Science Hub




MIT Researchers Create Computer Model Of The History Of The Universe: VIDEO

Model of the Universe

Revealing that they might in fact be part Time Lord, researchers at MIT have constructed an immense computer simulation of the 14 billion year history of the universe, from 12 million years after the Big Bang to the present, using both the stars and galaxies we can see and the energies and dark matter that we can't.

For those of us that were never very good at astronomy, The Guardian has a great breakdown of the research and methods behind the model's construction, while Nature has the study available for purchase as a PDF and a short video of the model in action, which you can watch AFTER THE JUMP...

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Study Shows Gay And Bi People Respond Positively To Same-Sex Pheromones

Chinese researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences recently conducted a study that showed that the brains of gay and bisexual men respond positively to androstadienone, the male pheromone found in male semen and sweat. It also showed that lesbian and bi women respond somewhat similarly to the female pheromone estratetraenol.

PheromonesUsing four separate groups of 24 gay/bi men, straight men, gay/bi women and straight women, participants were shown videos of ambiguous human figures walking forward and then asked to guess whether the human was male or female. They watched these videos while concurrently being exposed to androstadienone or estratetraenol masked with the scent of cloves.

Researchers found:

When exposed to androstadienone, heterosexual women were more likely to suggest that the wire figure was a man—but the pheromone had no effect on heterosexual men (that is, hetero men largely could not detect a male or female presence when presented with the pheromone) Perhaps most importantly, homosexual men also responded to that pheromone, suggesting that gay men innately perceive (and are perhaps affected by) male pheromones.

Straight men, meanwhile, were more likely to perceive the figure as feminine when exposed to estratetraenol. Straight women showed no effect, while lesbian and bisexual women showed a response somewhere in between…

The study’s abstract concludes:

The results provide the first direct evidence that the two human steroids communicate opposite gender information that is differentially effective to the two sex groups based on their sexual orientation. Moreover, they demonstrate that human visual gender perception draws on subconscious chemosensory biological cues, an effect that has been hitherto unsuspected.

Vice.com’s Motherboard notes, “The study is similar in its findings—if not its methods—to one published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2005 that found that the brains of gay men respond in a similar way to straight women when exposed to androstadienone.

The study did not include transgender men or women nor any genderqueer individuals.


Young Blood May Be Able To Reverse Aging

Countess Bathory

Turns out Countess Bathory may have had it right: scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine believe they have discovered that the blood of the young can be used to combat or even reverse aging. Reviving the works from the 50s of Dr. Clive McCay, the Stanford researchers found that administering the blood of young mice to elderly mice improved their vitality, resiliency, and even brain function. It's thanks to a protein called GDF11, which activates dormant stem cells and was plentiful in young mice but scarce in the elderly.

Idealistically, studies with the protein could result in a sort of "cure-all" medicine that would help repair system-wide faults in the body instead of having to use multiple specially-targeted drugs. However, Dr. Amy Wagers, one of the scientists on the study, pointed out that reawakening the stem cells could conceivably result in unregulated growth, thus increasing the incidence of cancer.

You can read the full study - which requires a subscription or a purchase of a single article - as well as see a short unembeddable video over at ScienceDirect.


Robosnakes Will Slither Their Way into Your Heart, Literally: VIDEO

Robosnake

Adding to the menagerie of creepy robots that includes the Martian-esque MorpHex hexapod and Boston Dynamics' aptly-named Cheetah is Medrobotics' robosnake. The artificial reptiles can climb poles, are waterproof, and can even be deployed inside you for heart surgery. Surely there is nothing to fear.

You can watch the robosnake in action and study its weaknesses AFTER THE JUMP...

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A Praying Mantis Wears 3D Glasses Because Science: VIDEO

Mantis

Sometimes it seems like scientists are just messing with us and and are testing what they can get away with by claiming pursuit of greater scientific understanding. The latest entry of the "Wait, really?" files finds researchers at Newcastle University in the UK adhering tiny 3D glasses to praying mantises with beeswax to see how they respond when shown three dimensional images.

As mantises are one of the few invertibrates with stereoscopic vision, the scientists want to discover if their depth perception is comparable to that of humans and other stereoscopic mammals by trying to trick them into reacting to 3D "bugs" on a monitor.

You can watch a short video of the experiment AFTER THE JUMP...

3D Praying Mantis

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New Vulnerability Found In HIV Virus

HIV five sites of vulnerabilityScientists at the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) working with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) have found a fifth weak point in the HIV virus that can be targeted and attacked by human antibodies.

A new class of antibodies that neutralize a broad range of HIV strains provided a critical tool. The surface protein bearing the vulnerable site is typically unstable and difficult to study. Unlike previously discovered "broadly neutralizing" antibodies, these actually stabilize the protein in its fully assembled, infectious state. This makes it much easier to study the HIV surface protein. Moreover, other such vulnerable sites are likely to exist, the researchers said, and knowledge of what to look for should help. The site is the first discovered since 2009, said Andrew Ward, one of the TSRI researchers.

A possible vaccine would still be years away, but these new findings could also help design neutralizing antibody cocktails that hold the virus in check. Said one of the TSRI researchers Andrew Ward,

This is another tool, another option. The more options we have, the better we'll be.


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