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10 Cool Discoveries You Should Know About

From asteroid mining to HIV prevention, here are 10 things you should know about from the week.

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They also have an interesting dental feature in that once they shed their first set of teeth they grow a sort-of beak, the structure made up of just four continually replacing teeth, which could be very helpful to us one day.  Science Daily reports that Gareth Fraser of the University of Sheffield´s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences led the first-ever study of the unique beak, potentially enabling us to understand why humans don’t replace teeth throughout life “and furthermore how can we use knowledge of the genetic underpinnings of tooth replacement in fishes to facilitate advances in dental therapies."

Could this mean engineering humans to regenerate teeth?  MetroCanada that “tooth regeneration is becoming a fast-moving area of research,” and quotes Fraser as saying, “The main thing is we can use (the puffer fish beak) to identify the gene network for tooth replacement. We can see how nature makes new teeth and about the genes that govern that process.” Fraser’s team, the story says, has “spent years experimenting with sharks, zebra fish and now pufferfish toward genetically engineering human stem cells to behave the same way.” 

Having once broken a tooth and forced to walk around looking like the world’s saddest jack-o-lantern until it got fixed, I think the ability to ditch dentures and put  hockey smiles in the distant past can’t happen soon enough. 

9. Sometimes the Death Knell Is Just a Tinkle

Fish are our friends. Okay, some of them want to eat us, but that’s just a tit-for-tat thing. Mostly they’re a bonus. They make for  great tourist attractions, soothing home decor,  thrillingly scary YouTube videosexquisite animated films and admittedly delicious entres. They’re beautiful and good for us. And what do we do? Pee on ‘em til they die.

At least that’s one theory about what might have happened at a lake in Germany.  Time’s Melissa Locker reports that researchers think human urine -- a  lot of it -- might be responsible for an algae bloom that has killed 500 fish in Eichbaum Lake. 

“We’re calculating half a litre of urine per swimmer per day,” said a spokesperson for the Hamburger Angling Association in the  Bild newspaper. That’s a lot of whizz. And it contains a lot of phosphate that  promotes algae growth. The lake is closed while the issue is being studied but a local university has joined the Urban Development and Environment Authority in solving the mystery. Locker writes that the Angling Association has a feud with the swimmers so those liter numbers might be a little high and the Authority has a different idea of the culprit: natural causes and ice skating. The noise skaters make wake the fish from hibernation, they can’t breathe and they freeze to death.

Whether it turns out to be hot or cold weather recreation that’s responsible, one thing is certain. Summer is here. You will go swimming soon. And having read this you will think twice before being responsible for that weird warm spot in the water. Ew. 

10. Mining Their Own Business

If, instead of recreation, you were thinking about a summer job doing a little asteroid mining, think again.

Less than a month ago, a company called Planetary Resources made a splash by announcing it would be the first commercial company to mine asteroids with big shots like James Cameron among their investors. The company has already gotten 2,000 responses to its  ad seeking asteroid mining employees and due to the overwhelming response it's stopped taking applications.

And the appeal is thoroughly understandable. First of all, the ad mentions that they have a grill. Second, it’s in Seattle. Third  it’s asteroid mining.  That doesn’t mean going in there with a pickaxe, reports  HuffPo’s Mike Wall, but speaks of a need for engineers to design and build the robot probe work fleet. Between the number of people out of work, and the sci-fi glamour, we totally get it. Not only is it work,  t’s the perfect blend of entrepreneurial practicality and romantic escapism. 

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