How fast does death travel on a cellular level?
The speed of death isn't as instantaneous as you may think.
In order to study this, researchers took cytoplasm from frog eggs and placed it in a tube. The cytoplasm was picked as its full of proteins, which were visible as bright green globs. The researchers then placed an extract from a cell that had recently undergone programmed cell death at the far end of the tube and measured how quickly it spread. The cells basically self-destructed, started by a "trigger wave" which then spread at roughly at 2mm an hour or 30 micro-centimeters a minute.
As death spread, the green globs died out. Interestingly, according to New Scientist, the self-destruction part occurred much faster than the extract itself moved.
Programmed cell death is a little bit more complex than what you might think of as "instant death", i.e. thinking of life like a light-switch, and it happens way more often than you might think. Look at your hands and you're actually looking at the result of programmed cell death that happened long ago in the womb. Towards the end of the first trimester, the cells that hold the hand together separate—otherwise, we'd be web-handed. It can also occur in cancer.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.
A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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