Last week’s Webcrawl got stuck in a snowbank on Friday morning. It took me all weekend to dig it out. (Actually, that’s fiction, but the true story is much less exciting.)
Here are a few of my favorite science stories from last week:
- I’m sure you didn’t miss it, but a baby born with AIDS has been off medication and symptom free for one year, due to unique actions taken by the doctors attending his birth.
- Turns out Google (and other search engines) isn’t just my brain’s external hard drive. Last week, researchers at Microsoft, Columbia, and Stanford revealed they can use to identify drug side effects not already known to doctors.
- A Q&A with one of my favorite young science writers, Cristy Gelling, on the SA Incubator.
- And here’s the guy that interviewed her, Bora Zivcovic, explaining why daylight savings time is a terrible idea (I am definitely in agreement this morning, although it was pretty sweet to see the sun out so late last night).
- Denis Overbye at the New York Times had a great collection of stories on the Higgs Boson, complete with videos and animated drawings explaining what the heck it is and why scientists are looking for it.
- Another mind boggling concept in physics? Universality. Aatish Bhatia explains it all quite gracefully on his blog, Empirical Zeal.
- A team of atmospheric scientists at University of Colorado Boulder showed that volcanoes are slowing down global warming. But we might not care as much as we used to, because of our collective “green fatigue.”
- Another thing going down? the amount of energy in our “food.” A podcast on Scientific American discusses “how our greatest fuel source became our greatest health threat.”
- Cicadas keep their wings bacteria-free through nano-spikes on their surface that basically poke holes in microbial cells that land on them. It’s the only known structural antibiotic. Pretty cool.
- A “honeybee brain specialist” at Newcastle University in England showed last week that some plants use caffeine to chemically enhance bees’ learning process, luring them back again and again.
- Two independent studies showed that salt makes human and mouse T cells more pathogenic and is linked to increase autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis, in mice. Salt at Fault?
- Another mouse study showed that implanting human brain cells into murine brains helps them…I forget. Oh right, improve memory.
- A genome-wide study of 60,000 people around the world revealed genetic similarities between five major psychiatric disorders: schizophrenia, autism, bipolar disorder, depression, and and ADD. It looks like this news was broken a couple weeks ago, but I just found out about it.
- And finally, three blog posts by George Johnson about Oliver Sacks’ essay, “The Twins,” about two people who could tell uncannily quickly whether very large numbers were prime. They did in a “non-algorithmic way,” suggesting our brains might look something like quantum computers.