There has been a lot of economic discussion lately of humans losing their jobs to robots.
There has also been a ton of discussion about self-driving cars and their impact on the auto industry.
But what we haven’t heard about is moth driven cars. Yeah, you read that correctly.
It turns out that moths can be trained to track odor aiding people finding disaster victims, detect illicit drugs or explosives, and sense leaks of hazardous material.
And to this end, they drive cars. See video, and read article here.
Since birds are dinosaurs, we have long assumed the quick way that birds exit their shell was mimicked in their much larger and significantly more extinct brethren.
However, it turns out that it takes much longer (3-6 months) for a dinosaur to exit its shell.
Why does that matter? Well it might have put them at a disadvantage relative to faster producing animals, like mammals and modern birds.
Curious how scientist figured it out (No, they didn’t clone dinosaurs like Jurassic Park… yet)? Check it out over at Science.
I spent a long time thinking about how to engage meaningfully with nonscientists after the election (truth be told, I think a lot about engaging meaningfully with nonscientists all the time). And it turns out, the Nature Editorial Board is thinking about it too:
“Some would respond with ‘don’t bother’ — picking holes in science is just a ‘denialist’ tactic, and correcting such people will have no influence given the imminent new political shape of Washington DC. On the contrary, Nature persists in the belief that researchers who take action by engaging with people beyond their peers in support of the evidence can make a positive difference.”
Read about it over at Nature.
I hope that the current political climate has galvanized scientists in the US to become more engaged. To climb down from the Ivory Tower and get in the trenches of science communication. To fight for our funding, and for the future of scientific research in the United States.
Along those lines, you’ll be seeing a few “what can we do to help now” posts in the coming days. First up, from the American Naturalist blog, what can graduate students do in a science world that doesn’t always appreciate science.
- Stay focused
- Think of others
- Be cautious around undergraduates
- Explore your community & be an advocate
- Get better at communicating science
- Plan for the worst
Scientists on at MIT are proposing to introduce a mouse that has its genes edited to resist Lyme disease. Given the high prevalence of Lyme disease on the small New England Island, the removal of Lyme disease from the mouse population (who harbor before it infects humans) would then directly effect how prevalent it is in the human population.
But really, this story is about one of the first real world examples of CRISPR, the revolutionary gene editing tool.
Read about it over at the New Yorker.
How bad is climate change? How is it currently effecting coastal communities? What can we do to stop it?
An interesting blog post from the World Resources Institute addresses just these questions!
Check it out here, and keep looking out for garage octopuses.
Two scientist in Germany are trying to determine the best way to teach German to nonnative speakers.
As a nonnative speaker currently living in and trying to learn German, this study is directly relevant to me. But more importantly, Germany has had a very open policy on immigration, resulting in millions of refugees from Syria admitted to Germany within the last two years.
Germany is committed to making these people productive members of society, it’s no surprise that they are funding research to find the best way to integrate these new members into the German landscape.
Read about it over at NPR!