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Where Does Identity Come From?: Scientific American

Where Does Identity Come From?: Scientific American | SJC Science | Scoop.it
A fascinating new neuroscience experiment probes an ancient philosophical question—and hints that you might want to get out more

Via Luisa Meira
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Identity can change due to brain changes as you grow older, particularly in active people. This report raises some interesting and at times controversial ideas - refreshingly.

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SJC Science
Science education which informs, enriches and prompts action.
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Interactive: 100 years of temperatures in Australia

Interactive: 100 years of temperatures in Australia | SJC Science | Scoop.it
As much of eastern Australia shivers through a cold front, take a look at 100 years of temperatures.
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Another reason to tread lightly on our environment whenever possible.

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FOXO1: Single gene switch to convert human gastrointestinal cells to insulin-producing cells

FOXO1: Single gene switch to convert human gastrointestinal cells to insulin-producing cells | SJC Science | Scoop.it

By switching off a single gene, scientists have converted human gastrointestinal cells into insulin-producing cells, demonstrating in principle that a drug could retrain cells inside a person’s GI tract to produce insulin. The finding raises the possibility that cells lost in type 1 diabetes may be more easily replaced through the reeducation of existing cells than through the transplantation of new cells created from embryonic or adult stem cells. The new research was reported in the online issue of the journal Nature Communications.

 

"People have been talking about turning one cell into another for a long time, but until now we hadn't gotten to the point of creating a fully functional insulin-producing cell by the manipulation of a single target," said the study's senior author, Domenico Accili, MD, the Russell Berrie Foundation Professor of Diabetes (in Medicine) at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).

 

The finding raises the possibility that cells lost in type 1 diabetes may be more easily replaced through the reeducation of existing cells than through the transplantation of new cells created from embryonic or adult stem cells.

 

For nearly two decades, researchers have been trying to make surrogate insulin-producing cells for type 1 diabetes patients. In type 1 diabetes, the body's natural insulin-producing cells are destroyed by the immune system.

 

Although insulin-producing cells can now be made in the lab from stem cells, these cells do not yet have all the functions of naturally occurring pancreatic beta cells.

 

This has led some researchers to try instead to transform existing cells in a patient into insulin-producers. Previous work by Dr. Accili's lab had shown that mouse intestinal cells can be transformed into insulin-producing cells; the current Columbia study shows that this technique also works in human cells.

 

The Columbia researchers were able to teach human gut cells to make insulin in response to physiological circumstances by deactivating the cells' FOXO1 gene. Accili and postdoctoral fellow Ryotaro Bouchi first created a tissue model of the human intestine with human pluripotent stem cells. Through genetic engineering, they then deactivated any functioning FOXO1 inside the intestinal cells. After seven days, some of the cells started releasing insulin and, equally important, only in response to glucose.

 

The team had used a comparable approach in its earlier, mouse study. In the mice, insulin made by gut cells was released into the bloodstream, worked like normal insulin, and was able to nearly normalize blood glucose levels in otherwise diabetic mice: New Approach to Treating Type I Diabetes? Columbia Scientists Transform Gut Cells into Insulin Factories. That work, which was reported in 2012 in the journal Nature Genetics, has since received independent confirmation from another group.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Peter Phillips's insight:

New hope for diabetics - without a transplant.

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M. Philip Oliver's curator insight, July 2, 6:28 PM

Dr Stefan's post reegarding Diabetes update!

malek's comment, July 10, 7:52 AM
an epiphany when you have it in the family
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Game On: An Online Challenge to Gifted Students to Compete Globally

Game On: An Online Challenge to Gifted Students to Compete Globally | SJC Science | Scoop.it
Brilliant.org is an online hub for the world's most promising young minds to come together, connect, and see how they measure up against one another. Khim says she's already hearing that students are listing Brilliant on their college applications.
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Targeting STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) and with its audience doubling every 8 weeks, Brilliant.org provides a dynamic benchmark for high achievers to challenge themselves against (each other), tapping into their competitive nature using game theory.

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Software Used for Facial Recognition Teases Out Secret Messages Hidden on Bird Eggs

Software Used for Facial Recognition Teases Out Secret Messages Hidden on Bird Eggs | SJC Science | Scoop.it

Some bird eggs have visual signatures that help them distinguish they own clutch from impostor cuckoo .

 

For most honest bird species, brood parasites like the cuckoo are no joke. These sneaky free-loaders comprise about one percent of all bird species. Sniffing out false eggs is serious business for many birds. Brood parasites plant eggs in unsuspecting nests and leave the duped foster parents to care for their chicks—usually to the deadly detriment of the foster parents' own babies. 

 

Now, researchers from Harvard University and the University of Cambridge have discovered one way that bird parents likely keep an eye on their own eggs: with special visual signature. The researchers used the same kind of software that companies rely on for facial recognition and image stitching but applied that technology to hundreds of eggs of eight different parasitized bird species. They call the new program NaturePatternMatch.

 

The host birds, they found, have previously unrecognized egg "signatures"—essentially, secret visual cues that allow them to recognize their own among the imposters. The more intensely the bird species is targeted by cuckoos, the more complex and sophisticated their egg signatures. Some of the host birds, they found, produce exactly the same egg, whereas some show variation within their own clutch or between females within the same species. All of these methods, the team says, would likely be effective strategies for lessening the likelihood of being duped.

 

"The ability of Common Cuckoos to mimic the appearance of many of their hosts' eggs has been known for centuries," the researchers say in a statement. "The astonishing finding here is that hosts can fight back against cuckoo mimicry by evolving highly recognizable patterns on their own eggs, just like a bank might insert watermarks on its currency to deter counterfeiters."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Earthquake Science, and the Disaster That Created It

What happened March 27, 1964? Alaska knows very well, . . . Join us to learn more about earthquakes with host Hank Green on this infusion of SciShow. ---------- Like SciShow? Want to help...
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Smithsonian Science Education Center - Play our newest game, HABITATS!

Habitats game released by the Smthsonian.
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Haven't had a chance to try this out yet, as it does not seem to play on iPhone.
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Researchers have made mini-retinas in a petri dish (ScienceAlert)

Researchers have made mini-retinas in a petri dish (ScienceAlert) | SJC Science | Scoop.it
Using human stem cells scientists have created mini-retinas that can sense light.
Peter Phillips's insight:
Hope for macular degeneration, and colour blindness, even blindness?
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GM mosquitoes may aid malaria fight

GM mosquitoes may aid malaria fight | SJC Science | Scoop.it
Scientists create new strains of malaria mosquitoes that produce 95% male offspring, and can drive a rapid population crash in the laboratory.
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Of course, there would need to be a sustained breeding and release of these mosquitoes into wild populations to make a difference. Females might eventually note the difference and find them sexually less attractive than their non meddled with mates: natural selection would select for females that could tell the difference. So all over in a few generations. Effective, but only in the short term.
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World Environment Day

World Environment Day | SJC Science | Scoop.it
50 'Why I love my environment' placards and a WWF panda onesie. St Joseph's College Echuca.
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Think locally. Act locally. Global education: local application.
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Murray River Virtual Field Trip

An introduction to the diversity of life along the Murray River. This presentation focuses on identifying relationships, habitat and change over time. It aim...
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Peter Phillips's curator insight, May 27, 3:57 PM

For more information about river ecology and river ecosystem concepts, see Paul Humphries at http://paulhumphriesriverecology.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/schematic-representation-of-the-main-river-ecosystem-concepts/

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The Universe - Cosmic Vistas, Magnificent Views of Space. A Video Documentary [4 hrs]

The "Journey to the Edge of the Universe" documentary film broadcast on National Geographic and Discovery Channels.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, Peter Phillips
Peter Phillips's insight:

The Universe. Sit back and enjoy this 4hr free to air youtube ... Thanks to Nat Geo & Discovery Channel.

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Peter Phillips's curator insight, May 2, 6:50 PM

The Universe. Sit back and enjoy this 4hr free to air youtube ... Thanks to Nat Geo & Discovery Channel.

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Downscaling to a tiny house to find big happiness

Downscaling to a tiny house to find big happiness | SJC Science | Scoop.it
The small house movement is gaining ground around the world with its vision of living simply and sustainably in small spaces. Jane Shields finds out how one of the movement’s leaders, Dee Williams, learned to live with less.
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Are You Teaching Content Or Teaching Thought? -

Are You Teaching Content Or Teaching Thought? - | SJC Science | Scoop.it

"Thinking is troublesome.  For one, it is an intimate act splicing time and space. It is done right here, but it spans moments in the pasts and reaches out uncertainly towards moments in the future. Put another way, you think in a singular, precise space about plural, imprecise times.

It also resists uniformity (and education loves uniformity). Thought hinges on schema (familiar forms and patterns we then impose unfamiliar data to make sense of it), and emotion (in part, our internal response to the former). It is as diverse as character, experience, and affection. It’s like defining art, establishing criteria for beauty, or causing love.  And whether it knows it or not, education has a thinking problem."


Via Seth Dixon
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 11, 8:58 AM

What is your primary goal as a teacher?  Do you teach social studies or do you teach students?  While this may feel like we are splitting hairs, the distinction is an important one that is at the at the heart of your own pedagogical approach.  This is some nice food for thought on the topic to reflect on how and why you teach. 

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New germ-killing nanosurface opens up new front in hygiene

New germ-killing nanosurface opens up new front in hygiene | SJC Science | Scoop.it
Imagine a hospital room, door handle or kitchen countertop that is free from bacteria—and not one drop of disinfectant or boiling water or dose of microwaves has been needed to zap the germs.

 

That is the idea behind a startling discovery made by scientists in Australia.

In a study published on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, they described how a dragonfly led them to a nano-tech surface that physically slays bacteria.

 

The germ-killer is black silicon, a substance discovered accidentally in the 1990s and now viewed as a promising semiconductor material for solar panels.

 

Under an electron microscope, its surface is a forest of spikes just 500 nanometres (500 billionths of a metre) high that rip open the cell walls of any bacterium which comes into contact, the scientists found. It is the first time that any water-repellent surface has been found to have this physical quality as bactericide.

 

Last year, the team, led by Elena Ivanova at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, were stunned to find cicada wings were potent killers of Pseudomonas aeruginsoa—an opportunist germ that also infects humans and is becoming resistant to antibiotics.

 

Looking closely, they found that the answer lay not in any biochemical on the wing, but in regularly-spaced "nanopillars" on which bacteria were sliced to shreds as they settled on the surface. They took the discovery further by examining nanostructures studding the translucent forewings of a red-bodied Australian dragonfly called the wandering percher (Latin name Diplacodes bipunctata). It has spikes that are somewhat smaller than those on the black silicon—they are 240 nanometres high.

 

The dragonfly's wings and black silicon were put through their paces in a lab, and both were ruthlessly bactericidal. Smooth to the human touch, the surfaces destroyed two categories of bacteria, called Gram-negative and Gram-positive, as well as spores, the protective shell that coats certain times of dormant germs.


The three targeted bugs comprised P. aeruginosa, the notorious Staphylococcus aureus and the ultra-tough spore of Bacillus subtilis, a wide-ranging soil germ that is a cousin of anthrax. The killing rate was 450,000 bacterial cells per square centimetre per minute over the first three hours of exposure. This is 810 times the minimum dose needed to infect a person with S. aureus, and a whopping 77,400 times that of P. aeruginosa.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Peter Phillips's insight:

Learning from nature - dragon fly wings. Minute structures on their surface pop bacteria like balloons. Opening possibilities to reduce antibiotic use in hospitals.

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How to Make Compost Tea & Why You Should

How to Make Compost Tea & Why You Should | SJC Science | Scoop.it
When I posted a video on how to make compost extractions, and later on how to make compost tea it awakened my interest in this lesser-known subset of composting
Peter Phillips's insight:

A refreshing overview on the subject of compost teas, including fact sheets and 'how to' videos. A spring activity to look forward to, compost teas are homemade liquid fertilisers which give plants a dose of healthy micro-organisms at the same time. Thank goodness the queensland version (which includes cane toads) is missing.

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Storm Surge Preparedness and Safety

Storm Surge Preparedness and Safety | SJC Science | Scoop.it
Melbourne's high water in the Yarra river was caused by a storm surge (usually associated with tropical cyclones). BOM explains how they work.
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10 Scientific Ideas That Scientists Wish You Would Stop Misusing

10 Scientific Ideas That Scientists Wish You Would Stop Misusing | SJC Science | Scoop.it
Many ideas have left the world of science and made their way into everyday language -- and unfortunately, they are almost always used incorrectly.
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A well written post outlining misconceptions which lead to misunderstandings about the nature and strength of science. Pitfalls to avoid, or opportunities to explain? You decide.
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Plants hitchhike on the wings of birds

Plants hitchhike on the wings of birds | SJC Science | Scoop.it
Finding explains wide dispersal of mosses
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Smithsonian Science Education Center - Bridging the Gap Between Social Media and Science Education

Smithsonian Science Education Center - Bridging the Gap Between Social Media and Science Education | SJC Science | Scoop.it
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Smithsonian Science Education is a great resource for teachers and students that gets better everyday.
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Busting the megalodon myth: did a 3m shark get eaten by an even bigger shark?

Busting the megalodon myth: did a 3m shark get eaten by an even bigger shark? | SJC Science | Scoop.it
The white shark grin. She definitely knows something we don’t. Image: Flickr / Pterantula By Kirsten Lea Sometimes the internet goes a little crazy with quirky, fantastical, scary stories.
Peter Phillips's insight:
A timely explanation from CSIRO quashing a developing urban myth, but at the same time teaching about science and the (great) white shark. A great :) read.
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Digital lighting goes organic | Student Science

Digital lighting goes organic | Student Science | SJC Science | Scoop.it
An environmentally friendly lighting technology promises not only to save energy but also to transform our indoor environment.
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Unusually detailed and well written article describes the future of lighting. It suggests that the era if the globe is coming to an end.
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Murray River Kayak.: How the Murray River course was shaped.

Murray River Kayak.: How the Murray River course was shaped. | SJC Science | Scoop.it

How the Murray River found its shape. Aboriginal dreamtime, geographical and geological perspectives on how the Murray River formed.

Peter Phillips's insight:

Many publications are highly technical. in this entry, I have tried to use more accessible language, but maintain as much accuracy as possible. If you have suggestions for improvements, let me know.

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Peter Phillips's curator insight, June 2, 11:52 AM

Many publications are highly technical. in this entry, I have tried to use more accessible language, but maintain as much accuracy as possible. If you have suggestions for improvements, let me know.

Peter Phillips's curator insight, June 2, 11:55 AM

Many publications are highly technical. in this entry, I have tried to use more accessible language, but maintain as much accuracy as possible. If you have suggestions for improvements, let me know.

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Change the way you think - WWF - YouTube

We live on a finite planet and sometimes our impact on it is greater than we realize. The seemingly isolated actions we take every day—from our choice of mor...
Peter Phillips's insight:
The first and most effective step towards living more sustainably is to become conscious of our habits.
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Track Your Carbon Footprint With These Apps

Track Your Carbon Footprint With These Apps | SJC Science | Scoop.it
Looking for a great, simple way to go extra green this Spring? Try calculating your carbon footprint on a regular basis with one of these straightforward, easy-to-use iPhone apps. Whether you're looking for an elaborate tracking method or a basic way to
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Can't wait to give these a try.

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Scientists warn of global warming's abrupt changes - Los Angeles Times

Scientists warn of global warming's abrupt changes - Los Angeles Times | SJC Science | Scoop.it
Scientists warn of global warming's abrupt changes Los Angeles Times.
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