Science Breakdown: Genetically Modified Monkeys, Hasselhoff Crabs and Time Cloaking

Category: Science / Jan 06, 2012 5:22PM EDT

The world's first genetically modified monkeys have been born. Scientists working in Oregon created the Chimeric monkeys by fusing together the cells of up to six different embryos. 

The primates were created using a variation of a long-used method to create knockout mice.

The process involves taking early-stage cells from living embryos and fusing them together inside a host embryo.

Three rhesus monkeys resulted from the experiment. The ground-breaking research will be published in the January 20 issue of the journal Cell.

Using a remotely operated vehicle, a team of British scientists have discovered a lost world of new species on the sea floor near Antarctica.

The new species of 'hairy chested' yeti crab, starfish, barnacles, sea anemones and a ghostly octopus were discovered in the East Scotia Ridge  in communities centered around hydrothermal vents.

The vents which can create temperatures of up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, create a unique environment, rich in chemicals and minerals with surprisingly diverse life, despite a lack of sunlight.

Among the discoveries were large colonies of yeti crabs found clustered around the vent chimneys. They're thought to dominate the Antarctic vent ecosystem.  And, believe it or not, their hairy chests have inspired the researchers to dub the crab The Hoff after David Hasselhoff.

The science journal Nature has published a letter from a team of physicists at Cornell University in which the researchers claim to have created what is being called a Time Cloak.

According to the note, with the use of special fiber optic cable the physicists were able to create a one centimeter gap in a beam of light, lasting 50-trillionths of a second, and then reassemble the beam afterwards. Simply put, to an observer  it would seem as if the light had never passed through that space at all, creating what the researchers have dubbed a time gap or time hole.

In this simulation, distributed by the Cornell Press Office, a ball is attempting to pass through a beam of light undetected, a seemingly impossible feat. Two short pulses of red laser change the color of the main green light and since different colors of light travel at different speeds, a gap is opened up allowing the ball to pass through. The beam is pulsed again and the light is reassembled.  The ball has then, seemingly, passed through the beam of light undetected.

The project is funded by DARPA and builds on work by Imperial College London which theorized the potential of time cloaking.

The practical applications for the discovery are far away, but may have uses in micro-processing and solar energy. 

And finally we'd like to wish a happy birthday to Stephen Hawking, world-famous physicist and author of numerous books such as the best-selling A Brief History of Time and his latest, The Grand Design. He turns 70 on Sunday.