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Everyday news through scientist eyes.
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Probing the surface of pyrite

Probing the surface of pyrite | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Pyrite — perhaps better known as “fool’s gold” for its yellowish metallic appearance — is a common, naturally occurring mineral.
Biosciencia's insight:

 It holds promise as a high-tech material, with potential uses in solar cells, spintronic devices and catalysts, but is also a byproduct of corrosion of steel in deep-sea oil and gas wells. Both its potential usefulness in devices and its role in corrosion are largely influenced by the fundamental electronic properties of its surface — which have remained relatively unexplored.

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World Record Solar Cell with 44.7% Efficiency

World Record Solar Cell with 44.7% Efficiency | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Surpassing competition after only over three years of research,a record efficiency of 44.7% was measured at a concentration of 297 suns for this solar cell.
Biosciencia's insight:

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin jointly announced today having achieved a new world record for the conversion of sunlight into electricity using a new solar cell structure with four solar subcells. Surpassing competition after only over three years of research, and entering the roadmap at world class level, a new record efficiency of 44.7% was measured at a concentration of 297 suns. This indicates that 44.7% of the solar spectrum’s energy, from ultraviolet through to the infrared, is converted into electrical energy. This is a major step towards reducing further the costs of solar electricity and continues to pave the way to the 50% efficiency roadmap.

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Flying eagle point of view

Location : Chamonix, Mer De Glace area
Biosciencia's insight:

Fly like an eagle through the French Alps.
Follow us: http://twitter.com/biosciencia

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Aram Chaos Reveals Ancient Ice Lake on Mars

Aram Chaos Reveals Ancient Ice Lake on Mars | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
According to a team of planetary scientists led by Dr Manuel Roda from the Utrecht University, a huge impact crater on Mars known as Aram Chaos formed as a result of catastrophic melting and outflow of a buried ice lake.
Biosciencia's insight:

View of Aram Chaos with elevation map. Image credit: Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University.

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Genetically Modified Insects Proposed As An Alternative To Chemical Pesticides, But Raise Health Concerns

Genetically Modified Insects Proposed As An Alternative To Chemical Pesticides, But Raise Health Concerns | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Oxitec's sterile insect technique of releasing genetically modified insects into crop fields is welcomed by some farmers and scientists, but critics say the technology has its faults and may pose health risks.
Biosciencia's insight:

British scientists recently sought approval to release thousands of genetically modified olive flies in Spain as an experimental pest-control alternative to chemical pesticides. If approved, the trial will be first of its kind on European soil.

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Underwater volcano is Earth's biggest

Underwater volcano is Earth's biggest | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Tamu Massif rivals the size of Olympus Mons on Mars.
Biosciencia's insight:

Geophysicists have discovered what they say is the largest single volcano on Earth, a 650-kilometre-wide beast the size of the British Isles lurking beneath the waters of the northwest Pacific Ocean.

The megavolcano has been inactive for some 140 million years. But its very existence will help geophysicists to set limits on how much magma can be stored in Earth's crust and pour out onto the surface. It also shows that Earth can produce volcanoes on par with Olympus Mons on Mars, which, at 625 kilometres across, was until now the biggest volcano known in the Solar System.

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The biological microprocessor, or how to build a computer with biological parts | Moe-­Behrens | Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal

The biological microprocessor, or how to build a computer with biological parts | Moe-­Behrens | Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
The biological microprocessor, or how to build a computer with biological parts
Biosciencia's insight:

Systemics, a revolutionary paradigm shift in scientific thinking, with applications in systems biology, and synthetic biology, have led to the idea of using silicon computers and their engineering principles as a blueprint for the engineering of a similar machine made from biological parts. Here we describe these building blocks and how they can be assembled to a general purpose computer system, a biological microprocessor.  Such a system consists of biological parts building an input / output device, an arithmetic logic unit, a control unit, memory, and wires (busses) to interconnect these components. A biocomputer can be used to monitor and control a biological system.

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World first as woman gets pregnant seven years after ovaries removed

World first as woman gets pregnant seven years after ovaries removed | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Twin girls expected after Australian scientists graft tissue frozen before cancer treatment on to mother's abdominal wall
Biosciencia's insight:

Australian doctors and scientists have achieved a world first, helping a woman to become pregnant seven years after her ovaries were removed duringcancer treatment, by grafting frozen tissue on to her abdominal wall.

Researchers from Melbourne IVF and the Royal Women's hospital have given hope to cancer survivors who develop menopause after treatment, after achieving the world's first pregnancy from the process.

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Miniature Quadruped Robot Is Blazingly Fast - IEEE Spectrum

Miniature Quadruped Robot Is Blazingly Fast - IEEE Spectrum | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
This tiny little robot is probably the fastest in the world for its size
Biosciencia's insight:

This robot, which still doesn't have a name, is very compact (which measures just 6.5 x 5.5 x 1 centimeter), and according to its creators it is quite possibly "the fastest legged robot of its size." Whether or not this really is a legged robot (or a quadruped) is perhaps debatable: these are wheel-legs, more commonly known as whegs. They're wheels in that there's rotary motion going on, but they're also legs in that there are discrete points of contact with the ground. To some extend, whegs offer the best of both worlds: they can be directly driven with conventional motors and allow for high speed and efficiency, while simultaneously providing traction over rough terrain and obstacles. Plus, you can easily swap them out, and by making them out of springy materials, you can give your robot some compliance. 

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An easier way to control genes

An easier way to control genes | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
MIT researchers have shown that they can turn genes on or off inside yeast and human cells by controlling when DNA is copied into messenger RNA — an advance that could allow scientists to better understand the function of those genes.
Biosciencia's insight:

The new method is based on a system of viral proteins that have been exploited recently to edit the genomes of bacterial and human cells. The original system, called CRISPR, consists of two components: a protein that binds to and slices DNA, and a short strand of RNA that guides the protein to the right location on the genome. 

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An answer to why our galaxy’s black hole is a finicky eater - MIT News Office

An answer to why our galaxy’s black hole is a finicky eater - MIT News Office | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Researchers find material ejects itself before black hole can devour it.
Biosciencia's insight:

This composite image combines observations using infrared light and X-ray light that see through the obscuring dust and reveal the intense activity near the galactic core. 

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Causal dynamical triangulations

Causal dynamical triangulation (CDT) is a lattice model of quantum gravity. In two space-time dimensions (instead of the four we live in) it gives us an exac...
Biosciencia's insight:
Theoretical physics: The origins of space and time

Many researchers believe that physics will not be complete until it can explain not just the behaviour of space and time, but where these entities come from.

http://www.nature.com/news/theoretical-physics-the-origins-of-space-and-time-1.13613

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Membranes contain beautiful patterns—but their function is a mystery

Membranes contain beautiful patterns—but their function is a mystery | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Biological cells are surrounded by a membrane, and here some of the most important processes for sustaining life take place.
Biosciencia's insight:

It takes a few minutes for a spiral pattern to form in the laboratory where the growth takes place under controlled conditions. The formation starts at a relatively high temperature, 55 degrees Celsius, where the lipid molecules are in a liquid state and slide effortlessly around between each other. When the temperature drops, the lipid molecules start condensing together, and at app. 34 degrees the pattern formation starts.

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Man walks with a robotic leg controlled by his brain

A 32-year-old man whose knee and lower leg were amputated in 2009 after a motorcycle accident is apparently the first person with a missing lower limb to control a robotic leg with his mind.

Biosciencia's insight:
Rewired nerves control robotic leg

Video shows man walking and kicking a football with direct signals from brain. The power of thought alone is not enough to move inanimate objects — unless the object is a robotic leg wired to your brain, that is.

 

http://www.nature.com/news/rewired-nerves-control-robotic-leg-1.13818

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Google vs. Death

Google vs. Death | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
How CEO Larry Page has transformed the search giant into a factory for moonshots. Our exclusive look at his boldest bet yet — to extend human life
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Extracting Dinosaur DNA from Amber Fossils Impossible, Scientists Say

Extracting Dinosaur DNA from Amber Fossils Impossible, Scientists Say | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
According to Dr David Penney and his colleagues at the University of Manchester, UK, the existence of ancient DNA in amber fossils is highly unlikely.
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Drug patch treatment sees new breakthrough

Drug patch treatment sees new breakthrough | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering has developed a flexible microneedle patch that allows drugs to be delivered directly and fully through the skin.
Biosciencia's insight:

Microneedle patch technology used on the skin has existed for several years, each patch containing an array of hundreds of micron-sized needles that pierce the skin and dissolve, delivering embedded therapeutics. However, because of their rigid chemical makeup, the patches proved difficult in fully piercing into the skin, creating a waste of drug material and a slowed delivery time. Additionally, the patches also have been difficult to produce in bulk; typical fabrication procedures have required centrifugation.

 

http://desimone-group.chem.unc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/2013_Rapidly_Dissolvable_Microneedle_Patches_Via_a_Highly_Scalable_and_Reproducible_Soft_Lithography_Approach.pdf

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Easy route to stable silver nanoparticles

Easy route to stable silver nanoparticles | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Cheap synthesis offers edge over gold particles for biomedicine and solar cells.
Biosciencia's insight:

Two teams of chemists are now burnishing silver’s status. They have independently developed methods to make robust silver nanoparticles on a large scale — and have worked out what makes them stable. “It bodes very well for manufacture,” says Terry Bigioni, a chemist at the University of Toledo in Ohio, who led one of the groups and hopes to use the nanoparticles to build more efficient solar cells.

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BionicOpter | Festo Corporate

BionicOpter | Festo Corporate | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
BionicOpter – Lightweight design with intelligent kinematics
Biosciencia's insight:

With the BionicOpter, Festo has technically mastered the highly complex flight characteristics of the dragonfly. Just like its model in nature, this ultralight flying object can fly in all directions, hover in mid-air and glide without beating its wings.

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Mantis shrimp have the world's best eyes—but why?

Mantis shrimp have the world's best eyes—but why? | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
As humans, we experience an amazing world of colour, but what can other animals see? Some see much more than us, but how they use this vision is largely unknown.
Biosciencia's insight:

Many animals are known to use visual signals. Female peahens prefer male peacocks with more eye spots in their train and male chameleons display dominance using brighter colours. Behavioural observations and morphology suggest that mantis shrimp are using their complex visual system for communication, too.

Male mantis shrimp are known to perform courtship dances to females and aggressive displays to other males. Both behaviours show off coloured patches which vary in reflectance properties (e.g. brightness, colour) across individual mantis shrimp. This suggests that flashing these patches could provide information to the receiver about the signaller.

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Tuberculosis and Parkinson’s Disease Linked By Unique Protein | ucsf.edu

Tuberculosis and Parkinson’s Disease Linked By Unique Protein | ucsf.edu | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
UCSF Researchers Seek Way to Boost Protein to Fight Both Diseases
Biosciencia's insight:

A protein at the center of Parkinson’s disease research now also has been found to play a key role in causing the destruction of bacteria that cause tuberculosis, according to a UC San Francisco-led research team.

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Microencapsulation produces uniform drug release vehicle

Microencapsulation produces uniform drug release vehicle | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Consistently uniform, easily manufactured microcapsules containing a brain cancer drug may simplify treatment and provide more tightly controlled therapy, according to Penn State researchers.
Biosciencia's insight:

Encapsulation of BCNU in microspheres has been tried before, but the resulting product did not have uniform size and drug distribution or high drug-encapsulation efficiency. With uniform spheres, manufacturers can design the microcapsules to precisely control the time of drug release by altering polymer composition. The tiny spheres are also injectable through the skull, obviating the need for more surgery.

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Frogs without ears hear with their mouth

Frogs without ears hear with their mouth | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Gardiner's frogs from the Seychelles islands, one of the smallest frogs in the world, do not possess a middle ear with an eardrum yet can croak themselves, and hear other frogs.
Biosciencia's insight:

This is an illustration how a Gardiner's frog can hear with its mouth: Top left: The skin of the animal reflects 99.9% of an incoming sound wave hiting the body close to the inner ear. Without a middle ear, sound waves cannot be transported to the inner ear. Bottom left: the mouth acts as a resonating cavity for the frequencies of the frogs' song, amplifying the amplitude of the sound in the mouth. The body tissue between the buccal cavity and the inner ear is adapted to transport these sound waves to the inner ear.

Credit: R. Boistel/CNRS

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Is it too late to determine which chemical weapons were used in Syria?

Is it too late to determine which chemical weapons were used in Syria? | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Probably not, but it's better to act sooner than later.
Biosciencia's insight:

Is it too late to determine which chemical weapons were used in Syria?
The Syrian civil war reached a nadir on August 21 when rockets with toxic chemical agents were launched at the suburbs of the Ghouta region just outside the capital city of Damascus. Officials have not yet confirmed how many died as a result of the chemical attack, but more than 100,000 lives have been claimed by the overall uprising since it broke out two years ago between supporters of Pres. Bashar al-Assad’s regime and those who called for his expulsion.

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Why Do Smokers Gain Weight After They Quit? It’s Not The Food But The Flora

Why Do Smokers Gain Weight After They Quit? It’s Not The Food But The Flora | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Researchers working at University Hospital of Zurich find that weight gains in those who quit smoking may be caused by changes in the composition of microbiota that live in our digestive tract.
Biosciencia's insight:

When a person quits smoking, the body’s awe-inspiring ability to heal itself begins immediately; along with this wonder of restoration, though, most ex-smokers complain about the weight they gain. Yet a new study from Switzerland finds that putting on the pounds after quitting the butts is not due to eating more, but rather changes in the bacteria residing in our guts.

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