This Week’s BioBites: computers can predict your age… and drunkenness!

These days, biology is getting bigger and bigger. Instead of studying one gene, we can sequence whole genomes. Instead of studying specific changes to the composition of a cell, we can study all of them. All these experiments produce a lot of data, which is where computers come into the picture. With computers, you can find new ways to organize and analyze huge amounts of data in ways that the human brain could never handle on its own. As a result, the fields of biology and computer science are becoming more and more intertwined.

This week, among the other tasty BioBites, we bring you a report on software that can predict your age by scanning your face and a (less serious) story about a Google App that prevents you from drunk emailing your friends, your enemies and your ex.

Read this week’s BioBites!

1.) Discovery Channel reports on new software that can predict your age from the image of your face to within a decade with 80% accuracy. It can also predict your gender, ethnicity, facial expression and more…

2.) Guys, don’t feel too secure if your mother’s father has a full head of hair. Although one baldness gene comes only from your maternal side, scientists have discovered a new baldness gene that you can inherit from mom or dad, as reported on

3.) As we all know, it isn’t just what you say, but how you say it. The NY Times interviews James Pennebaker about his research in word counting and psychology. Interested? Find out what it could tell us about Obama and McCain.

4.) From Science Daily, you never know what you might find at the mall. New shoes… a video game… the world’s oldest insect fossil

5.) Scientists investigate a link between schizophrenia and smoking and discover a way that nicotine may actually help reduce symptoms, as reported by Science News.

6.) As some of you may know, some Nobel prizes were awarded last week, including one to a group of chemists who work on green fluorescent protein (GFP). Nature News talks to Martin Chalfe, one of the winners, while the NY Times talks to the guy who was left out.

7.) Science News reports that a woman’s voice pitch changes when she’s most fertile.

8.) Scientists have found a promising new way to make stem cells from adult cells, from Reuters.

9.) E! Science News explains why nice guys don’t finish last

10.) And finally, a Time reporter conducts a psychological? sociological? pathological? test of Google’s drunk email protector.

Photo by eurleif


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