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Comment Re:Keeping it Readable (Score 1) 368

You might want to write a story exploring the potential of AI and robotics. Or nuclear fusion power. Or asteroid mining. Or molecular manufacturing. Or life extension. All good topics. Now try to write a novel where *all* of those scenarios have become real and are interacting with one another. Oops... That's going to be really hard to pull off without ending up in a muddled mess, and it's also going to be hard to explore each of those ideas in the depth it deserves. (Especially if you also have, you know... characters, and a plot, and so forth!)

You might wanna check out the The Quantum Thief and its sequels. It covers everything you just mentioned and much more...

Comment Re:Thanks you... (Score 1) 467

I think the new wave of Windows 7 and Android tablets will show that in short order

Why do you think companies are investing into tablets all of a sudden after long years of indifference? Here is a hint, it has to do with a company who singlehandedly changed the smartphone paradigm for the betterment of everyone and introduced a new wave of healthy competition.

everyone who actually wanted a real tablet computer

No one cared about tablets before iPad. While I hate the heavy handed control Apple has over iPad and won't be buying one, I WILL buy a comparable tablet with Android that has a competent multi-touch interface.

Comment Re:Not surprised (Score 1) 360

THis paper is striking because it again underlines that evolution occurs by chance (genetic drift) in many cases and humanity is on the verge of gripping evolution from the horns. Here is a perfectly fine gene, inactivated by a premature termination codon mutation that occurred after human lineage diverged from the lineage we share with orangutans, lesser apes, and old world monkeys. Why? because there was no significant selective pressure against it and probably trough some chance event (think founder effect) we as a species lost this gene. Now trough paleogenetics we awaken a 7 million old gene from pseudogene hell! It makes me excited for my chosen profession again (PhD is hard and you need all the motivation you can get)

Dead Birds Do Tell Tales 21

grrlscientist writes "While many natural history museum study skin collections have specimens that are more than 100 years old, most museum tissue collections are very recent — in fact, many were initiated during the 1980s. Due to the perishable nature of tissues, they are expensive to maintain and must be carefully managed and continually replenished. Unfortunately, funding shortages and other considerations have made it more difficult for museums to collect animals as often as they did in the past. Therefore, tissues from both wild and captive animals are limited, particularly those from rare and difficult-to-collect animals, such as lories."

Cells In the Retina Tile Like Puzzle Pieces 29

tim writes "Recent work at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif. shows that cells in the retina sample visual space like a multi-layered jigsaw puzzle. High resolution measurements of light response reveal that individual cells have irregular shapes, but together their shapes coordinate to tightly cover visual space. This type of large scale, exquisite coordination could be a general organizing principle of the brain, but no one has seen it previously because technical obstacles typically prevent recording from large cell populations." Here's a link to full paper.

Comment Re:Not quite... (Score 1) 139

Induced pluripotent cells (which they generated here) are actually shown to be able to differentiate into many many cell types. Indeed the next step is to test their properties in more detail but literature suggests it will work with a high probability. Here directly from wikipedia:

Pluripotency: iPSCs were capable of differentiation in a fashion similar to ESCs into fully differentiated tissues.

        * Neural Differentiation: iPSCs were differentiated into neurons, expressing βIII-tubulin, tyrosine hydroxylase, AADC, DAT, ChAT, LMX1B, and MAP2. The presence of catecholamine-associated enzymes may indicate that iPSCs, like hESCs, may be differentiable into dopaminergic neurons. Stem cell-associated genes were downregulated after differentiation.
        * Cardiac Differentiation: iPSCs were differentiated into cardiomyocytes that spontaneously began beating. Cardiomyocytes expressed TnTc, MEF2C, MYL2A, MYHCβ, and NKX2.5. Stem cell-associated genes were downregulated after differentiation.
        * Teratoma Formation: iPSCs injected into immunodeficient mice spontaneously formed teratomas after nine weeks. Teratomas are tumors of multiple lineages containing tissue derived from the three germ layers endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm; this is unlike other tumors, which typically are of only one cell type. Teratoma formation is a landmark test for pluripotency.
        * Embryoid Body: hESCs in culture spontaneously form ball-like embryo-like structures termed "embryoid bodies", which consist of a core of mitotically active and differentiating hESCs and a periphery of fully differentiated cells from all three germ layers. iPSCs also form embryoid bodies and have peripheral differentiated cells.
        * Blastocyst Injection: hESCs naturally reside within the inner cell mass (embryoblast) of blastocysts, and in the embryoblast, differentiate into the embryo while the blastocyst's shell (trophoblast) differentiates into extraembryonic tissues. The hollow trophoblast is unable to form a living embryo, and thus it is necessary for the embryonic stem cells within the embryoblast to differentiate and form the embryo. iPSCs were injected by micropipette into a trophoblast, and the blastocyst was transferred to recipient females. Chimeric living mouse pups were created: mice with iPSC derivatives incorporated all across their bodies with 10%-90& chimerism.

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