Jul. 6th, 2007

dracodraconis: (Default)
New Scientist
Create a back-up copy of your immune system - (Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] _luaineach ) Imagine having a spare copy of your immune system on ice, ready to replace your existing one should you fall victim to AIDS, an autoimmune disease, or have to undergo extensive chemotherapy for cancer. An Anglo-American company called Lifeforce has received permission from the US Food and Drug Administration to do just that.

Technology Review Feed - Nanotech Top Stories
Denser Data Storage - Scientists have produced a novel type of nanoparticle that they say could make it possible to dramatically increase magnetic-based data storage on future generations of computer hard drives. The researchers at Brown University and Sandia National Laboratories have announced new ways to create iron-platinum nanorods and nanowires. The materials can potentially provide a way to make far denser magnetic media. In doing so, the new materials could make possible devices that do not have the limits that many scientist anticipate conventional magnetic storage technologies will soon encounter.
Don't I Know You? - It only takes a millisecond to recognize celebrities on TV while flipping through the channels: Rachel Ray hawking coffee, David Hasselhoff judging a talent show, or Charles Gibson relaying the latest tragedy in Iraq. While it seems easy, recognizing those faces is a cognitively complex task. Your brain must identify the object you're seeing as a face, regardless of the size or angle; interpret the expression encoded by the particular arrangement of eyes and mouth; and access the memory part of the brain to determine if the face is familiar. By combining two of the most important tools in neuroscience--brain imaging and electrical recordings from single brain cells--scientists are poised to finally understand how the brain performs these complex computations.

BBC News | Science/Nature | World Edition
Russia eyes vast Arctic territory - Russian geologists say they have data that would support a claim to about 1.2m sq km (463,000 sq miles) of energy-rich territory in the Arctic.

The Globe and Mail - Science News
Rideau Canal named a global gem - It is the world's largest skating rink, the regular inclusion on tourist ‘must-see' lists, and it is now officially one of Canada's global gems. The Rideau Canal has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, putting it in the esteemed company of the Rocky Mountains, Gros Morne National Park, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Old Quebec and the Waterton Glacier. But the Canadian treasure, which turns 175 this year, is not on the list because of national iconography or winter fun. UNESCO says the Rideau Canal is no less than a witness to the violent struggle to control the entire North American continent.
'Fat-shaping' could have health benefits - Researchers have figured out how to remove fat from one part of the body and make it grow in another part — at least in mice — and say their findings could benefit health as well as beauty. Their findings also shed light on how and why stressed-out people so often gain weight.
We're both the chatty sex - Men talk every bit as much as women do, U.S. researchers say after painstakingly counting every word that 400 volunteers spoke. Their study, published on Thursday in the journal Science, challenges the common wisdom that women are somehow biologically programmed to talk more – but the researchers said people do often fulfill gender roles when it comes to subject matter."Women and men both use on average about 16,000 words per day, with very large individual differences around this mean," the researchers, led by psychologist Matthias Mehl of the University of Arizona, wrote.

Reuters: Science
Gene trick reverses retardation in mice: study - Researchers said they have partially reversed in mice a common cause of autism and mental retardation, and said it might be possible to design a drug that would do the same thing for people.They found that by blocking a normal enzyme, they could reverse some of the brain abnormalities associated with the inherited condition, called Fragile X Syndrome, and correct some of the symptoms in the mice.
Tummy bugs may have deep-sea ancestors: experts - Some of the nastiest bacteria that thrive in the human gut and make us sick may have evolved from hardy ancestors living deep under the sea, a group of Japanese scientists found.
Daily morsel of dark chocolate cuts blood pressure - A nibble a day of dark chocolate helped lower blood pressure without packing on the pounds, German researchers said on Tuesday.Prior studies have shown foods rich in cocoa like dark chocolate offer heart benefits, but researchers have worried the added sugar, fat and calories would cancel out any good the chocolate might do.Now it seems just a 30-calorie (0.126 kilojoule) bite of dark chocolate -- equivalent to 6.8 grams or a quarter ounce -- can lower blood pressure without weight gain or other negative side effects.
dracodraconis: (Default)
Physics Org
Life elsewhere in Solar System could be different from life as we know it - The search for life elsewhere in the solar system and beyond should include efforts to detect what scientists sometimes refer to as "weird" life -- that is, life with an alternative biochemistry to that of life on Earth -- says a new report from the National Research Council. The committee that wrote the report found that the fundamental requirements for life as we generally know it -- a liquid water biosolvent, carbon-based metabolism, molecular system capable of evolution, and the ability to exchange energy with the environment -- are not the only ways to support phenomena recognized as life. "Our investigation made clear that life is possible in forms different than those on Earth," said committee chair John Baross, professor of oceanography at the University of Washington, Seattle.
Researchers working on a way to make snack foods with extra fiber -Trying to get more fiber in your diet? Munching on cookies or tortillas probably doesn't come to mind. But a Kansas State University researcher is experimenting with ways to add fiber to the foods we love without changing what we like about our favorite snacks. Sajid Alavi is an assistant professor of grain science and industry at K-State's College of Agriculture. His expertise is in extrusion processing, which is used to make products from cheese puffs to pet food. Alavi is researching how this process can be used to make fiber-enriched flour taste like the kind used in most cookies and tortillas so that manufacturers can make a more healthful snacking alternative that consumers want to eat.
Original or fake? - Even for art historians, it can be difficult to distinguish original works of art from fakes. Research scientists now screen the pictures with infrared radiation. This shows up the watermarks of the paper mills, which allows them to date the works without risk of damage. Screening paintings (left picture) with infrared light reveals the watermarks (right picture) of the paper mills. These enable works to be dated and examined for authenticity without risk of damage.

Active Protection System - Dow Corning's Active Protection System is a "smart" textile that remains soft and flexible until it is struck by high-impact force, in which case the material instantly stiffens to help protect against injury. When the collision has passed, the material immediately becomes flexible again.

The Jet Kayak - Heading straight for a rock wall along New Zealand's Waimakariri River Gorge wouldn't normally faze Shaun Baker. But this was a new experience even for the world-record-holding waterfall jumper—this time his kayak had an engine in it, skipping him like a stone at more than 30 mph. Finally he backed off the throttle just enough to steer himself parallel to the wall and avert disaster, before gunning it back up to full speed.

Science Blog

Turn off TV to teach toddlers new words - Toddlers learn their first words better from people than from Teletubbies, according to new research at Wake Forest University. The study was published in the June 21 issue of Media Psychology. Children younger than 22 months may be entertained, but they do not learn words from the television program, said Marina Krcmar, associate professor of communication at Wake Forest and author of the study.
Juries wrong 1-in-8 times? - Juries across the country make decisions every day on the fate of defendants, ideally leading to prison sentences that fit the crime for the guilty and release for the innocent. Yet a new Northwestern University study shows that juries in criminal cases many times are getting it wrong. In a set of 271 cases from four areas, juries gave wrong verdicts in at least one out of eight cases, according to “Estimating the Accuracy of Jury Verdicts,” a paper by a Northwestern University statistician that is being published in the July issue of Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.
Using fat to kill cancer - Researchers in Slovakia have been able to derive mesenchymal stem cells from human adipose, or fat, tissue and engineer them into “suicide genes” that seek out and destroy tumors like tiny homing missiles. This gene therapy approach is a novel way to attack small tumor metastases that evade current detection techniques and treatments, the researchers conclude in the July 1 issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Inhaling from just 1 cigarette can lead to nicotine addiction - A new study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine shows that 10 percent of youth who become hooked on cigarettes are addicted within two days of first inhaling from a cigarette, and 25 percent are addicted within a month. The study found that adolescents who smoke even just a few cigarettes per month suffer withdrawal symptoms when deprived of nicotine, a startling finding that is contrary to long-held beliefs that only people with established smoking habits of at least five cigarettes per day experience such symptoms.
Engineered Blood Vessels Function like Native Tissue - Blood vessels that have been tissue-engineered from bone marrow adult stem cells may in the future serve as a patient's own source of new blood vessels following a coronary bypass or other procedures that require vessel replacement, according to new research from the University at Buffalo Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

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