BunsenBwog: Summer of Science

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Sometimes you're just got to say to the data, "Let's science it!"

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean science isn’t happening at Columbia!

Scientists at Columbia are growing heart and bone tissue. An NPR reporter went to the lab, interviewed researchers, and made a really cool and informative video about it that includes footage of heart tissue beating like a real heart. Perhaps most amazing is the fact that the beat tempo can be controlled by altering the frequency of electrical pulses going to the muscle. It’s a little geeky, but really fun to watch. After the video was published, NPR meta-interviewed the reporter about the video.

Some Columbia researchers are working on something which may lead to The Pill—for men! They gave mice a drug which interefered with Vitamin A receptors, causing them to cease producing sperm. After being taken off the drug, the mice resumed mating and were able to reproduce. Giggity.

Lamont-Doherty was the major contributor to Google’s efforts to map an area of the ocean floor larger than North America by offering up its Global Multi-Resolution Topography database.

Complaining that much really does hurt you. According to a new study, a “positive outlook” on life can reduce chance of heart attack up to 22%. And this study was done by Columbian researchers on Canadians, so their threshold for a “negative outlook” probably has nothing on us.

Ian Lipkin is a Columbia scientist who supports “de-discovery,” which is the practice of rigorously repeating studies. Apparently this isn’t done because, hey, just repeating the work of others doesn’t get you on the front cover of Nature. So that’s no feather in Frontiers’ cap—just because studies can be repeated does not mean they are.

In happy news, Kartik Chandran, associate professor of EEE at SEAS (or CE?), won some Gates Foundation money to turn “fecal sludge” into fuel. That’s right folks: it actually says “fecal sludge” on columbia.edu. Today is a day for celebration.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. summer science kids  

    at columbia represent

  2. Anonymous

    Wait, people actually live in Canada?

  3. Anonymous

    If you use the flight simulator on Google Earth, you can also fly underwater! It's pretty awesome, even though the controls are a little too legit. Meaning, I've crashed into the face of an ocean canyon many times. I was pretty stoked about it.

  4. Anonymous  

    "Perhaps most amazing is the fact that the beat tempo can be controlled by altering the frequency of electrical pulses going to the muscle."

    CUT AND PRINT. Beautiful. Susan, bring me a tall glass of gin with a spritz of lemon. Tomorrow we'll be doing "how the heart is connected to the brain, part two."

  5. male birth control

    they're actually in the process of testing a male birth control pill for release in indonesia-a native herb called gandarusa stops male fertility without affecting libido. it could come here soon! pbs newshour, folks.

  6. only like...  

    20 days late to this.

  7. Yeah, what we need  

    is more infertility and more contraception and more "uncomplicated sex." Yeah, progress. Who needs children when the state will take care of us just like in Europe.

    Oh, wait.

  8. Anonymous  

    all this stuff happened before commencement, which like your commencement review...

  9. Anonymous

    I chuckled at the "things that require more than the back of an envelope" tag. Also, I must say, I feel as though the tags are the most consistently entertaining aspect of Bwog...

  10. Anonymous

    HOW bout a new post.

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