Image: SpaceX / Flickr

SciTech’s weekly round-up #2

From zombies to spaceflight, Beth Kynman tells us what’s been happening in the world of science this week.


1. Spinach used to create working heart tissue

While attempting to 3D print tissue has proved unsuccessful in the past, researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute have instead used spinach to create working human heart tissue. The spinach- heart tissue can even transport blood through vessels, and has massive implications for treating illnesses such as heart attacks, especially as plant material is so common.

2. Menstrual cycle created in a lab

A female reproductive system, made from human and mouse cells, has been created in a lab. The device allows the flow of hormones between the various components, hence it can be used to model the menstrual cycle and other model real-life processes as well as testing new medical treatments. This project is part of a larger on to create the human body “on a chip.”

3. SpaceX reuse rocket

For the first time, SpaceX has successfully relaunched a rocket booster it previously used in 2016. This milestone result means the company is one step closer to proper reusable space crafts that will dramatically reduce the cost of space flight. Such technology could also be used to return astronauts to Earth after a trip to Mars.

4. Songs can influence spending

A new study from Sweden suggests the genre of music playing in a store has a tangible effect on customers spending habits.  During the study, songs were chosen to suit a fast food chain’s brand, and when played sales of chips and burgers went up by over 8%. These algorithms could be used by businesses to compile appropriate playlists to increase sales.

5. Zombies found in North Yorkshire?

Archaeologists studying an abandoned Medieval North Yorkshire village have found that people may have mutilated and decapitated corpses to prevent them returning from the dead. The bone marks could not be explained by famine, cannibalism or attacks on village intruders, and from further analysis it was decided that dismemberment to stop the dead arising fit the evidence the best.

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