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Posts Tagged ‘Science’

One Variety of Sea Slugs Cuts Out the Energy Middleman

January 13th, 2010 01:04 admin View Comments

dragonturtle69 writes with this story, short on details but interesting: “These sea slugs, Elysia chlorotica, have evolved the ability to gain energy via photosynthesis. Forget about genetic modifications for sports enhancements. I want to be able to never need to eat again — or do I?”

Source: One Variety of Sea Slugs Cuts Out the Energy Middleman

Organ Damage In Rats From Monsanto GMO Corn

January 13th, 2010 01:16 admin View Comments

jenningsthecat writes “A study published in December 2009 in the International Journal of Biological Sciences found that three varieties of Monsanto genetically-modified corn caused damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs of rats. One of the corn varieties was designed to tolerate broad-spectrum herbicides, (so-called ‘Roundup-ready’ corn), while the other two contain bacteria-derived proteins that have insecticide properties. The study made use of Monsanto’s own raw data. Quoting from the study’s ‘Conclusions’ section: ‘Our analysis highlights that the kidneys and liver as particularly important on which to focus such research as there was a clear negative impact on the function of these organs in rats consuming GM maize varieties for just 90 days.’ Given the very high prevalence of corn in processed foods, this could be a real ticking time bomb. And with food manufacturers not being required by law to declare GMO content, I think I’ll do my best to avoid corn altogether. Pass the puffed rice and pour me a glass of fizzy water!”

Source: Organ Damage In Rats From Monsanto GMO Corn

2010 AL30, Asteroid Or Space Junk, To Pay a Close Visit

January 13th, 2010 01:22 admin View Comments

astroengine writes “A near-Earth object that could be manmade has just been discovered hurtling toward us. On Wednesday (Jan. 13), an object called 2010 AL30 will fly by Earth at a distance of just 130,000 km (80,000 miles). That’s only one-third of the way from here to the moon, i.e. very close. It will miss us, and if it did hit us, it wouldn’t do any damage anyway, but I managed to pick up on some chatter between planetary scientists and found out that the ‘asteroid,’ or whatever it is, gives us a new standard: a 10-meter-wide asteroid can be detected two days before it potentially hits Earth. A pretty useful warning if you ask me.”

Source: 2010 AL30, Asteroid Or Space Junk, To Pay a Close Visit

NASA Satellite Looks For Response From Dead Mars Craft

January 12th, 2010 01:42 admin View Comments

coondoggie writes “NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter will next week make a number of passes over the presumed dead Phoenix Mars Lander on the surface of the planet and listen for what the space agency called possible, though improbable, radio transmissions. Odyssey will pass over the Phoenix landing site about 10 times this month and two longer listening tries in February and March trying to determine if the craft survived Martian winter and try to lock onto a signal and gain information about the lander’s status.”

Source: NASA Satellite Looks For Response From Dead Mars Craft

US Youth Have Serious Mental Health Issues

January 12th, 2010 01:31 admin View Comments

Ant writes “Google News and The Canadian Press report that ‘a new study has found that five times as many high school and college students in the United States are dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues than youth of the same age who were studied in the Great Depression era. … Pulling together the data for the study was no small task. Led by [San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge], researchers at five universities analyzed the responses of 77,576 high school or college students who, from 1938 through 2007, took the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI. The results will be published in a future issue of the Clinical Psychology Review. Overall, an average of five times as many students in 2007 surpassed thresholds in one or more mental health categories, compared with those who did so in 1938. A few individual categories increased at an even greater rate — with six times as many scoring high in two areas: ‘hypomania,’ a measure of anxiety and unrealistic optimism (from 5 per cent of students in 1938 to 31 per cent in 2007), and depression (from 1 per cent to 6 per cent).’”

Source: US Youth Have Serious Mental Health Issues

Rudolph the Cadmium-Nosed Reindeer

January 11th, 2010 01:01 admin View Comments

theodp writes “Barred from using lead in children’s jewelry because of its toxicity, some Chinese manufacturers have been substituting the more dangerous heavy metal cadmium in sparkling charm bracelets and shiny pendants being sold throughout the US, an AP investigation shows. Charms from ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ bracelets were measured at between 82 and 91 percent cadmium, and leached so much cadmium that they would have to be specially handled and disposed of under US environmental law if they were waste from manufacturing. Cadmium, a known carcinogen, can hinder brain development in the very young. ‘There’s nothing positive that you can say about this metal. It’s a poison,’ said the CDC’s Bruce Fowler. On the CDC’s priority list of 275 most hazardous substances in the environment, cadmium ranks No. 7. Jewelry industry veterans in China say cadmium has been used in domestic products there for years. Hey, at least it doesn’t metabolize into GHB when the little tykes ingest it.”

Source: Rudolph the Cadmium-Nosed Reindeer

Jan. 11, 1902 — Popular Mechanics Is Born

January 11th, 2010 01:27 admin View Comments

Today, back in 1902 Henry Haven Windsor published the first issue of Popular Mechanics, helping to empower geeks of future generations with straightforward explanations of scientific and mechanical advances. “The magazine has reported both the brilliant and ridiculous ideas of its times, depending on the writer, scientist or editor. It once published an article about a Philadelphia physician who supposedly used X-rays to turn blacks into whites: probably not a great editorial decision. Betting on blimps over planes for so long might not have been advisable, and hyping excessive consumption during the birth of the environmental movement in the 1960s also rates a demerit. But beyond those probable transgressions, Popular Mechanics paved the way for the people’s incursion into science’s once-exclusive domain. Its longevity argues that science and its sometimes inscrutable possibility have raw mass appeal — even if the subject is cars with steering wheels in the back seat or self-diagnosing appliances.”

Source: Jan. 11, 1902 — Popular Mechanics Is Born

Sponge-Like "Swelling Glass" Absorbs Toxins in Water

January 11th, 2010 01:50 admin View Comments

MikeChino writes “A company called Absorbent Materials has created a new kind of ‘swelling glass‘ that can clean up contaminated groundwater by soaking up volatile molecules like a sponge. Dubbed ‘Obsorb,’ the material can hold up to 8 times its weight in fuel, oil, and solvents without sucking up any of the water itself. Once the material is full it floats to the surface and the pollutants can be skimmed off.”

Source: Sponge-Like "Swelling Glass" Absorbs Toxins in Water

New "Wet Computer" To Mimic Neurons In the Brain

January 11th, 2010 01:25 admin View Comments

A new type of “wet computer” that mimics the actions of neurons in the brain is slated to be built thanks to a €1.8M EU emerging technologies program. The goal of the project is to explore new computing environments rather than to build a computer that surpasses current performance of conventional computers. “The group’s approach hinges on two critical ideas. First, individual ‘cells’ are surrounded by a wall made up of so-called lipids that spontaneously encapsulate the liquid innards of the cell. Recent work has shown that when two such lipid layers encounter each other as the cells come into contact, a protein can form a passage between them, allowing chemical signaling molecules to pass. Second, the cells’ interiors will play host to what is known as a Belousov-Zhabotinsky or B-Z chemical reaction. Simply put, reactions of this type can be initiated by changing the concentration of the element bromine by a certain threshold amount.”

Source: New "Wet Computer" To Mimic Neurons In the Brain

The End Of Gravity As a Fundamental Force

January 10th, 2010 01:29 admin View Comments

An anonymous reader writes “At a symposium at the Dutch Spinoza-instituut on 8 December, 2009, string theorist Erik Verlinde introduced a theory that derives Newton’s classical mechanics. In his theory, gravity exists because of a difference in concentration of information in the empty space between two masses and its surroundings. He does not consider gravity as fundamental, but as an emergent phenomenon that arises from a deeper microscropic reality. A relativistic extension of his argument leads directly to Einstein’s equations.” Here is two blog entries discussing Verlinde’s theory in somewhat more accessible terms.

Source: The End Of Gravity As a Fundamental Force

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