Scientists have been investigating the structure of the HIV capsid for years; the protein shell protects the virus' genetic material, helps debilitate the infected person's immune system, and is the target for the development of new antiretroviral drugs. Research teams have turned to a wide range of futuristic-sounding techniques to crack the code, from cryo-electron microscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to cryo-EM tomography and X-ray crystallography.
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- Simpsons theme park "Springfield" will serve duff beer, Krusty Burgers.
- 12 obsolete technologies Americans are still using.
- The Weird Stuff Warehouse where old tech goes to retire.
- Amazon greenlights 5 new shows.
When it comes to cloning extinct critters, it seems most people are holding out more hope for re-creating woolly mammoths than building "Jurassic Park." The researchers involved in a mammoth-rebuilding project are probably pretty excited about a recent find by Russian scientists who uncovered a fairly fresh new mammoth.
A paleontological expedition from the Research Institute of Applied Ecology of the North, North-Eastern Federal University, and the Russian Geographical Society discovered a female mammoth in a remarkably good state of preservation in the Novosibirsk archipelago in Siberia. North-Eastern Federal University has partnered with controversial South Korean cloning scientist Hwang Woo-Suk (who was found to have faked data involving a procedure to clone human embryonic stem cells) for a mammoth-cloning effort.… Read more
It's always good to stop and smell the roses, but sometimes you have to tweet to access them.
At least that's how it works with an interactive Internet-connected garden created by the U.K.'s University of Lincoln. Familiar plants greet onlookers, but when they tweet using a specific hashtag, electronic paneled screens dividing the plot into two distinct areas shift to reveal an area containing more exotic foliage.
The garden, called "Digital Capabilities," just won a gold medal at this year's prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which runs through Saturday. But its architects hope to keep it up and blooming as a permanent installation. … Read more
In the wake of the colossal tornado that rampaged through 17 miles of central Oklahoma, plans for storm-chasing UAVs are taking on new significance.
Students at Oklahoma State University have been working on "storm-penetrating air vehicles" that could help cope with deadly tornadoes.
The aircraft are "designed to penetrate thunderstorms, including the supercells that spawn tornadoes" to gather data used to predict storms and warn people about them, the university said in a release. … Read more
The debate around video game violence and whether it leads to actual violence has once again come to the fore this year since the Obama administration asked for funding to study the matter. A study by researchers at the University of Connecticut isn't trying to answer that particular thorny question, but it has uncovered a noteworthy component to the level of aggression gamers display when playing.
The study monitored 148 participants as they played Quake 3 Revolution on PlayStation 2. They battled opponents that either looked closely human or characters that looked like inhuman monsters. The gamers were surveyed afterward. The study found that fighting human targets increased both verbal aggression and aggressive thoughts. The research was just published in the journal Mass Communication and Society.… Read more
Years before smartphones were a thing, Nokia was one of the first manufacturers to add IR blasters to its dumbphones. The use case was pretty limited, though, as the cool factor typically ended after the fun of turning TVs off at Circuit City died off.
But IR is getting its second wind in a new wave of smartphones packing the technology, namely, the S4. This time around, the use case is much more tangible, posing a real threat to the traditional TV remote. Powered by WatchOn (and Peel), the S4 is more than just a substitute clicker -- it's … Read more
Apple, which has been aiming for a summer rollout of a streaming music service, has hit a negotiating snag with Sony Music over some of the features that it is building into its product.
More specifically, Apple and Sony Music, the world's second-largest music label, are still trying to hammer out details over how much Apple would pay for songs that people listen to a fraction of and then skip, according to people familiar with the negotiations. There could be other points of contention as well.
Apple's streaming music service, which most closely resembles Internet radio leader Pandora, … Read more
Thanks to the magic of dissection, we have a pretty good idea of the changes that occur when a caterpillar spins its chrysalis and enters its metamorphosis -- the developmental stage that sees it move from the juvenile larval stage to the gorgeous adult life of a butterfly.
However, as you might have already guessed, dissection destroys the specimen, meaning that researchers are unable to follow the full development of a creature. We do know that the caterpillar will use enzymes to break down some of its proteins to reform; Scientific American called this a cocoon full of "caterpillar soup." However, scientists have performed research revealing that while some breakdown occurs, the idea of caterpillar soup is mostly wrong (but still gross).
Using micro-computed tomography, or micro-CT scanning, which uses X-ray imaging to re-create 3D cross-sections of the scanned object, Tristan Rowe and Russell Garwood from the U.K's University of Manchester and Thomas Simonsen from London's Natural History Museum have discovered exactly what happens to a painted lady butterfly inside the chrysalis. … Read more
I hate cord clutter. But when I travel (like I'm doing right now), I'm stuck with it, what with all the power cords I have to stuff into my carry-on.
My laptop's AC adapter is among the worst offenders (two cords!), which is why I'm thinking very seriously about this: ZipKord has the Retractable Universal Laptop Combo-Charger for $20, plus a very reasonable $3.75 for shipping. Regular price: $79.99.
This travel-friendly kit consists of two retractable cords -- one for AC outlets, one for in-dash cigarette lighters -- and a set of 11 tips. … Read more