biology

Take A Look Inside The Secret Google X Life Sciences Lab

In the past year, Google X’s secretive life science division has been tantalising us with seriously cool-sounding shit: contact lens that monitor glucose, cancer-tracking nanoparticles, etc, etc. The Atlantic has made the first video from inside the lab and — oh, were you actually expecting Google to unload a bunch of secrets? Nah. But, look, it’s some fake human arms.


This Spider Catches Prey With A Web Of Electrically Charged Silk 

Not all spider silk is created equal. Some spiders spin webs of wet, sticky silk. Others like the Uloborus spider have fluffy webs made of nanoscale filaments. But those fluffy webs are just as good at catching prey, likely thanks to their electrostatic charge.


How Research Scientists Get Free Illegal Drugs From The US Government 

On an obscure web page that looks like it’s been barely updated in the last decade there’s a link to download a PDF with the unassuming name of “NDSP Catalogue“. Click it and you’ll find pretty much every drug you can dream up: meth, cocaine, heroin, MDMA — nearly 800 compounds in all. Welcome to the scientist’s stash of illegal drugs, available for free from the US government.


We're In A Technological Arms Race, With Bears, For Our Food

It’s almost impossible to secure yourself against a food raid from bears. That’s because these giant mammals are clever tool users, and they share their tech knowledge with other bears nearby. As a result, bear-proofing technology rarely works for more than a couple of decades before every bear knows how to crack it.


This Is What A Blood Clot Looks Like Close-Up

This image looks like it could the a colourful underwater coral reef or a child’s breakfast cereal strewn across the floor. But it is, in fact, what a blood clot looks like if you zoom right in.


Polar Bears Can Communicate Via Footprints

Polar bears are solitary creatures. They roam around their (increasingly less) snowy habitats, looking for food and love. Food is simple enough. But they have to sniff out love. No, literally, polar bears smell other polar bears’ footprints to know if they can follow them to a suitable mate. How romantic!


What Is A Hangover?

Yippee! Let’s poison ourselves with beverages that will make us violently ill! It was your battle cry last night, and today you’re paying the price. But what is that hangover you’re experiencing, exactly?


How Many Calories Do You Burn By Laughing?

It’s the day after the night before, and you ate way too much. So in the quest for marginal gains, how many calories might you be able to burn off by laughing your way through today? Peter Janiszewski finds out.


The Flu Shot Isn't A Good Match This Year. Is It Ever?

The CDC announced recently that this year’s flu vaccine is missing a key strain, one that accounts for 48 per cent of what’s circulating. That strain, a “drifted” version of H3N2, was discovered in March 2014, but the vaccine strains for the Northern hemisphere, including the US, had been decided a month earlier. (The Southern hemisphere vaccine will include the drifted strain.)


The Most Intricate Images Of Live Nerves Ever Captured

You’re looking at some of the most intricate images of live nerve endings ever captured, in which it’s possible to make out individual nerves and touch receptors in unprecedented detail.