See-through ‘MitoFish’ opens a new window on brain diseases

December 6, 2012

This is a confocal image of a zebrafish head showing labeling of sensory axon membranes (yellow), mitochondria (cyan), and autofluorescence (red) (credit: Leanne Godinho and Thomas Misgeld/TU Muenchen)

German scientists have developed a transgenic variety of the zebrafish, which is transparent in the early stages of its life: the “MitoFish,” which enables the scientists to see how brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disturb the transport of mitochondria, the power plants of the cell.


Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and MS (multiple sclerosis) are quite different in their effects on… read more

New technique to deliver stem cell therapy may help damaged eyes regain their sight

December 6, 2012

(Credit: Web MD)

University of Sheffield researchers have developed a new method for producing membranes to help in the grafting of stem cells onto the eye, mimicking structural features of the eye itself.

The technology has been designed to treat damage to the cornea, the transparent layer on the front of the eye, which is one of the major causes of blindness in the world.

Using a… read more

Discovery of 100 million-year-old regions of DNA could accelerate crop-science advances

December 6, 2012


University of Warwick scientists have discovered 100 million-year-old regions in the DNA of several plant species that could hold secrets about how specific genes are turned on or off and accelerate the pace of research into crop science and food security.

By running a computational analysis of the genomes of the papaya, poplar, Arabidopsis, and grape species, scientists have uncovered hundreds of conserved non-coding sequences… read more

House approves resolution to keep Internet control out of UN hands

December 6, 2012


The House on Wednesday unanimously passed a Senate resolution introduced by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) that calls on the U.S. government to oppose United Nations control of the Internet, The Hill’s Floor Action Blog reports.

The 397-0 vote is meant to send a signal to countries meeting at a U.N. conference on telecommunications this week. Participants are meeting to update an international telecom… read more

Final stop in Ray Kurzweil’s How to Create a Mind book tour is tonight!

Rainy Day Books in Kansas City, MO at 7:00pm
December 6, 2012

Rainy Day Books book tour slide

Don’t miss the the final stop in Ray Kurzweil’s How to Create a Mind book tour is tonight! Presentation at Rainy Days Book in Kansas at 7:00pm.

Ray Kurzweil discusses his newly released New York Times bestseller, How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed: Ray presents a provocative exploration of the most important project in human-machine civilization, reverse engineering the brain to understand

read more

M 7.3 earthquake, off the east coast of Honshu, Japan

December 7, 2012

Earthquake is near Fukushima

An earthquake with magnitude 7.3 occurred near Sendai, Honshu, Japan at 08:18:20.00 UTC (03:18:20 EST) Friday December 7, 2012, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Japan earthquake tsunami warning issued — BBC at 04:23 EST

AP news: The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no risk of a widespread tsunami. … There were no problems at any of the nuclear plants operated… read more

Wearable silicon solar cells may soon become possible

December 7, 2012

A coiled strand of a meter-long solar-cell junction fiber, thinner than the width of a human hair, which has been created by a team of chemists, physicists, and engineers led by John Badding at Penn State University (credit: Badding lab/Penn State)

A silicon-based optical fiber with solar-cell capabilities has been developed, scalable to many meters in length. The research may allow for weaving together solar-cell silicon wires to create flexible, curved, or twisted solar fabrics.

The findings by an international team of chemists, physicists, and engineers, led by John Badding, a professor of chemistry at Penn State University, build on earlier work addressing the… read more

Golden Spike aims to return humans to the Moon

December 7, 2012


The Golden Spike Company, the first company planning to offer routine exploration expeditions to the surface of the Moon — by the end of this decade — was  unveiled Thursday by former Apollo Flight Director and NASA Johnson Space Center Director Gerry Griffin, Golden Spike’s chairman, and planetary scientist and former NASA science chief Dr. Alan Stern, President and CEO.

The announcement was made on the… read more

NASA investigates use of graphene for new sensors

December 7, 2012


NASA researchers have developed graphene-based sensors to detect trace elements in Earth’s upper atmosphere and structural flaws in spacecraft.

Technologist Mahmooda Sultana at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is investigating nano-sized detectors that could detect atomic oxygen and other trace elements in the upper atmosphere and structural strains in everything from airplane wings to spacecraft buses.

“The cool thing about graphene is its properties,”… read more

Bioinspired robot shakes a tail to fool fish

December 7, 2012

Ethorobotics Fish (credit: Vladislav Kopman et al./Polytechnic Institute of New York University

Zebrafish are attracted to robots that can convincingly imitate Zebrafish tail motions, researchers at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) found in an experiment in “ethorobotics” — the study of bioinspired robots interacting with live animal counterparts.

Maurizio Porfiri, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NYU-Poly and students used image-based tracking software to analyze the movement of the live… read more

Organic metamaterial flows like a liquid, remembers its shape

"The striking similarity to Terminator T-1000 is purely coincidental" --- officials
December 7, 2012

Under an electron microscope the material is revealed to consist of tiny "bird's nests" of tangled DNA, top, which are tied together by more DNA stands into a mass, bottom. The tangled structure creates many tiny spaces that absorb water like a sponge. (Credit: Jong Bum Lee et al./Cornell University)

A new material created by Cornell researchers is so soft that it can flow like a liquid and then, strangely, return to its original shape.

Rather than liquid metal, it is a hydrogel, a mesh of organic molecules with many small empty spaces that can absorb water like a sponge. It qualifies as a “metamaterial” with properties not found in nature and may be the… read more

Could synthetic fuels eliminate entire US need for crude oil, create ‘new economy’?

December 7, 2012

Graphical representation of the locations of selected facilities for 50% replacement of petroleum fuels. The facilities are represented by dark brown circles with corresponding sizes. The amounts of coal, biomass, and natural gas feedstock in the United States are represented by the proposed color scheme in the map legend. (Credit: Josephine A. Elia, Richard C. Baliban, and Christodoulos A. Floudas/Princeton University)

The U.S. could eliminate the need for crude oil by using a combination of coal, natural gas, and non-food crops to make synthetic fuel, a team of Princeton researchers has found.

Besides economic and national security benefits, the plan has potential environmental advantages. Because plants absorb carbon dioxide to grow, the United States could cut vehicle greenhouse emissions by as much as 50 percent in… read more

New evidence on how compound found in red wine can help prevent cancer

How resveratrol can prevent cancer, heart disease and diabetes
December 7, 2012


University of Leicester scientists have presented groundbreaking new evidence about how a chemical found in red wine can help prevent cancer.

Experts from around the world attended Resveratrol 2012, a major conference at the University to assess the latest advances in the study of resveratrol — a compound found in the skins of red grapes.

The conference featured new findings based on… read more

Johns Hopkins surgeons implant first brain ‘pacemaker’ for Alzheimer’s disease in US

December 7, 2012


Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine have surgically implanted a pacemaker-like device into the brain of a patient in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the first such operation in the United States.

The device, which provides deep brain stimulation and has been used in thousands of people with Parkinson’s disease, is seen as a possible means of boosting memory and reversing cognitive decline.

The… read more

Nanostructured ‘sandwich’ boosts solar-cell efficiency almost three times

December 10, 2012

A conventional solar cell, left, reflects light off its surface and loses light that penetrates the cell. New technology, right, develop by Princeton professor Stephen Chou and colleagues in electrical engineering, prevents both types of loss and is much thinner. (Credit: Dimitri Karetnikov/Princeton University)

Princeton researchers have found a simple and economical way to nearly triple the efficiency of organic solar cells, the cheap and flexible plastic devices that many scientists believe could be the future of solar power.

The researchers, led by electrical engineer Stephen Chou, the Joseph C. Elgin Professor of Engineering, were able to increase the efficiency of the solar cells 175 percent by using… read more

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