When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.Alexander Graham Bell
If you’re one of the nation’s experts on spiders and the properties of their silk, you best not have a hint of arachnophobia. Fortunately for us UC Riverside’s evolutionary biologist Cheryl Hayashi does not have this problem.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Hayashi in the past and she told us then that one of the spider silk proteins they genetically sequenced dated back about 250 million years.
That’s a really long period of time. I mean, we’re going back to the Mesozoic, when dinosaurs are walking around. And so this is a long time for these sequences to be conserved. And to us, that argues that these regions of the sequence are probably very important for the functioning of spider silks.
Hayashi explained that there’s lots of interest in creating synthetic spider silks.
Spider silk is very strong and very tough. It actually surpasses a lot of the common man-made materials. It’s stronger than high tensile steel and has a toughness that is greater than Kevlar. So there’s a lot of interest in being able to mass produce spider silk.
Packing up gear for an interview today at UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus. Chatting with Dr. Ari Green about their study using an innovative research tool to identify eight drugs that may stimulate nervous system repair in multiple sclerosis (MS).
If you were to translate ‘Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall’ in another language, a lot depends on what language you’re speaking. Cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky of UC San Diego explains.
Let’s just focus on the verb ‘sat’. If this is something you want to say in English and it’s something that happened in the past, then you have to change the verb to mark tense. But in other languages, not only do you have to mark tense, there may be five different past tenses.
In other languages, gender and how you even came to know this information about Mr. Dumpty are factored in, too. The cognition behind language got Boroditsky interested in whether bilinguals have two separate systems for thinking in two languages or, do they have one integrated system for both? She found it’s actually a combination of the two.
They may change based on the language they’re speaking in the moment, but they’re almost always still different from the monolinguals of either language. So, it seems that there’s both combination and differentiation in the bilingual mind.
What about you? Do you speak more than one language?
Evolutionary biologist Robert Dudley of ucberkeley describes his new book, “The Drunken Monkey, Why we drink and abuse alcohol” in this Q&A.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.Richard Feynman