Science

Chinese scientists raise eyebrows, genetically modify human embryos

Chinese scientists raise eyebrows, genetically modify human embryos

Scientists in China have genetically modified human embryos, embarking on a slippery slope that could be capable of a calamitous ripple effect in human offspring. Scholarship aside, the ethics questions that sprout from genetically altering human embryos are innumerable. In a paper published by the journal Protein and Cell, a research team in GuangZhou, China, headed by Junjiu Huang, detailed their process and results of genetic editing. The gene in question is responsible for β-thalassaemia, which is a blood disorder that can be potentially fatal. Researchers used the CRISPR/Cas9 technique to edit the genes. As a matter of ethics, the researchers only used "non-viable" embryos that would be unable to make it to a live birth.

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Researchers use VR goggles to study effects of human ‘invisibility’

Researchers use VR goggles to study effects of human ‘invisibility’

Researchers have managed to make people feel as if they were invisible using VR goggles, and that’s not a bad thing…at least not in the context of the study. The researchers found that by making people feel as if they were invisible, any social anxiety they might have experienced by standing in front of a crowd was lessened. Though the study and research in general are still in their early stages, it could pave the way to treatments for social anxiety, and could also answer some interesting questions about how humans would act if no one could see them.

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NASA honors Hubble’s 25th birthday with glorious star cluster photo

NASA honors Hubble’s 25th birthday with glorious star cluster photo

It’s the Hubble Space Telescope’s 25th birthday, and NASA has selected an official image to commemorate the day -- it is of the Westerlund 2, a stellar cluster with in excess of 3,000 stars, a bright gas cloud called Gum 29, and a distance from Earth of about 20,000 light-years. The image is spectacular to behold, and is joined by a video in which users can take a 3D journey into the massive star cluster, seeing it somewhat in the way they would if they were flying through it themselves.

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NASA uses 3D printer to make copper rocket engine part

NASA uses 3D printer to make copper rocket engine part

NASA has long wanted to use 3D printers to make parts for space missions when they are needed rather than having to carry huge amounts of spare parts to cover every possible breakage event. NASA is also looking to use 3D printers here on Earth to reduce the cost of building and maintaining rockets and other systems. NASA has used a 3D printer to make its first full-scale copper rocket engine part.

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New atomic clock doesn’t lose a second for 15 billion years

New atomic clock doesn’t lose a second for 15 billion years

Physicists have invented a new atomic clock that is the most accurate clock ever invented. According to the team of scientists that have worked on the clock, it won't gain or lose a second over 15 billion years. The record setting timepiece is an optical lattice clock that uses strontium atoms and is three times more accurate than the clock that held the previous record.

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NASA creates a scientific super squad to search for alien life

NASA creates a scientific super squad to search for alien life

S.H.I.E.L.D. had better watch out. NASA has just assembled the Avengers—of space scientists. Dubbed the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS), it is a team of scientists reaching across various disciplines whose for the common goal of searching for life on distant exoplanets far outside our own solar system. NASA and the scientific community realized that although different researchers had the same goal of finding biosignatures, or life on other planets, no one was regularly communicating with scientists outside his own discipline.

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Fossilized dinosaur eggs cluster found in China

Fossilized dinosaur eggs cluster found in China

Dinosaur discoveries are nothing new in China, and it has recently been the source of yet another discovery. According to state media, a total of forty three dinosaur egg fossils were discovered in a southern China region during road construction. Says the reports, the eggs are large, with one in particular measuring in at 13 centimeters in diameter. Of the forty three that were found, nineteen of them are said to be entirely intact, while the rest are broken in some way.

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Vampire Squid feeds upon waste, blasts eggs

Vampire Squid feeds upon waste, blasts eggs

Today you're going to learn about a squid that's been profiled by a couple of scientists in the latest Current Biology science publication. A paper has been released, you see, on the species Vampyroteuthis infernalis. That translates roughly to Infernal Vampire Squid, or Vampire Squid from Hell. It's not a pleasant name, to be sure, but it's fitting. This creature doesn't suck blood, but it does live as close to the underworld as you're going to get, in the deep ocean, and it does eat bits and pieces of other animals. Not living animals - unless by chance - but waste, mostly.

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Researchers analyze 170 year old champagne from shipwreck

Researchers analyze 170 year old champagne from shipwreck

Back in the summer of 2010, 168 bottles of champagne were discovered in a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea, about 50 meters deep and in well-preserved condition due to the protective nature of the cool and dark environment. Some of those bottles went on to be sold a year or so later, but three of them were sacrificed in the name of science, being studied in a “chemical and sensory analysis” to see what bottled champagne was like in the 1800s.

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