Krulwich Wonders is chock full of helpful advice on the topic of achieving immortality through nouns. Turns out maverick, bloomer, cardigan, and guillotine all were the names of people once, and have now become nouns with definitions that range greatly in terms of their appropriateness in summing up those people’s lives. Makes for fun reading on a Friday morning.
Immortality Through Nouns continues below the fold with:
- More good news for the immortality seeker: The Earth is less likely to be wiped out by an asteroid than we thought
- And to keep us entertained on our long dance into immortality: scientists are manufacturing glow-in-the-dark kittens
Extinction by Asteroid Less Likely Than Feared: NASA announced this week that an extinction-causing collision with a major asteroid is slightly less likely than they had previously thought. Thanks to a space telescope called the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), NASA now knows that there are far fewer massive asteroids out there than they had previously thought. Even better, scientists may already know the locations (and orbits) of 90% of them. But before you get too jubilant, the mid-size asteroid class — you know, the ones that are merely big enough to take out Washington, DC — are both numerous and badly accounted for. The near-Earth asteroid field study suggests that there are around 19,500 of them out there. So far, astronomers have only described the locations and orbits of some 4,500 of them. That’s a lot of loose ends.
Glow in the Dark Kittens: In the quest to find a cure to Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), a disease similar to HIV that affects some 1-3% of cats in the U.S., scientists have genetically engineered kittens that glow in the dark. So far, FIV has only ever been cured in Rhesus monkeys. Apparently Rhesus monkeys can fight off FIV because they have a special protein in their cells that cats don’t. The scientists wanted to know a) if there was a way to genetically modify cats so that they could manufacture this protein for themselves and b) if those genetically modified cats were then resistant to FIV. To make it easier to tell if the experiment was working, they paired the gene that manufactures the monkey protein with one that makes cat fur glow in the dark. They still don’t know if the cats are resistant to FIV, but they are glowing nicely (as you can tell from the picture above). What my Caterpickle and I want to know is, if the experiment works, will they make the FIV-resistant cat available to the mainstream pet owner, and can we get it in neon pink?
So, what about you? What caught your eye this week?
- Green-glowing cats are new tool in AIDS research – Yahoo! News (news.yahoo.com)
- Frankenkitties? Scientists say glow-in-dark cats may take bite out of AIDS (cbsnews.com)
- Scientists Create FrankenKitty: A Cat That Glows in the Dark (molliemorrissette.wordpress.com)