- Pick of the Week
- #10: Armadillo: the Adorable Killer
- #9: Blame Your Parents
- #8: Most Significant Post?
- #7: Hey Look, No Tech Stories
- #6: Professional Chicken Confusers
- #5: Bananas All The Way
- #4: Explaining the Japanese Quake
- #3: Google Cars and Zombie Ants
- #2: Breakthroughs and Blast-offs
- #1: Ants and Anti-Lasers
|#8: Most Significant Post?|
|Monday, 18 April 2011 10:27|
This is an artist's impression of a flask that's been constructed by researchers at Arizona State University. Why an artist's impression? Because the flask itself is a little too small to photograph properly, since it's made out of DNA. It really is a working flask, with approximately the proportions depicted in the picture, and it has a capacity of 24000nm3. That's not even enough to hold one million molecules of water. Words cannot adequately express its tininess. It was made by stacking DNA rings of different sizes on top of one another, and the researchers who made it hope that their technique will gain wider acceptance as a way to make other, more useful structures (like drug capsules or artificial enzymes) on a similar scale.
Researchers of human congenital heart defects are accumulating evidence in favour of a very odd model animal: the sea squirt. It's an invertebrate that looks like a small leather sack with a mouth (and that's being generous), but it turns out to be uniquely suited to heart research because it only has one copy of each of the genes involved in heart development -- as opposed to the tangled mess of redundancies that vertebrate researchers have to deal with.
A revolutionary new cloth has been developed at Cornell University that incorporates Metal Organic Frameworks (special molecules that can be tailored to absorb specific kinds of gas)... and has promptly been turned into fashionwear. Apparently Cornell is a proper melting pot of a place, and interdisciplinary activity extends so far as fashion students getting their hands on material that we didn't even know how to make a year ago. Bet you that wasn't what the material scientists thought their brainchild's first application would be.
And finally, the reason for this week's title: a "potentially revolutionary discovery" has been made in physics. Yes, another one: naturally we have to treat these things with a very large amount of skepticism, but... who knows? Maybe this one is the rare, rare case that actually comes to something.* The story comes from the Tevatron particle collider in Chicago, where they think they've discovered a new subatomic particle (or maybe a whole new class of them) that exists for an incredibly short time, and has a mass 150 times greater than the proton. If this is true, the new particle and the nuclear interaction that creates it would neatly replace the Higg's Boson, and (you guessed it!) rewrite the Standard Model of physics.
*Optimism! The first step toward disappointment? Discuss.
|Last Updated on Friday, 07 October 2011 14:26|