Saturday, March 3, 2012

Science Saturday 2.6: Giant Fleas, Neutrino Update & More

Fossils of giant fleas have been discovered to be 165 million years old.  These fleas ranged from 8 to 20 millimeters long, about twice the size of modern day flea species.  These large bugs were equipped with saw-like mouth projections, most likely allowing them to saw through the tough hide and feed on the blood of dinosaurs.

My very first SciSat feature covered the possible discovery of faster than light neutrinos by physicists in Switzerland and Italy. Now, about 6 months later, evidence suggests that the speedy results were in fact a result of human error.  Physicists are still conducting research to confirm or deny this claim, so for now Einstein's Theory of Relativity remains unmatched.

Star Trek was on TV today, so I'd like to introduce the red shirt gene in fruit flies.  Named for the unfortunate minor characters who often died, the red shirt gene is involved in regulation of the immune response.  When a mutation of red shirt is present, fruit flies are more sensitive to bacterial infections and suffer a death rate of 90%.  Live long and prosper...

Lastly, check out this amazing website demonstrating the scale of the universe...simply mind-boggling.

1 comment:

  1. When I was in theatre an acquaintance had been cast in a Star Trek episode, one of the university professors said, "if they hand you a red shirt you know you won't be back, go for the blue shirt!"

    I love the demonstration of the scale of the universe. Simply amazing!

    Lily-Thinking Thoughts