23 September 2014
Just as we take out the rubbish to keep a house tidy, the body must clean out waste and dead tissue to stay healthy. Macrophages (pictured in green) are the white blood cells in charge of this process, engulfing dead cells (shown in pink) to dispose of them. They perform day-to-day maintenance, as seen in the right panel, as well as clear out areas of inflammation, when the immune system responds to infection or damage (left panel), thanks to the combined action of two proteins on the cell surface. Known as Mer and Axl, they both detect cells which need to be removed, but each responds to a different type of problem: Mer recognises dead cells in otherwise healthy environments, while Axl is active in inflamed tissue. Failure to remove dead cells in either case may lead to autoimmune diseases, making these receptor proteins important targets for future research.
Written by Emmanuelle Briolat
Image by Anna Zagórska and Matt Joens
Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center, Salk Institute, USA
Originally published under a Creative Commons Licence (BY 4.0)
Research published in Nature Immunology, September 2014
The Cat at Night
This was my favorite book as a kid! Even as an adult, I still love the artwork.
*weeps softly because this is my current reality*
Scientist will record every sound on Earth for a year
Bryan Pijanowski, a self-described ‘soundscape ecologist,’ has installed microphones around the world so he can capture the planet’s noises.
Romantically, you could say that we are all made of stardust, but the truth is also, that we’re all just nuclear waste.
Professor Jim Al-Khalili
Don’t worry, Cthulhu is still fast asleep and no one has heard from the Kraken for centuries. This nightmarish maw is the beak of a female colossal squid, one that weighed 770 lbs (350 kg), measured nearly 11.5 feet long ( 3.5 m) and was recently dissected by scientists during a live webcast from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, New Zealand. The squid was found by Captain John Bennett and his crew in Antarctic waters back in December 2013. She’s only the second intact colossal squid specimen ever recovered, providing an extraordinary opportunity for scientists to learn more about this mysterious species.
The squid’s eyes measured nearly 14 inches in diameter. The better to see you with, my dear. She also had three hearts, all the better to love you to tiny, bite-size pieces.
17% of cardiac surgeons are women, 17% of tenured professors are women. It just goes on and on. And isn’t that strange that that’s also the percentage of women in crowd scenes in movies? What if we’re actually training people to see that ratio as normal so that when you’re an adult, you don’t notice?
…We just heard a fascinating and disturbing study where they looked at the ratio of men and women in groups. And they found that if there’s 17% women, the men in the group think it’s 50-50. And if there’s 33% women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.