Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bones, Monsters, and Magnets: Links April 25, 2015

Some new-to-me stuff:

1) It is possible, at least in some cases--at least in one case so far--to use nose nerve cells to repair spinal cord damage. A Bulgarian man paralyzed after being knifed, is now walking again with a walker for support after physicians grafted cells from his nose into his spine. They also used tendons from his ankle to give the nerve cells something to grow on. Apparently, nose nerve cells, unlike spinal nerve cells, are programmed to keep regenerating and repairing. No one is sure, though, whether this is going to be generally applicable, or applicable only after very straight cuts.

2) Blind rats (one article said their eyes ere "sealed shut," which makes me hope they were unsealed afterward) implanted with geomagnetic sensors that let them sense the difference between north and south could use them to navigate. This is interesting because--well, because it is. I mean, brains not wired to run on magnetic signals can learn to do so in a remarkable short span of time. Also, it might be useful because of the possibility that blind people might be given similar sensors. Or, sighted people might also be given them "just because:"

"I'm dreaming that humans can expand their senses through artificial sensors for geomagnetism, ultraviolet, radio waves, ultrasonic waves and so on," says Yuji Ikegaya of the University of Tokyo in Japan, head of the team that installed and tested the 2.5-gram implant. "Ultrasonic and radio-wave sensors may enable the next generation of human-to-human communication," he says.

Personally, I am not all that thrilled about people poking around in my brain to add extra equipment, but I have to admit that it is interesting, and if anyone else does it, I'll be there asking questions.

3) Ten Things to Know About Medieval Monsters: A useful guide to monsters you may happen to meet if you go time traveling. There is also a book on the subject published by the British library.

4) EpiBone is figuring out how to grow human bones "In the future, Tandon says, EpiBone’s technology could be used to treat anything from bone loss and broken femurs to complex facial fractures and genetic defects." It will take a while to be ready for commercial use; right now EpiBone has only 3 full-time employees.

5) 3-D printed food continues to spread. One company is planning on selling home-printers (called Foodinis) soon. The results can be decorative, like layered chocolates with the country of origin printed in gold on the outside of the sphere, or odd, like purple broccoli-flavored cubes (Why?). It's still super-slow, but I'm trying to imagine what I would print if I could. What about you?

6) I meant to post this last week, but I got so distracted by trailers and all that I forgot: THE BRONTOSAURUS IS BACK! Pluto will probably never be restored to planethood, but our favorite big vegetarian has been recognized as real.

7) Carnivorous Flamingos Abound:

Apparently, this is actually on the Google Campus, though the T-Rex, at least, predates Google.

8) Three Reasons Not to Leave a Dead Body on the Carpet. In case you were wondering. Also, dogs are amazing.

Book News

1) As I am totally in love with Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series, I was delighted to learn that, not only is there going to be a Rivers of London comic book miniseries, it is going to be set in the same continuity (Between Foxglove Summer and Broken Homes) and Ben Aaronovitch is one of the writers!

2) April has been a very good month for books. I have not actually managed to read them all, but I have most of them corralled for reading:
Tracker by C.J. Cherryh--the sixteenth (!) book in her Foreigner series
The Book That Proves Time Travel Happens by Henry C. Clark
Jinx's Magic by Sage Blackwood (A satisfying end to the series that leaves the right number of things open while tying up the main points)
The Mad Apprentice by Django Wexler
Captain Marvel Vol. 2 by Kelly Sue DeConnick
William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher (Which I reviewed over on FangirlNation)

Special mention to two books from earlier this year:
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente, which I have only just started.
A Darker Shade of Magic by by V.E. Schwab, which is an awesome book, has an upcoming sequel, and possesses a marvelous cover.


  1. Those are some fascinating articles- especially the ones about nerve and bone regeneration. Wow.

    1. Yes, it's amazing the amount we are learning to make and restructure in the human body.

      For years we have known that a paralyzed spine cannot be mended. Now--maybe. And with nose nerves!