The Mary Sue


Science Confirms What the Vikings Repeatedly Told Us: Women Were Warriors, Too

DNA research on a warrior grave in Sweden seems to confirm what the stories in Viking sagas would suggest: women, too, could serve as high-status warriors in Viking society.

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Nicole Kidman to Play Rosalind Franklin in Film Adaptation, Gives Franklin Mainstream Attention She Deserves

Nicole Kidman will continue her West End role in Photograph 51 with a film adaptation.

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Nicole Kidman Will Star as Rosalind Franklin in Photograph 51 on the West End

Unfortunately, Nicole Kidman isn't starring in a film adaptation of Anna Ziegler's play about scientist Rosalind Franklin, but she is currently starring in that play on the West End, so if you're in London, go snag a ticket to Photograph 51.

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Scientists Edit Human Embryo DNA for the First Time, Find That the Technology Isn’t Ready

No matter what Jurassic Park would have you believe.

Two steps forward, one step back: scientists edited the DNA of human embryos for the first time, and they're going to take a break, because it didn't go so well.

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Surprise! That DNA “Evidence” Shows We’re All Jack the Ripper Victims! Or Something Like That

These scientists need a lesson from Mr. DNA.

Oh no! The (most) recent supposed Jack the Ripper identification was wrong! He's still at large! Wait, what do you mean he lived over 100 years ago?

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Jack the Ripper’s Identity “Confirmed” by That Bastion of Scientific Thought: The Daily Mail

"No, for real this time! We swear! ...Until next time."

We finally know who Jack the Ripper was, and we have the Daily Mail to thank! It was Walter Sickert! Er, I mean, it was actually a woman who worked for Salvation Army! Wait no, it was actually Aaron Kosminski, a crazy hairdresser! For real this time, you guys! Guys? Where are you going?

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You’re About To Be Able To Make A Baby With Three Biological Parents

But not in the fun way.

Making a baby with two parents is pretty cool, I guess - but what if your baby could have DNA from three different biological parents? Well science has already done it - it's a real thing, and it's about to be ready for clinical use.

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Science Can Use DNA GPS To Determine Where Your Ancestors Lived 1000 Years Ago

Maybe everything you know about yourself is a LIE.

Most of us can trace our lineage back a few generations, but what about way back? Like, would-need-a-TARDIS-to-determine-the-truth back? Two scientists have collaborated to create a new kind of DNA GPS that can accurately pinpoint where in the world you came from, over a thousand years ago.

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Olive Oil Counterfeiters, Beware “Magnetic DNA Particles”

Sadly, this does nothing to stop Olive Oyl impersonators.

Today we learned that olive oil counterfeiting is a real thing, and not the plot of some future Wes Anderson movie. We also learned that olive oil counterfeiters' days might be numbered thanks to some tiny DNA particles that could allow the oil to be verified as authentic. Way to tackle the big issues, science.

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We Have Real, Living Glow in the Dark Pigs Now, Because Science Says “Why Not?”

Making pigs who are their own nightlight was surprisingly high on the list of genetic engineering uses.

Advances in genetic engineering have allowed scientists at the South China Agricultural University to raise piglets that glow green when exposed to black light. If you were already on the fence about whether there's a God, you might have your answer in that none of these scientists were smote for creating light switch rave-ready pigs.

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Nanorobots Could Deliver Medicine to Specific Body Parts Through Your Blood

Unrelated: Can we please bring back pronouncing it as "ro-bit"?

Are there tiny robots in your blood right now? Probably not. But there could be soon thanks to science. Thanks, science! The tiny robots in question are actually DNA nanocages that can be programmed to release medication to specific areas of the body.

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Happy 93rd Birthday, Rosalind Franklin! Google Got You a Doodle!

Well, it's not a Nobel, but it's the best we can do for right now.

You can be forgiven if you're not familiar with today's Google Doodle of Rosalind Franklin. Though she did much of the important X-ray crystallography work that set the stage for James Watson and Francis Crick's discover of the double-helix structure of DNA, Franklin still goes largely unacknowledged in many modern science texts. Today would have been Rosalind Franklin's 93rd birthday, and Google is celebrating her tragically brief life and career with it's highest honor -- a Doodle.

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Kangaroo Poo DNA Test Helps Researchers Count And Manage Species

The science of identifying an animal by its droppings just got a 21st century update.

Researchers in Australia have developed a fast, easy, and kind of gross way to to track populations on different species of kangaroo and wallaby across the continent with a quick and dirty DNA test of the droppings the animals leave behind. The tests could help to improve understanding of how many kangaroos of a particular species are alive in the wild, and exactly where they're living, and similar tests could one day help identify and protect populations of more vulnerable animals.

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Herring Sperm Coating Makes Fabrics Flame Retardant

Looking for a way to make sure your clothes don't burst into flame? A team of researchers at the Polytechnic University of Turin has come up with a method I'm willing to wager you've never tried before -- rubbing herring sperm into the fabric. Because seriously, who would have thought of trying that? I can't even take a guess at where you'd find that much herring sperm. You can't argue with results, though, and whatever else you can say about it, herring sperm seems to make a pretty reliable flame retardant, even if it's not a perfect process yet.

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Today in Geek History: Watson and Crick Discover DNA

60 years ago today, one of the most important discoveries in the history of modern science was announced, as is right and proper, at a bar. On February 28, 1953 in the Eagle Pub, James Watson and Francis Crick first spoke publicly about their discovery of the structure of the most fundamental building block of life, deoxyribonucleic acid -- or DNA if that's too much of a mouthful.

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This Pistol Fires DNA Bullets To Tag Criminals In The Act Without, You Know, Killing Them

Whether or not you're a gun fan, you're pretty used to seeing police officers -- and even some private security guards toting guns around to protect citizens and property. But not every criminal enterprise is a hanging offense -- or a shooting offense, as it were -- and if you're leveling a firearm at someone who is stealing a candy bar, chances are you're overreacting at least a little bit. That doesn't mean you have to let a criminal get away -- after all, look how that turned out for Spider-Man. Thanks to British security company Selectamark, though, you can now serve up appropriate justice through the barrel of a gun -- a gun that fires soft bullets filled with unique DNA that can be used to tag and help convict a suspect later on.

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Scientists Code All 154 Shakespeare Sonnets and MP3 Files With DNA

I recently picked up a 32 gig micro-SD card, and I was impressed by how much data could fit into something so small, but that's nothing compared to the research being done in DNA data storage. Science has been able to code information with DNA, but the amount of data capable of being stored was low, while the error rate was high. New techniques have allowed scientists to encode large amounts of data into DNA, including all 154 Shakespeare sonnets, a photo of their lab, a PDF file, and an MP3 of a portion of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, and to decode the information from the DNA successfully.

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Quadruple Helix DNA Discovered In Human Cells, Is The Double Rainbow Of Molecular Information Storage

A team of researchers at Cambridge University have spotted the first instances of DNA with four helices present inside human cells. The Cambridge team hopes their findings could have implications for treating cancer, but the discovery more broadly suggests that we still may have a lot to learn about the basic structure of DNA and the shapes it can potentially take.

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Florida Luxury Condos Test Doggie DNA to Identify Who’s Not Scooping the Poop

Need proof that the rich really aren't that different from you and me? How's this -- they don't pick up their dog's poop when they think no one is looking, either. No, not even when they're only walking their dog on the turf at their luxury condo. That's why a condo community in Florida is making residents enter their dog's DNA into a new genetic database that will be used to match a poop to a pooch and identify which owners aren't cleaning up after their pets. Which is really nice to hear, because you know once resources start being devoted to things like this, we've clearly solved the big problems like world hunger, and can now put science to work on the really important issues of our age.

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Biologist Proposes to Biologist Girlfriend in Fragments of Actual DNA

she blinded me with science

The last science class I took was AP Biology in 2003. Well, that's not true, the last science class I took was Astronomy 101, and before that Honors Physics, but I dropped out of the latter after a marking period. So, the last science class I took that offered a significant challenge to me was AP Biology. After nearly a decade, there isn't much I remember about it other than my teacher explaining why we were using an online simulator for the fly genetics lab (because he did it with real flies once and they never left) and dissecting a fetal pig that we named Napoleon. Also, I was absent for the lab where we performed gel electrophoresis, a method of examining the length of DNA fragments. So bear with me on this awesomely sciencey proposal.

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