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U.S. launches three biodefense centers

June 19, 2012


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today awarded contracts for the creation of three new centers tasked with responding to the threat of future pandemics and biological attacks, Nature News Blog reports.

Based in Maryland, North Carolina and Texas, the three “Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing” are the first tangible result of a review concluded by HHS in 2010.

It… read more

Underground ocean on Titan, alien life on Phobos?

June 29, 2012


Saturn’s moon Titan likely harbors a layer of liquid water under its ice shell in a hidden ocean at depth, data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have revealed.

The evidence is tidal, according to Luciano Iess, the paper’s lead author and a Cassini team member at the Sapienza University in Rome. Saturn’s powerful gravity stretches and deforms Titan as the moon moves around the gas giant planet. If Titan were… read more

These robots install solar panels

Reducing labor costs could help make solar power more affordable
July 25, 2012


Companies such as PV Kraftwerker and Gehrlicher in Germany are developing mobile robots that can automatically install ground-mounted solar panels day and night, in all sorts of weather, Technology Review reports.

The main idea is to save money on labor, which accounts for a growing fraction of the cost of solar power as panels get cheaper.

According to PV Kraftwerker, a construction… read more

Brazil aims to clone endangered animals

November 14, 2012


Conservationists in Brazil are poised to try cloning eight animals that are under pressure, including jaguars and maned wolves, New Scientist reports.

None of the targeted animals are critically endangered, but Brazil’s agricultural research agency, Embrapa, wants a headstart. Working with the Brasilia Zoological Garden, it has collected around 420 tissue samples, mostlyread more

Are you ready for smart ingestible pills that monitor your health and replace passwords?

June 25, 2013

CorTemp pill (credit: HQ Inc.)

People on the cutting edge are swallowing ingestible smart pills containing minuscule sensors and transmitters to monitor a range of health data and wirelessly share this information with a doctor, The New York Times reports.

A pill made by Proteus Digital Health can track medication-taking behaviors, monitor how a patient’s body is responding to medicine, and detect the person’s movements and rest patterns.

People with heart… read more

Graphene shown to neutralize cancer stem cells

February 26, 2015

Graphene oxide targeting cancer stem cells with differentiation-based nano-therapy (credit: Marco Fiorillo et al./Oncotarget)

University of Manchester scientists have used graphene oxide to target and neutralize cancer stem cells (CSCs) while not harming other cells.

This new development opens up the possibility of preventing or treating a broad range of cancers, using a non-toxic material.

In combination with existing treatments, this finding could eventually lead to tumor shrinkage as well as preventing the spread of cancer and its… read more

Baby’s life saved with 3D printed device to restore breathing

May 24, 2013

A baby’s life was saved with this groundbreaking 3-D printed device that restored his breathing (credit: University of Michigan Health System)

A bioresorbable splint used for first time, successfully stopped life-threatening tracheobronchomalacia, a case featured in New England Journal of Medicine.

Every day, a baby, Kaiba, stopped breathing, his collapsed bronchus blocking the crucial flow of air to his lungs. Parents April and Bryan Gionfriddo watched helplessly.

They found hope at the University of Michigan, where a new, bioresorbable device that could help Kaiba was… read more

Solar power much cheaper to produce than most analysts realize, study finds

December 13, 2011

The public is being kept in the dark about the viability of solar photovoltaic energy, according to a study conducted at Queen’s University. The real cost in 2011 is under $1 per watt for solar panels purchased in bulk on the global market, he says.

“Many analysts project a higher cost for solar photovoltaic energy because they don’t consider recent technological advancements and price reductions,”… read more

Can a picture inflate the perceived truth of true and false claims?

Scientists discover the truth behind Colbert’s 'truthiness'
August 9, 2012

Stephen Colbert (credit: The Colbert Report)

Trusting research over their guts, scientists in New Zealand and Canada examined the phenomenon that Stephen Colbert, comedian and news satirist, calls “truthiness” — the feeling that something is true.

In four different experiments they discovered that people believe claims are true, regardless of whether they actually are true, when a decorative photograph appears alongside the claim.

“We wanted to examine how the kinds of photos… read more

Planet found in star system nearest Earth

Earth-mass exoplanet found orbiting Alpha Centauri B
October 17, 2012


European astronomers have discovered a planet with about the mass of the Earth orbiting a star in the Alpha Centauri system — the star system nearest Earth. It is also the lightest exoplanet ever discovered around a star like the Sun.

The planet was detected using the HARPS instrument on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Alpha Centauri is one of… read more

Wave-particle duality visualized in quantum movie

March 27, 2012

interference pattern

An international team of scientists has shot a video that shows the build-up of a matter-wave interference pattern from single dye molecules. The pattern is so large (up to 0.1 mm), it can been seen with a video camera.

The video visualizes the dualities of particle and wave, randomness and determinism, and locality and delocalization in an intuitive way.

Physicist Richard Feynman once claimed that… read more

Could plasma light extend Moore’s law?

July 2, 2012


University of Washington lab says it can produce light with enough power to be used in manufacturing microchips.

The lab has been working for more than a decade on fusion energy, harnessing the energy-generating mechanism of the sun.

But in one of the twists of scientific discovery, on the way the researchers found a potential solution to a looming problem in the electronics industry.

“To… read more

‘Nanodaisies’ deliver more powerful drug cocktail to cancer cells

May 30, 2014

Early tests of the “nanodaisy” drug delivery technique show promise against a number of cancers (credit: Ran Mo)

Nanoscale flower-like structures that can introduce a “cocktail” of multiple drugs into cancer cells have been developed by biomedical engineering researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“We found that this technique was much better than conventional drug-delivery techniques at inhibiting the growth of lung cancer tumors in mice,” says Dr. Zhen Gu, senior author of the paper and… read more

Gene therapy shows promise in neuron repair and pain relief

August 28, 2012


Using gene therapy, Yale neurologists have managed to repair neurons associated with traumatic nerve injury pain in rats.

Neuropathic pain associated with diabetes, shingles, and traumatic injury affects up to 18 percent of the population and can be difficult or impossible to effectively treat.

“Since the therapy targets only cells in the pain-sensing neurons outside the brain and spinal cord, this method can avoid… read more

Mathematicians aim to take publishers out of publishing

Episciences Project to launch series of community-run, open-access journals
January 18, 2013


Mathematicians plan to launch a series of free open-access journals that will host their peer-reviewed articles on the preprint server arXiv, Nature News reports. The project was publicly revealed yesterday in a blog post by Tim Gowers, a Fields Medal winner and mathematician at the University of Cambridge, UK.

The initiative, called the Episciences Project, hopes to show that researchers can organize the… read more

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