Friday, May 1, 2009

Bones Made From Human Skin Connective Tissue

ScienceDaily (May 1, 2009) — Cartilage, bones and the internal walls of blood vessels can be created by using common connective tissue cells from human skin.  Researchers in reconstructive plastic surgery at Link√∂ping University have successfully manipulated these tissue cells to take on different shapes depending on the medium they have been cultivated in.

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Social Separation Stops Flu Spread, But Must Be Started Soon

ScienceDaily (May 1, 2009) — A disease spread simulation has emphasized that flu interventions must be imposed quickly, if they are to be effective.

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Mechanisms Of Self-control Pinpointed In Brain

ScienceDaily (May 1, 2009) — When you're on a diet, deciding to skip your favorite calorie-laden foods and eat something healthier takes a whole lot of self-control--an ability that seems to come easier to some of us than others. Now, scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have uncovered differences in the brains of people who are able to exercise self-control versus those who find it almost impossible.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quest for invisibility cloaks revisited by two research groups

by Ross Miller, posted Apr 30th 2009 at 5:26AM

After a brief period of no news, it's time to revisit the world of invisible cloaks. Inspired by the ideas of theoretical physicist John Pendry at Imperial College, London, two separate groups of researchers from Cornell University and UC Berkeley claim to have prototyped their own cloaking devices. Both work essentially the same way: the object is hidden by mirrors that look entirely flat thanks to tiny silicon nanopillars that steer reflected light in such a way to create the illusion. It gets a bit technical, sure, but hopefully from at least one of these projects we'll get a video presentation that's sure to make us downright giddy.

New Food-Growth Product a Bit Hairy

Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday April 29, @03:06PM

from the what-can-your-grow-from-fingernails dept.
MeatBag PussRocket writes"An article from reports, 'A Florida company has developed an all-natural product that it says could revolutionize how food is grown in the US. It's called Smart Grow, but it might be a tough sell. It's inexpensive. It eliminates the need for pesticides, so it's environmentally friendly, butit's human hair. Plant pathologists at the University of Florida have found the mats eliminate weeds better than leading herbicides and can also make plants grow up to 30 percent larger.'"

Swine Flu: To Panic Or Not -- That Is The Question

ScienceDaily (Apr. 30, 2009) — Thanks to the 24-hour media coverage about swine flu, we’re all aware that a potential flu pandemic could be high. But before you stock up on face masks and hand sanitizer, it’s important to put some things in perspective.

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Half A Glass Of Wine A Day May Boost Life Expectancy By Five Years

ScienceDaily (Apr. 30, 2009) — Drinking up to half a glass of wine a day may boost life expectancy by five years—at least in men, suggests research published ahead of print in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More Than One Nanostring To Their Bow: Scientists Moving Closer To 'Artificial Noses'

ScienceDaily (Apr. 29, 2009) — These days, chemical analysts are expected to track down even single molecules. To do this highly sensitive detective work, nano researchers have developed minute strings that resonate in characteristic fashion. If a molecule docks onto one of the strings, then it becomes heavier, and its oscillations become measurably slower. Until recently, however, such “nano-electromechanical systems”, or NEMS, have been short of practical applications.

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Did Comets Contain Key Ingredients For Life On Earth?

ScienceDaily (Apr. 29, 2009) — Comets have always fascinated us. In early cultures, a mysterious appearance of a comet could symbolize a deity's displeasure with humankind or mean a sure failure in battle, at least for one side. Now Tel Aviv University research adds a new twist to that fascination: comets might have provided the elements for the emergence of life on our planet.

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Satellite Imagery Shows Fragile Wilkins Ice Shelf Destabilized

ScienceDaily (Apr. 29, 2009) — Satellite images show that icebergs have begun to calve from the northern front of the Wilkins Ice Shelf – indicating that the huge shelf has become unstable. This follows the collapse three weeks ago of the ice bridge that had previously linked the Antarctic mainland to Charcot Island.

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Universal Flu Vaccine Holds Promise

ScienceDaily (Apr. 29, 2009) — An influenza vaccine that protects against death and serious complications from different strains of flu is a little closer to reality, Saint Louis University vaccine researchers have found.

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Some Large Dinosaurs Survived the K-T Extinction

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday April 29, @05:01AM

from the hid-under-a-rock dept.
mmmscience sends along coverage from the Examiner on evidence that some dinosaurs survived the extinction event(s) at the end of the Cretaceous period. Here is the original journal article."A US paleontologist is challenging one of the field's greatest theories: the mass extinction of dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period. Jim Fassett, a paleontologist who holds an emeritus position at the US Geological Survey, recently published a paper in Palaeontologia Electronica with evidence that points to a pocket of dinosaurs that somehow survived in remote parts New Mexico and Colorado for up to half a million years past the end of the Cretaceous period. If this theory holds up, these dinosaurs would be the only ones that made it to the Paleocene Age."

Lower Dementia Drug Dose Boosts Brain Function, Cuts Side Effects

ScienceDaily (Apr. 29, 2009) — Sometimes less is more: Lower doses of an Alzheimer’s drug delivered via skin patches improve cognition with fewer serious side effects than higher doses, researchers have found in an updated review.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Town Fights Cricket Plague With Led Zeppelin

Posted by samzenpus on Tuesday April 28, @02:11PM

from the certain-mariah-carey-notes-make-dolphins-abduct-and-eat-small-children dept.
The residents of Tuscarora, Nevada are getting ready to fight the annual invasion of mormon crickets with the power of Rock-N-Roll. Trial and error has shown that the crickets don't think much of Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones. The residents circle the town with boomboxes at regular intervals to drive off the millions of crickets. "It is part of our arsenal. You'll wake up and there'll be one sitting on your forehead, looking at you." says Laura Moore, an unemployed college professor and one of the town's 13 residents. The crickets devastate crops, cause slicks on the highway and evidently love rap

Zero Emissions Motorcycle Gears Up For The Big Race

ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2009) — It has the ability to reach speeds of 102mph, race around a 38 mile mountainous course and is powered by batteries which can be charged from a standard household socket. It’s Kingston University’s new, green motorbike. Designed by six final-year engineering students, the bike is set to make history by competing in the world’s first zero-emissions Grand Prix this summer. The Kingston team will join 24 eco-bikes from America, India, Italy, Germany and Austria on the start line at the 2009 Isle of Man TTXGP.

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Video: Scientists create walking goo, Steve McQueen put on alert

by Thomas Ricker, posted Apr 28th 2009 at 6:12AM

Who needs servos and a degree in robotics? The real threat to humanity is brewing in the distillation columns of chemists at Waseda University in Tokyo where researchers have developed a chemical gel that walks like an inchworm. Really, just check the video after the break. The color-changing, motile gel reacts to chemicals in its environment to create its own oscillating locomotion without the need for electrical stimulation. The idea is to augment the electronics in future robotics with these "self organized" chemical systems to avoid additional circuitry complexity and external controls. Our advice? Run.

New Blow Against Dinosaur-killing Asteroid Theory, Geologists Find

ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2009) — The enduringly popular theory that the Chicxulub crater holds the clue to the demise of the dinosaurs, along with some 65 percent of all species 65 million years ago, is challenged in a paper to be published in the Journal of the Geological Society on April 27, 2009.

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Eating Fatty Fish And Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Risk Of Heart Failure

ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2009) — Eating fatty fish and marine omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, seems to protect men from heart failure, according to one of the largest studies to investigate the association.

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Presto! Fast Color-changing Material May Lead To Improved Sunglasses

ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2009) — Researchers in Japan are reporting development of a new so-called "photochromic" material that changes color thousands of times faster than conventional materials when exposed to light. The development could lead to a wide range of new products including improved sunglasses, more powerful computers, dynamic holograms, and better medicines, the researchers say. 

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Autism May Be Linked To Being Firstborn, Breech Births Or Moms 35 Or Older

ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2009) — Children who are firstborn or breech or whose mothers are 35 or older when giving birth are at significantly greater risk for developing an autism spectrum disorder, University of Utah School of Medicine researchers have reported in a new study with Utah children.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

IBM Computer Program To Take On 'Jeopardy!'

Posted by CmdrTaco on Monday April 27, @10:22AM

from the i-wouldn't-do-that-alex dept.
longacre writes"I.B.M. plans to announce Monday that it is in the final stages of completing a computer program to compete against human 'Jeopardy!' contestants. If the program beats the humans, the field of artificial intelligence will have made a leap forward. ... The team is aiming not at a true thinking machine but at a new class of software that can 'understand' human questions and respond to them correctly. Such a program would have enormous economic implications. ... The proposed contest is an effort by I.B.M. to prove that its researchers can make significant technical progress by picking "grand challenges" like its early chess foray. The new bid is based on three years of work by a team that has grown to 20 experts in fields like natural language processing, machine learning and information retrieval. ... Under the rules of the match that the company has negotiated with the 'Jeopardy!' producers, the computer will not have to emulate all human qualities. It will receive questions as electronic text. The human contestants will both see the text of each question and hear it spoken by the show's host, Alex Trebek. ... Mr. Friedman added that they were also thinking about whom the human contestants should be and were considering inviting Ken Jennings, the 'Jeopardy!' contestant who won 74 consecutive times and collected $2.52 million in 2004."

Space Invaders used to encourage exercising, snag an A+ in EE316

by Darren Murph, posted Apr 27th 2009 at 8:11AM

For those of us who haven't moved our fundament in three days, we can definitely attest to the fact that finding motivation to exercise is amongst life's greatest challenges. Not to fear, as Allen, Matt and Doug have decided to provide all the encourage we nerds need with their final EE316 (Computer Engineering) project. By utilizing an Axis network camera, a Bluetooth heart rate sensor and a few intelligent lines of code, they concocted a Space Invaders exercise program that requires the player to physically move in order to stay alive. Talk about incentive. Check the vid and full description in the read link.

Lice Can Be Nice To Us: Louse Infestation Calibrates Immune System Regulation

ScienceDaily (Apr. 27, 2009) — Parasite infestations might have a good side. Wild mice from a Nottinghamshire forest have given experts at The University of Nottingham clues as to the importance of some parasites, such as lice, for the conditioning of a “natural” immune system.

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Inventors develop transistor to change color of any surface, your face notwithstanding

by Darren Murph, posted Apr 27th 2009 at 4:13AM

Color shifting has been a pipe dream for about as long as alchemists have claimed their studies to be legitimate, but now a brilliant team from the New University of Lisbon can finally say a breakthrough has been found. Essentially, these inventors have conjured up a transistor that changes the color of practically any surface (paper, glass, plastics, ceramics and metals, just to name a few). For what it's worth, this same team already has quite a bit of display cred, as it has developed technology currently used within Samsung panels. With the help of a few good men and woman at the University of Texas at Austin, the team was able to register for a patent right here in the US, and with any luck, they'll be giving OLEDs and e-paper a run for their money before we can snap our fingers twice and run around the block. Check a video (narrated in Portuguese) after the break.

[Thanks, Nelson]