Should we bring back the wooly mammoth? Or edit a human embryo? Or wipe out an entire species that we consider harmful? The genome-editing technology CRISPR has made extraordinary questions like these legitimate — but how does it work? Scientist and community lab advocate Ellen Jorgensen is on a mission to explain the myths and realities of CRISPR, hype-free, to the non-scientists among us.
Archive for the ‘Science’ Category
Since the mid-1990s, the working estimate for the number of galaxies in the Universe has been around 120 billion. That number was based largely on a 1996 study called Hubble Deep Field … Researchers pointed the Hubble Space Telescope at a small region of space for a total of ten days. Astrophysicists then counted the galaxies within that narrow field of view and extrapolated the number to the full sky to get to the 120 billion figure.
More recent deep-field studies conducted using Hubble and other telescopes means we now know that the observable Universe contains about two trillion galaxies — more than ten times as many as previously estimated.
Considering that the galaxy we live in, the Milky Way, contains around 100 billion or more stars we can safely assume that the number of stars in the entire universe is a very large number indeed!
The future is going to be genetically modified!
That means the future could be disease-free with babies being designed in labs by parents who live in a world where ageing has stopped all thanks to genetic engineering. Or the future might be something else entirely with state-mandated genetic engineering to turn citizens into super soldiers. Who knows.
If you must preserve messages for people in the far future to read, Blu-ray discs and USB sticks are no good. For real long-term storage, you want a DNA time capsule.
Just 1 gram of DNA is theoretically capable of holding 455 exabytes – enough for all the data held by Google, Facebook and every other major tech company, with room to spare. It’s also incredibly durable: DNA has been extracted and sequenced from 700,000-year-old horse bones. But conditions have to be right for it to last.
Research suggests that data in DNA form could last 2000 years if kept at a temperature of around 10 °C. The Global Seed Vault in the Arctic could preserve it for over 2 million years at a chilly -18 °C, offering truly long-term storage. Learn more here.
Backed by stunning illustrations, David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is “Big History”: an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline.
We hear plenty about the remaining radioactivity near the failed Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine, but what about other places? Dereck Muller of Veritasium takes us on a tour of other historically radioactive sites such as Fukushima, Hiroshima, Marie Curie’s office, the Trinity test site, a uranium mine, and the basement of Pripyat’s hospital. The amount of radiation is presented in bananas as a visualization device to keep track of which place is more dangerous.
Cool chart here too.
There have always been and there will always be controversial ideas in Science.
Watch this clip to explore some controversial science and gain an understanding of cognitive bias at the same time.
We live in a world of unseeable beauty, so subtle and delicate that it is imperceptible to the human eye.
Do you ever think about where your trash goes? How long it takes to decompose? And whether your garbage can become … dangerous? You should!