Science

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What really happens when you get shot

Most of what we learn about gunshot wounds, we learn from watching television. A small sliver of this programming is actually educational, like the ballistics tests performed on Mythbusters. (Some lessons: Bullets fired into liquids will stop or disintegrate rather than slice through seawater a la Saving Private Ryan, and a weapon that would blow a victim backwards would also blow the shooter back.) But these examples are outliers. Depictions of gun violence in fictional shows and movies are routine, and often wildly imaginative. Those depictions are distorting understanding of what bullets can—or can’t—do to bodies.

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Genetically Engineered Fish and the Strangeness of American Salmon

Sometime in the next few years, an entirely new fish will appear on American plates. After several decades of biotech research and a final upstream push past the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month, the AquaBounty AquAdvantage salmon, a genetically engineered species of fish, will go into commercial production. While modified plants like corn and soy abound in the American diet, this will mark the first time in history that an engineered animal has been approved for human consumption. The new fish’s genetic code is comprised of components from three fish: base DNA from an Atlantic salmon; a growth gene from a Pacific Chinook salmon; and a promoter, a kind of “on” switch for genes, from a knobby-headed eel-shaped creature called an ocean pout.

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The fate of the banana

And since the fungus can’t be killed, it’s likely only a matter of time before it lands in Latin America, where some more than three-fifths of the planet’s exported bananas are grown. In other words, the days of the iconic yellow fruit are numbered.

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Measuring crop yields from space

A research team, led by Kaiyu Guan, a postdoctoral fellow in Earth system science at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy, & Environmental Sciences, has developed a method to estimate crop yields using satellites that can measure solar-induced fluorescence, a light emitted by growing plants. The team published its results in the journal Global Change Biology.

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On human hibernation

Scientists, like myself, who study this amazing physiological feat have reached the same conclusion: That is, all hibernating mammals use the same genetic architecture to hibernate. Hibernation happens from genes being turned on and off—much like a light switch—in very unique patterns throughout the year to modulate physiology. And, importantly, these genes are shared among the entire mammal family tree. They are not genes that evolved specifically for hibernation. Therefore, it seems as though all mammals—including humans—might actually have the genetic capacity for hibernation. It’s literally written in our DNA.

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Chemist hasn’t showered in 12 years

Whitlock gathered some of these good bacteria, which neutralize dangerous organisms and hazardous substances on the skin, and made them into a spray that he’s been using since for his daily hygiene. Among other things, it breaks down ammonia: the compound that makes human sweat stink in the first place.

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Exomedicine: How space exploration could improve medicine on Earth

Exomedicine refers to the research and development of medical solutions in the microgravity environment of space for applications on Earth, Kimel said.

He said that one major revelation from space travel is that humans know relatively little about living systems and disease processes outside of Earth. But the thing is, microgravity presents a great potential to uncover insights into better ways to treat and prevent disease.

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