Just a protein out for a stroll

This animation of a "walking" protein inside a cell is going viral, and I became briefly obsessed with figuring out what's going on here. Behavior that looks conscious and deliberate can't, of course, be deliberate or conscious at the subcellular level. It's just as fascinating, though. What it is: A kinesin protein hauling a vesicle... Continue Reading →

First photo of liquid on another world

Sunlight reflects off a methane lake on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Holy wow. The lake is called Kraken Mare, and it's in Titan's northern hemisphere, which began to come back into daylight in August after 15 years of night. (This pic was taken July 8 by the Cassini spacecraft.) All this according to NASA's release... Continue Reading →

Facebook tracks national happiness

Pretty interesting. Facebook announced today that it tracks the aggregate mood of the country, based on the negative or positive words that millions of Facebookers use in their updates. The blog where I first read of it, ReadWriteWeb, does some interesting probing into possible ramifications of this and of the data that Facebook is NOT... Continue Reading →

Rocky planet only 500 light-years away

Of course the travel guide says it's incredibly hot (2000C) on the day side and super-cold (-200C) on the night side, but it's still the first rocky planet confirmed outside our own solar system. The planet, CoRoT-7b, orbits the star CoRoT-7 in the Monoceros, or Unicorn, constellation. The names all get more sensible when you... Continue Reading →

New element added to the periodic table

Super-heavy element 112 was created a decade ago in a particle accelerator, and only four atoms of it have ever been observed.  Yet high school science classes will still have to memorize it, no doubt. They temporarily named it ununbium, but are still searching for a real name.

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