Brain implant creates supersoldier mice

Enlarge (credit: From Mouse Guard, by David Petersen)

It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie about making supersoldiers. Scientists have turned shy, low-ranking mice into aggressive fighters who almost always win in dominance competitions. And they did it by stimulating a part of the mouse brain that controls “effortful” behavior.

Mice are social animals, and male mice establish a pecking order amongst themselves by displaying aggressive behavior. Though this aggression can take many forms, neuroscientist Zhou Tingting of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, joined with his colleagues to measure mouse dominance using what’s called the “tube test.” The tube test creates a scenario in which there’s not enough room for the mice to pass each other in the tube. Mice have

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The science of Spectral: Is that really how Bose–Einstein condensate behaves?

Enlarge / The titular monsters of Spectral are pretty terrifying.

Spoiler warning: This article, as you might’ve gathered, completely spoils most of the story of Spectral. If you haven’t seen it yet, it should be on Netflix in your country.

A lot of the fascination with sci-fi movies stems from a successful blend of state-of-the-art science and technology with what might be considered an imaginable extrapolation of it. For a scientist, of course, it is especially interesting if one’s own research field is depicted. A recent example is the movie Spectral, which can be described as a mixture of a war and a ghost story, where soldiers face an enemy with seemingly supernatural properties.

Well into the movie (and after a lot of people

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Where Did Time Come From, and Why Does It Seem to Flow? – Facts So Romantic

We say a river flows because it moves through space with respect to time. But time can’t move with respect to time—time is time.Image by violscraper / Flickr

Paul Davies has a lot on his mind—or perhaps more accurate to say in his mind. A physicist at Arizona State University, he does research on a wide range of topics, from the abstract fields of theoretical physics and cosmology to the more concrete realm of astrobiology, the study of life in places beyond Earth. Nautilus sat down for a chat with Davies, and the discussion naturally drifted to the subject of time, a long-standing research interest of his. Here is a partial transcript of the interview, edited lightly for length and clarity.

There might be some … Read the rest

The Strange Radio Signals Coming From a Nearby Star

This spring, astronomers at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico were sorting through data from recent observations when they found something strange. The radio telescope had detected what they describe as “some very peculiar signals” coming from a nearby star, unlike anything they had ever observed before.

The star in question is Ross 128, a red dwarf located about 11 light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. Red dwarfs are the smallest and most common types of stars in the universe. They’re far dimmer than stars like our sun, and can’t be seen with the naked eye. For about 10 minutes on May 12, a radio transmission came from the direction of Ross 128. Stars can emit various wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, including radio waves. But … Read the rest

Resurrecting Ancient Wines That Can Survive Climate Change

The Spanish region of Catalonia is proud of its traditions. The official language, Catalan, has thrived for centuries, despite the establishment of Spanish as the rest of the country’s official language in the 1700s. Castells, or adults and children climbing on each other’s shoulders to form human towers, continues to be a popular activity at festivals. And in Vilafranca del Penedès, an hour outside of Barcelona, the local winery Bodegas Torres is researching and rediscovering wine varieties long thought to be extinct.

It just so happens that many of these revived regional varieties thrive in hotter, drier climates. So Bodegas Torres is regrowing these ancestral vines to assuage the wine industry’s looming climate-change crisis.

Growers in Mediterranean-climate regions in Western Europe, California, and Australia report … Read the rest

This Week in Making: Crafty Drinking, Raspberry Spi Cams, and Engineering a Third Thumb

This week, visit a Portland bar with a crafty side, build your own spy camera, and check out some talented makers.

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The post This Week in Making: Crafty Drinking, Raspberry Spi Cams, and Engineering a Third Thumb appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.… Read the rest