Monday, September 12, 2011

News from the Fish Bowl

It's Lucky again, and it's Monday, and that means it's time for my weekly news workout! After a sore pair of fins and a really soggy keyboard, you'll be nice and updated on your news!

Ur Kitteh Iz Glowy

As reported by io9, mad scientists have successfully made a glow-in-the-dark cat by engineering it to express a gene normally found in jellyfish.

But GFP isn't the only extra-species gene this cat is carrying — it's also packing a gene called TRIMCyp, originally found in monkeys. By giving the gene to the cats, the researchers hope to shed light on how they might combat diseases like HIV/AIDS — not just in felines, but in humans, too. [more . . .]

I like the idea of glowy kittehs because it will be much harder for them to sneak up at me. That one cat is always dipping her paw in my bowl and I have to retreat into my little castle until she goes away.

The Space Pen is a Myth

Also from io9, but worth repeating: that thing you've heard about NASA spending millions to create a pen that writes in space while the Soviets used pencils isn't true.

More Exoplanets!

Dynamics of Cats . . . um . . . reports on the Extreme Solar Systems II conference. Many newly discovered planets are in the "habitable zone," and some have only 1.25 times the radius of Earth.

More Mad Science: Spider Silk Skin

According to Archana Ramanujam and Svebor Kranjc with Reuters, artist Jalila Essaïdi and cell biologist Abdoelwaheb El Ghalbzouri have blended human skin with spider silk to produce a material that can stop bullets. This may lead to improved grafts for burn patients. It may also lead to bullet-proof superheroes. It may also lead to creepy things like this:

The special skin will soon become part of Belgian art collector Geert Verbeke's unusual portfolio: he plans to graft part of the artist's creation into his arm later this year.

"It connects nature, science and art. If I put the art that Jalila has made on my arm, then I will always have it with me," said Verbeke, who has a particular interest in marrying arts and life sciences. [more . . .]

After this, he will begin calling himself Verbekespider, his body will start falling apart, he will find he can excrete spider silk, and he will try to force his girlfriend into a teleporter device that will blend them together . . . in one body . . . more human than he could ever hope to be.

Robotic Probes Sent to Moon

Well, I'll be, we do have a space program. This is also Reuters, by Irene Klotz. Launched on Saturday, a Delta 2 rocket is carrying the NASA Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL), which will reach the moon at the end of the year with the purpose of mapping the moon's gravity to determine the makeup of its core and whether moon rocks are ALIVE!!!

Ukrainian Sci-Fi Conference!

According to National Radio Company of Ukraine, a really big sci-fi convention is happening in Kharkiv from September 15 to 18. Anybody reading this in that area by any chance?

Fall Television

The Fall TV lineup is outlinde at SF Signal. Most of it, of course, is trash, but we have an eye on Terra Nova. It appears to involve dinosaurs and guns, and that can't be too bad.  However, it looks slightly too much like Earth 2, and we all remember how that turned out.
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