Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 24, 2024

Science & Technology



Animal Antics: Fossils in ancient books surprise researchers

For those who love fossils but lack the time or stamina to dig through the dirt, try checking out some medieval library books — and be careful not to breathe in all the dust! A recent study reported that white spots found in some of these old books are actually fossil records of European beetles. Each of them is actually a wormhole, the result of hatching beetles chewing through the woodblocks used to print arts and illustrations between the 1400s and 1800s. And you thought that bookworm infestations were scary!


3D ID software traces demographic origins

When a skeletonized body turns up, medical examiners often have difficulty determining the victim’s identity and place of origin. For these challenges, they call on experts like Amanda Ross, a professor of anthropology at North Carolina State University, to help with the clarification.


3D printer used to manufacture firearms

Materializing weapons from a printer may sound like something from a computer game, but thanks to Defense Distributed’s “Wiki Weapon” project, this fantasy may soon turn into a reality. Defense Distributed aims to create a working gun comprised entirely of parts from a 3D printer.


Cell membrane contributes to binding event

Proteases, which play an essential role in many of our physiological systems, are enzymes that cleave other proteins. Until recently, it was thought that they recognize certain amino acid sequences to know when to cleave other proteins.


Plant maturity process found in chloroplasts

Plants have always been an integral part of human life, both as food sources and as decorations. For that reason, the question of how plants mature has long been plaguing the minds of scientists. Recently, biologists at the University of Leicester found that the plant’s maturing process—the ubiquitin proteasome system, also known as UPS—not only occurs in the center of plant cells, but also in the chloroplasts.


10 JHU professors named AMS fellows

On Nov. 1, the American Mathematical Society (AMS) recognized the achievements of prominent international mathematicians, naming over 1000 Fellows to the inaugural class. The list included nine Krieger School of Arts and Sciences professors from the Department of Mathematics and one professor of the Whiting School of Engineering.


Twitter to enter the world of photo filters

Have you ever wished that you could both filter and share images on Twitter? According to employees, Twitter plans to introduce its own filter technology in the coming months, which will allow users to share altered images without relying on popular photo-sharing sites like Instagram.


Fermi measures light content of universe

Even after stars cease to shine, their light continues to make its way throughout the universe. Astronomers have been able to make the most accurate measurement of extragalactic background light (EBL), the aggregate starlight in the cosmos, to date. They used data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, whose primary mission was to measure the EBL of our universe.



Rise in sea level may be grossly underestimated

According to geologist Billy Hay from the University of Colorado, the old estimate in 2007 on projected sea level rise given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) could be way off due to several key factors that their models were missing.


Smart software identifies gene promoters

Like Skynet from the movie Terminator, computers in our generation are actually capable of analyzing inputted data and learning how to react differently to it. In the field of genetics, two groups of researchers have designed software that can analyze and learn new data in genomes to ultimately identify which sequence variations can become a health hazard. Each publication focused on different genes — the brain and melanocytes.


Thanksgiving: Bring on the turkeys

With Thanksgiving just lurking around the corner, many of us are probably in the midst of planning the dinner menu for the big night. Regardless of the side dishes, a roasted stuffed turkey is always the highlight at the table. In honor of this unfortunate species, this is a good time to point out some turkey facts and misconceptions.


Animal Antics: Drunken elephants rampage Indian cities

Since the 1990s, Indian pachyderms have made the news for their supposedly drunken behaviors. In 1999, a herd of elephants rampaged through the village of Assam, killing four people and injuring six others. The causes, according to the papers, were habitat loss and a few casks of rice beer.


Tuberculosis protein structure defined

Researchers in the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry at the Hopkins School of Medicine have discovered the structure of a protein integral to the drug resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections. This information can provide essential insight into drug design that would inhibit the function of this protein and hopefully increase treatment successes.


Del Monte speaks on future of health care

Health Leads, an organization led by college students to connect low-income families to health insurance, food and shelter, invited Mark Del Monte, the lead attorney for the American Academy of Pediatrics, to speak about the possible implications Obama’s reelection will have on the state of healthcare in the U.S.


Webster report pushes for gun policy reforms

Prompted by the mass shootings in Aurora, Colo. and Oak Creek, Wis. this summer and by concern over how the media represented the events, researchers at the Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research have published a report discussing public opinion of gun control and policies that could be pursued to decrease gun violence.


Easter Island statues may have “walked”

Despite the lack of modern instruments capable of lifting heavy objects, the Rapa Nui people of what we now call Easter Island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean somehow managed to move mammoth stone statues weighing about 4.35 tons.


Findings suggest neurological basis of obesity

As the world gravitates toward the two polar extremes of body weight — obesity and anorexia — scientists struggle to determine the underlying biological causes, hoping to find effective treatments to combat these disorders.


1,000 Genomes Project reaches milestone

This month marked the first phase culmination of “The 1,000 Genomes Project,” an extensive five-year study that sought to determine the gene sequences of 1,092 individuals. The project’s well-represented research team comprised of about 400 researchers from around the world including Aravinda Chakravarti, a member of the Institute of Genetic Medicine at the Hopkins School of Medicine.