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Posted on Tuesday, November 25 - 2008

Mammoth Hair

Copyright © NYTimes.com

A new research report suggests that scientists may be able to recreate an extinct woolly mammoth from its long-frozen DNA. The most gung-ho scientists think it could be done in a decade or two for as little as $10 million. The deeper question is, should we try? Michael Crichton warned us in his novel “Jurassic Park” about the dangers of tinkering with extinct species (and populating a theme park with dinosaurs).That sort of improbable disaster is not what gives us pause. There is little doubt that it would be funto see a living, breathing woolly mammoth — a shaggy, elephantine creature with long curved tusks who reminds us more of a very large, cuddly stuffed animal than of a T.

rex. We’re just not sure that it would be all that much fun for the mammoth.The first mammoth would be a lonely zoo freak, vulnerable to diseases unknown to its ancestors. To live a full and rewarding life, it would need other mammoths to hang out with, a mate to produce a family and a suitable place to live. The sort of environment it is used to — the frigid wastes of Siberia and North America — are disappearing all too fast. No one is quite sure why the woolly mammoths died out toward the end of the last ice age, some 10,000 yearsago. Theories include warmer temperatures that gradually displaced the plants on which they fed, overhunting by primitive man, an accumulation of harmful genetic mutations, widespread disease, or an asteroid or comet colliding with Earth and disrupting the climate. If scientists do bring back a few mammoths, we suspect our warming world won’t look any more hospitable than the one that did them in.

Copyright: NYTimes.com

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Scientists: earth barely supports life

If earth had been slightly smaller and less massive, life might never have gained a foothold. They key to life on Earth as we know it, scientists figure, is plate tectonics — the forces that move continents and build mountains. And the more massive a world is, the thinner its plates are. Thinner plates are weaker and more easily moved and so able to support the kinds of crucial planet-shaping plate tectonics experienced on this planet over the billions of years that life evolved from simple one-...

Last ice age happened in less than a year

The last ice age 13,000 years ago took hold in just one year, more than ten times quicker than previously believed, scientists have warned. Rather than a gradual cooling over a decade, the ice age plunged Europe into the deep freeze, German Research Centre for Geosciences at Potsdam said. Cold, stormy conditions causedby an abrupt shift in atmospheric circulation froze the continent almost instantly during the Younger Dryas less than 13,000 years ago – a very recent period on a geological scale....

Magnets may make the brain grow stronger

Could magnets make the mind grow stronger? In mice at least, stimulating the brain with a magnetic coil appears to promote the growth of new neurons in areas associated with learning and memory. If the effect is confirmed in humans, it might open up new ways of treating age-related memory decline and diseases like Alzheimer's.Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been used experimentally to treat a range of brain disorders, including depression and schizophrenia, and torehabilitate peo...

Scientists claim dark matter discovery

Dark matter is thought to account for three-quarters of the matter in the universe but to date has never been directly observed. Now scientists are claiming a breakthrough discovery ofactual dark matter in a mine half a mile underground."For 80 years, it haseluded the finest minds in science. . But tonight it appeared that the hunt may be over for dark matter, the mysterious and invisible substance that accounts for three-quart...

Japan to put humanoid robot on moon by 2015 ?

A new proposal by several Japanese companies is aiming to put an android on the moon within just 5 years.The robot named Maido-kun is hoping to hitch a ride on a planned mission to the moon by the Japanese space agency, once there it will walk around on the surface and draw the Japanese flag on the ground in the dust. A humanoidrobot could be walking on the moon – and drawing the Japanese flag on its surface – by 2015, according to a plan proposed by a groupof Japanese companies. . Exp...

Sci-fi weapons from tomorrow, today

A run down of seven futuristic weapons that have passed squarely in to the realms of reality.From rail guns to automated robots, these weapon systems were once seen only in science fiction but are now very much a reality. This article takes a look at seven of the most interesting futuristic weapons of today. Lifehas been imitating art with a vengeance lately in the field of weaponry. A number of weaponsand weapons systems now on active duty or in the prototype stage seem to have been r...

Worlds oldest known DNA discovered

The oldest intact DNA ever found has been discovered inside salt deposits and belongs to a type of salt-loving bacteria that existed 419 million years ago making them some of the earliest life forms on Earth."Itwon"t make Jurassic Park a reality, but scientists have discovered 419 million-year-old DNAintact inside ancient salt deposits. . The genetic material, the oldest ever found, belongs to salt-loving bacteria whose ancesto...

The higher you are, the faster you age

Extremely precise timepieces have been used to prove that you age faster the higher off the ground you are.New research has shown that if you lived your life on the second floor of a building you would age faster by 900 billionths of a second. Its not much, but for the first time scientists have been able to actually demonstrate that there is a difference. Researchers havedemonstrated one of Einstein"s theories of relativity - that the further away from the Earth you are, the faster tim...

Worlds first bionic fingers unveiled

Scientists at Livingston based Touch Bionics have unveiled the ProDigits, the world's first bionic fingers. It is hoped that the motor-powered digits will transform the lives of peoplewho have missing fingers. "Experts have unveiled what they claim are theworld's first bionic fingers which they hope will transform the lives of people with missing digits. . The motor-powered ProDigits have been developed by Touch Bionic...

Dmitry Itskov plans immortality by 2045

The Russian mogul has set in motion a plan to achieve cybernetic immortality within 33 years.Known as the "2045 initiative", Itskov and his team have laid out an ambitious time line that would see them transplant a brain in to an artificial body by 2020, the creation of an artificial brain by 2030 and the creation of a holographic body by 2040. The project"s ultimate goal, tentatively scheduled for 2045, would be totransfer a human mind in to a holographic body.Itskov recently wrote a...


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