Ask Ms. Scientist: Stem cells and computers

What’s the real difference between Mac and PC?

Steve H.

In lecture, at the office or at the library, it’s easy to notice there are two popular types of laptops. Apple’s Mac computers and Windows’ PC computers are popular among just about every person who owns a computer. What makes these computers so different? PC computers use the Windows operating system; this is the interface one uses to navigate the computer. Windows and the hardware that makes up a PC are designed to run virtually any program created for a computer. This gives users flexibility but also can cause errors and vulnerability to viruses. On the other side, a Mac computer is designed to run Mac software and the Mac operating system. Therefore, these computers tend to seem smoother and more user friendly. In the end, choosing a computer depends on what you need. If you only need Mac designed programs and not the flexibility, a MacBook might be for you. If you need the options and flexibility, try a PC.

What are stem cells?

Judy P.

Research using stem cells often sparks controversy and questions. Stem cells are special kinds of “blank-slate” cells. They have the capability to develop or turn into any type of specialized cell, such as different organ cells, tissue cells, blood cells and so on. There are two kinds of stem cells: adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. We all have adult stem cells throughout our entire lives. They can be found all over our body in our different tissues, and they stay dormant until they’re needed by our bodies to regenerate our tissues or organs. Embryonic stem cells, however, are different in that they’re exclusively found in days-old embryos. While adult stem cells have a limited range of cells that they can turn into, embryonic stem cells can turn into any type of cell in our bodies. There is a lot of exciting research about the medical applications of stem cells; from regenerating organs and tissues in injured patients to replacing damaged brain tissue in Alzheimer’s patients. Stem cells have many possibilities.

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