Archive for December, 2011

What Really Killed Jane Austen?

We love a good literary mystery…


Let’s see what Scientific American has to say about this one –



[FAMOUS FOLLICLES: Scientists have the technology to test Jane Austen’s hair for lethal levels of arsenic. Image: Wikimedia Commons]



Was Jane Austen Poisoned by Arsenic? Science May Soon Find Out



Modern techniques could reveal whether the celebrated English novelist’s surviving hair contains unusually high levels of arsenic


By Ferris Jabr


On April 27, 1817, Jane Austen sat down and wrote her will, leaving almost all of her assets—valued at less than 800 pounds sterling—to her sister Cassandra. In May, the sisters moved to Winchester, England, so the bedridden Jane would be near her doctor. On July 18, only a few days after dictating 24 lines of comic verse to Cassandra, Jane died.


Since at least the 1960s Austen scholars, doctors and fans have tried to retrospectively identify the curious illness that killed the 41-year-old English author…


For the complete article click here.


How To Walk Through Walls

“So why can’t you use quantum tunneling to walk through a wall? Quantum mechanical calculations show that for something as big as a person, the probability is so small that you could wait until the end of the universe and most likely still not find yourself on the other side…”


Still, there’s a chance! They’ve proven quantum tunneling (AKA walking through walls) at the quantum level, and are now working on experiments with larger objects, so perhaps it’s just a matter of time before we’re all impersonating ghosts?


Walk-Through-Wall Effect Might Be Possible With Humanmade Object, Physicists Predict

by Nathan Collins


If you’ve ever tried the experiment, you know you can’t walk through a wall. But subatomic particles can pull off similar feats through a weird process called quantum tunneling. Now, a team of physicists says that it might just be possible to observe such tunneling with a larger, humanmade object, though others say the proposal faces major challenges.


If successful, the experiment would be a striking advance toward fashioning mechanical systems that behave quantum mechanically. In 2010, physicists took a key first step in that direction by coaxing a tiny object into states of motion that can be described only by quantum mechanics. Tunneling would be an even bigger achievement.


So how does quantum tunneling work?…


For the complete article click here to go to ScienceMag.


Rewriting the book of life?

This is discovery is completely surprising, not to mention it implies that life could indeed be found just about anywhere and could be made from all sorts of things other than carbon. One day we will be laughing at the “dark ages” when humans though they were the only life in the universe…


Scientist creates lifelike cells out of metal
Researcher says he has created living cells made of metal instead of carbon — and they may be evolving.



Droplets of mercuryPhoto: p.Gordon/Flickr


Scientists trying to create artificial life generally work under the assumption that life must be carbon-based, but what if a living thing could be made from another element?


One British researcher may have proven that theory, potentially rewriting the book of life. Lee Cronin of the University of Glasgow has created lifelike cells from metal — a feat few believed feasible. The discovery opens the door to the possibility that there may be life forms in the universe not based on carbon, reports New Scientist


Read the complete article here at Mother Nature Network.




« Previous PageNext Page »