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Collection of Resources for Today's Science Teachers
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Genome of 11,000-year-old living dog cancer determined, revealing cancer's origin and evolution

Genome of 11,000-year-old living dog cancer determined, revealing cancer's origin and evolution | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
A cancer normally lives and dies with a person, however this is not the case with a sexually transmitted cancer in dogs. In a study published in Science, researchers have described the genome and evolution of this cancer that has continued living within the dog population for the past 11,000 years.Scientists have sequenced the genome of the world's oldest continuously surviving cancer, a transmissible genital cancer that affects dogs. This cancer, which causes grotesque genital tumors in dogs around the world, first arose in a single dog that lived about 11,000 years ago. The cancer survived after the death of this dog by the transfer of its cancer cells to other dogs during mating.The genome of this 11,000-year-old cancer carries about two million mutations -- many more mutations than are found in most human cancers, the majority of which have between 1,000 and 5,000 mutations. The team used one type of mutation, known to accumulate steadily over time as a "molecular clock," to estimate that the cancer first arose 11,000 years ago."The genome of this remarkable long-lived cancer has demonstrated that, given the right conditions, cancers can continue to survive for more than 10,000 years despite the accumulation of millions of mutations," says Dr Elizabeth Murchison, first author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge.The genome of the transmissible dog cancer still harbors the genetic variants of the individual dog that first gave rise to the cancer 11,000 years ago. Analysis of these genetic variants revealed that this dog may have resembled an Alaskan Malamute or Husky. It probably had a short, straight coat that was colored either grey/brown or black. Its genetic sequence could not determine if this dog was a male or a female, but did indicate that it was a relatively inbred individual."We do not know why this particular individual gave rise to a transmissible cancer," says Dr Murchison, "But it is fascinating to look back in time and reconstruct the identity of this ancient dog whose genome is still alive today in the cells of the cancer that it spawned."Transmissible dog cancer is a common disease found in dogs around the world today. The genome sequence has helped scientists to further understand how this disease has spread."The patterns of genetic variants in tumors from different continents suggested that the cancer existed in one isolated population of dogs for most of its history," says Dr Murchison. "It spread around the world within the last 500 years, possibly carried by dogs accompanying seafarers on their global explorations during the dawn of the age of exploration."Transmissible cancers are extremely rare in nature. Cancers, in humans and animals, arise when a single cell in the body acquires mutations that cause it to produce more copies of itself. Cancer cells often spread to different parts of the body in a process known as metastasis. However, it is very rare for cancer cells to leave the bodies of their original hosts and to spread to other individuals. Apart from the dog transmissible cancer, the only other known naturally occurring transmissible cancer is an aggressive transmissible facial cancer in Tasmanian devils that is spread by biting.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Golden Spike recruit Draper to evaluate lunar landing sites | NASASpaceFlight.com

Golden Spike recruit Draper to evaluate lunar landing sites | NASASpaceFlight.com | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it

The Golden Spike company are continuing to push forward with their ambitious plans to reinitiate crewed missions to the surface of the Moon. The commercial company announced a partnership with Draper Laboratory on Wednesday, with the goal to evaluate potential lunar landing sites.


Formed in 2010, Golden Spike is led by Board Chair Gerry Griffin – a former Director of Johnson Space Center and Apollo Flight Director – and President/CEO Alan Stern, the well-known Planetary scientist, and former head of all NASA science missions.

 

When announced, the company already had an array of partners and space flight heavyweights on board, with the aim to provide a commercial option for individuals, companies and countries who wish to step foot on the Moon.


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Migration of coconuts

Migration of coconuts | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
Coconuts can get around, and weight ratios don't even enter into it. The fruits don’t exactly travel between different climates season by season, but they are quite capable of traveling on their own.Coconuts come from one of several plants that spread themselves using drift seeds, which can travel for thousands of miles over by floating in the ocean until they land on distant shores. If a coconut falls into the ocean, its buoyant husk allows it to travel wherever the ocean currents lead it. The question remains: could a coconut possibly migrate from its native tropical climate to a more temperate region, such as (and this is just off the top of my head, mind you) the Medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, located in modern-day England? To answer that, we need to take a look at where coconuts grow, and how ocean currents work.
Ocean currents have been known to spread debris to locations far away from its point of origin. One noteworthy example comes from 1992, when a shipping crate containing 28,000 rubber ducks was lost at sea near Hong Kong. The ducks traveled across the currents for years, washing up on the shores of Australia, Argentina, Alaska, Washington state, New England, and eventually the east coast of England itself. After falling off the ship, the rubber ducks were swept along by the Kuroshio Current, a current which also passes by the Philippines.
Since coconuts have grown in the Philippines for millenia, a medieval Filipino coconut could well have followed the same oceanic path as the rubber ducks from Hong Kong. The kingdom of Mercia included small sections of England's east coast, so it's possible that some wayward coconuts could have been swept to the kingdom's shores and picked up by a travelling king with aspirations of uniting the land.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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MIT Creates Transparent Screens That Are Practical Enough For Everyday Use

MIT Creates Transparent Screens That Are Practical Enough For Everyday Use | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
“ A transparent screen might seem to be a far fetched idea even in this technologically advanced age, as the ones that are in the market these days seem to lose out on their practicality.”
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Bio-inspired robotic device could aid ankle-foot rehabilitation, researcher says (w/ video)

Bio-inspired robotic device could aid ankle-foot rehabilitation, researcher says (w/ video) | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
A soft, wearable device that mimics the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the lower leg could aid in the rehabilitation of patients with ankle-foot disorders such as drop foot, said Yong-Lae Park, an assistant professor of robotics at Carnegie...

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This glass sphere might revolutionize solar power on Earth - The Mind Unleashed

This glass sphere might revolutionize solar power on Earth - The Mind Unleashed | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
German architect André Broessel, of Rawlemon, has looked into his crystal ball and seen the future of renewable energy. In thisRead More...

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, January 21, 2014 8:01 PM

Intriguing new way to concentrate solar energy.

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Water, water everywhere—in our Solar System

Water, water everywhere—in our Solar System | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
Solar wind and space dust combine to create water; process works on the Moon, too.

 

Water ice is the most abundant solid material in the Universe. Much of it was created as the byproduct of star formation, but not all of it. John Bradley of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and his team may have discovered a new source of water in our solar system. His lab experiments reveal that the solar wind may be creating water on interplanetary dust.


The sun ejects high-speed charged particles in all directions. Bodies in the inner solar system get bombarded by this wind of particles, which continuously varies in intensity. Small bodies, such as dust particles or tiny asteroids, can be eroded by these harsh winds. Larger bodies that do not have an atmosphere, such as the Moon, are bombarded by both the solar wind and tiny meteorites. This form of bombardment causes a phenomenon called space weathering.


Bradley’s team attempted to locate water using a highly sensitive method of analysis called valence electron energy-loss spectroscopy. The method involves exposing a sample to a beam of electrons that, upon hitting the material, will get deflected at different speeds. The deflection and the speeds can reveal how much energy was lost by the electrons in the process, which is based on the type of atom it hits. The instrument can identify the composition of a material at very small scales, just enough for Bradley to analyze silicate rims.

 

The best way to determine whether water forms on silicate rims is to do these experiments on the types of silicate material that exist in space. Bradley did this by using three types of these minerals: olivine, clinopyroxene, and anorthine. These were exposed to charged hydrogen and helium particles, which were a proxy for the solar wind.

 

If water is formed by the solar wind, it would only be found in the samples that were exposed to hydrogen—not in those exposed to helium. And that is what happened. As reported in PNAS, Bradley’s sensitive tests repeatedly found water, but only in the samples that were bombarded by hydrogen.

 

Martin McCoustra at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh finds the work convincing. He said, “I am not very surprised that water could be formed on silicates. However, now that they have shown that it can, it could be an important source of water.”

 

Bradley’s work implies that water molecules must have been forming for billions of years on interplanetary dust particles, on the Moon, and possibly on asteroids. However, McCoustra warns that “[t]his source of water, albeit new, won’t be able to account for a large proportion of water in the solar system. Most of that water was formed during the process of star formation that our sun went through.”

 

Some have argued that water-rich comets planted water on our planet, but McCoustra believes that a single source is unlikely. This study provides another potential source for the material that helps make our planet habitable.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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How sugar affects the brain - Nicole Avena

How sugar affects the brain - Nicole Avena | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it

"When you eat something loaded with sugar, your taste buds, your gut and your brain all take notice."


Via Beth Dichter
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Beth Dichter's curator insight, January 20, 2014 9:10 PM

The more I look through TED-Ed videos the more I find that are useful to use with students. This one explores how sugar affects the brain. As always there are a series of questions you may use after viewing the video as well as additional resources and an online forum question. And if you are interested you can flip the video for your use.

Lori Wilk's curator insight, January 20, 2014 10:54 PM

I do my best to avoid sugar 

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Wellcome Images

Wellcome Images | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
Wellcome Images is a medical picture library and the world's leading source of images on medicine and its history. Pictures cover a period stretching from ancient civilisations to modern day photography.

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Marianne Hart's curator insight, February 25, 2014 10:11 AM

Students & teachers are always looking for Creative Commons pics. Thank you!!!

Abe Soltani's curator insight, March 2, 2014 12:23 AM

A great site to get images for presentation and production.

Linda Denty's curator insight, March 5, 2014 5:43 PM

Fantastic resource!

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For NASA, 2014 Brings a Big Year for Commercial Spaceflight (Video)

For NASA, 2014 Brings a Big Year for Commercial Spaceflight (Video) | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
Four private companies working to build commercial spaceships to launch NASA astronauts into space are gearing up for a big year in 2014, space agency officials say. This year, private spaceflight companies Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada Corp., Boeing Space Exploration and SpaceX — which are all NASA partners the space agency's commercial crew program — will continue to perform tests and reviews for their respective space systems. During 2013, the four companies made headway toward accomplishing the program's goal: launching astronauts to low-Earth orbit from the United States within the next three years. NASA officials are planning on announcing one or two more Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts by August that would lead to commercial systems flying astronauts to the International Space Station.
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Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
Discover how project-based learning teaches students to explore real-world problems and challenges. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they're studying.

Via Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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ourduino - Collection of Arduino sketches - aimed at STEM/Technology clubs & Hack Spaces - Google Project Hosting

ourduino - Collection of Arduino sketches - aimed at STEM/Technology clubs & Hack Spaces - Google Project Hosting | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it

Via sylvia martinez, Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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Gene therapy could be used to treat blindness: Sight restored to partially blind patients

Gene therapy could be used to treat blindness: Sight restored to partially blind patients | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
Surgeons in Oxford have used a gene therapy technique to improve the vision of six patients who would otherwise have gone blind. The operation involved inserting a gene into the eye, a treatment that revived light-detecting cells. The doctors involved believe that the treatment could in time be used to treat common forms of blindness. Prof. Robert MacLaren, the surgeon who led the research, said he was "absolutely delighted" at the outcome.Mr. Wyatt has a genetic condition known as choroideremia, which results in the light-detecting cells at the back of the eye gradually dying. He was still just about able to see when he had the operation. His hope was that the procedure would stop further deterioration and save what little sight he had left.He, like another patient in Prof. MacLaren's trial, found that not only did the operation stabilise his vision - it improved it. The other subjects, who were at earlier stages in their vision, experienced improvements in their ability to see at night. Mr. Wyatt is now able to read three lines further down in an optician's sight chart. "I felt that I had come to the edge of an abyss," he said. "I looked down at total blackness. Prof. MacLaren tapped me on the shoulder and said 'come this way, it's possible to see again'."Another of the patients who underwent the treatment, Wayne Thompson, said he had noticed an immediate effect after the operation. "My color vision improved. Trees and flowers seemed much more vivid and I was able to see stars for the first time since I was 17 when my vision began to deteriorate," he explains. Mr. Thomson said he had spent his life resigned to the fact that he would go blind. "I've lived the last 25 years with the certainty that I am going to go blind and now (after the operation) there is the possibility that I will hang on to my sight," he said.
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Herschel telescope discovers water plumes on dwarf planet Ceres, largest object of the asteroid belt

Herschel telescope discovers water plumes on dwarf planet Ceres, largest object of the asteroid belt | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it

Scientists have confirmed signs of water on the dwarf planet Ceres, one of the few bodies in the solar system to hold that distinction.

 

Peering through the Herschel Space Observatory, a team led by the European Space Agency detected water plumes spewing from two regions on Ceres.

 

The observations, published in Thursday's issue of Nature, come as NASA's Dawn spacecraft is set to arrive at the Texas-sized dwarf planet next year.

 

It's long been suspected that Ceres is water-rich, but previous detections have been inconclusive. This is the first definitive evidence of water on Ceres and confirms that it has an icy surface, said lead author Michael Kuppers of the European Space Agency.

 

The latest finding puts Ceres in a special class of solar system objects with active plumes of water, a key ingredient for life. The company includes Jupiter's moon Europa - where an underground ocean is believed to exist - and the Saturn moon Enceladus, where jets have been seen venting from the surface.

 

The source of the water plumes is still unclear. Scientists think there may be a layer of ice just below the surface that gets heated by the sun or the plumes could be spewed by ice volcanoes.

 

Launched in 2007 and powered by ion propulsion, Dawn is the first spacecraft to orbit two space rocks. Ceres is different from Dawn's first target, Vesta, the second largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The zone is littered with rocks left over from the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago, allowing scientists to study how Earth and the other planets evolved.

 

Unlike Ceres, Vesta is dry and rugged. Its scars reveal it got whacked twice by smaller asteroids. Some of the debris was cast into space and rained on Earth as meteorites.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Suthipong Pongworn ตากล้องรับถ่ายภาพ's curator insight, January 23, 2014 7:56 PM

ถ้าคิดแค่ว่าสิ่งมีชีวิตต้องการน้ำเท่านั้น ก็คงจะเป็นเป้าหมายที่จะค้นหาสิ่งมีชีวิตที่ดาวดวงนี้ แต่ถ้าหากสิ่งมีชิวิตอื่นมีระบบการสร้างพลังงานที่แตกต่าง ไม่ใช้น้ำ ไม่ใช้ออกซิเจนหล่ะ หาแบบนี้คงไม่มีทางเจอ มนุษย์ก็ไม่ต่างกับไวรัสหรือแบคทีเรีย เมื่อเทียบกับความยิ่งใหญ่ของจักรวาล

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For Students of Science, Understanding Our Sugar Addiction

For Students of Science, Understanding Our Sugar Addiction | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
This short and powerful video describes all the many reasons we crave sugar. It's not only a great video to show science students (though older ones -- drugs ar
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Heavy metal in the early cosmos

Heavy metal in the early cosmos | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
“ NSF's mission is to advance the progress of science, a mission accomplished by funding proposals for research and education made by scientists, engineers, and educators from across the country.”
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Solid State Physics: Introduction, Chemical Bonds and Lattices - Quiz

Solid State Physics: Introduction, Chemical Bonds and Lattices - Quiz | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
Solid State Physics: Introduction, Chemical Bonds and Lattices - A quiz to check some basic concepts I taught in the first lessons. "Kahoot! is a classroom response system which creates an engaging learning space, through a game-based digital pedagogy. Kahoot!"
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Virtual SpaceTV 3D - January 2014 | YouTube

This Virtual SpaceTV 3D show was created by BINARY SPACE (www.binary-space.com) with story content from HobbySpace.com

In this show, Amanda Bush talks about the following topics:
01:14 -- 02:19 SpaceX sends another satellite to geo
02:20 -- 03:42 Cygnus delivers cargo to the ISS
03:43 -- 04:56 Europe partners a Dream Chaser
04:57 -- 06:22 SpaceShipTwo fires in the sky again
06:23 -- 07:40 Update on rovers on the Moon and Mars

 


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PLOS Biology: The Open Knowledge Foundation: Open Data Means Better Science

PLOS Biology: The Open Knowledge Foundation: Open Data Means Better Science | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it

Data provides the evidence for the published body of scientific knowledge, which is the foundation for all scientific progress. The more data is made openly available in a useful manner, the greater the level of transparency and reproducibility and hence the more efficient the scientific process becomes, to the benefit of society. This viewpoint is becoming mainstream among many funders, publishers, scientists, and other stakeholders in research, but barriers to achieving widespread publication of open data remain. The Open Data in Science working group at the Open Knowledge Foundation is a community that works to develop tools, applications, datasets, and guidelines to promote the open sharing of scientific data. This article focuses on the Open Knowledge Definition and the Panton Principles for Open Data in Science. We also discuss some of the tools the group has developed to facilitate the generation and use of open data and the potential uses that we hope will encourage further movement towards an open scientific knowledge commons.


Via Irina Radchenko, Pierre Levy, Ilya Levin
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The Year Ahead for NASA’s Commercial Crew Partners | Parabolic Arc

The Year Ahead for NASA’s Commercial Crew Partners | Parabolic Arc | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it

With just over seven months to go, NASA’s commercial crew partners are racing to complete 14 remaining milestones in this phase of the competition to launch Americans into orbit on U.S.-built spacecraft.

 

The coming months will see SpaceX conduct two abort tests of its Dragon spacecraft and Sierra Nevada  conduct at least one additional drop test of its Dream Chaser shuttle. Boeing will conduct three critical design reviews and a comprehensive safety review of its CST-100 spacecraft.

 

The three competitors have completed a total of 33 out of 47 milestones through the end of 2013.  Several of these milestones have been completed but are awaiting acceptance by NASA. Once that is completed, the space agency will have awarded $892 million out of $1.167 billion in possible awards.

 


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Remote-controlled spermbots could be used to fertilize eggs

Remote-controlled spermbots could be used to fertilize eggs | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it

Researchers have hijacked sperm cells to create spermbots that can be remotely controlled through magnetic fields, to go to the desired location.

 

Hijacking sperm cells to create little robots might seem far out, but that's exactly what researchers from the Dresden Institute for Integrative Nanosciences have done. Their "spermbots" consist of live sperm cells in little tubes, that can be magnetically controlled to move in a desired direction until they reach their destination and do their job – they're currently robust enough to even guide a specific sperm cell to an egg cell. The scientists hope that further development will allow the technology to offer a viable alternative to parents trying to have a child through in-vitro fertilization. When perfected, the spermbots could also be used as a safe means for drug delivery and gene manipulation.

 

One of the major challenges in creating micro robots that can potentially travel within the human body is the issue of a safe fuel source. Nanobots with engines efficient enough to propel themselves through bodily fluids need to carry fuel that's often toxic to the human body, and sometimes these machines can pass through into the cells and affect their functioning. To overcome these problems, the Dresden team began looking at safer alternatives to artificial nano engines.

 

"We thought of using a powerful biological motor to do the job instead and we came up with the flagella of a sperm cell, which is physiologically less problematic," Professor Oliver G. Schmidt, the Institute's Director, tells Gizmag. "The idea came to us five years ago when I noticed that sperm cells are of similar size to microtubes we can fabricate."

 

To create biorobots out of sperm cells, the researchers began working with bovine (bull) sperm cells – which are similar in size to human sperm cells. The first step was to create thin conical magnetic tubes capable of trapping sperm cells out of a titanium and iron film. The microtubes are rolled up in a way that makes one end larger than the other, with a diameter that's slightly larger than that of a bull sperm head.


Via Jeff Morris, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Discovery of quantum vibrations in 'microtubules' corroborates theory of consciousness

Discovery of quantum vibrations in 'microtubules' corroborates theory of consciousness | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
A review and update of a controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousness published in Physics of Life Reviews claims that consciousness derives from deeper level, finer scale activities inside brain neurons.

Via Mikko Hakala
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Rescooped by John Purificati from Science, Space, and news from 'out there'
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Has the Sun gone to sleep?

Has the Sun gone to sleep? | iScience Teacher | Scoop.it
Scientists are saying that the Sun is in a phase of "solar lull" - meaning that it has fallen asleep - and it is baffling them. History suggests that periods of unusual "solar lull" coincide with bitterly cold winters. Full article on BBC is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25743806
Via Sepp Hasslberger
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SECRETS OF THE BRAIN , NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC


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