Daily Orbit – Really Old Neanderthals

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,188
    2-7-13: On this episode of the Daily Orbit, Neanderthals were older than we thought, 3D printers are moving on to the human body, and Earth’s twin might be closer than we thought.

    Emerald Robinson: Nixing common theories on Neanderthals.

    The latest 3D hit stem cells?

    Could Earth's twin be in our own backyard?

    And a little robot love on today's Daily Orbit!

    Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I'm Emerald Robinson.

    So it looks like the Neanderthal didn't exist with modern humans "at all" or at least that's what new research is saying. Using an improved dating method called "ultra-filtration," which removes modern carbon that contaminates bones, the research team discovered that Neanderthals died off about 50,000 years ago, a full 15,000 years earlier than previously thought; disparaging theories that Neanderthals could have interbred with humans. But don't they know Neanderthals still exist? You can find them in any local bar.

    So 3D printers have been used to make toys, sculptures, and possibly soon a base on the moon, but this one really takes the cake! Using a spherically modified valve-based printing technique, cells are loaded into two different printer chambers and then deposited into "controllable and repeatable" sizes and shapes. They maintained their viability and ability to differentiate into different types of cells. This process allows scientists to create more accurate human tissue models that could be used for animal-free testing and eventually to create organs without donors. I propose that the 3D print some cartilage, old sports injuries got me are hurtin'!

    Is Earth's twin in our midst? New research suggests that an Earth-like planet may not be as far as we thought! Astronomers reanalyzed stars from a catalogue of 158,000 Kepler targets. 75% of the closest stars to our solar system are red dwarfs and the new research found that 6% of those should host habitable planets, putting the closest possible Earth-like planet at maybe just 13 light years away. Since red dwarfs live longer than sun-like stars, astronomers say life on these planets could be older and more evolved than Earth. Every time I say red dwarf, I can't help but picture a red-dwarf.

    Kicking the sugar to dip the calories on a night of kickin' it? Well, research shows no sugar means = more drunk. A new study compared cocktails mixed with regular soft drinks compared to ones mixed with diet drinks. The diet drinks had participants intoxicated faster with a higher blood alcohol content. Why? Because the calories from sugar in a regular soft drink are digested as food, slowing down the rate in which the alcohol enters the bloodstream. Funny thing is participants didn't realize they were more drunk on diet drinks prompting researchers to warn drinkers to not "trust your judgment about intoxication levels, you may be off.

    " You could be putting yourself at risk of more liver and brain damage and blowing over the limit when the popo pulls you over. I'm fine, no really, I'm fine. Of course I'm fine. I am just drinking a diet soda.

    Wait! Am I seeing things now or is that moth driving that robot? Yep it is! Scientists are teaching a robot "tracking behaviors" to autonomously track down smells and sources of environmental spills and leaks. The robot's instructor is the silk moth which tracks down a female mate based on pheromones. Sitting atop a track ball like a computer mouse, the moth spins the ball and directs the bot by walking. Scientists are attempting to create an artificial brain for the bot, based on the moth's mating dance. They are hoping they'll be able to teach the robot to act in the same way. Well, if it took a female to get the male moth motivated, maybe they should get the robot a she-bot to get him going too.

    And that's it for today's Daily Orbit! We'll see you tomorrow Orbiters!