Posts

March 01, 2015

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11:23 PM | Chancelloriids Revised
Many Cambrian fossils are simply spines and sclerites unassociated with any body. Few of the exceptionally-preserved Cambrian freaks come with spines attached, and some of the most prominent of these are the chancelloriids. Originally described as sponges by Charles Doolittle Walcott back in 1920 (Walcott, 1920), modern researchers have found that the spines are very similar to those […] The post Chancelloriids Revised appeared first on Teaching Biology.

Stefan Bengtson & Desmond Collins (2015). Chancelloriids of the Cambrian Burgess Shale., Palaeontologia Electronica, Other:

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8:20 PM | Science shows intermittent fasting diet could extend life
Think of it as interval training for the dinner table. Proponents of fasting style diets will be first to tell you there are health benefits, heck we’ve even covered some of the science here at the labs. Well new research shows that putting people on a intermittent fasting (or IF) diet may mimic some of the benefits of […]

Wegman, M., Guo, M., Bennion, D., Shankar, M., Chrzanowski, S., Goldberg, L., Xu, J., Williams, T., Lu, X., Hsu, S. & Anton, S. (2014). Practicality of Intermittent Fasting in Humans and its Effect on Oxidative Stress and Genes Related to Aging and Metabolism, Rejuvenation Research, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1089/rej.2014.1624

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2:49 PM | Link between image and sound
Babies link the sound of a word with the image of an object in their early learning of language and this is an important ability. How do they come to have this mechanism? Are there predispositions to making links between sounds and images? Research by Asano and others (citation below) shows one type of link. […]

Asano, M., Imai, M., Kita, S., Kitajo, K., Okada, H. & Thierry, G. (2015). Sound symbolism scaffolds language development in preverbal infants, Cortex, 63 196-205. DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2014.08.025

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8:52 AM | Vitamin D status affecting autoimmune disease risk?
I want to bring the paper from Tea Skaaby and colleagues [1] to your attention for today's brief blog post and their observation that there may be: "a possible protective role of a higher vitamin D status on autoimmune disease". Autoimmune disease by the way, reflects a breakdown in communication and tolerance of 'self' whereby the body attacks healthy tissue.Their findings, based on an analysis of "a total of 12,555 individuals from three population-based studies with measurements of […]

Skaaby T, Husemoen LL, Thuesen BH & Linneberg A (2015). Prospective population-based study of the association between vitamin D status and incidence of autoimmune disease., Endocrine, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25666936

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February 28, 2015

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8:15 PM | Reeducar a los Hombres que Ejercen Violencia: ¿Realmente funciona?
La violencia hacia la mujer es una problemática social que afecta a mujeres alrededor de todo el mundo. Especialmente, la violencia hacia la pareja, suele ser una de sus manifestaciones con mayor frecuencia; sólo en México, en 2011, el 47% de las mujeres de 15 años y más sufrieron algún episodio de violencia por parte de su pareja (INEGI, 2013). Este problema está considerado como el principal obstáculo para lograr la igualdad de […]

Ramírez, M., Giménez-Salinas Framís, A. & de Juan Espinosa, M. (2013). Evaluación de la eficacia del programa de tratamiento con agresores de pareja (PRIA) en la comunidad, Psychosocial Intervention, 22 (2) 105-114. DOI: 10.5093/in2013a13

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7:46 PM | Life, NOT as we know it
Life as we know it, when we peer deep into the vastness of space we look for someone — or something — that resembles ourselves. Carbon based, needs water lifeforms, but what if we’re being narrow-minded? A new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form that can metabolize and reproduce similar to life on Earth has […]

James Stevenson,, Jonathan Lunine, & Paulette Clancy (2015). Membrane alternatives in worlds without oxygen: Creation of an azotosome, Science Advances, Other:

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2:15 PM | Five motivations for theoretical computer science
There are some situations, perhaps lucky ones, where it is felt that an activity needs no external motivation or justification.  For the rest, it can be helpful to think of what the task at hand can be useful for. This of course doesn’t answer the larger question of what is worth doing, since it just distributes […]

Barton, N.H., Novak, S. & Paixão, T. (2014). Diverse forms of selection in evolution and computer science., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111 (29) 10398-9. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25009183

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12:04 AM | ME/CFS is real: confirmation if it is needed...
"Scientists discover robust evidence that chronic fatigue syndrome is a biological illness" went the title of the press release for the study by Mady Hornig and colleagues [1] (open-access) detailing an immune 'signature' and also possible staging of the illness.I couldn't help but wince at some of the media headlines reporting on this study as 'proof' that chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a real illness. As I've indicated before on this blog (see here) […]

Mady Hornig, José G. Montoya, Nancy G. Klimas, Susan Levine, Donna Felsenstein, Lucinda Bateman, Daniel L. Peterson, C. Gunnar Gottschalk, Andrew F. Schultz, Xiaoyu Che & Meredith L. Eddy (2015). Distinct plasma immune signatures in ME/CFS are present early in the course of illness, Science Advances, 1 (1) Other:

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February 27, 2015

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10:23 PM | New compounds protect nerves from the damage of MS
Autoimmune diseases are tough to live with, frankly we don’t really understand the reasons they start at all, how to treat them, or even where to start in forming a cure. Well there might be some good news — as far as a treatment goes anyway — a newly characterized group of pharmacological compounds block […]

Haines, J., Herbin, O., de la Hera, B., Vidaurre, O., Moy, G., Sun, Q., Fung, H., Albrecht, S., Alexandropoulos, K., McCauley, D. & Chook, Y. (2015). Nuclear export inhibitors avert progression in preclinical models of inflammatory demyelination, Nature Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1038/nn.3953

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4:17 PM | How Deep Mind learns to win
About a year ago, DeepMind was bought for half a billion dollars by Google for creating software that could learn to beat video games. Over the past year, DeepMind has detailed how they did it. Let us say that you were … Continue reading →

Mnih V, Kavukcuoglu K, Silver D, Rusu AA, Veness J, Bellemare MG, Graves A, Riedmiller M, Fidjeland AK, Ostrovski G & Petersen S (2015). Human-level control through deep reinforcement learning., Nature, 518 (7540) 529-533. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25719670

Volodymyr Mnih, Koray Kavukcuoglu, David Silver, Alex Graves, Ioannis Antonoglou, Daan Wierstra & Martin Riedmiller (2013). Playing Atari with Deep Reinforcement Learning, arXiv, arXiv: http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.5602v1

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3:44 PM | Breaking Research: Separable short- and long-term memories can form after a momentous occasion
When was your first kiss? What were you doing the last time you heard life-changing news? After only a single experience, your brain was somehow able to form a long-term memory of these events. This phenomenon has baffled neuroscientists for decades, but in a recent paper published in PNAS, Yamagata et al. report a surprising […]

Yamagata N., Yoshinori Aso, Pierre-Yves Plaçais, Anja B. Friedrich, Richard J. Sima, Thomas Preat, Gerald M. Rubin & Hiromu Tanimoto (2014). Distinct dopamine neurons mediate reward signals for short- and long-term memories, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112 (2) 578-583. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1421930112

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9:37 AM | Hyperprolactinemia and risperidone use in autism
The findings reported by Yaowaluck Hongkaew and colleagues [1] (open-access) on prolactin levels being "positively and significantly associated with risperidone dose" in cases of children and adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the point of discussion today.Prolactin by the way, is the hormone most commonly associated with stimulating breast development and milk production in women. To quote from the US National Institute of Health (NIH) entry on prolactin: "There is […]

Hongkaew Y, Ngamsamut N, Puangpetch A, Vanwong N, Srisawasdi P, Chamnanphon M, Chamkrachchangpada B, Tan-Kam T, Limsila P & Sukasem C & (2015). Hyperprolactinemia in Thai children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder treated with risperidone., Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 11 191-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25653528

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February 26, 2015

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8:04 PM | Dr. Frankenstein might be impressed, the human head transplant
Sure it sounds like something from the book Frankenstein, but Sergio Canavero of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group has made it known that he intends to announce at this summer’s American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons meeting, that he believes he has put together a group of techniques that should make it possible to […]

Canavero, S. (2015). The "Gemini" spinal cord fusion protocol: Reloaded, Surgical Neurology International, 6 (1) 18. DOI: 10.4103/2152-7806.150674

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10:35 AM | Some student-professor pairings lead to "unusually effective teaching" (and it's possible to predict which ones)
Video trailers can be used to predict whichlecturers are the best teachers, and whichstudents they are especially suited to.In the near future, students could be presented with a series of video trailers of different professors at their university. Based on their ratings of these videos, the students will be paired with the professors who provide the best fit. The outcome will be superior learning, and greater student satisfaction.That's the promise of a new study that asked 145 psychology […]

Gross, J., Lakey, B., Lucas, J., LaCross, R., R. Plotkowski, A. & Winegard, B. (2015). Forecasting the student-professor matches that result in unusually effective teaching, British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85 (1) 19-32. DOI: 10.1111/bjep.12049

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7:43 AM | Carnitine and autism continued
The paper from everyone's favourite Saudi - Egyptian autism research tag-team that is Gehan Mostafa and Laila AL-Ayadhi [1] (open-access) on plasma polyunsaturated fatty acids and serum carnitine levels in a cohort of children diagnosed with autism / autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is served up for your reading delight today.Regular readers of this blog might have heard me talk before about the pretty interesting research findings to come from this research partnership (see here and see […]

Mostafa, G. & AL-Ayadhi, L. (2015). Reduced levels of plasma polyunsaturated fatty acids and serum carnitine in autistic children: relation to gastrointestinal manifestations, Behavioral and Brain Functions, 11 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s12993-014-0048-2

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4:45 AM | Operationalizing replicator dynamics and partitioning fitness functions
As you know, dear regular reader, I have a rather uneasy relationship with reductionism, especially when doing mathematical modeling in biology. In mathematical oncology, for example, it seems that there is a hope that through our models we can bring a more rigorous mechanistic understanding of cancer, but at the same time there is the […]

Archetti, M., Ferraro, D.A. & Christofori, G. (2015). Heterogeneity for IGF-II production maintained by public goods dynamics in neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112 (6) 1833-8. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25624490

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February 25, 2015

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8:38 PM | The food additive that may be promoting obesity and metabolic syndrome
People say to avoid processed foods, while I don’t agree with that fully, a new study suggests that a common food additive may be causing problems. Emulsifiers, which are added to most processed foods to aid texture and extend shelf life, can alter the gut microbiota composition and localization to induce intestinal inflammation that promotes […]

Chassaing, B., Koren, O., Goodrich, J., Poole, A., Srinivasan, S., Ley, R. & Gewirtz, A. (2015). Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome, Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature14232

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4:36 PM | Using the Dead to Interpret Daily Life in Bronze Age Spain
I am fascinated by the diversity of ways that humans have approached death and dying throughout our history as a species. Since you’re reading this, I’ll assume you are interested […]

López-Costas, O., Müldner, G. & Martínez Cortizas, A. (2015). Diet and lifestyle in Bronze Age Northwest Spain: the collective burial of Cova do Santo, Journal of Archaeological Science, 55 209-218. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2015.01.009

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2:41 PM | Video Tip of the Week: CRISPRdirect for editing tools and off-target information
Genome editing strategies are certainly a hot topic of late. We were astonished at the traffic that the animation of the CRISPR/Cas-9 process recently drew to the blog. There’s a huge amount of potential for novel types of studies and interventions in human disease situations–but I’m already seeing applications in agriculture coming along. There’s an […]

Naito Y., H. Bono & K. Ui-Tei (2014). CRISPRdirect: software for designing CRISPR/Cas guide RNA with reduced off-target sites, Bioinformatics, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btu743

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2:30 PM | Examining Evidence for Leaderboards and Learning
As I described in my last post, gamification is often misused and abused, applied in ways and in situations where it is unlikely to do much good. When we deploy new learning technologies, the ultimate goal of that change should always be clear, first and foremost. So how do you actually go about setting that sort of […]The post Examining Evidence for Leaderboards and Learning appeared first on NeoAcademic.Related articles from NeoAcademic:Psychological Theory and Gamification […]

Landers, R. & Landers, A. (2015). An Empirical Test of the Theory of Gamified Learning: The Effect of Leaderboards on Time-on-Task and Academic Performance, Simulation & Gaming, DOI: 10.1177/1046878114563662

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2:25 PM | Waldo e la strada verso la miniaturizzazione
Waldo E. Jones sembrava fluttuare nell'aria al centro di una stanza sferica. L'impressione derivava dal fatto che fluttuava davvero nell'aria. La sua casa era inserita in un'orbita libera, con un periodo di poco più di ventiquattro ore.(8)Waldo abita nello spazio. In orbita intorno alla Terra. Soffre di una malattia che gli impedisce di muoversi sotto l'azione della gravità terrestre. Questo impedimento, come si suol dire, gli ha aguzzato l'ingegno, permettendogli di diventare […]

Ashley S. (2001). Nanobot Construction Crews, Scientific American, 285 (3) 84-85. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/scientificamerican0901-84

Smalley R.E. (2001). Of Chemistry, Love and Nanobots, Scientific American, 285 (3) 76-77. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/scientificamerican0901-76

Ge J., Lei J. & Zare R.N. (2012). Protein–inorganic hybrid nanoflowers, Nature Nanotechnology, 7 (7) 428-432. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2012.80

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1:37 PM | Should mice be used to study the human gut microbiome?
In recent years, the trillions of bacteria living in our guts have risen from obscurity to stardom. Hyped press releases claim that probiotics and faecal transplants might one day treat almost everything, from bowel inflictions to obesity. These studies often involve mice, but are these rodents really a suitable model for microbiome research?The gut microbiome has been associated with an ever-growing list of diseases, including obesity, diabetes and even mental disorders such as […]

Nguyen T.L.A., A. Liston & J. Raes (2015). How informative is the mouse for human gut microbiota research?, Disease Models , 8 (1) 1-16. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dmm.017400

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Editor's Pick
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1:30 PM | Why You Need to Socialize Your Puppy
The importance of socialization can’t be stressed enough.These days, more and more people understand that puppies need to be socialized. But sometimes people wonder, how do we know this? It’s based on classic research in canine science.Many papers contribute to our understanding of puppies. In 1950, J.P. Scott and Mary-‘Vesta Marston published a study of 17 litters, including the earliest age at which they opened their eyes for the first time, began to walk, and engaged in […]

Fox, M. (1969). Behavioral Effects of Rearing Dogs With Cats During the 'Critical Period of Socialization', Behaviour, 35 (3) 273-280. DOI: 10.1163/156853969X00242

Freedman, D., King, J. & Elliot, O. (1961). Critical Period in the Social Development of Dogs, Science, 133 (3457) 1016-1017. DOI: 10.1126/science.133.3457.1016

Pfaffenberger, C. & Scott, J. (1959). The Relationship between Delayed Socialization and Trainability in Guide Dogs, The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 95 (1) 145-155. DOI: 10.1080/00221325.1959.10534251

Scott, J. & Marston, M. (1950). Critical Periods Affecting the Development of Normal and Mal-Adjustive Social Behavior of Puppies, The Pedagogical Seminary and Journal of Genetic Psychology, 77 (1) 25-60. DOI: 10.1080/08856559.1950.10533536

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1:00 PM | Mirroring Evolution
Biology concepts – bilateral symmetry, radial symmetry, planulozoa hypothesis, cephalization, last animal common ancestor, porifera, platyhelminth, cnidarian, echinodermataHalloween was a classic slasher film. Jamie Lee Curtis looks so young, decades before Freaky Friday or yogurt commercials. Michael Myers could cut a man in half with his machete, but could he produce two mirror image halves?Slasher movies have been around for years. The heyday of the knife-wielding madman was in the […]

Moroz, L., Kocot, K., Citarella, M., Dosung, S., Norekian, T., Povolotskaya, I., Grigorenko, A., Dailey, C., Berezikov, E., Buckley, K. & Ptitsyn, A. (2014). The ctenophore genome and the evolutionary origins of neural systems, Nature, 510 (7503) 109-114. DOI: 10.1038/nature13400

Holló, G. & Novák, M. (2012). The manoeuvrability hypothesis to explain the maintenance of bilateral symmetry in animal evolution, Biology Direct, 7 (1) 22. DOI: 10.1186/1745-6150-7-22

Wallberg, A., Thollesson, M., Farris, J. & Jondelius, U. (2004). The phylogenetic position of the comb jellies (Ctenophora) and the importance of taxonomic sampling, Cladistics, 20 (6) 558-578. DOI: 10.1111/j.1096-0031.2004.00041.x

Astley HC (2012). Getting around when you're round: quantitative analysis of the locomotion of the blunt-spined brittle star, Ophiocoma echinata., The Journal of experimental biology, 215 (Pt 11) 1923-9. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22573771

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10:31 AM | Analysing the salivary proteome in autism
The paper from Armand Ngounou Wetie and colleagues [1] (open-access here) reporting pilot results from a mass spectrometry based proteomic analysis of saliva in cases of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with asymptomatic controls is served up for your reading delight today. There has already been some media attention about this paper (see here).It's an interesting paper for quite a few reasons; not least the continuing voyage of the analytical technique known as mass […]

Ngounou Wetie AG, Wormwood KL, Russell S, Ryan JP, Darie CC & Woods AG (2015). A Pilot Proteomic Analysis of Salivary Biomarkers in Autism Spectrum Disorder., Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25626423

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5:02 AM | Can’t stand the sounds of chewing, loud breathing, or pen clicking? Dutch psychiatrists propose that may be the symptom of a new disorder
In 2013, Dutch psychiatrists proposed that misophonia – a hypersensitivity to common, irritating noises like eating, loud breathing, and pen clicking – be classified as its own psychiatric disorder. After evaluating 42 Dutch patients with the disorder, the psychiatrists concluded … Continue reading →

Schröder A, Vulink N & Denys D (2013). Misophonia: diagnostic criteria for a new psychiatric disorder., PloS one, 8 (1) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23372758

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February 24, 2015

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9:38 PM | Move over oil, new pretreatment could cut biofuel costs by 30 percent or more
Alternative fuels have a few large problems making them horrible options over oil (which is already a horrible choice). However, researchers may have finally eliminated one of those problems, cost. The team has invented a novel pretreatment technology that could cut the cost of biofuels production by about 30 percent or more by dramatically reducing […]

Nguyen, T., Cai, C., Kumar, R. & Wyman, C. (2015). Co-solvent Pretreatment Reduces Costly Enzyme Requirements for High Sugar and Ethanol Yields from Lignocellulosic Biomass, ChemSusChem, DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201403045

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February 23, 2015

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11:25 PM | Humans in the Wild.
This recent publication comes out of the lab of my graduate mentor. We actually brainstormed this experiment over libations on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Sometimes, the best science comes to mind outside of the lab and when your guard is down. Anyways, Adam, DG, and a group of undergrads sorted through the power grid of […]

Stowie, A., Amacarelli, M., Crosier, C., Mymko, R. & Glass, J. (2014). Circadian analysis of large human populations: Inferences from the power grid, Chronobiology International, 1-7. DOI: 10.3109/07420528.2014.965316

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9:21 PM | Brain waves help memory formation
Our brains generate a constant hum of activity: As neurons fire, they produce brain waves that oscillate at different frequencies. Long thought to be merely a byproduct of neuron activity, recent studies suggest that these waves may play a critical role in communication between different parts of the brain. A new study adds to that […]

Brincat, S. & Miller, E. (2015). Frequency-specific hippocampal-prefrontal interactions during associative learning, Nature Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1038/nn.3954

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7:32 PM | Merging bacteria and solar technology to make fuel
Can living creatures be used to form part of a machine? While this might sound like something out of Doctor Who, the ever-trusty scientific barometer that is popular culture will tell us that this idea is perhaps not as horrific to us as it might first seem – from Robocop to hamster-powered school projects, the…

Torella JP, Gagliardi CJ, Chen JS, Bediako DK, Colón B, Way JC, Silver PA & Nocera DG (2015). Efficient solar-to-fuels production from a hybrid microbial-water-splitting catalyst system., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25675518

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