Science Affliction #6

Time for your weekly romp around the internet for tasty science tidbits!

1) ScienceDaily.com has a fascinating article on a study regarding the possibility that social pressure creates false memories.

The most outstanding feature of the false memories was a strong co-activation and connectivity between two brain areas: the hippocampus and the amygdala. The hippocampus is known to play a role in long-term memory formation, while the amygdala, sometimes known as the emotion center of the brain, plays a role in social interaction. The scientists think that the amygdala may act as a gateway connecting the social and memory processing parts of our brain; its “stamp” may be needed for some types of memories, giving them approval to be uploaded to the memory banks. Thus social reinforcement could act on the amygdala to persuade our brains to replace a strong memory with a false one.

2) First it was Pluto. Then the Triceratops. Now they want to get rid of pi. Livescience.com has a post about why mathematicians might want to change the well-loved constant.

3) This photo posted on i09.com looks like some sort of cartoon alien, but it’s really a one-eyed fetal shark. Creeeepy!

4) Could antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria in humans be caused by the use of antibiotics in agriculture? There’s one study discussed in this article on arstechnica.com that seems to support that.

5) Some intrepid bacteriologists engineered E.Coli that uses 5-chlorouracil–a synthetic and toxic substance–in place of thymine in its DNA. They started out with a strain of bacteria that could not synthesize its own thymine, built up generations that had a tolerance for the 5-chlorouracil and then removed thymine from the substrate. Interesting and scary all at the same time.

6) Extra, bonus entry this week, because I thought this was a neat story. Ed Yong explains why pruney fingers evolved.


Ryan’s Word of the Day is malefic, an adjective meaning evil.

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