Streaming STEM is a monthly installment that brings you the most recent, important, wild and revolutionary news on all things STEM. From geo-engineering, to the largest number of pi, to marine biology, veterinary science and ancestral ghosts each Streaming STEM update is a birds eye view of what’s been going on in the world of science, technology, engineering and math.
Great balls of fire..
Physicists explain fireballs erupting from grapes in a microwave oven…… so that’s what they are really up to in the lab all day, blowing things up in the microwave. No seriously. Three physicists have solved the mystery of why two grapes microwaved together turn into fire balls.
But why were they even interested in this topic in the first place? In 2011 a viral youtube trend involved putting one grape (cut in half but still connected by the skin) into the microwave and watching it almost instantaneously erupt into flames. No one could explain this phenomenon…. until now.
SENsing earth’s magnetism….
Can humans sense the earth’s magnetic field? New research published in the journal, eNeuro, suggests just that. Animals use the earth’s magnetic field for migratory patterns and orientation. Even some bacteria possess this trait known as magnetoreception. And it looks like humans might be able to sense the earth’s magnetic field too… although only subconsciously!
LATEST And greatest docos…
Looking for a soothing nature documentary to ease into the work week? Check out this new documentary on Yellowstone’s thriving ecosystem. One episode features the return of predators to the park and the day to day of “Quad Mom” a gray wolf who successfully raised four pups, a very rare feat. Stream it now!
Petri dish picassos…
Art and science… in a petri dish…The Petri Dish Picasso Contest! Check out this unique and highly niche art form where students, scientists and researchers turned artists inoculate agar plates to create beautiful and whimsical designs. The American Society For Microbiology hosts this competition and even created a How-To video for first time artists.
A new viral discovery…
The most agreed upon fact about viruses? They are capsules of DNA or RNA that need a cell to infect. Once inside a healthy cell, viruses copy themselves and invade more cells.. so on and so forth.
Researchers at the University of Montpellier have found a virus that might just break this virology cornerstone.
Enter Faba bean necrotic stunt virus (FBNSV) which has 8 separate gene sets packaged in different viral capsules. The virus needs all 8 gene sets to reproduce in order to take hold. But as it turns out even if they infect different cells, the virus can manifest. But how does this even work?
“Think of the eight segments as factories in different cities, shipping assembly robots to one another so that each site can manufacture its own separate product. It is within this expansive trade network that the distributed virus truly exists.”