Closer to “Human” Clones?

January 18, 2008

Researchers at Stemagen claim that they used male skin cells to create human embryos, even thought they did not delevop past 100 cells.

It is not clear whether the embryos would have been viable if implanted into a womb. Stemagen did not test whether the embryos had the correct number of chromosomes. But Dr. Wood, who also is a fertility doctor, said, “We’ve seen reproductive blastocysts that look like this or worse and they implant.”

Read more articles here:
Cloning Said to Yield Human Embryos (New York Times)
Mature Human Embryos Created From Adult Skin Cells (Washington Post)


Death Star Galaxy: Look at the Size of That Thing!

December 18, 2007


A comment from reader Alec Longstreth points to this fascinating science story of a massive black hole within the heart of a galaxy that is blasting a nearby companion galaxy with a jet of high energy particles and magnetic fields. It’s a galaxy… with a gun! The kind of nefarious superweapon that could only be cooked up in an Imperial laboratory, or in the depths of space by the cosmos. It’s the nickname of the violent galaxy that should catch the eye of Star Wars fans:

The larger of the two galaxies in 3C321 – dubbed the “death star galaxy” by the astronomers – has a jet emanating from the vicinity of the black hole at its centre. The unfortunate smaller galaxy has apparently swung into the jet’s line of fire.

Read the rest here.

Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia?

November 26, 2007

According to “The fabled Ark of the Covenant may not be in some nondescript crate in a massive US government warehouse but rather in the small Ethiopian town of Aksum where it is guarded by a virgin monk who can never leave the chapel where it sits. And nobody else can see it either. Smithsonian magazine sent Paul Raffaele to investigate.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Ask a NASA Astronaut a Question!

October 26, 2007

Since the Discovery blasted off on on October 23 for a two-week mission (with Luke’s lightsaber on board!), Star Wars fans have been leaving their best wishes to the seven STS-120 astronauts headed to the International Space Station, at (So don’t forget to make sure the Discovery crew knows that the Force is with them!)

Now thanks to, visitors have a chance to ask an astronaut on board a question as well.

Feel free to ask how they feel about having Luke’s Return of the Jedi lightsaber on board. Or if the Star Wars saga inspired them to be astronauts? Or if they find themselves quoting the movie over and over, “Hey that’s no moon!”

What question would you like to ask? Your question may get picked and asked to an astronaut! But we need your questions by end of the day 5pm EST on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

So post your questions HERE in this thread:
Ask a NASA Astronaut a Question! (Due Oct 30)

Build Your Own Sputnik

October 22, 2007

In 1957 the Sputnik 1 satellite was seen as a technological marvel, the result of many years work by some of the Soviet Union’s most talented engineers and scientists. But by today’s standards, was it really such a big deal? How hard would it be to build a fully working Sputnik in the comfort of your own living room?

Follow the instructions here and make your own Sputnik!
And while you’re at it, sign up to take the Sputnik Challenge.

How to build your own Sputnik

Lucas Talks Imagination

October 9, 2007

Filmmaker George Lucas visits the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and answers a few questions from the Chicago Tribune about the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit.

Star Wars was designed to stimulate the imagination of young kids. It was to get kids to think and use their imagination and go home and draw pictures and make their own stories,” said Lucas, who was in town to promote the 10,000-square-foot exhibit.

“There is a lot of imaginative science in Star Wars,” Lucas said. “It shows you that by imagining things, you can imagine things that will eventually come through.”

Watch the video interview here, along with the article:
Exhibit from a galaxy far, far away

New Drug Side Effect: WookieeVision

October 5, 2007

The next time you start using a new antifungal treatment (not that we’re saying you ever will) you might end up seeing Wookiees as a side effect.

According to a report on CNBC, some recent scientific research unveiled — at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy meeting — an interesting effect of the new Pfizer drug called Vfend. The study showed that 12% of the people who take Vfend start seeing things — specifically Wookiees.

Miller Tabak healthcare analyst Les Funtleyder had this to say about the report:

“Included in the reported visions was at least one sighting of a Wookiee (presumably Chewbacca). We make the following observations: What is wrong with seeing Wookiees? We are making no changes to our 2007 $700 million sales forecast for Vfend, and continue to believe that sales for the drug can grow at a 10% clip over the next few years. We do not see future FDA action in terms of a black-box Wookiee warning or an FDA Wookiee panel.”

Read the full article here:
Star Wars: Chewbacca’s Revenge on Pfizer