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Boo! Zombies are real!

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512px-placid_deathWith Halloween just around the corner, how about a little creepy science for the season?

Zombies are real.

Yes, you read that one right. The undead do exist, and not just in fiction…but maybe I should clarify before you dive right back behind the sofa. Relax; it’s not a whole-body reanimated dead-to-alive apocalypse, just a finding from a group of researchers who saw that in death, a whole series of genes come to life.

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#goodbyephilae #goodbyerosetta

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This single-frame Rosetta navigation camera image was taken at a distance of 71.9 km from the centre of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on March 9, 2015. The image has a resolution of 6.1 m/pixel and measures 6.3 km across. The image has been processed to bring out the details of the comet’s activity.

Talk Science To Me staff are a bunch of hard-nosed, emotionless science communicators who check their feelings at the door each day to report the cold, hard facts…

Okay, strike that — as you know from previous blog posts, we’re passionate about science and unafraid of wearing our hearts on our sleeves. When little Philae crashed onto Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko almost two years ago, staff joined many others around the world in getting a little teary about its last tweet. As the lander, lost and off course, settled into what could have been a terminal nap, we were left with the image of the ever-present Rosetta orbiter circling a lump of icy rock in deep space, hovering expectantly for its little friend to wake up and communicate once more. Definitely Pixar-worthy!

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Content notes and trigger warnings: A primer for editors

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Yellow lightI recently copy-edited a book called Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain, published by our subsidiary, Thorntree Press. The book covers a wide range of topics relevant to bisexual people and allies in the UK and other English-speaking countries. I learned a lot from editing this book, as I always do, but one thing I had to deal with was entirely new to me: content notes.

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Don’t forget to pack the chicken

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6526262245_e3b49c9909_zOff on vacation? Here’s something topical I plucked from my science feeds for you.

Apparently, adding a chicken to the packing list might be a wise idea this summer, especially if you’re traveling in malaria-prone areas. Researchers with the University of Addis Ababa and the Swedish University of Agriculture have found that chicken body odours repel malaria-bearing mosquitoes.

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Around town: 16th International Conference of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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Mertz_and_Ninnis_arrive_at_Aladdin's_CaveThis week, Vancouver is hosting the 16th International Conference of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Jointly organized by three associations—the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences and the Pan-American Association for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology—conference attendees will attend sessions over five days. These include two plenaries delivered by Nobel Prize winners, including Dr. Andrew Fire (2006; RNA gene silencing-interference by double stranded dsRNA).

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Einstein, or it’s okay to say “what?”

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512px-E=MC^2_(7852234992)June 30 marks the anniversary of publication for physicist Albert Einstein’s first paper on special relativity. On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies (1905) sets out Einstein’s theory on the relationship between space and time, establishing relativity for time and distance, and the absolute nature of the speed of light. As one of his four annus mirabilis [Latin: “miraculous year”] papers published in Annalen der Physik science journal the year that he obtained his doctoral degree, Einstein’s paper turned the concepts of space and time inside out—or upside down. It also set him on track to incorporate gravity into a general theory of relativity 11 years later, which observations from LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) have only recently proved correct.

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In case you were wondering…

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By Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-R01996,_Brieftaube_mit_Fotokamera.jpg: o.Ang.derivative work: Hans Adler [CC BY-SA 3.0 de], via Wikimedia CommonsLeaving clients hanging in mid-air in their dealings with Talk Science to Me is not our style: every i is dotted, projects are delivered within deadline and we fully communicate project progress with every milestone. Professionals to the core.

This also extends to you, dear reader, on the blog. We hope our posts leave you informed, engaged and wanting to know more…but never in the dark. So without further ado, ta-dah: updates on a couple of stories we ran earlier this year.

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William Shatner as Captain James Kirk, in grayscale, holding a rock over his head with a strained expression.

Around town: Shatner and early grammar woes

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William_Shatner_Star_Trek_first_episode_1966(Or why you should hire an editor.)

Local institution the University of British Columbia (UBC) is celebrating its 100th anniversary this school year. This weekend, as part of its centenary celebrations, UBC is running a daylong event: UBC100: What’s Next? A day of exploring the future, a series of talks on upcoming issues in science, community and technology. To round off the day in style, actor, musician, author and horse breeder William Shatner will share his perspective in a talk called The Curious Life, and will take questions from the audience.

My Around Town series, as I’ve explained previously, is a collection of posts highlighting great local science events. I usually pull together interesting news from conferences happening in Vancouver or explore the topics of the conferences in a more general way. With Captain Kirk himself in town, there are so many potential topics for an Around Town blog post here: NASAStar Trek…space…technology…horse breeding?

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