On Science – A Supermassive Discovery

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 7,525
    1-29-14: On this episode of On Science, researchers find that ancient humans used and were able to control fire, scientists accidentally stumble upon a coral reef in Greenland, and stem cells could cure baldness in the future.

    How did cavemen just get a whole lot hotter?


    Considering hair club for men? Hold that thought…


    What does one galaxy plus another galaxy equal?  Something massive!


    And do you suffer from “caffeine-use disorder?” Coming up today On Science.


    Hello and welcome to On Science.  I’m Emerald Robinson. 


    Once there was a papa galaxy and a mama galaxy and then on day they came together and had a baby black hole.  Well, the spawn of their merger isn’t really that small.  A team of Japanese scientists using the Subaru Telescope have found two merging galaxies have active supermassive black holes.  They are certain of at least one.  Black holes become active and luminous by accreting large amounts of material around them.  Merging gas-rich galaxies with these huge black holes causes active star formation.  However, the team also found that not all supermassive black holes in merging galaxies are actively accreting and that multiple black holes have different accretion rates.  They concluded that local conditions around supermassive black holes dominate the mass accretion process rather than general properties of the galaxies.  It’s almost like a galactic family.


    Hmmm…fire! (fire breaks out)  Fires have been hot for a long time.  New findings from the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science at the Weizmann Institute suggest that prehistoric humans used fire at will.  They drew their conclusion from studying a cave in Israel that dates back 300,000 years.  The identified thick deposits of wood and ash in the center of the cave.  By testing the micromorphology of the ash, they found evidence for a hearth that was used repeatedly over time.  Bits of bone and soil in the ash, along with flint cutting tools around the hearth area, suggests they used the fire for cooking.   The researchers said this find reveals a turning point in the development of human culture that began about 400,000 years ago.  Those archeologists are on fire!


    Speaking of hot—think you’ll only find coral reefs in the tropics?  Wrong.  Researchers have discovered the first ever cold-water coral reef in Greenland.  They’re calling it the Greenlandic reef and it was found 3,000 feet below sea level in southwest Greenland.  Finding it was a lucky accident!  A Canadian vessel was trying to take water samples but ended up with smashed instruments with pieces of coral branches stuck to them.  At first they were angry, but they then realized they had found something extraordinary.  They said having reefs in a country like Greenland means that sea temperatures gets up to a whopping 39 degrees, making them warm enough for the corals to thrive.   But not warm enough for Emerald to thrive.  I’ll stick to my warm water diving, thank you!


    Considering hair club for men?  Then here’s research that might interest you.  Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have shown the potential for regenerating hair follicles.  They’ve found a revolutionary way to convert adult cells into epithelial stem cells.  The cells were inserted into mice and regenerated various types of human skin and hair follicles.  Their new method of production resulted in 25% of the stem cells into epithelial stem cells within 18 days.  However, the epithelial cells are just one component of the hair follicle.   They now need to find a way to make new dermal papillae cells, which are the small extensions of the dermis in the epidermis, so they can move on to testing humans.


    “I’m a zombie till I’ve had my coffee.”  I don’t just say that, everyone says that about me.  Does that mean I suffer from caffeine use disorder?  A new study from American University in Washington, D.C. says that there is a condition where people are dependent on caffeine to the point that they suffer withdrawal symptoms and can’t reduce their caffeine consumption even when they should, like when their pregnant or have a heart condition.  It’s called “Caffeine Use Disorder.”  And this research team says some cases may call for treatment.  They say the negative effects of caffeine often go unrecognized because it’s a socially acceptable drug.  They suggest you consume no more than 400 mg per day—which is about two to three 8 oz cups of coffee.  That’s if all else is fine.  If you’re pregnant, have high blood pressure, or anxiety of such, keep it to less than 200 mg.


    And that’s what’s up On Science.  I don’t have a caffeine problem.  I can quit anytime I want…  Give me that coffee!