cubbi (cubbi) wrote,

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July 2011 in science: disappearing diamonds and soda can acoustics

I've been spending too much time with C++ on and off work, gotta remember my roots. Let's see if I can catch up on the past few months of random bits of science news that I thought were interesting! Here's what I was supposed to post about on august 1st:

Venerable Archaeopteryx is no longer the first bird, its feathers and other superficially avialan features evolved a bit earlier than what is now considered the first birds.

No less venerable turtles, long thought to be older than diapsids (snakes/lizards/birds), were shown to have actually been diapsids all along: they simply lost the characteristic skull holes at one point.

For 150 years botanists thought leaf initiation is autonomous. Turns out they were wrong, it is actually light-initiated.

Good old carbon can still pack a surprise without being shaped into a fullerene, nanotube, or graphene. Turns out that diamonds quietly evaporate in UV light, mechanism unknown.

Lucky Stanford biologist Kobilka (or, technically, his postdoc) got an X-ray structure of an activated GPCR protein (specifically, β2AR)

A genetics lab in Boston did something cool: they removed every single TAG codon from E.coli DNA, replacing it with functionally identical TAA, so that in their new E.coli strain,, TAG can code for an artificial amino acid

In astronomy, Earth's first Trojan asteroid was discovered, just like the ones orbiting the Sun behind and ahead of Jupiter, Neptune, and Mars. It has a pretty funky orbit.

It seems possible that Milky Way's central supermassive black hole consumed a small satellite galaxy, with its own central black hole, just 10 million years ago, this would explain a few unusual features of our galaxy.

In physics, turns out a 7 by 7 array of Coca Cola cans makes an awesome acoustic lens.

A flexible, transparent Li-ion battery was created, we might have completely see-through electronics one day.

Electroception, a common sense among fish, was discovered in a mammal for the first time, the guiana dolphin. Their electrosensing organs are vibrissal crypts - spots on the beak where their ancestors had whiskers.

Speaking of dolphins, Shark Bay dolphins in Australia wear sponges on their beaks and teach the young how to do it.

The people who live in the north have bigger heads.

When playing Rock-Paper-Scissors, humans tie more often than chance if they can see each other, despite trying to win, suggesting that their automatic imitation effect is not voluntary.
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