Musings of an autodidact


New life in the lab? Major genetic engineering advance on the way



Beer quite possibly a key cause of civilization

Archaeology300As Paul Ratner at Big Think puts it, “Patrick McGovern, a biomolecular archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania, has one of the coolest jobs in the world.”

Yes. Yes he does. (more…)

All the history and some of the future in less than 10 minutes

An excellent visualization!

The floating cities of Venus

SpaceExploration300Popular Science: SHOULD WE SEND MEN TO VENUS INSTEAD OF MARS?

So why not build a floating city? Or explore the planet with a dirigible feature a manned cabin slung underneath? It’s something scientists at NASA’s Langley Research Centre recently proposed, and it’s a compelling idea.


Ars Technica takes on bad science journalism

Biology300Ars Technica: No, this isn’t the start of the antibiotic apocalypse, just bad reporting

Since the initial report, mcr-1-toting bacteria have been discovered on every continent. And the infected PA woman, who was suffering from a urinary tract infection, had not traveled in the last five months.

But this may or may not be concerning. It’s important to note that we don’t know exactly how long mcr-1 has been hanging around in bacteria or where it first came from. It may have spread around the globe in months or been lying low and spreading quietly for years. Either way, it was inevitable and expected that mcr-1-carrying bacteria would pop up in the US. (Although, in weeks of testing other bacteria from the Pennsylvania clinic where the patient was identified, no other mcr-1-carrying bacteria have been found.)


Milk, it does a body good

Biochemistry300IFLScience: Cockroach Milk Could Make A Nutritious Meal In The Future

As of yet, there are no plans to make this roach milk into a commercial product, though the researchers do have plans to use a yeast system to try and produce these crystals en masse. Many are speculating that soon insects could play a major part in our diet as the world struggles under the stress of conventional food production.

Unlike the author, I don’t foresee any trouble with marketing the protein crystals if this goes into production, and I hope after appropriate testing it does. It might gain some notoriety at first, but that’ll die down as it’s relegated to another multi-syllabic additive in the ingredients list.