Planarian Worm – Cloning a Creature was Never This Easy

By Anupum Pant

Lizards grow a new tail if the old one is lost. In fact, they even shed it of voluntarily to save themselves from predators. Then start fish can grow their cut arms back, earthworms can grow back cut parts too. Even Axolotls are pretty good at regeneration. But there is probably nothing as strange as the Planarian flatworm.

If you happen to slice a Planarian worm into half, vertically (or any other way), both the parts will regenerate! So, in 2 weeks you’ll have 2 Planarian worms cut out of a single one. The ability to regenerate is so good that even if a 1/300th part of this worm is cut, the small bit of it can regenerate the rest of the worm! But that isn’t even the strange part.

Now, naturally, since it can grow back its body, it can grow back its head too. But the most amazing part is that with the new head, the old memories of the flat worm also come back! That is strange, isn’t it?

With just a knife in your hand, cloning was never so easy.

Fun Fact: Planarian Flatworms also do not have a separate anus. But they do have an cavity at the rear end which they use to take in food. The same cavity is also used to send out the waste stuff.

Hit like if you learnt something.

Space Oddities – Part II

By Anupum Pant
pat on the back self
Self-administered pat on the back to me.

A few days back, in the month of December I had compiled a list of 6 space oddities that really interested me. At that time, I was pretty sure I would stumble upon a few more odd/interesting things about space within a month or two. With that in mind, I had decided to suffix the heading with “Part – I”. Four months have passed. That was a very thoughtful thing I did – thinking 4 months into the future. I have to appreciate my forethought (with a self-administered pat on the back) for doing that because today I’m back with a few more of these odd / interesting things about space and I’m still not embarrassed about the heading for the post.

So, here is the part II of space oddities (read the part I here):

1. A Hole in the Universe

Space Dust Image Gallery

About 7 years from now, researchers from University of Minnesota found out about a really huge void in our universe. The abnormal hole measures approximately sixty billion trillion miles. In easier words, it is about 10 Billion light years wide. Imagine! A beam of light would takes 10 Billion years to travel through that empty place. How lonely would it be at the centre of it. The void is bigger than anything else scientists have ever seen in space.

The whole volume of space shows no sign of any stars, planets, asteroids, gases, clouds, dust. The volume doesn’t even have any signs of dark matter (95% of our universe is dark matter) too. [read more about it]

2. Costliest thing ever built

Think of a huge 5 bed room house floating in space that can be seen moving from the surface of the earth with the naked eye! Yes, I’m talking about the International Space Station. It is a whooping 200,000 kg object that is 171 feet long, 240 feet wide and 90 feet high.

When it comes to the price of building something this huge in space, it beats everything from the most lavish sky scrappers to the most largest dams  ever built. The price of building it is estimated to be about $160 Billion and fortunately the cost is shared by Canada, the European Union, Japan, Russia and the US. It is officially the most expensive object ever constructed, and it is NOT on earth! – Guinness book of World Records.

3. The Cosmic Smile Continue reading Space Oddities – Part II

Suicide Attempt Turns into a Successful Surgery

By Anupum Pant

Background

I don’t mean to sound wry with the heading, but it’s a real story, and is a real fact. I can’t be held responsible, if you are stupid enough to try this “surgery” at home. Still, let me say it – Please don’t try this, even if you are stupid. There is no chance you’d survive this. The whole purpose of this article is to keep you informed.

In short, it is about a man (you could even call him a boy) who suffered from an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, shot himself in the head to commit suicide. The very act, ironically ended up curing himself of the OCD.

Crash Course in OCD

To tell you a little about OCD, it is a disorder which creates a serious problem in someone’s life if they suffer from it. They get obsessed with doing some things repetitively. For example, people often have an OCD where they feel compelled to arrange things in stacks. Or others who can’t sit in ease if their clothes are not in a perfect order. Or some, who have an obsessive fear of germs and end up washing hands several times a day….etc.

These disorders usually can make a person lonely as others start staying away from the seemingly paranoid person. Otherwise, they also create a problem in the sufferer’s life by consuming excess time, money, energy, etc of their’s. Most times, the person suffering from an OCD starts experiencing serious emotional distress or depression.

In very rare and extreme cases, where anti-depressant and behaviour therapy doesn’t work, doctors resort to performing a surgery, where they remove a part of the brain from which the problem seems to come from. Even under controlled circumstances, this surgery is considered as a very serious one.

The story

About 30 years from now, a 19-year-old boy George, from Vancouver, British Columbia suffered from a serious problem that used to interfere with his normal life. He had an obsessive fear of germs and used to wash, and used to shower hundreds of times in a single day. Yes, really hundreds, not less. Doing this took away all of his strength and he found it hard to do anything else. This made his education and general life suffer as he could not attend school or work at any place.

He was a top class student and had a pretty good IQ. But the boy was seriously depressed and often complained to his mother that he wanted to die. On unfortunate day, when the boy felt really troubled, he went down to his mother and complained that he wanted to die. This seemed like a final blow to the mother’s exasperation and she  told him to go shoot himself. Not realizing the metaphoric nature of his mom’s statement, the boy decided to go and do just that.

He went to the basement and shot himself in the head using a .22 long rifle. The bullet got lodged in the brain. Naturally, after this, he had to be rushed to the hospital. After a very long surgery, surgeons were able to remove the bullet, but couldn’t successfully remove all the fragments of the bullet that were lodged in the brain.

Fact: There was a similar accident that happened at a particle accelerator, where a proton beam travelling at almost the speed of light, destroyed a part of a man’s brain and yet it left him with almost no serious complications. He went on to complete his PhD after that!

When three weeks later he was admitted at the hospital again, for a check-up, there was no obsessive behaviour observed in him. He was left only with a few minor quirks that did not interfere much with his life. He had apparently cured himself by shooting himself in the brain and destroying the part where the problem originated from. At the same time, his IQ did not drop and and he passed other brain damage tests too! Such a miraculous surgery had never ever been recorded in the history.

[Original article]

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