UCLA scientists unlock mystery of how ‘handedness’ arises

The overwhelming majority of proteins and other functional molecules in our bodies display a striking molecular characteristic: They can exist in two distinct forms that are mirror images of each other, like your right hand and left hand. Surprisingly, each of our bodies prefers only one of these molecular forms.

This mirror-image phenomenon — known as chirality or “handedness” — has captured the imagination of a UCLA research group led by Thomas G. Mason, a professor of chemistry and physics and a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA.

“Objects like our hands are chiral, while objects like regular triangles are achiral, meaning they don’t have a handedness to them,” said Mason, the senior author of the study.

Why many of the important functional molecules in our bodies almost always occur in just one chiral form when they could potentially exist in either is a mystery that has confounded researchers for years.

Learn more about chirality – UCLA Newsroom

Continue reading UCLA scientists unlock mystery of how ‘handedness’ arises

Why are lifelong surfers trading in their boards for swim fins?

Why are all these lifelong surfers trading in their boards for swim fins? Board builder and alternative surf craft artisan Jon Wegener had this to say:

“As surfing becomes more complicated, futuristic and radical, there’s a backlash of people who just want to go and have fun. You want to find something simple, and it’s just easy to go and have fun with a handplane. We don’t have Pipeline and waves like that. We have mediocre beachbreaks, and this stuff is really fun in waves like that. You don’t need a lot … you get your best tube view on a head high wave when you’re bodysurfing, so it gives you some exhilaration in our waves.”

Ed Lewis of Enjoy Handplanes added, “We all grew up going to the beach, jumping in the water and playing around. For me, getting back into bodysurfing brings me back to being a kid, and you just kind of need that.”

keep reading – Shawn Parkin’s full article on ESPN.com

 

Handplanes - used for bodysurfing - made by a growing number of companies

 

// Photo by Shawn Parkin

Handplane Hoedown – try out new handplanes for bodysurfing

There is a new trend in surfing, well, rather bodysurfing. A group of environmentalists and shapers have begun crafting the most beautiful handplanes. These items are mini surfboards that you strap to your hand and get low in the water. They let you go fast, real fast and barrel on almost any wave.

Ed Lewis of Enjoy Handplanes describes how it works:

The second best part about Handplanes (first is how much fun they are) is that all of them are made out of recycled or sustainable material. Some are made out of wood, others out of broken and trashed boards.

A few of the companies are putting together a Handplane Hoedown to try out these things:

  • Saturday, May 5, 2012
  • Sunrise to ???
  • Southern California – San Clemente State Beach
  • Facebook Event Page

This is not a contest in any way, shape or form. Just a day of fun (ie. Fish Fry) to celebrate the handplane. NO POSTERS, NO BANNERS, NO SALES, NO T-SHIRTS. All word of mouth. This event is for everyone, from the first time garage made handplanes, to the super refined handplanes that are being sold in shops. If you’re into the food tray thing, bring that too. There will be representatives with Demo Planes from Hess, Surfcraft Co-op, Enjoy, and Brownfish, plus any and all other company’s are welcome to bring handplanes for the masses to try-out. Please spread the word via facebook, twitter, instagram, etc.

Hess Handplanes
Enjoy
Brownfish
Surfcraft Co-op

 

// Thx to Enjoy Handplanes

 

Thousands of never-before-seen-photos from New York City – 100 years ago

New Yorkers cool off in the Astoria public pool with the Hell Gate railroad bridge looming in the background in the summer of 1940.
Murder most foul: A detective took this crime scene photo in 1918 after children found the body of Gaspare Candella stuffed in a drum and dumped in a field in Brooklyn, New York.

Continue reading Thousands of never-before-seen-photos from New York City – 100 years ago

Photo – the most volcanic body in our solar system – Jupiter’s moon Io

How big is Jupiter’s moon Io?

The most volcanic body in the Solar System, Io (usually pronounced “EYE-oh”) is 3,600 kilometers in diameter, about the size of planet Earth’s Moon.

Gliding past Jupiter at the turn of the millennium, the Cassini spacecraft captured this awe inspiring view of active Io with the largest gas giant as a backdrop, offering a stunning demonstration of the ruling planet’s relative size.

Io hurtles around its orbit once every 42 hours at a distance of 420,000 kilometers or so from the center of Jupiter. That puts Io nearly 350,000 kilometers above Jupiter’s cloud tops, roughly equivalent to the distance between Earth and Moon.

The Cassini spacecraft itself was about 10 million kilometers from Jupiter when recording the image data.

via NASA

Immunotherapy – teaching the immune system to fight cancer – receives new FDA approval

The concept of ‘teaching’ the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells is over a century old, but the development of immunotherapeutic strategies for cancer was slow for many decades. However, much has been learned about the immune system in the meantime, and with the recent approval of two new immunotherapeutic anticancer drugs and several drugs in late-stage development, a new era in anticancer immunotherapy is beginning.

The video takes an audio-visual journey through the different approaches that are being investigated to harness the immune system to treat cancer.

 

For more, check out the Nature Reviews Drug Discovery poster (pdf):

 

 

// Thx to Derya Unutmaz