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Science writer, geek, husband
Occupation: Science writer
Added to CircleCount.com: 07/07/2011That's the date, where Ed Yong has been indexed by CircleCount.com.
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Ed Yong was in following circles
2012-05-30 17:29:03 (10 comments, 10 reshares, 43 +1s)
This post is written in a font made from DNA (and there's a link at the bottom that explains how it works)
2012-04-19 18:13:38 (6 comments, 20 reshares, 60 +1s)
In an act of transformation worthy of any magician, scientists have converted scar tissue in the hearts of living mice into beating heart cells. If the same trick works in humans (and we’re still several years away from a trial), it could lead us to a long-sought prize of medicine – a way to mend a broken heart.
2012-04-19 18:12:49 (4 comments, 26 reshares, 59 +1s)
Out of all the possible molecules in the world, just two form the basis of life’s grand variety: DNA and RNA. They encode the stuff of every whale, ant, flower, tree and bacterium.
But scientists have now developed six alternative polymers called XNAs that can also store genetic information and evolve through natural selection. None of them are found in nature. They are part of a dawning era of “synthetic genetics”, which expands the chemistry of life in new uncharted directions.
2012-04-17 16:00:05 (7 comments, 19 reshares, 32 +1s)
Today I learned that kangaroos have three vaginas. Click on the link to find out more (SFW).
2012-04-13 18:14:55 (8 comments, 24 reshares, 57 +1s)
Scientists have found bacteria that have been living underground for as long as modern humans have existed, but that still resist our antibiotics. Find out why http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2012/04/13/isolated-for-millions-of-years-cave-bacteria-resist-modern-antibiotics/
2012-04-12 21:03:07 (8 comments, 18 reshares, 31 +1s)
‘Wasp’ is an English word, but ‘telk’ is not. You and I know this because we speak English. But in a French laboratory, six baboons have also learned to tell the difference between genuine English words, and nonsense ones. They can sort their wasps from their telks, even though they have no idea that the former means a stinging insect and the latter means nothing. They don’t understand the language, but can ‘read’ nonetheless.
2012-04-11 20:04:36 (6 comments, 9 reshares, 46 +1s)
Sometimes I write about parasitic wasps that hijack the bodies of other insects. Well, here's a virus that controls the minds of those wasps. It's parasites all the way down.
2012-04-11 20:03:40 (1 comments, 10 reshares, 19 +1s)
Many insect colonies have troops of soldiers, which defend their nests with special weapons like massive jaws or chemical guns. Kladothrips intermedius is no exception – this tiny insect, known as a thrips, has soldiers that supposedly crush their enemies to death with butch forearms. But contrary to appearances, these big arms aren’t all that useful for fighting. Instead, they’re living pharmacies. Christine Turnbull from Macquarie University and Holly Caravan from Memorial University of Newfoundland have found that the thrips warriors are actually healers.
2012-04-09 14:23:54 (1 comments, 4 reshares, 17 +1s)
Will we ever have a fool-prooflie-detector? Unlikely, for several reason that I outline in my new BBC column
2012-03-29 19:46:16 (5 comments, 10 reshares, 33 +1s)
London’s streets are a mess. Roads bend sharply, end abruptly, and meet each other at unlikely angles. Intuitively, you might think that the cells of our brain are arranged in a similarly haphazard pattern, forming connections in random places and angles. But a new study suggests that our mental circuitry is more like Manhattan’s organised grid than London’s chaotic tangle.
It consists of sheets of fibres that intersect at right angles, with no diagonals anywhere to be seen.Van Wedeen from Massachusetts General Hospital, who led the study, says that his results came as a complete shock. “I was expecting it to be a pure mess,” he says. Instead, he found a regular criss-cross pattern like the interlocking fibres of a piece of cloth.
2012-03-15 13:29:35 (15 comments, 21 reshares, 49 +1s)
A living tick, FILMED under a scanning electron microscope, waving hello. That. Is. Hardcore.
2012-03-12 18:00:22 (11 comments, 14 reshares, 37 +1s)
My new BBC column: We now have implants that can restore sightto the blind, but they have limitations. 20/20 vision isn’t achievable withcurrent tech. Colour vision is probably out of the question. Still, one personwho was fitted with the chips can read. Another saw his fiancée laugh for thefirst time.
2012-03-11 16:25:07 (8 comments, 12 reshares, 31 +1s)
John Bargh, a psychologist at Yale University, has published a scathing attack on a paper that failed to replicate one of his most famous studies. His post, written on his own blog on Psychology Today, is a mixture of critiques of the science within the paper, and personal attacks against the researchers, PLOS ONE, the journal that published it, and me, who covered it. Here, I take a closer look at Bargh’s many objections.
2012-03-08 21:52:37 (6 comments, 23 reshares, 35 +1s)
We're starting to work out what colours dinosaurs had. The latest discovery is that Microraptor - a four-winged feathered dinosaur - was iridescent, with the same metallic sheen that you see on today’s hummingbirds, peacocks, and swallows. If you travelled back in time and stumbled across Microraptor, you might think that you’d found a Cretaceous starling.
2012-03-08 15:36:08 (4 comments, 17 reshares, 55 +1s)
Fish snags pterosaur by accident, and both of them die. Millions of years, we find this awesome fossil
2012-03-07 22:14:01 (2 comments, 33 reshares, 41 +1s)
You thought cancer was a hard problem? Youhave no idea. A new study shows that two parts of a single tumour can be genetically different enough to signify different prognoses or treatment options. One tumour can be an entire world.
Click the link to find out more.
2012-03-07 15:18:56 (19 comments, 170 reshares, 247 +1s)
It begins. The entire nation of Kiribati isin talks to move to Fiji, because of rising sea levels
2012-03-07 15:17:06 (12 comments, 54 reshares, 75 +1s)
I dare you not to be a bit moved by this.
2012-03-05 17:14:48 (3 comments, 18 reshares, 28 +1s)
Sawfish-fu! Finally, scientists work out how sawfish use the bizarre weapon on their faces.
2012-03-05 15:19:23 (2 comments, 7 reshares, 27 +1s)
We build on the past, rather than just passing it along. As generations tick by, our culture and technology becomes more complex. Other species don't share the same ‘cultural ratchet’, but why? An intriguing new experiment provides some answers, by comparing children, capuchins, and chimps.
Click the link to read what happened.
2012-03-05 15:18:01 (5 comments, 9 reshares, 21 +1s)
QR codes - gimmicky, barely useful, and sometimes spectacularly stupid. Some choice examples here.
2012-03-05 15:16:52 (1 comments, 5 reshares, 14 +1s)
Don't miss Download the Universe - a new blog by Carl Zimmer and several other star science writers (er, and me) where we review science e-books.
2012-02-20 20:31:12 (3 comments, 2 reshares, 5 +1s)
After more than 30,000 years of being frozen in a squirrel burrow, ancient fruits have produced this delicate white flower.
2012-02-20 10:09:42 (12 comments, 12 reshares, 69 +1s)
This time last week, I was watching five blue whales. Here's the story of my encounter, with lots of pics.
2012-01-16 22:54:49 (22 comments, 47 reshares, 91 +1s)
How did life on Earth evolve from single cells to complex creatures comprised of many cells? With surprising ease according to an elegant new experiment. William Ratcliff has successfully nudged single-celled brewer’s yeast into multicellular clusters, within just a few months. The clumps of cells evolved as one. This is the story of how I became we, and how we became I again.In an
2012-01-11 22:09:10 (8 comments, 31 reshares, 49 +1s)
In December of 2011, Fred Kraus from the Bishop Museum in Hawaii announced that he had discovered the world’s smallest frogs. The two coin-sized species were just 8.1 to 9.3 millimetres long. But these miniscule amphibians now share a different record – they were the world’s smallest frogs for the shortest amount of time.
Less than a month after Kraus’s announcement, Eric Rittmeyer and Christopher Austin from Louisiana University have found an even smaller frog, just 7 to 8 millimetres long. It’s dwarfed by a dime. It’s not just the world’s smallest frog, but the world’s smallest back-boned animal.
2012-01-09 17:15:01 (7 comments, 6 reshares, 47 +1s)
A group of Galapagos giant tortoises, thought to be extinct for 150 years, may still be alive. Some of the tortoises from a neighbouring island are hybrids, and one of the parents came from the supposedly extinct group. Conclusion: the "extinct" tortoises may still be around. Now it's just a case for finding them.
2012-01-05 11:29:58 (14 comments, 21 reshares, 66 +1s)
The mimic octopus impersonates lots of different venomous animals, like seasnakes and flatfish.
And a jawfish mimics the mimic octopus! Don't miss the video.
2012-01-04 13:37:45 (3 comments, 9 reshares, 49 +1s)
"Time and again, evolution has equipped cat-like predators with the combined skills of the wrestler and the ninja."
2012-01-03 22:30:23 (8 comments, 16 reshares, 48 +1s)
2012-01-03 14:12:52 (4 comments, 21 reshares, 54 +1s)
Spider silk is extraordinary but farming spiders is impractical. To make enough, you have to synthesise it. That's difficult. People have made silk proteins in everything from bacteria to goats, but assembling the proteins into fibres is very hard.
So why not use an animal that can already make silk fibres, and has been cultivated in large numbers for centuries? Enter the silkworm.
2012-01-02 20:02:51 (10 comments, 31 reshares, 51 +1s)
The real secret to a Stradivarius's superior sound is... that it doesn't have superior sound.
"The duo asked professional violinists to play new violins, and old ones by Stradivari and Guarneri. They couldn’t tell the difference between the two groups. One of the new violins even emerged as the most commonly preferred instrument."
2012-01-02 19:19:48 (6 comments, 25 reshares, 30 +1s)
You appendix could save your life. There's an idea that it's a sanctuary for helpful gut bacteria, and a new paper tests this.
2012-01-02 18:47:29 (70 comments, 1 reshares, 11 +1s)
Riddle me this: which genus has the most number of living species?
2011-12-30 16:01:55 (9 comments, 15 reshares, 65 +1s)
I wrote 272 posts last year. Here are 30 of my favourites, featuring the Black Death, rainbow wings, skull cups, the Black Death and cyborg monkeys.
2011-12-29 13:57:04 (5 comments, 16 reshares, 56 +1s)
The ocean is full of glowing bacteria, which are screaming “Eat me!” at passing fish. A fish’s guts are full of nutrients, and it can carry bacteria across large distances. The bacteria, by turning themselves into glowing bait, get a lift and a meal.
2011-12-29 13:56:03 (8 comments, 11 reshares, 32 +1s)
Surrender monkeys! Larger monkey groups lose fights against smaller ones because they contain more deserters
2011-12-29 13:55:23 (9 comments, 26 reshares, 48 +1s)
The bacteria on your skin affect how you smell, and thus how likely you are to be bitten by malarial mosquitoes.
2011-12-24 17:12:38 (3 comments, 18 reshares, 37 +1s)
Here are my top 12 long-form reads of the year, featuring the Sherlock Holmes of fungus, twins who are joined at the head, the mind of an octopus, and a scientist who went on a killing spree. Brilliant journalism, great storytelling. Your Christmas reading, sorted.
2011-12-23 14:41:36 (12 comments, 32 reshares, 86 +1s)
Scorpions glow bright blue-green under UV light. Why?
And could their entire body actually act as one big eye?
2011-12-22 23:11:21 (29 comments, 116 reshares, 141 +1s)
300 years of fossil fuel history, condensed into a stellar 5 minute animation.
2011-12-22 23:10:13 (1 comments, 8 reshares, 28 +1s)
The rainforest has a mezzanine level – a layer of dead leaves suspended in mid-air by sticky fungi. It's a world of vital importance, literally hanging by a thread.
2011-12-22 23:08:36 (6 comments, 9 reshares, 23 +1s)
Elephants walk on the world’s biggest platform shoes. Now, we know that they also have hidden stiletto heels.
My piece on the elephant's sixth toe at Nature: http://www.nature.com/news/how-the-elephant-got-its-sixth-toe-1.9712
And my full interview with John Hutchinson, the man with (probably) the world's largest collection of frozen elephant feet. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/12/22/6054/
2011-12-15 16:36:22 (11 comments, 17 reshares, 51 +1s)
Meet the ant that uses airborne chemical weapons.
The African ant Crematogaster striatula can raise its sting and release its venom as an aerosol spray. Its targets are termites, whose nests it raids. Even without making any contact, the ants can induce seizures in the termites, eventually paralysing them. It's insect gas-warfare.
2011-12-14 22:12:50 (12 comments, 17 reshares, 54 +1s)
Dinosaur fans - boy, do I have something awesome for you.
This new paper suggests that Deinonychus and Velociraptor didn't use their killing claws for slashing prey or hanging onto them. Instead, they were more like anchors, used to pin prey to the ground while the animals dismembered them with their mouths.
It's a beautiful study, based on comparing the dinosaurs to birds of prey like eagles and hawks (which are obviously living dinosaurs themselves).
It makes sense of a LOT of weird body parts of Deinonychus, Velociraptor and their relatives. And it has broad implications for things like the origin of flight.
2011-12-14 15:44:23 (19 comments, 59 reshares, 108 +1s)
This is AWESOME. Humpback whale plays with bottlenose dolphin, lifting it clean out of the water.
2011-12-14 14:43:58 (19 comments, 17 reshares, 32 +1s)
We're often called the "naked ape" but we're actually covered in hair. It's very fine and usually very light. Why do we have it? A new paper suggests that it's to make parasites easier to detect
2011-12-14 14:42:19 (5 comments, 6 reshares, 35 +1s)
Two innovations allow hummingbirds to hover in the air and fly like insects, even though they have the bones of birds. Read the piece to find out what they are.
Bonus: it includes a guide to flap your arms like a hummingbird. You will look very silly.
2011-12-14 14:39:12 (6 comments, 5 reshares, 37 +1s)
There is an old story about a scorpion and a turtle. Variants abound, but the basic tale revolves around an unusually talkative scorpion that asks a turtle for a lift across a river. The turtle refuses at first, fearing the scorpion’s sudden but inevitable betrayal. The scorpion insists, the turtle relents, and the two get halfway across before the scorpion predictably stings the turtle. As they sink to their mutual deaths, the turtle asks, “Why did you do it?” The scorpion simply replies: “It’s my nature.”
This story is similar, except an octopus plays the role of the scorpion, and no one talks.
2011-12-12 20:15:21 (9 comments, 21 reshares, 38 +1s)
"When Thomas Headland first met the world’s longest snake, he was on the way to the toilet."
Stories of giant snakes attacking people are myths, right? Wrong. In one Philippine tribe, a quarter of the men have been attacked by reticulated pythons.
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