28 January 2011

Science online, caught on tape edition

Photo by gorditojaramillo.
  • "... dinosaurs using their feathers to fly." Carl Zimmer digs into the evolutionary origins of feathers.
  • This is your brain wanting to be on drugs. When smokers see movies of other people smoking, their brains light up.
  • Also, raptors are from the Cretaceous. Jeez. Turns out that "Jurassic Park" screwed up dinosaur taxonomy.
  • Biofilm-coated cookware, anyone? Bacterial biofilms are more water-resistant than Teflon.
  • She's done more than embarrass NASA. A lot more. Dilara Ally interviews Rosie Redfield.
  • My guess: magical rings that made them invisible. Robert Krulwich considers how the "hobbit" people of Flores might have coexisted with six-foot carnivorous storks.
  • Adaptation for a period of extremely short tempers during the Upper Cretaceous. Paleontologists discover a dinosaur with only one finger per forelimb.
  • Hey, nitrogen is nitrogen. A tropical bat species nests exclusively inside giant carnivorous pitcher plants, providing the the plants with an, um, alternative fertilizer.
  • "I want no other fame." Population genetic data has confirmed a hypothesis about butterflies colonizing the Americas from Asia that was first proposed by Vladimir Nabokov. Yes, that Vladimir Nabokov.
  • When Caenorhabditis elegans catches a cold, scientists celebrate. A species of nematode widely used as an experimental organism has contracted a virus. Let the experiments in coevolution commence!

Video this week: actual, real-time, microscopic video of a malaria parasite invading a human blood cell, via New Scientist TV. The parasite, a smallish blob on the right, attaches to the outside of the big, round, red blood cell and disappears inside it—and then the red blood cell shrivels away.

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