Paying the Price of Protecting Pandas

I don’t like pandas. This is not a secret, but I often get flack because they are so cute and so many people like the furry beasts.

Despite my dislike of pandas (it’s not because they are cute, or because they are endangered),
 is a really good description of the lengths that the Chinese government has gone through to save them (hint, also not because they are cute).

So get your panda hat on, and enough the black and white furry goodness over at National Geographic.

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The elusive snail pollinator

Remember when I tried to start the twitter hashtag #pollinatorselfie last summer?

Well it’s not too late, and it turns out that snails, my beloved PhD system, can also be pollinators.

This is both promising for snails, and plants that need pollination everywhere!

Read about it over at AoBBlog.

 

Don’t drink beer from green bottles?

I’m not sure this is biology, or even really science (You’ve been warned). But it made me giggle, and hopefully it’ll do the same for you.

One “scientist” sought to determine if he dislikes beer from green bottles because green glass fails to block the uv light from altering the beer after bottling.

Read about his intrepid scientific experiment it over at Wired!

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You smell like bacteria… and that’s a good thing

Birds have a number of loud and showy ways to attach a mate. But they also have a subtle one: smell.

And it turns out that some of that smell are naturally made by bacteria in the preening gland.

So I’m not saying you should use “hey girl, you smell like the best bacteria” as a pick up line, but it might be worth trying!

(If you’re a bird. NiB is not responsible for this interaction going south)

Read all about the work by Danielle Whittaker over at Science News!

"Hey girl, you smell like the sexiest microbes"

“Hey girl, you smell like the sexiest microbes”

 

Battling the Mistrust of Science

Atul Gawande is a multitalented man, surgeon, father, and exceptional writer and author (check out his books here).

He recently gave the commencement address at the California Institute of Technology, and it was so interesting/well said that it was subsequently published in the New Yorker.

He address how science is mistrusted, the inherent bias of people (including scientists), what science is and how we as a scientific community can combat this mistrust.

Read it here!

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Buenos Aires is closing it’s zoo, should we close ours too?

Zoos have been controversial recently, sadly because a little boy fell in with a big gorilla (not the best scenario unless you’re Tarzan, and this kid, was not Tarzan).

Although not related to the unfortunate event, the Buenos Aires Zoo is closing, bringing up the age old question, should we close our zoos too?

There are arguments for closing zoos (we shouldn’t put intelligent creatures into captivity) and arguments against (zoos are used for education about conservation), both of which are reviewed nicely in this article at Pacific Standard. Check it out!

It was recently ruled that Sandra the orangutan (currently housed in the Buenos Aires Zoo) has rights as a "non-human person"

It was recently ruled that Sandra the orangutan (currently housed in the Buenos Aires Zoo) has rights as a “non-human person”

I can’t stop talking about CRISPR

You know when you look at a giant box of chocolates, and you think “I’ll only have just the one” do you know you’re lying to yourself before you eat the whole box?

I have been telling myself for months that I’m going to stop posting about the ongoing CRISPR saga. It should not surprise anyone that like the fat kid with the box of chocolate I’m not done.

We have started human trials on CRISPR. That’s right, the dream, the money sink, the controversy over the patent, and somehow, less than a year later, we’re already at human trials. This is insane (but interesting?).

What could possibly go wrong? Read the non-exhaustive list here.

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And you should probably be aware there will be more posts about CRISPR in the future…