Playing sounds of healthy coral reefs may lure fish back to damaged areas


Tim Gordon, Univ. of Exeter

❝ Dead patches on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef could be revived by playing the ambient sounds of a healthy reef via loudspeakers to lure in young fish.

These fish help to clean the reef and make room in which new corals can grow, beginning the process of ecosystem recovery…

❝…researchers found that twice as many fish arrived at — and stayed near — the dead patches where the loudspeakers were operating than those where no sound was playing. ‘Fish are crucial for coral reefs to function as healthy ecosystems,’ said Marine biologist Tim Gordon.

‘Boosting fish populations in this way could help to kick-start natural recovery processes, counteracting the damage we’re seeing on many coral reefs around the world.’

Interesting, positive…RTFA for details and let’s hope it works to reverse the damage our species has done.

Alaska becomes 3rd state with legal weed

Alaska on Tuesday became the third U.S. state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, but organizers don’t expect any public celebrations since it remains illegal to smoke marijuana in public.

In the state’s largest city, Anchorage police officers are ready to start handing out $100 fines to make sure taking a toke remains something to be done behind closed doors.

Placing Alaska in the same category as Washington state and Colorado with legal marijuana was the goal of a coalition including libertarians, rugged individualists and small-government Republicans who prize the privacy rights enshrined in the Alaska state constitution.

When they voted 53-47 percent last November to legalize marijuana use by adults in private places, they left many of the details to lawmakers and regulators to sort out.

That has left confusion on many matters.

There’s a surprise, eh?

That’s left different communities across the state to adopt different standards of what smoking in public means to them. In Anchorage, officials tried and failed in December to ban a new commercial marijuana industry. But Police Chief Mark Mew said his officers will be strictly enforcing the public smoking ban. He even warned people against smoking on their porches if they live next to a park.

But far to the north, in North Pole, smoking outdoors on private property will be OK as long as it doesn’t create a nuisance, officials there said…

In some respects, the confusion continues a four-decade reality for Alaskans and their relationship with marijuana.

Alaska has been burdened sufficiently with conservatives, religious nutballs and rightwing libertarians to have had any number of changes over the last four decades about what to do over getting a little mellow, being a drunk, how and where to have sex. This is just part of the whole package.

Fortunately, the Leftish flavor of libertarianism plus progressive Dems and Independents seems to be prevailing this week.

Bioengineered teeth grown from stem cells

Scientists in Japan…have created teeth — complete with connective fibers and bones — by using mouse stem cells and successfully transplanted them into mice, a step they hope will lead to progress in stem cell research.

The entire tooth units, which were inserted into lower jaws of mice, attached successfully with jaw bones and the rats were able to chew normally, the researchers wrote in a paper in PLoS One (Public Library of Science).

The bioengineered teeth were fully functional…there was no trouble (with) biting and eating food after transplantation,” wrote Masamitsu Oshima, assistant professor at the Research Institute for Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science…

Professor Takashi Tsuji’s team removed two types of stem cells from the molar teeth of mice and grew them in the laboratory. To control the length and shape of the teeth, the cells were placed in a mold, where they grew into entire tooth units.

The entire tooth units were then transplanted into the lower jaws of one-month-old mice. They fused with the tissues and jaw bones around them after about 40 days, Tsuji said. Nerve fibers too could be detected in the new teeth.

Tsuji stressed the importance of finding the right “seed cells” for reparative therapy. In this case, entire tooth units could be grown because the stem cells were taken from molar teeth of mice — where they later grew into enamel, dental bones and other parts that comprised a regular tooth unit.

Yup. I definitely was born a half-century too soon.