Memory Making Linked to Gene and Protein, Research Shows

In his 1923 volume The Prisoner, French novelist Marcel Proust describes memory as a “…sort of chemical laboratory.” This apt definition was ahead of its time, as scientists were just learning about the brain’s anatomy. Nearly a century later, neuroscientists are beginning to discover the chemical and molecular pathways responsible for creating and recalling memories. 

At Rutgers University, Timothy Otto  and his colleagues are delving into the brain’s biochemical activities to determine the ways in which experiences activate genes within brain cells to form lasting memories. The researchers have discovered that the Arc gene and its protein product, also called Arc, play an essential role in the memory formation process. One of tens of thousands of proteins in the brain, Arc is found in the brain’s hippocampus region (the area involved in many forms of learning), and activates as memories form. 

“We’ve shown that to form new memories the hippocampus must produce Arc and that blocking Arc production, blocks memory formation and recall,” explains Otto.

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sagansense:

skunkbear:

First prize in Science’s Visualization Challenge (video category) went to this NASA video by Greg Shirah, Horace Mitchell, and Tom Bridgman. It shows Earth’s “climate engine” — the wind patterns and ocean currents that are powered by the sun.

If you haven’t already, indulge in the wonders of our vibrant planet Earth in the PBS NOVA feature “Earth From Space:

"Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the Sun’s heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.

This continues to be one of the most remarkable films I’ve ever seen regarding the symbiosis of Earth as viewed in multiple wavelengths from outside our planet. Every child should be required to watch this to understand the interconnectivity between all living systems, which would illuminate just how ridiculous the “arguments” are over climate change and the vague knowledge of our biosphere politicians continue to perpetuate.

Ancient Toothless Pterosaurs Once Dominated the World’s Skies

Giant toothless pterosaurs with wingspans stretching 39 feet (12 meters) across ruled the skies 60 million years ago, and new research suggests that these ancient flying creatures once had a worldwide presence, and likely played an important role in the Late Cretaceous ecosystem.

Despite their formidable size, the pterosaurs in the Azhdarchidae family had no teeth. The new research suggests they replaced their toothed relatives as the dominant species when high levels of carbon dioxide killed off important microscopic marine creatures, leading to a mass extinction about 90 million years ago.
"This shift in dominance from toothed to toothless pterodactyloids apparently reflects some fundamental changes in Cretaceous ecosystems, which we still poorly understand," Alexander Averianov, from the Russian Academy of Sciences, wrote in a new study of this type of pterosaur.
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Ancient Toothless Pterosaurs Once Dominated the World’s Skies

Giant toothless pterosaurs with wingspans stretching 39 feet (12 meters) across ruled the skies 60 million years ago, and new research suggests that these ancient flying creatures once had a worldwide presence, and likely played an important role in the Late Cretaceous ecosystem.

Despite their formidable size, the pterosaurs in the Azhdarchidae family had no teeth. The new research suggests they replaced their toothed relatives as the dominant species when high levels of carbon dioxide killed off important microscopic marine creatures, leading to a mass extinction about 90 million years ago.

"This shift in dominance from toothed to toothless pterodactyloids apparently reflects some fundamental changes in Cretaceous ecosystems, which we still poorly understand," Alexander Averianov, from the Russian Academy of Sciences, wrote in a new study of this type of pterosaur.

Read more

fuckyeahfluiddynamics:

Type 1a supernovae occur in binary star systems where a dense white dwarf star accretes matter from its companion star. As the dwarf star gains mass, it approaches the limit where electron degeneracy pressure can no longer oppose the gravitational force of its mass. Carbon fusion in the white dwarf ignites a flame front, creating isolated bubbles of burning fluid inside the star. As these bubbles burn, they rise due to buoyancy and are sheared and deformed by the neighboring matter. The animation above is a visualization of temperature from a simulation of one of these burning buoyant bubbles. After the initial ignition, instabilities form rapidly on the expanding flame front and it quickly becomes turbulent. (Image credit: A. Aspden and J. Bell; GIF credit: fruitsoftheweb, source video; via freshphotons)

fuckyeahfluiddynamics:

Type 1a supernovae occur in binary star systems where a dense white dwarf star accretes matter from its companion star. As the dwarf star gains mass, it approaches the limit where electron degeneracy pressure can no longer oppose the gravitational force of its mass. Carbon fusion in the white dwarf ignites a flame front, creating isolated bubbles of burning fluid inside the star. As these bubbles burn, they rise due to buoyancy and are sheared and deformed by the neighboring matter. The animation above is a visualization of temperature from a simulation of one of these burning buoyant bubbles. After the initial ignition, instabilities form rapidly on the expanding flame front and it quickly becomes turbulent. (Image credit: A. Aspden and J. Bell; GIF credit: fruitsoftheweb, source video; via freshphotons)