Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Return of Fred the Sheep

A follow-up, courtesy of my friend Carl Anderson, to a story I mentioned last year: working from a proposal by Professor Michael Drout, engineers at Northwestern University have developed a prototype machine capable of extracting sheep DNA from medieval parchment. If researchers then succeed in developing a chemical process that allows them to analyze and classify the extracted genetic material, it will be possible to identify the date and perhaps also the geographical provenance of undated medieval manuscripts.

Northwestern engineering students are also working on a super-hard "dragonslayer" sword, which should make it easier for the school to deal with Chicago's persistent dragon problem.

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