The Power of Paramedic Ants

Ants are a communal insect that has their strength in their numbers. After they find food, possibly battle for it, there can be many battle wounds along the way. It has been found in African Matabele ants, which leave their home base in masses to attack termite nests for food. Many ants loose limbs and even their lives during the process. Yet, an interesting discovery has shed some light on how the group manages to recover from the war of food.

 

Paramedic Ants

When Matabele ants feed attack termites, they do it in groups up to 600 ants. The larger ants break through the natural environment while the smaller ants attack their targets and bring the dead termites back to the ant’s nest. Research has found that ants have the ability to not only pick up their fellow comrades after injury and take them back to home base, but they also have antibiotic saliva to help heal any wounds.

Field experiments conducted in the humid savannah woodland at Comoé National Park, Ivory Coast, scientists found that returning ants carried any ant with one or two injured limbs back to the base. Yet, if the injuries were too extensive, they were left to die. The researchers moved six different ant nests into artificial ones and recorded footage of their behaviors.

“We don’t know if they are just removing dirt from the wound or applying an antimicrobial substance to fight off an infection. But we do know that if they don’t receive the treatment, 80% die within 24 hours. If you allow the treatment for an hour, the ants survive,” said Erik Frank, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Wurzburg.

The ants in distress from the injury communicate to the other ants through pheromones. Once the paramedic ants come to the rescue, the injured ants tuck in the legs to allow a smooth transport back to their nest. Frank also attempted to create an artificial rescue by coating an ant in pheromones. The ants came to the rescue but promptly abandoned the mission when the “suffering” and failed to position its legs for proper transport.

This fascinating aspect of ant society is quite complex and sophisticated behavior. Biological advances like this can open many doors in the knowledge of animal behavior and science itself.

Why Science Blogging is Important

Alexander-Lakhanpal-science

In today’s ever-evolving world, science data advances almost in the blink of an eye. This is why science blogging is so important. Science blogging helps to disperse state-of-the-art scientific data nearly as soon as research is done and validation is complete.

It is difficult to imagine what daily life would be like without science blogging offering a wide range of topics updating scientific research into major health, nature and environmental issues.

For example, with the avid interest in ancestral genealogy, science bloggers use links to the most recent scientific research on an 8 million-year-old gene that could help citrus growers or the recent discovery that a praying mantis has 3-D vision. Each of these spins off into blog articles with comments by online readers.

 

Breaking News and Science Blogging

When the U.S. NASA launched a huge Delta 4 heavy rocket known as Space X’s Falcon Heavy rocket, science bloggers were full of the scientific details.

 

Not only is science blogging important in the U.S., but access to science blogs from around the globe provide a different perspective of important scientific studies and research, such as how genes may cause mental health problems or the new tick-borne disease discovered by Swedish scientists.

The United Kingdom’s science news that underwater volcanoes may be the cause of dinosaur extinction has science bloggers posting their views on this issue.

 

Science Blogging Supports the Public

One of the biggest benefits of science blogging is that it supports the public and stakeholders by continually injecting a consortium of public and stakeholder views and opinions on scientific issues.

During the late 1990s, the effects of acid rain kept science bloggers busy providing the public with a variety of opinions and ideas.

Online science blogs are a form of scientific communication shared over the internet platform and social media. Choices of science blogs range from those dedicated to science research, specific branches of science and science blogs that encourage students to take a greater interest in science.

 

The Convenience of Science Blogging

For professionals and neophytes alike, science blogging is readily accessible. It requires only minimal knowledge of using a search engine to find the science blog of choice. For example, one of the most popular nature science blogs is found at https://nature.com.

When to Look up to the Stars in 2018

Stargazing and space exploration enthusiasts have a lot to look forward to in 2018. The exciting events taking place in our solar system begin in January. Unique lunar displays, meteor showers, and international journeys into space make for an exciting new year.
Blue, Blood, Supermoon
The complex names describe a number of events occurring on January 31. First of all, we will witness the second full moon for the month, which is referred to as the Blue Moon. The event happens approximately once every 30 months. The moon will also venture 50,000 kilometers closer than usual. The path makes the “perigee-syzygy” or Supermoon appear 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than usual. The Blood Moon is so named due to the lunar eclipse that occurs when the moon passes into the shadow of the Earth. Although the moon is fully shadowed, light from the sun refracts toward the celestial body creating a blood red color.

March Moon Exploration
During the month or March, the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, lander, and rover take a trip to the moon. The Chandrayaan mission is one of the many that countries have scheduled throughout 2018. The craft will be equipped with a variety of instrumentation designed to map and study the moon’s contents, which include minerals and water content. The country is excited as this will be the first lunar landing for India. They plan on making the journey to the planet’s south pole.

Perseids Meteor Shower
From August 11 through August 13, the skies come to life with streaks of meteors sailing through the northern hemisphere. The popular event takes place when our planet collides with the tail of the 109P/Swift-Tuttle comet. The size of debris pieces scattered varies. Larger pieces create the spectacular fireballs that thrill observers. There will be a new moon during the three days, which heightens visibility. The show entails approximately 100 meteors per hour.

Geminids Meteor Shower
From December 13 through December 15, the sky once again puts on a show as the Earth impacts with debris from the tail of the 32 Phaethon asteroid. However, optimal visibility will not occur until after midnight due to there being the first quarter of the moon. At that time, there will be an estimated 120 meteors per hour flashing through the atmosphere.

The Best of Science in 2017

Alexander-Lakhanpal-2017

This year has been an interesting year for the science community. From the political woes of evidence-based knowledge to the extreme natural disasters across the globe, science and research are more important than ever. Here are some of the highlights of major science news of 2017.

 

Iceberg Breaking

In July, an iceberg that was sized to be the same as Luxembourg broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula. The iceberg broke away over 10 percent of the surface area of Antarctica’s fourth-largest ice shelf. The result of the breakaway is still unsure but if it collapsed completely, Larsen C, the ice shelf, would create glaciers that have enough water to increase the global sea level by one centimeter.

 

CAR-T Cancer Therapy
An approval for a new form of cancer treatment called CAR-T cell therapy has pushed the field of cancer research and treatment forward. This new technique involved genetically modifying and engineering a patient’s immune cells to then attack cancerous tumors. CAR-T sparked some concerns regarding safety yet the US Food and Drug Administration approved the therapy to use in children and young adults who have been diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia.

This gene-editing, in a clinical use setting, has been pushed forward this year. The beginning use of CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing was used to repair a diseasing-creating mutation in human embryos. The research conducted showed that the given technique was safe and found no side effects.

 

Artificial Intelligence

AI is booming in various markets and is even beginning to trickle down to American consumers. DeepMind’s AlphaGo Zero game playing bot was one of the biggest strides in pushing AI forward by beating its predecessor 100 percent of the time. AlphaGo Zero also taught itself how to play the game and became the ultimate champion while doing it.  It may seem simple that a robot can win a game but in the larger picture, it shows the intelligence of robotics is increasing at a fast rate.
We are finding various markets such as smartphone technology begin to understand human patterns and cater the user experience. The medical field is even beginning to adapt AI into their industry to improve efficiency and accuracy of healthcare.