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Science Photo Library - ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI via Getty Images // Star Trek via Etsy

A crater of cosmic coincidence has formed on Mars and it has Star Trek fans down here on Earth going wild.

A chevron captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in the southeast Hellas Planitia region of Mars looks suspiciously like Star Trek's Starfleet Command symbol, representing the fictional intergalactic diplomacy organization we know and love.

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Just how prophetic was Star Trek? Based on a recent discovery, it seems a lot. Astronomers have recently discovered an exoplanet orbiting 40 Eridani A, a star known to hard-core Star-Trek fans as Spock’s home planet, Vulcan. While no one is actually suggesting that any pointy-eared aliens live on this newly discovered exoplanet, the discovery is undeniably coincidental.

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Mahrenholz with the patch. Image: Wacker Chemie / Jan Michael Hosan

German company Coldplasmatech has developed a new wound-treatment method that speeds up healing and kills bacteria without the use of antibiotics. Their treatment, as the company name subtly hints, involves cold plasma — the state of matter least understood by the general population.

In this case, “plasma” means the ionized state of matter, rather than platelet-rich plasma (PRP) — the liquid in which our blood cells are suspended. PRP itself has shown great promise in wound healing and skin regeneration, too: you might have heard of the “vampire facial” or the many studies worldwide using PRP to heal chronic wounds.

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A scientific researcher manipulates drops of embryonic stem cells in a laboratory, at 'Hospital do Coracao' heart institute, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on 5 March, 2008. Brazil's Federal Supreme Court will decide today on the continuity of the stem cells research, after Roman Catholich church officials and anti-abortion groups urged to ban it, given that the stem cells extraction entails the destruction of the embryo. AFP PHOTO/Mauricio LIMA (Photo credit should read MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images)

Sorry, Star Trek fans, looks like Geordi LaForge’s VISOR (Visual Instrument and Sight Organ Replacement) will remain the stuff of science fiction. A team of medical doctors in the United Kingdom have figured out another way to restore sight by using embryonic stem cells.

On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Geordi’s congenital blindness was partially returned through technological wizardry in the form of a metallic band across his eyes. The band delivered “enhanced vision” to his brain in the form of a bandwidth of light frequencies including visible, infrared, and ultraviolet. Many times during the course of the show, the ship’s chief surgeon, Dr. Beverly Crusher, suggested ways of giving Geordi normal human vision via futuristic bio-medical discoveries.

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Scientific publishing is a tough business. But it can also be a lucrative one, which is why even the esteemed pages of science journals may not always be above the fray. While many legitimate publications dutifully peer-review and edit the work they receive, pirates abound. These so-called predatory journals focus more on the money than the science, and for a researcher desperate to publish, a few hundred dollars and an easy peer-review process might seem too good to pass up.

The controversy has gained increasing attention over the past few years, thanks in large part to sneaky scientists like “BioTrekkie,” also known, to a few journals at least, as Lewis Zimmerman. The anonymous biologist is a pretty big Star Trek fan (if you couldn’t tell from the pseudonym), and he decided to test out whether some of the most notorious predatory journals were as well. The paper he submitted described an “experiment” that would be familiar to anyone who has seen Star Trek: Voyager Episode 32, “Threshold,” in which Lt. Thomas Paris makes an effort to finally break warp 10 speed.

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After keeping the Senate healthcare bill secret even from Republican Senators in the so-called health care working group, Senator Mitch McConnell promised to release a discussion draft of the bill Thursday morning ahead of a potential vote next week. But by Wednesday evening details of the bill had leaked.

According to The Washington Post, much like the American Health Care Act that narrowly passed the House in May, the Senate bill would:

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[DIGEST: Brainy, IFLS, XPrize, CDC, eMedicine, WebMD, FinalFrontier]

LeVar Burton (Star Trek: The Next Generation's Geordi La Forge): "I'm enormously proud of the fact that Star Trek has really not just sparked an interest, but encouraged, a few generations of people to go into the sciences."

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