This Week in Science: February 13-17
By: Ryan Wheaton
Here's what's going on in science this week. Things are starting to pick up in medicine with huge headway in the treatment and cure of Alzheimer's, while physics seems to be slowing up a bit.
Oh, and PS, I'll be out of the office next week. So I'll see you all in two weeks!
Why Do Dinosaur Skeletons Look So Weird?
Many fossilized dinosaurs have been found in a twisted posture. Scientists have long interpreted this as a sign of death spasms. Two researchers from Basel and Mainz now come to the conclusion that this bizarre deformations occurred only during the decomposition of dead dinosaurs. See the whole story.
Microbial Oasis Discovered Beneath the Atacama Desert
Two meters below the surface of the Atacama Desert there is an 'oasis' of microorganisms. Researchers from the Center of Astrobiology (Spain) and the Catholic University of the North in Chile have found it in hypersaline substrates thanks to SOLID, a detector for signs of life which could be used in environments similar to subsoil on Mars. See the whole story.
LHC Boosts Energy to Snag Higgs — and Superpartners
It has already broken the record for the most energetic particle collisions, but the world's largest particle smasher is boosting its energy still further. Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider hope this will confirm or rule out tantalizing hints of the elusive Higgs particle. See the whole story.
Time to Give SETI a Chance
The thousands of probable worlds discovered in orbit around other stars are making our corner of the universe appear a lot friendlier to life these days. See the whole story.
Ancient Chinese Medicine Could Fight Ageing
A flowering Tibetan shrub that tricks cells into thinking they are starving could become a weapon against multiple sclerosis and even old age. See the whole story.
Quantum dots control brain cells for the first time
In an unlikely marriage of quantum physics and neuroscience, tiny particles called quantum dots have been used to control brain cells for the first time.See the whole story.
App's Glowing Arrows Guide You Around a New Building
Whether it's a cavernous department store or a rabbit warren of offices, finding your way around an unfamiliar building can be a struggle. But now an augmented reality app can point you in the right direction. See the whole story.
Successful Human Tests for First Wirelessly Controlled Drug-Delivery Chip
About 15 years ago, MIT professors Robert Langer and Michael Cima had the idea to develop a programmable, wirelessly controlled microchip that would deliver drugs after implantation in a patient's body. This week, the MIT researchers and scientists from MicroCHIPS Inc. reported that they have successfully used such a chip to administer daily doses of an osteoporosis drug normally given by injection. See the whole story.
Google Algorithm Picks Funniest YouTube Clips
A research team at Google has created an algorithm to rank the best comedy videos on YouTube. While the list keeps changing, the algorithm seems to be drawn towards the slapstick end of the spectrum. For example, a video called Ceiling Fan Trick Knockdown is top of last week's top clips. Clocking over 1.6 million hits it shows a man whacking his head on a moving ceiling fan as he tries to retrieve a tomato hanging on a string. See the whole story.