Biology


Android technology may reveal the inner lives of simple and mysterious creatures, in disturbing fashion. Via New Scientist:

Slime mold finds the quickest path between food and has even shown signs of having memory – despite not having a brain.

A human-like robot face has been hooked up so that its expressions are controlled by the electrical signals produced when yellow slime mold shies away from light, or moves eagerly towards food.

Physarum polycephalum is a common yellow slime mold which ranges in size from several hundred micrometres to more than one metre. It is an aggregation of hundreds or thousands of identical unicellular organisms that merge together into one huge “cell” containing all their nuclei.


Dr. Kent Sepkowitz questions the negative media reaction to sports stars’ (and wannabes’) use of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) for the Daily Beast: It appears that Major League Baseball is just about…




That old chestnut “be careful what you wish for” comes to mind, but nevertheless there are those who are convinced that massive leaps in longevity are upon us. Andrew Romano reports for…











The Sydney Morning Herald on evolutionary scientists’ assertion that biological males as we know them are on the way out, due to the inherent flawed nature of the Y chromosome: The poorly…





From last year’s Outlaw Biology? Conference at UCLA, hacker Meredith Patterson on a manifesto for the biopunk movement:

The prevalence of citizen science has fallen. Who are the twentieth-century equivalents of Benjamin Franklin, Edward Jenner, Marie Curie or Thomas Edison? Perhaps Steve Wozniak, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard [etc.] — but the scope of their work is far narrower than that of the natural philosophers who preceded them. Citizen science has suffered from a troubling decline in diversity, and it is this diversity that biohackers seek to reclaim.

We reject the popular perception that science is only done in million-dollar university, government, or corporate labs; we assert that the right of freedom of inquiry, to do research and pursue understanding under one’s own direction, is as fundamental a right as that of free speech or freedom of religion.

A Biopunk Manifesto by Meredith Patterson from SMA on Vimeo.


Vice visits a clone farm to see the process at work. For now, the intended result is to establish a way of creating superior livestock which are resistant to disease. But perhaps in a few decades this will serve as a look at how babies are made:


Ever wondered if we are not alone in the universe? As this truly nerdgasmic crash-course by Robert A. Freitas Jr speculates, the scope for alien life could be positively astronomical.  Via xenology.info: Xenology is…




From BBC Future: The discovery that some animals have found ways to feed off the Sun’s energy has led to the intriguing idea that humans could one day create solar-powered nourishment. Humans have to…