From Our Own Borealis Blog

Hysterical hypotheses

Robert Gooding-Townsend, Science in Society Co-editor   Today, I’m at the airport, heading back from a visit to the Massachusetts […]

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A “Dreaming Signature” In the Sleeping Brain

Where do dreams originate in the brain? Dreams are probably one of the most mysterious neurobiological phenomenon that scientists can study. While the field generally agrees that they seem to be doing something--for example, helping the sleeping brain process the previous day's memories--they're really mostly still an enigma.Case in point: until recently, scientists haven't really figured out when dreaming actually happens while we sleep. Every night we go through several sleep cycles, comprised of rapid eye…

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Bats can help scientists track invasive insects

Identifying the arrival of invasive species before they become a problem takes some detective work. Environmental biologists are turning to environmental DNA (eDNA) to monitor species of interest in a similar way to how forensic investigators use traces of DNA at the scene of a crime. In bodies of water where invasive species like Asian carp and the American bullfrog are suspected, minute traces of DNA in a water sample can alert authorities before they are…

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Planetary Surface Processes Fieldschool!

Hello everyone!This week we are busy getting prepared for field school!  Western offers a Planetary Surface Processes Field School, which is a two-week tour around Arizona and Utah to get acquainted with the geomorphological processes affecting terrestrial bodies in our solar system.  What shapes the surface of planets?  Here are the main culprits:1. Tectonics2. Volcanism3. Impact cratering4. Erosion and weathering (Includes liquid, aeolian, glacial, and gravity driven processes!)Not all planets and moons have been affected…

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Shades of the Nokia Morph: a smartphone than conforms to your wrist

A March 16, 2017 news item on Nanowerk brought back some memories for me, Some day, your smartphone might completely conform to your wrist, and when it does, it might be covered in pure gold, thanks to researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Nokia, a Finnish telecommunications company, was promoting its idea for […]

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The value proposition for stem cell therapies

As more regenerative medicine research moves toward clinical trials, it’s a perfect time to be asking not just ‘what can we achieve?’, but also ‘what can we afford?’Crossing the valley of death between regenerative medicine research and clinical approval requires rethinking how we evaluate and fund the clinical trial process. (Stock photo)The promise of regenerative medicine — new treatments and cures for many devastating and costly diseases — will soon be within our grasp. Globally, there are now more than 700…

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A new silky ant: Sericomyrmex radioheadi

Credit: Ana JešovnikThe ants of the genus Sericomyrmex -- literally translated as 'silky ants' -- belong to the fungus-farming ants, a group of ants that have figured out how to farm their own food. The silky ants are the less well-known relatives of the famous leaf-cutter ants.At only four million years, Sericomyrmex is an evolutionary youngster, the most recently evolved genus of fungus-farming ants, and an example of adaptive radiation which is a process in…

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Tuesday reads

Happy DNA Day! Has been a little while since the last post but I have been busy with a lot of different tasks and working myself into new projects. Here is hope that things will go back to normal slowly. Lots of interesting reads today starting with two of my own.The School Malaise Trap Program: Coupling educational outreach with scientific discoveryThe School Malaise Trap Program (SMTP) provides a technologically sophisticated and scientifically relevant educational experience…

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