Things that make you go
That’s what the virus wants you to think!
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are potent toxins produced by diverse bacteria in the Clostridium genus. Zhang et al. report that a commensal strain of Enterococcus faecium carries a conjugative plasmid encoding a BoNT- like toxin gene. Thus, a commensal organism can acquire and possibly disseminate BoNT genes.
so, remember when E coli was regarded as a fact of life? And then came along this little fella?
Judging by the article, more like an important role in the evolution of nervous systems. I assume other chordates and echinoderms and so on share the same version as tetrapods?
Where would we be without the voices in our heads? To get at this question, Charles Fernyhough raises another: can children think before they have words?
Apparently not. One of the papers referenced – I don’t understand how it works with copyright, but the pdf is available from ResearchGate – mentions the phylogeny. It’s pretty dense, but apparently the Arc gene they are talking about is found throughout tetrapods, and then retrotransposons are the closest things in fish. I guess then it may underlie many of our brain functions, but isn’t actually needed for basic vertebrate learning.
From fair accuracy to clickbait title in a few days.
I can confidently state that the Voynich Manuscript is in fact Roger Bacon’s attempt to get rich with an early version of Playboy. Unfortunately in those days encryption and decryption was manual, and subscribers got tired of hand-decrypting the text so they could claim they “read it for the articles”.
The proof is the big aerial shot of Playmates in Roger’s experimental herbal pool.
Musk does seem to have an elastic relationship with numbers.
Remind me how many Model 3s he was going to be producing by now? Still, I expect that it gave a lot of manufacturing engineers in the car industry a good laugh.
Though I guess his latest forecast is more possibly untrue engineering news than science.
I can see how non-enthusiasts could have been confused by his tweet, but it made perfect sense to me… he specified he was talking about the orbit, not the location (“exceeded mars orbit”).
But, it’s easy to forget that some people just don’t grasp the timescales involved or just how big space is. Really big. Vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big…
I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.
Speaking of which I just heard today of my relative who set off in his shiny new electric car to do a round trip supposedly well within its capabilities and only just made it home with 5% left and no heating for the last 80 miles.
I think he’s just been introduced to “range anxiety”.
Electric car stated range also falls into the category of “possibly-untrue-science-news”.
Why is anyone surprised that Nasa studies air filtering houseplants? Air supply is extremely important to some of their work…
One thing it took me a long time to realise, not having properly thought about it, was that the interior of submarines and spacecraft are disgusting. Unlike aircraft which land every few hours and can be cleaned out, it is very hard to clean a submerged submarine and very, very difficult indeed to keep the inside of a manned spacecraft clean.
It’s something never mentioned in early science fiction (or for that matter science fact during the Apollo program). Descriptions of the Shuttle focussed on the zero-gee bathroom, but not the way people release skin particles, fats and oils, bacteria, moulds and fungi all the time, thus stinking up any enclosed space.