Exquisite Anatomical Pendants of the Heart & Lungs by Deenie Wallace

Oregon-based artist Deenie Wallace composes exquisite glass pendants, which pay homage to the physical and metaphorical beauty of the lungs and heart. With an incredible eye to detail, the romantic pieces are a symbol of love and life.

Made of borosilicate glass, the miniature sculptures showcase a high skill level  as well as a visually pleasing result. Find them in their Etsy shop.

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The UN is finally going to declassify transgender as a mental illness

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is moving to declassify transgender identity as a mental disorder, as it updates its category of mental illnesses for the first time in decades.

The body, which is the public health agency of the United Nations (UN), is considering making the change in a revised categorisation of mental and behavioural disorders to be released in 2018.

News of the change comes just as a new study published in The Lancet Psychiatry this week advocates that transgender identity should not be diagnosed as a mental disorder.

“Stigma associated with both mental disorder and transgender identity has contributed to the precarious legal status, human rights violations, and barriers to appropriate care among transgender people,” says lead researcher Geoffrey Reed from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Crows are first animals spotted using tools to carry objects
Brainy New Caledonian crows have figured out how to carry objects too large to move with their beaks by using a stick
By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe

New Caledonian crows have figured out how to move two things in one fell swoop. The adept tool users have been filmed inserting sticks into objects to transport both items at once – a feat that has never been seen in non-humans.

Ivo Jacobs of Lund University in Sweden and his team recorded the unique behaviour in a group of captive crows (Corvus moneduloides). They saw how one crafty individual slipped a wooden stick into a metal nut and flew off, carrying away both the tool and the object.

A few days later, another crow inserted a thin stick into a hole in a large wooden ball to move the items out of the room.

The team observed four other instances of the crows’ clever trick. One of these involved using a stick to transport an object that was too large to be handled by beak.

The birds’ novel mode of tool use may be a reflection of their intelligence and exceptionally large brains. Although we already knew crows could use tools, adapting this behaviour to other contexts involving novel objects and purposes shows behavioural flexibility, says Jacobs. “This is typically seen as a hallmark of complex cognitive abilities.”

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Cordyceps, the Killer Fungi.

Spores from the parasitic fungi called the cordyceps infects an insects brain and directs the insect upwards towards the forest canopy where it latches onto a plant to eventually die. 

After growing for about 3 weeks within the dead insect, the cordyceps unleashes spores into the forest, infecting other insects within the immediate area. There are thousands of different types of cordyceps fungi and each specialise in just one type of insect species. 

Oldest evidence of human cancer discovered in 1.7-million-year-old fossil
Fossil shows evidence of osteosarcoma, a bone cancer most common among children and young adults

A fossilized foot bone found in South Africa is the oldest evidence yet that ancient humans suffered from cancer, scientists say.

The bone, which dates back about 1.7 million years, shows signs of osteosarcoma, or bone cancer.

Scientists can’t say for certain which exact category of early human ancestor the bone belongs to. It was recovered from the Swartkrans cave site, near Johannesburg.

“Modern medicine tends to assume cancers and tumours in humans are diseases caused by modern lifestyles and environments,” said Edward Odes of the University of Witwatersrand, in remarks quoted by New Scientist.

He said finds like this show that human cancer occurred long before modern societies.

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Several deep sea creatures have perfected the lightning technique known as bioluminescence, using it to lure prey, distract predators, or attract mates. Some creatures use it for camouflage. In parts of the water column where only faint blue light filters through, animals bioluminesce to match the glow. Predators or prey looking up from below are deceived by this camouflage, unable to see the creatures silhouette. Such otherworldly adaptations also arise from the need to locate and snatch up food before it drifts away.

From the TED-Ed Lesson The otherworldly creatures in the ocean’s deepest depths - Lidia Lins

Animation by Viviane Leezer

Why do antidepressants take so long to work?

An episode of major depression can be crippling, impairing the ability to sleep, work, or eat. In severe cases, the mood disorder can lead to suicide. But the drugs available to treat depression, which can affect one in six Americans in their lifetime, can take weeks or even months to start working.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered one reason the drugs take so long to work, and their finding could help scientists develop faster-acting drugs in the future. The research was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Rasenick long suspected that the delayed drug response involved certain signaling molecules in nerve-cell membranes called G proteins.

Previous research by him and colleagues showed that in people with depression, G proteins tended to congregate in lipid rafts, areas of the membrane rich in cholesterol. Stranded on the rafts, the G proteins lacked access to a molecule called cyclic AMP, which they need in order to function. The dampened signaling could be why people with depression are “numb” to their environment, Rasenick reasoned.

Samuel J. Erb, Jeffrey M. Schappi, Mark M. Rasenick. Antidepressants Accumulate in Lipid Rafts Independent of Monoamine Transporters to Modulate Redistribution of the G protein, Gαs. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2016; jbc.M116.727263 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M116.727263

Insecticide Can Cut Bee Sperm by Nearly 40 Percent, Study Finds
Much of the global food supply requires pollinators like honeybees, and the bees’ decline has concerned scientists for much of the last decade.
By Jonah Engel Bromwich

A new study of male honeybees shows that two insecticides, banned in some European nations but still used in the United States, can significantly reduce the bees’ ability to reproduce.

The study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the leading biological research journal of the Royal Society, found that thiamethoxam and clothianidin, two chemicals from the neonicotinoid family of insecticides, reduce living sperm in male honeybees, called drones, by almost 40 percent.

“We’ve been able to show for the first time that neonicotinoid pesticides are capable of having an effect on the male reproductive system,” said Lars Straub, a doctoral student at the University of Bern in Switzerland and the lead author of the study.

The effects of pesticides on honeybee populations are considered one culprit among several factors causing periodic declines.

Neonicotinoids have been shown by other studies to harm the health of individual bees and the reproductive ability of female insects. The new study expanded on the dangers of the pesticides for males, finding that bees subjected to the two chemicals had 39 percent fewer living sperm on average than bees that had not been exposed.

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Your ancestor lived here

This video was taken during a sampling mission to a site in the Atlantic Ocean known as the Lost City Hydrothermal Field in 2005. This is an underwater hydrothermal vent – you can see hot, mineral-rich water being ejected from the vent and organisms live on the elements dissolved in that water. A brand new study provides strong evidence that if you go back far enough in time, your ancestor, and perhaps the ancestor of all life on earth today, lived in a site like this one.

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New antibiotic found in human nose

You may have heard about drugs disappearing into people’s noses. But at a meeting here this week and in a new paper, scientists presented the opposite: A new antibiotic that has, quite literally, emerged from the human nose. The compound is produced by one species of nose-dwelling bacterium to kill another microbe, which kills thousands of people every year.

The study is “yet another demonstration that we should look to nature for solutions to the problems nature throws at us,” says Andrew Read, an evolutionary biologist at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, who was not involved with the work.

Any new antibiotic is welcome because the world is running out of these life-saving drugs. But the researchers behind the new finding believe that studying the microbial warfare going on inside our bodies may lead to not just one, but a whole slew of novel drugs. “We’ve found a new concept of finding antibiotics,” Andreas Peschel, a bacteriologist at the University of Tübingen in Germany, said on Tuesday at the EuroScience Open Forum, a biennial science and policy meeting. “We have preliminiary evidence at least in the nose that there is a rich source of many others, and I’m sure that we will find new drugs there.”

Proplanicoxa galtoni

By José Carlos Cortés on @ryuukibart

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Name: Proplanicoxa galtoni

Name Meaning: Before Planicoxa

First Described: 2010

Described By: Carpenter & Ishida

Classification: Dinosauria, Ornithischia, Genasauria, Neornithischia, Cerapoda, Ornithopoda, Iguanodontia, Dryomorpha, Ankylopollexia, Styracosterna

Proplanicoxa is a Styracosternan known from the Wessex Formation in England, on the Isle of Wight. It dates back to the Barremian age of the Early Cretaceous, about 126 million years ago. It is known from very limited remains and though it was given its own genus, it is probably the same thing as Mantellisaurus.



Shout out goes to @flak34!

Huge 'hypercarnivorous' marsupial used to roam Australia
Seriously Australia, we get it.
By Jacinta Bowler

A previously undiscovered flesh-eating marsupial has been identified from a fossilised tooth discovered in Queensland, Australia.

The creature, which has been named Whollydooleya tomnpatrichorum, would have been around 20-25 kilograms, much larger than its only living cousin the Tasmanian Devil, which comes in at a measly 10 kilos.

“W. tomnpatrichorum had very powerful teeth capable of killing and slicing up the largest animals of its day,” says study lead author Mike Archer, from the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

“This was an animal which was very considerably bigger than the largest [hypercarnivore] we’ve got today, the Tasmanian devil, probably two to three times,” Archer said in an interview with the ABC.

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