Okay, just saw this story about how a team of French scientists have discovered that human brains have been shrinking over the last 28,000 years!
Great, just what I need!
No need to panic yet — from the article:
The French team, which claims to have produced one of the best replicas yet of an early modern human’s cranium, says it is up to 20 per cent bigger than ours.
No one is suggesting this means our ancestors were more intelligent as studies have found there is only a minor link between brain size and IQ.
Instead, it is believed the skull, called Cro Magnon 1 after the caves in the Dordogne where it found, suggests our brains are becoming more efficient like shrinking computers.
Funny, my brain feels like it’s shrinking, but more like a balloon losing air as opposed to becoming more efficient like a computer. I guess that’s what happens when you get old like me …
Anyway, I enjoy our somewhat more efficient brains.
Speaking of small things, I saw this tiny object, courtesy of the Bad Astonomy blog —
Live tiny and prosper!
According to Bad Astronomy, it’s a model of the Enterprise created by an ion beam and vaporized chemicals and deposits. It’s “only 8.8 microns (millionths of a meter) long! For comparison, a human hair is about 50-100 microns across. This image is magnified 5000 times.” It was created by two Japanese students at the Himeji Institute of Techonology.
Speaking of objects infinitesimal, Connecticut has been near the forefront of nanotechnology research and development. Well, until recently — Gov. Rell and her legislative partners in fiscal ineptitude, who had promised to put money into supporting the much-needed industry here in the state, of course, did not and have canceled future funding for nanotechnology at key research centers like Yale and UConn.
It’s an interesting story, but basically the lack of funding prevents the Connecticut research centers from updating their equipment and forces scientists to go to other states to do research.
Why is nanotechnology research so important to Connecticut? It’s being used to develop everything from new energy sources and biofuels as well as medicines and pharmaceuticals. It is expected to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the next decade, and for a state that has fallen onto tough financial times without many prospects for recovery, it could be a boon to state economy.
Hopefully the next governor and their administration will realize that getting involved in something so small may turn out to be very big for all of us.