As if November’s historic feat of landing the Philae probe on a comet wasn’t enough, now the Rosetta mission is sending back data that blows a hole in the hypothesis that comets delivered much of Earth’s water to our oceans. Or, if they did, then they weren’t comets like 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko!
Coined by English paleontologist Richard Owen in 1842, the word 'dinosaur' is derived from the Greek and means “terrible lizard”; it refers to the awesome size of these reptiles rather than them necessarily having a scary appearance. Paleontology is the study of what fossils tell us about the ecologies of the past, about evolution, and about our place, as humans, in the world.
We’re not talking vampires and werewolves here – allegedly supernatural beings – but a cast of creatures that includes giant marine reptiles, wild hominids – the Yeti and Big Foot – unicorns and even the “mothman”. Derived from the Greek "κρυπτός"/kryptos, “hidden” + zoology, cryptozoology literally means the “study of hidden animals”.
So, is the Loch Ness Monster anything more than an invention by the locals to attract tourists, and could a mythical man-like creature be roaming the wilds of the Himalayas? While cryptozoology is classified as a pseudoscience, it does shade into more mainstream zoology at its boundaries.
Human beings are a curious lot and throughout history there have been some extraordinary ways that we have sought to inform future generations of our discoveries. But in order to get an accurate idea of how the body works, you have to have access to detailed teaching models. Here at 3B Scientific we’ve been fascinated to find out more of the precursors to our high quality, detailed anatomical models.
Initially, medical education was gained via the dissection of cadavers. But, as you can imagine, getting hold of enough dead bodies by legitimate means could be a little tricky and often models were made from wood, ivory and wax.
This time of year can be spectacular if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. (You’ll have to wait till April/May for your turn if you live in the Southern Hemisphere). Whilst the temperatures may be starting to fall and daylight hours are shortening, Nature makes up for the gentle slide into Winter with a spectacular display of colour during the Fall. But where do all these gorgeous leaf colours come from?
As news reports state that STEM jobs are expected to grow by more than 21% over the next 5 years, it’s important that we increase the number of children studying Physics in our schools. How we teach those children in classroom science is, therefore, of paramount importance.
In order for children to be good scientists we need to do something that we’re not very good at doing within education. We need to enable kids to go ‘off the beaten track’ with their thoughts. A good scientist is not one who merely uses a recipe to replicate a set of known quantities or repeats statistical data parrot-fashion. A good scientist is someone who wonders ‘why?’ and ‘what if?’
What if you could actually see what your customers were feeling. That was the idea behind the recent partnership between British Airways and neurofeedback technology companies MyndPlay and NeuroSky.
British Airways recently tested out a headset that, coupled to specially designed blanket with fibre optics woven into it, would be able to sense the passengers emotions. Analog signals from the wearers brain can be interpreted and transmitted to the blanket. The fibre optics change in colour from red to blue when the headset wearer is at their most relaxed.
What kind of emotions do animals feel? Indeed, can animals feel emotions at all?
From early on in their studies, biologists are warned against anthropomorphism – attributing human emotions to animals. Yet, many of us have will seen the way a pet dog greets their owner after a period of separation or read how elephants grieve for the loss of a family member.
Now, several streams of emerging evidence suggests that we may have to re-assess how we view animals’ cognition and behaviour. Indeed, research suggests that elephants exhibit a wide variety of behaviours, including those associated with grief, learning, allomothering, mimicry, play, altruism, use of tools, compassion, cooperation, self-awareness, memory, and language.
We’ve already seen what a complicated substance blood is (see our blog “A Bloody Miracle”), but did you know that there are some 32 blood groups and that over 600 blood-group antigens have been identified? Some of these are very rare, and some are largely restricted to certain ethnic groups. Which blood group are you?