Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chemical Element 114: One of Heaviest Elements Created

ScienceDaily (June 23, 2010) — At GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung, an international team of scientists succeeded in the observation of the chemical element 114, one of the heaviest elements created until now. The production of element 114 is very difficult and requires dedicated particle accelerators. So far, this feat was achieved at only two other research centers, in the USA and Russia.

Brain Structure Corresponds to Personality

ScienceDaily (June 23, 2010) — Personalities come in all kinds. Now psychological scientists have found that the size of different parts of people's brains correspond to their personalities; for example, conscientious people tend to have a bigger lateral prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain involved in planning and controlling behavior.

Drug Mitigates Toxic Effects of Radiation in Mice

ScienceDaily (June 23, 2010) — While radiation has therapeutic uses, too much radiation is damaging to cells. The most important acute side effect of radiation poisoning is damage to the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all the normal blood cells, and therefore a high dose of radiation can lead to low blood counts of red cells, platelets and white blood cells. Humans that receive a lethal dose of radiation as in the setting of an accidental exposure die of bone marrow failure. While there are a few drugs that will decrease toxicity when given before exposure to radiation ("radioprotectants"); currently, no effective therapy exists to mitigate bone marrow toxicity of radiation when given after radiation exposure ("radiomitigants"). The identification of successful human radiomitigants is a top research priority of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and National Institutes of Health.

Gut Bacteria Could Be Key Indicator of Colon Cancer Risk

ScienceDaily (June 22, 2010) — The human body contains more bacteria than it does cells. These bacterial communities can have a positive effect on our health, by training our immune systems and helping to metabolize the foods we eat. But they can also set us up to develop digestive disorders, skin diseases, and obesity.

Google Voice Free for All

Google opens its innovative Voice application to all comers, letting anyone get a single number to catch calls from their landlines, cellphones and work phone numbers.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

High Levels of Fructose, Trans Fats Lead to Significant Liver Disease, Says Study

ScienceDaily (June 23, 2010) — Scientists at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have discovered that a diet with high levels of fructose, sucrose, and of trans fats not only increases obesity, but also leads to significant fatty liver disease with scar tissue.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New method for producing graphene paves way for mass production of nanomaterial

Researchers have developed a simple new method for producing large quantities of the promising nanomaterial graphene. The new technique works at room temperature, needs little processing, and paves the way for cost-effective mass production of graphene.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ford, Edison and the Cheap EV That Almost Was

Henry Ford and Thomas Edison both believed electricity was the future. Here's the story of the car they almost built.

Why Being Wrong Makes Humans So Smart

Posted by kdawson on Monday June 21, @08:20AM
from the something-so-right dept.
Hugh Pickens sends in an excerpt in last week's Boston Globe from Kathryn Schulz's bookBeing Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error."The more scientists understand about cognitive functioning, the more it becomes clear that our capacity to make mistakes is utterly inextricable from what makes the human brain so swift, adaptable, and intelligent. Rather than treating errors like the bedbugs of the intellect — an appalling and embarrassing nuisance we try to pretend out of existence — we need to recognize that human fallibility is part and parcel of human brilliance. Neuroscientists increasingly think that inductive reasoning undergirds virtually all of human cognition. Humans use inductive reasoning to learn language, organize the world into meaningful categories, and grasp the relationship between cause and effect. Thanks to inductive reasoning, we are able to form nearly instantaneous beliefs and take action accordingly. However, Schulz writes, 'The distinctive thing about inductive reasoning is that it generates conclusions that aren't necessarily true. They are, instead, probabilistically true — which means they are possibly false.' Schulz recommends that we respond to the mistakes (or putative mistakes) of those around us with empathy and generosity and demand that our business and political leaders acknowledge and redress their errors rather than ignoring or denying them. 'Once we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity, or evil intent, we can liberate ourselves from the impossible burden of trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition that we could be in error, without deeming ourselves idiotic or unworthy.'"

When Do Newborns First Feel Cold?

ScienceDaily (June 17, 2010) — Cold sensing neural circuits in newborn mice take around two weeks to become fully active, according to a new study.

Polar Oceans Key to Temperature in the Tropics

ScienceDaily (June 17, 2010) — Scientists have found that the ocean temperature at Earth's polar extremes has a significant impact thousands of miles away at the equator.

New Air Conditioner Process Cuts Energy Use 50-90%

Posted by kdawson on Monday June 21, @04:27AM
from the tortured-backronym dept.
necro81 writes"The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory has announced that it has developed a new method for air conditioning that reduces energy use by 50-90%. The DEVap system (Desiccant-Enhanced eVaporative air conditioner) cools air using evaporative cooling, which is not new, but combines the process with a liquid dessicant for pulling the water vapor out of the cooled air stream. The liquid dessicant, a very strong aqueous solution of lithium chloride or sodium chloride, is separated from the air stream by a permeable hydrophobic membrane. Heat is later used to evaporate water vapor back out — heat that can come from a variety of sources such as solar or natural gas. The dessicants are, compared to typical refrigerants like HCFCs, relatively benign on the environment."

What US Health Care Needs

Posted by kdawson on Monday June 21, @02:15AM
from the velluvial-matrix dept.
Medical doctor and writer Atul Gawande gave the commencement address recently at Stanford's School of Medicine. In it he lays out very precisely and in a nonpartisan waywhat is wrong with the institution of medical care in the US — why it is both so expensive and so ineffective at delivering quality care uniformly across the board."Half a century ago, medicine was neither costly nor effective. Since then, however, science has... enumerated and identified... more than 13,600 diagnoses — 13,600 different ways our bodies can fail. And for each one we've discovered beneficial remedies... But those remedies now include more than six thousand drugs and four thousand medical and surgical procedures. Our job in medicine is to make sure that all of this capability is deployed, town by town, in the right way at the right time, without harm or waste of resources, for every person alive. And we're struggling. There is no industry in the world with 13,600 different service lines to deliver. ... And then there is the frightening federal debt we will face. By 2025, we will owe more money than our economy produces. One side says war spending is the problem, the other says it's the economic bailout plan. But take both away and you've made almost no difference. Our deficit problem — far and away — is the soaring and seemingly unstoppable cost of health care. ... Like politics, all medicine is local. Medicine requires the successful function of systems — of people and of technologies. Among our most profound difficulties is making them work together. If I want to give my patients the best care possible, not only must I do a good job, but a whole collection of diverse components must somehow mesh effectively. ... This will take science. It will take art. It will take innovation. It will take ambition. And it will take humility. But the fantastic thing is: This is what you get to do."