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179 posts tagged science

Just like humans have astronauts and mountain climbers, honeybee societies have their own brave explorers: scouts, the bees that venture out to find new food sources. A new study examines scouts’ brains and finds that novelty-seeking in humans and bees seems to be based on some of the same genes.

By JOHN MARKOFF
Australian and American physicists have built a working transistor from a single phosphorus atom embedded in a silicon crystal.

scinerd:

The Lives Within a Drop of Water

The slogan for the Nikon Small World competition is “Recognizing Excellence in Photography through the Microscope.” Feast your eyes on these images that record a different world so small that it fits into a drop of water

Follow the source link for a description on each of these microscopic beauties.

via NeatoRama

(via 14-billion-years-later)

infoneer-pulse:

Germans Manufacture Artificial Blood Vessels With a 3-D Printer

From intestines to tracheas, tissue engineers are building a handful of new body parts — but progress on larger organs has been slow. This is mainly because tissues need nutrients to stay alive, and they need blood vessels to deliver those nutrients. It’s difficult to build those vascular networks, but now a team from Germany may have a solution: Print some capillaries with a 3-D printer.

» via Popular Science

utnereader:

We’ve all taken sanctuary in a good book at the end of a hard day, a hard week, a hard month, but do the words on those pages contain actual healing properties? Bibliotherapists at the London-based establishment The School of Life think so, calling the personalized book-list prescriptions they offer “the perfect way for you to discover those amazing but often elusive works of literature that can illuminate and even change your life.” Get yourself some bibliotherapy …

utnereader:

Economic equality equals happiness. So suggests a new study to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science. In order for Americans to be truly blissed out, it finds, we need to close the gap between our wealthiest and poorest citizens.

“In 1980, the average American CEO’s income was 40 times higher than that of the average worker. Today, it is well over 300 times higher,” writes Carmen Sobczak in YES! Magazine. “Over the past four decades, according to the study, the American people have been the least happy in years when there was the widest gap between rich and poor.” Keep reading …

Computer-Controlled Swarm of Bacteria Builds Tiny Pyramid

Researchers at the NanoRobotics Laboratory of the École Polytechnique de Montréal, in Canada, are putting swarms of bacteria to work, using them to perform micro-manipulations and even propel microrobots.

Led by Professor Sylvain Martel, the researchers want to use flagellated bacteria to carry drugs into tumors, act as sensing agents for detecting pathogens, and operate micro-factories that could perform pharmacological and genetic tests.

They also want to use the bacteria as micro-workers for building things. Things like a tiny step pyramid.

The video above shows some 5000 bacteria moving like a swarm of little fish, working together to transport tiny epoxy bricks and assemble a pyramidal structure — all in 15 minutes.

New Evidence that Mysterious Dark Force From Outside Tugs at Our Universe

First came dark matter, the gravitational source from within our galaxy that astronomers couldn’t see. Then came dark energy, the undetectable force pushing the expansion of the universe. Now, NASA scientists believe they have confirmed a new player, dubbed “dark flow,” that is dragging hundreds of galaxies along the same path. Even stranger, the researchers believe that dark flow is actually the gravitational pull from matter beyond the edge of the known universe.

[photo: The Coma Galaxy Cluster, which dark flow is tugging towards the edge of the universe. via National Geographic]

IMFT’s 25-nm process can make a NAND device that stores 8 gigabytes of memory in 167 square millimeters, twice the density found in today’s standard, 34-nm flash devices. A chip no larger than the hole in a compact disc can hold 10 times as much data as that disc, says Troy Winslow, director of NAND marketing for Intel. A more intriguing possibility is using flash drives in a wider range of laptop computers than has been possible at today’s prices. As a replacement for a rotating magnetic hard drive, flash enables a laptop to turn on instantly, subsist on less power, and survive drops more easily. Up to now flash drives for laptops have lagged in the number of gigabytes they can hold, as well as in speed of access and in how long they last. But Kevin Kilbuck, director of NAND marketing for Micron, says the companies expect in a few months to offer solid-state drives that begin to solve these problems.

Like a magician who says, “Pick a card, any card,” Stanford University computer scientist Debashis Sahoo, PhD, seemed to be offering some kind of trick when he asked researchers at the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine to pick any two genes already known to be involved in stem cell development. Finding such genes can take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars, but Sahoo was promising the skeptical stem cell scientists that, in a fraction of a second and for practically zero cost, he could find new genes involved in the same developmental pathway as the two genes provided.

Sahoo went on to show that this amazing feat could actually be performed. The proof-of-principle for his idea, published online March 15 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, opens a powerful, mathematical route for conducting stem cell research and shows the power of interdisciplinary collaborations in science. It also demonstrates that using computers to mine existing databases can radically accelerate research in the laboratory. Ultimately, it may lead to advances in diverse areas of medicine such as disease diagnosis or cancer therapy.

In a paper published in the March 7 online edition of Nature Physics, Zhang and his colleagues describe an experimental set-up that could detect for the first time the axion, a theoretical tiny, lightweight particle conjectured to permeate the universe. With its very small mass and lack of electric charge, the axion is a candidate for the mysterious dark matter particle. Yet, despite much effort, the axion has never been observed experimentally.

That may change thanks to the SIMES theorists’ forefront research into topological insulators. In this small, newly discovered subset of materials, electrons travel with great difficulty through the interior but flow with much less resistance on the surface, much as they can in superconductive materials. Even better, they do this at room temperature. This leads to unusual properties that may be important for applications such as spintronics, an emerging technology that could allow for a new class of low-power, high-density, superior-performance electronic devices.

In their research into other applications for topological insulators, Zhang and his colleagues discovered that the electromagnetic behavior of topological insulators is described by the very same mathematical equations that describe the behavior of axions; wondrously, the laws of the universe related to axions are mirrored in this new class of materials. As a result of this mathematical parallel, the theorists posit that experiments on topological insulators can reveal much about the axions that are predicted to pervade the universe.

One of the biggest questions facing scientists today is how life began. How did non-living molecules come together in that primordial ooze to form the polymers of life? Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered that small molecules could have acted as “molecular midwives” in helping the building blocks of life’s genetic material form long chains and may have assisted in selecting the base pairs of the DNA double helix. The research appears in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences beginning March 8, 2010.

Einstein’s manuscript of relativity goes on display

Digger wasps of the genus Philanthus, so-called beewolves, house beneficial bacteria on their cocoons that guarantee protection against harmful microorganisms. Scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena teamed up with researchers at the University of Regensburg and the Jena Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research – Hans-Knoell-Institute - and discovered that bacteria of the genus Streptomyces produce a cocktail of nine different antibiotics and thereby fend off invading pathogens. Using imaging techniques based on mass spectrometry, the antibiotics could be displayed in vivo on the cocoon’s exterior surface. Moreover, it was shown that the use of different kinds of antibiotics provides an effective protection against infection with a multitude of different pathogenic microorganisms. Thus, for millions of years beewolves have been taking advantage of a principle that is known as combination prophylaxis in human medicine. (Nature Chemical Biology, Advance Online Publication, February 28, 2010)

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