Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Science in life

This summer has been fairly relaxing so far (although that is partly due to the fact I was furloughed from work for two weeks).  I've been catching up on my reading, and have come across a few gems of scientific and historical note:

  • A 1500 year old skeleton showing signs of Down's syndrome (trisomy 21) was found in France. The child was buried in similar fashion to the others in the site, possibly indicating that the child was treated no different than others.  Read about it at New Scientist.
  • A 50+ year old frozen smallpox vial was found while researchers were cleaning out an old freezer at the NIH facility in Bethesda, MD.  The vial, though unsecured, was still intact and fully sealed.  The CDC has gained custody of the vial.  The contents were DNA tested to verify it's contents (definitely smallpox) and is now being tested to see if it could have infectious.  Read about it on NPR, CNN, and TIME.  
  • Apparently plants can hear themselves being eaten.  Yes, that lettuce you had for dinner converted the vibrations of your munching teeth into the terrifying (I assume) sound of their imminent death.  Read about it here.