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Posts Tagged → dinosaurs

In Print: Racing Cells, Baby Dinos

The Newscripts blog would like to be closer Internet buddies with our glossy print Newscripts column, so here we highlight what’s going on this week’s issue of C&EN.

Microscopic organisms, start your engines! The second World Cell Race is upon us. Doping and steroids in the form of genetic modifications and unusual cell types are welcome in this competition to create the fastest and smartest cellular contestant.

Cell walls: Time-lapse photos show the (relatively) fast progress of a cell through the maze. Credit: Daniel Irima

Cell walls: Composite time-lapse photo shows the (relatively) fast progress of a cell through the maze. Credit: Daniel Irimia

As C&EN associate editor Nader Heidari writes in this week’s print column, this year’s World Cell Race will be held on Nov. 22 at the BioMEMS Resource Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston (watch the live broadcast here). The cited purpose of the race is to inspire discussion about how cell motility plays a role in health and disease. The Newscripts gang also wouldn’t be surprised if cell biologists were champing at the bit to enter a (relatively) high-speed racing contest.

Unlike the inaugural World Cell Race in 2011 that featured a linear track, this year’s race will force champion-hopefuls to navigate a maze-like course. Creating “smart” cells that don’t just Roomba their way into a dead end will add another dimension of design complexity. Nader says the organizers haven’t entirely revealed just how these souped-up cells are expected to make wise decisions on their paths to victory, but he’s putting his money on stem cells. “They’re pretty fast,” Nader says. “Some went up to 5ish µm a minute! This next contest will have molds, however, so we’ll see how they compare, even though they’ll need special tracks because of their size.”

The second part of Nader’s Newscripts discusses a keen-eyed teen who was first to spot a fossil on his high school’s trip to Utah’s Grand Staircaise-Escalante National Monument in 2009.

While traipsing through rock formations on an exploratory trip led by paleontologist Andrew A. Farke, high schooler Kevin Terris peeked under a stone and ended up discovering the smallest and most complete fossil of the dinosaur Parasaurolophus yet. Farke’s research group has been investigating the fossil and has recently published a paper about the baby dino, whom they’ve endearingly nicknamed “Joe.”

And Nader tells the Newscripts gang that the researchers think it’s unlikely they’ll discover anything quite like it again: “Joe’s find is a ridiculously rare glimpse into childhood development of these dinos. It’s crazy to find a relatively complete baby dino fossil, mostly because they tend to be bite-sized morsels for predators and have softer bones that wouldn’t fossilize as well.” Nader adds that the paleontology team “had a very tiny geological window to find and preserve the fossil as well. Farke doesn’t think he’ll ever find another such fossil in his lifetime.”

For now, dino enthusiasts can check out all the news about Joe at dinosaurjoe.org. But if Dr. Farke or any other paleontologists want some help finding more bones, there will always be more kiddos ready to go on a fossil hunt.

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Bethany Halford and Lauren Wolf.

Ever wish you could tear a page out of C&EN and eat it because it’s so good? Well, it might happen in the future … Fanta creates an edible ad. [ShortList] But just to be clear, this is old news: Newscripts has written about edible ads (and greeting cards) before. [C&EN]

Scientists in California want to create laser beams to evaporate asteroids before they hit Earth. No word on using them to fill the dean’s house with popcorn or if they will be mounted on sharks. [LA Times]

Speaking of lasers, this one was meant for studying space, but it moonlights as a counterfeit honey detector. [Slate]

Who knew panda flirting was so complicated? The Edinburgh Zoo’s Yang Guang “has recently begun to execute handstands against trees, walls, and rocks, and to leave scent marks as high up as he can” in an attempt to get the attention of lady panda Tian Tian. [Guardian]

Jose Canseco, that lovable juiced-up ex-ball player, tweeted his theories on gravity and dinosaurs this week. Newscripts hasn’t been this confused since Keanu Reeves explained wave-particle duality. [iO9]

Checking up on HP’s Chubby Checker. Incidentally, if the Newscripts gang held stock in HP, we’d be wondering what the hell is going on at that place. [Slate]

This Side Up: The paint splatters on that canvas really do have a top and bottom. Study shows people can set an abstract painting in its “correct” orientation  more often than not. [Discoblog]

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news.

Credit: Steidl

Got a thing for librarians? Now you can smell like a book. [Steidl]

How do you weigh a dinosaur? Why, with a laser beam, of course. [Not Exactly Rocket Science]

The law tries to keep up with garage chemists making analogs of THC in “a giant game of chemical Whack-a-Mole.” [Gizmodo]

Mosquitoes + raindrops + high speed video = awesome. [Huffington Post]

Here’s a job you don’t want: Developing stink bombs for the Department of Defense. [New Scientist]

In honor of Ray Bradbury, here are the most beautiful covers of “Fahrenheit 451.” [Slate]



Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Bethany Halford and Lauren Wolf.

Credit: Royal Canadian Mint

New Canadian quarter features glow-in-the-dark dinosaur bones. The bad news: each quarter costs $29.95 [Geekosystem]

Speaking of dinos, Ronald Breslow, distinguished chemist, thinks there may be super smart dinosaurs in space. [Smithsonian] (UPDATE: We should have noted that this news item references a JACS paper here.)

The wounds of some Civil War soldiers glowed in the dark … via an infection of bioluminescent bacteria. And we thought the wounds were bad enough. [Mental_Floss]

What to do when the dog eats your science experiment? Write a paper about it, naturally. [Annals of Improbable Research]

Scottish whiskey distillery sent unmatured malt to the International Space Station for testing near zero gravity. When questioned about results, hiccupping astronauts say the samples mysteriously disappeared. [BBC News]

In Ethiopia, hyenas observe Lent too. [Discoblog]