-a mai liniştit, Freud încă naşte controverse de-a dreptul pătimaşe, fiind fie pus la stâlpul infamiei, fie adulat de-a dreptul.