First bacteria to make the transition from humans to plants — and it’s named for Frank Zappa

zappa christianity

What would you do if you discovered an odd strain of bacteria that exhibited unconventional behavior? Why, name it after Frank Zappa of course!…This is exactly what a team of Italian and Austrian researchers did when they found a bacterium that had apparently transitioned from causing acne in human skin to infecting the bark of grape vines.

“This is the first time it’s been found that a microorganism can switch from a human to a plant,” study author and self-professed Zappa fan Andrea Campisano, a microbiologist at the Edmund Mach Foundation in Italy, told the Los Angeles Times.

In addition to being a tribute to the late musician, the naming of P. acnes zappae is also a hat-tip to the Italian word for “hoe,” which is “zappa.”

Campisano is such a big fan of the experimental musician – he said he even has a quote from him prominently displayed on his lab computer screen: “If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television … then you deserve it.”

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Capital One’s creepy new terms of service

Credit card company Capital One’s new terms of service allow the company to contact cardholders in any way possible, including a visit to the person’s residence.

According to their new agreement, Capital One can “contact you in any manner we choose.” This includes calls, texts, mail, emails, and even a personal visit at work or home if the cardholder is behind on payments.

The new terms received a lot of response on social media causing the credit card giant to issue a press release on its website, “Capital One does not visit our cardholders, nor do we send debt collectors to their homes or work,” says the statement.

And, uh, then, they offer the first exception of what may be more to come. In the case of secured collateral, jet skis, bass boat, motorcycle, whatever – “we may go to a customer’s home after appropriate notification if it becomes necessary to repossess the sports vehicle.”

Windows for passengers? We don’t need no stinking windows!


Click to see overall configuration of the aircraft

Aircraft windows have always been a sticking point in the bid to go faster, cheaper and safer. As well as creating drag, the additional structural support and parts required for windows add weight to the plane. Spike Aerospace is set to overcome these problems by doing away with cabin windows altogether in its S-512 jet, and replacing them with video screens embedded in the interior walls.

The S-512 is expected to be the first supersonic business jet, with a cruising speed of Mach 1.6 (1,220 mph/1,963 km/h) and a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 (1,370 mph/2,205 km/h). This will almost double the Cessna Citation X’s top speed of Mach 0.935…and will enable passengers to fly between New York and London in 3-4 hours instead of 6-7 hours, and between LA and Tokyo in 8 hours as opposed to 14-16 hours.

In place of windows, the S-512 will use video cameras on the fuselage to relay real-time panoramic video to the screens inside the cabin. According to Spike, passengers will be able to dim the screens when they need to sleep, and will also be able to change the content on the screens.

Cripes. What a terrific idea!

Runaway pulsar with an extraordinary jet trailing behind…


Click to enlarge

An extraordinary jet trailing behind a runaway pulsar is seen in this composite image that contains data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple), radio data from the Australia Compact Telescope Array (green), and optical data from the 2MASS survey (red, green, and blue). The pulsar – a spinning neutron star – and its tail are found in the lower right of this image (mouse over the image for a labeled version). The tail stretches for 37 light years , making it the longest jet ever seen from an object in the Milky Way galaxy…

The pulsar, originally discovered by ESA’s INTEGRAL satellite, is called IGR J1104-6103 and is moving away from the center of the supernova remnant where it was born at a speed between 2.5 million and 5 million miles per hour. This supersonic pace makes IGR J1104-6103 one of the fastest moving pulsars ever observed.

A massive star ran out of fuel and collapsed to form the pulsar along with the supernova remnant, the debris field seen as the large purple structure in the upper left of the image. The supernova remnant (known as SNR MSH 11-61A) is elongated along the top-right to bottom left direction, roughly in line with the tail’s direction. These features and the high speed of the pulsar suggest that jets could have played an important role in the supernova explosion that formed IGR J1104-6103.

Yes, you should RTFA. Also – the latest Chandra newsletter is rocking with space goodies. Click below to move on to the next one:

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