When Christopher Reeve was in the hospital, awaiting a back surgery that had a fifty/fifty chance of killing him, a man burst into his room. He was wearing surgical scrubs, talking in a Russian accent, and said he was there to give a rectal exam. It was Robin Williams; the two men had been roommates together at Juilliard. Later Reeve said of his life-long friend:
“For the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay.”
That’s sort of what Robin Williams did for all of us.
via Badass Digest
Neil deGrasse Tyson is not impressed with all your sexism.
The reason why the room was pink was because on black and white film, hues of red become dark shades of black. Pink is the perfect balance to give it that dark creepy grey.
A related fun fact: while old black and white film was under-sensitive to reds, it was correspondingly over-sensitive to greens. Actors whose characters were meant to have unnaturally pale complexions - like Morticia Addams - would often take advantage of this by wearing makeup with a green base tint in order to make their faces “pop”. This is where the modern trope of cartoon vampires having green skin comes from.
These are some fun fucking facts
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot from Voyager 1 Color Inverted
What will become of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot? Recorded as shrinking since the 1930s, the rate of the Great Red Spot’s size appears to have accelerated just in the past few years. A hurricane larger than Earth, the Great Red Spot has been raging at least as long as telescopes could see it. Like most astronomical phenomena, the Great Red Spot was neither predicted nor immediately understood after its discovery. Although small eddies that feed into the storm system seem to play a role, a more full understanding of the gigantic storm cloud remains a topic of continued research, and may result in a better understanding of weather here on Earth. The above image is a digital enhancement of an image of Jupiter taken in 1979 by the Voyager 1 spacecraft as it zoomed by the Solar System’s largest planet. NASA’s Juno spacecraft is currently heading toward Jupiter and will arrive in 2016.
Image Credit: NASA, JPL; Digital processing: Björn Jónsson (IAAA), Color: thedemon-hauntedworld
Fruit Esters are fun!
I am a tooth
Apollo 8 Earthrise (stabilized)
Neural Stem Cells Sprout Long Axons
Stem cells derived from the skin of an 86-year-old man show a surprising capacity to survive and form long axons at the site of a spinal cord injury in rats. The results, [published August 7] in Neuron, suggest that even induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) reprogrammed from aging human cells have an intrinsic ability to overcome inhibitory factors to form neurons and extend axons.
A rat neuronal stem cell (NSC) line had previously shown similar potential for regrowth: a 2012 study from the same research group demonstrated that rat NSCs could form axons that travelled great distances within rodent brains and spines, and restore movement to limbs after a spinal cord injury.
“Both studies are very provocative in terms of the amount of axon growth observed,” said neuroscientist Philip Horner of the University of Washington, who studies axonal regeneration but was not involved with the study. “The questions that the paper raises, however, are whether this is good and controllable [growth].”
Stem cell-based therapies hold tantalizing promise for treating spinal cord injuries. Previous studies have shown neural stem cells can extend axons far across lesions, remyelinate axons surrounding sites of partial injuries, and protect and restore conductivity across an injury. These properties raise intriguing prospects for experimental treatments. But suppressing a host’s immune system is crucial to the success of NSC grafts, and immunosuppression can pose high risks to patients already suffering spinal cord damage.
Mark Tuszynski and Paul Lu of the University of California, San Diego, sought to circumvent this need for immunosuppression by using iPSCs, which can be derived from a patient’s own skin and, eventually, autotransplanted. The researchers began by transducing dermal fibroblasts from a healthy subject with retroviral vectors to induce stem cell formation. NSCs derived from this process were implanted in a fibrin matrix infused with a cocktail of growth factors. These human iPSC-turned-NSCs were then grafted into rats two weeks after a spinal cord injury.
Portrait of Émilie du Châtelet by Maurice Quentin de La Tour, mid 1700s. du Châtelet was a mathematician and physicist who translated and annotated Isaac Newton’s “Principia Mathematica” into French, which includes her derivation of conservation of energy .