Biological computer breakthrough paves way for living circuits -- We're used to the idea of electricity whizzing around the transistors in our computers; it's what powers the flow of information at our fingertips everyday. But now two separate sets of scientists have independently developed biological transistors, which trade electricity for DNA. The transistor-like system governs the movement of an enzyme along a strand of DNA, using a series of logic gates to enable control of the flow of the system just like an electrical circuit. The next step is to create different combinations of the biological transistors to enable us to build living gadgets, from chips and computers implanted in your body, to smart biological sensors sent out to monitor the environment. There's even speculation that this kind of development could enable living buildings that grow themselves, although that's far, far down the line. [Science]
Dolphins actually call each other by names -- It seems dolphins are even more mentally developed than we first thought. A study suggests that dolphins assign unique whistles to individuals, and call them out when separated from loved ones, which until now has never been observed from any animal, other than humans of course. Bottlenose dolphins have also been shown to give themselves names, or whistles, that encode more information like sex, health, and possibly whether they come in peace. Captive dolphins can learn new whistles and apply them to objects, which shows a very complex and sophisticated vocal language system indeed. [Discovery News]
Climate model finally passes the test of prediction -- Scientists have been using major climate models, based on data collected over the last few decades, to predict what will happen as the global climate of the Earth changes. Until now, predictions have been made over and over, but data validating those predictions has been scarce. Now one major model has been vidicated, by predicting a 0.25 degree C rise between the decade up to 1996 and the 10 years up to 2012, which matched up more or less perfectly with real global temperature measurements over the same periods. However, a slowdown in global temperature rises could put the model's future predictions out. Still, at least the forcasters got something right this time. [New Scientist]
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