Test your smarts on ‘undead’ genes and our magnetic sixth sense

first_img Recently, researchers found a group of microorganisms that “eat” what substance to stay alive? LOADING An error occurred loading the Quiz. Please try again later. R.De Marfà/iStockphoto Genes that promote cancer—vindication for those who fear the walking dead! But odd news even for scientists, who long assumed genes shut down slowly after death, like the parts of a car that has run out of gas. A new study of mice and zebrafish shows that many genes up their activity instead. Some of the most surprising were the cancer-boosting genes, which could account for higher rates of the disease in some organ transplant recipients. Another surprise: genes that guide embryonic development. No one is sure why those turn on, but it could be that cellular conditions in newly dead corpses are actually similar to those in embryos. Giving it over to the tinkerings of Johnny Depp Moving their cubs closer to human settlements 0 / 10 Ley lines Germany Psychologists recently reported that the success of some brain training games may actually stem from this effect: Start Quiz Electricity. It sounds like something from science fiction, but researchers have recently found a group of microorganisms that can live off pure electricity. Even though all life uses electricity, scientists long thought it impossible for cells to directly consume and expel electrons, because their fatty membranes act as insulators. But now, scientists have found cells that can discharge electrons through specialized proteins and others that can ingest electrons by using an enzyme that creates hydrogen atoms. The findings could help researchers understand how life thrives under a variety of conditions, and how it could exist on places like Mars. It contains tiny amounts of coronavirus Last week, this country held fast to its record of hosting the fastest supercomputer in the world: It helps viruses hijack immune cells Trade winds Running the chocolate through an electric field Genes that suppress the immune system A maverick scientist has recently claimed that humans—like pigeons and bees—have a “sixth sense” that picks up on this phenomenon: Team attacks on “problem” male bears Cats A neutron star explosion The Pygmalion effect Question Two colliding black holes Genes that reduce inflammation The placebo effect. Think those brain training games are working for you? Think again, say the scientists behind the study, which tested if people who thought they were engaged in brain boosting activities scored better than those who did not. Using identical tests but different recruitment ads, the psychologists found that primed participants—those who thought they were improving their brain function—added on average an extra 5 to 10 points to their IQ score. This suggests their success might simply be a result of the placebo effect. It also suggests a new strategy for advertising this quiz! Corals A new study has shown that cancer may be contagious in these creatures: Pheromones Covering the chocolate with magnets Average Moving their cubs into deep underground caves The placebo effect Who needs supercomputing when you have chocolate? Last week, scientists poured their hearts—and minds—into this new way of making a low-fat version of the sweet treat: Time’s Up! The five-point-palm exploding heart technique Running the chocolate through an electric field. Visions of a stoned Johnny Depp might put you off your Wonka bar, but they aren’t going to reduce its fat content, which runs anywhere from 40% to 60%. Getting that number down has been a challenge for manufacturers, because low-fat liquid chocolate is thick enough to clog most chocolate-making machinery. Now, scientists have found a new way: applying an electric current as it runs through the processing pipes. The technique, called electrorheology, clumps the solid particles of cocoa floating in the liquid chocolate into chains, allowing them to flow past each other more easily. The result? A chocolate runny enough for makers to reduce its fat content by 10%. And maybe another movie deal for the industry’s favorite actor. It lets viruses “flow” farther from the infection site A surprising new study shows that some of our genes may actually ramp up their activity after death. Which genes are part of this postmortem party?center_img Genes that promote perambulation Solar flares Score The Tetris effect Magnetism It has enzymes that viruses use as cell “drills” Mosquito bites make us sick when they’re laced with viruses like Zika or dengue. But their spit makes us even sicker. Why? June 27, 2016 United States It helps viruses hijack immune cells. When a mosquito infects you with a disease like Zika or dengue, it does more than just deliver a few virus particles under your skin. Its saliva prompts an immune reaction that helps spread the virus. First, inflammation causes immune cells known as neutrophils to rush to the bite site. Neutrophils recruit macrophages, cells whose job it is to gobble up microbes or anything else that does not belong in the body. Then, the virus plays its hand: It infects the macrophages, turning them into tiny virus factories that it uses to replicate and spread quickly throughout the body. Spencer Lowell Every Monday, The Science Quiz tests your knowledge of the week’s biggest science news stories. No matter how much you know, you’re still likely to learn something — give it a try! Siegfried Klaus Mama brown bears go to great lengths to protect their cubs, one-third of which are killed by marauding male bears every year. What is their latest tactic? June 27, 2016 The Science Quiz The faster you answer, the higher your score! Moving their cubs closer to human settlements. To shield their cubs from male attacks, smart mother bears in Sweden have begun raising them near their No. 1 enemy: humans. The bear families stay in clear-cut areas close to human settlements, hidden by brush and shrubs. But even if they are spotted, they often get lucky. Hunters, who don’t go after bear mothers and cubs, aren’t above plugging a big male bear every now and then. So far, the tactic seems to be working. Bear mothers that live closer to humans are far likelier to see their cubs survive than those that don’t, giving a whole new meaning to the term “human shield.” The Genesis Process Results: You answered out of correctly – Click to revisit Last week, astronomers reported that, back in 2011, they saw this gobble up a star nearly 5 billion light-years from Earth: Processing the chocolate at ultralow temperatures Share your score A supermassive black hole. The vast majority of supermassive black holes lurk quietly at the centers of their galaxies, not betraying their presence except through the pull of gravity. But if a star wanders too close, all hell breaks loose. The star gets stretched into long filaments, some of which are consumed by the black hole, while the rest settle into a flat accretion disk in orbit around it. In a stroke of luck, astronomers caught a rare glimpse of one of these so-called tidal disruption events, using the x-rays it produced to map out the disk surrounding the black hole. Electricity The Science Quiz You Brain waves 0 Top Ranker A supermassive black hole Clams China The audience effect Camels Clams. According to a new study, clams, mussels, and other marine bivalves can suffer from a form of contagious cancer similar to leukemia that appears to be transmitted through the water. Transmissible cancer has also been found in several mammals including Tasmanian devils and dogs. The new results in bivalves show that some animals are more susceptible to the phenomenon than others. Humans are in the clear—at least, so far. Magnetism. Forget Mesmer and his magic bracelets. It’s now an accepted fact that critters across the animal kingdom navigate using magnetoreception, or a sense of Earth’s magnetic field. Birds, fish, and even lobsters and snails possess the sense. So do deer, who graze along magnetic field lines, and dogs, who point north or south whenever they urinate or defecate. Now, one researcher is testing humans to see if we, too, have this subconscious sixth sense. He’s pretty sure we do. But he has to prove it. China. Last week, the country claimed not one but two computing crowns: top spot on the list of the world’s fastest supercomputers and the title of greatest supercomputing capacity. The fastest machine—called the Sunway TaihuLight—has a peak performance of 93 petaflops per second, or 93 quadrillion calculations per second. That’s three times the performance of its closest competitor and nearly 2 million times faster than a standard laptop. Japan Genes that promote cancer Sound waveslast_img

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