Category Archives: Science

All things scientific

Killifish, aging, and carbon-silicon composite batteries

Genetic study uncovers clues to explain how killifish stop aging during diapause

Killifish are really interesting organisms for scientific experiments. They are vertebrates, so they are closer to us genetically than insects or worms. But they are a lot easier to grow and care for then mice or rats. Some killifish have life spans of only three months. This makes them very attractive as aging model animals. If treatment extends their lifespan, you only have to wait 3 months to find out. With mice, you have to wait for several years.  This paper discusses another cool feature of the killifish model animal. Some kinds of killifish can go into a kind of suspended animation. I did not know that and it is fascinating.


Nano/Microstructured Silicon–Carbon Hybrid Composite Particles Fabricated with Corn Starch Biowaste as Anode Materials for Li-Ion Batteries | Nano Letters

Researchers develop high-capacity EV battery materials that double driving range

This article discusses a new composite silicon/carbon material for hosting lithium ions. Cramming lithium ions into a silicon matrix makes for an even higher energy battery than a standard lithium-ion battery. unfortunately, silicon expands under these conditions and can destroy the battery. By incorporating the silicon into a carbon matrix, these researchers increase the conductivity and the resilience of the battery to multiple charger Cycles. The result was a very nice paper. I love that they tried to make their composite material from readily available substances.


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Purple greenhouses and happy lab rats this week


Next Generation of Greenhouses May Be Fully Solar Powered | NC State News

Plants crave the red and blue light (and reflect the green). So you can use the green light for electricity to blow air through your greenhouse. The panels absorb the green light, so the greenhouse looks purple. That’s so cool. There’s a real mathematical puzzle, though. How much light can you take to run the fans, heaters, desalinators, pumps, etc., before you start harming the plants’ growth?


Are happy lab animals better for science? | Science | AAAS

Enriched environments may make for better lab animal results (and happier lab animals). That’s good. I remember seeing that lab animals are much more prone to use substances self-destructively if they don’t have enriched/social environments. There’s even a TED talk, though it oversimplifies things.


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This week was a bit much in the news. I needed lighthearted reading.


Flow Reactor Created that Will Be Able to Mass Produce Amino Acids –

This makes me think of electric lab meat. We could make some of the building blocks truly from scratch without needing plants. Plants are not actually very efficient chemists. Going from light to amino acids might actually be more energy efficient with photovoltaics and electrochemistry some day.



Your most pressing questions about the new coronavirus, answered | Science News

I’ve played Plague Inc. I know the drill. This one (coronavirus 2019nCoV) looks scary. But the powers that be seem to be on top of it. That’s nice.

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Innervated follicles and spider-moms


Hyperactivation of sympathetic nerves drives depletion of melanocyte stem cells | Nature

Why do we go gray after stress? Linkages between nerves and stem cells in our hair follicles! This happened to me in the month before my dissertation: I got gray in my beard. So strange.


Have the Boomers Pinched Their Children’s Futures? – with Lord David Willetts – YouTube

I am not an economist, but I think this talk articulates important issues. Larger cohorts have a strange weight in democracies.


Gregor Czaykowski on Twitter: “ha ha happy new year” / Twitter


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TEM Video of Rhenium atoms and pygmy owls (two different links)

Walking with atoms — chemical bond making and breaking recorded in action 

The video on this page is truly astounding. From the main author: “We trapped a pair of rhenium (Re) atoms bonded together to form Re2. Because rhenium has a high atomic number it is easier to see in TEM than lighter elements… we observed the atomic-scale dynamics of Re2 adsorbed on the graphitic lattice of the nanotube and discovered that the bond length changes in Re2 in a series of discrete steps.”


Classification and practical approach to the diagnosis and management of hypersensitivity to nonsteroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs – Kowalski – 2013 – Allergy – Wiley Online Library

Here are several documented cases of angioedema from NSAIDs (like when I had my eye swell shut due to aspirin). I made a vlog about it.


The medications that change who we are – BBC Future

Mood, Personality, and Behavior Changes During Treatment with Statins: A Case Series.

Statins may be linked to mood changes in rare cases.




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