Oh, ferrofluids, is there anything you can't do? Researchers led by MIT's Markus Zahn have devised a technique for separating oil from water. Using magnets.
Researchers led by MIT's Markus Zahn have devised a technique for separating oil from water. Using magnets. Tiny, tiny magnets that temporarily transform polluting oil into a magnetically manipulable ferrofluid.
Zahn and his team say that after separating the oil from the water, the magnetic nanoparticles themselves could then be removed from the oil and stored for later use. "The process may seem simple," says Zahn, "but it is, inherently, supposed to be simple."
Scientists in Japan have created a microscopically thin film that can coat individual teeth to prevent decay or to make them appear whiter, the chief researcher said.
The "tooth patch" is a hard-wearing and ultra-flexible material made from hydroxyapatite, the main mineral in tooth enamel, that could also mean an end to sensitive teeth. "This is the world's first flexible apatite sheet, which we hope to use to protect teeth or repair damaged enamel," said Shigeki Hontsu, professor at Kinki University's Faculty of Biology-Oriented Science and Technology in western Japan. "Dentists used to think an all-apatite sheet was just a dream, but we are aiming to create artificial enamel," the outermost layer of a tooth, he said earlier this month.
We're required to take downright ridiculous precautions to maintain our online security, and it's not sustainable. In fact, it never was. Our password system is broken, and it's about time we change it.
Studies show that we log into some 10 sites a day. Places that hold our most important data, like Gmail, Dropbox, and our bank, might ask us to jump through two tiers of password hoops in order for them to ensure our online security. Overall we're asked to hold keys to 30-40 sites in order to read the news, access our email, or book a haircut. For each of these sites, security analysts recommend using a unique string of 14-characters made up of letters, numbers, and special symbols. But remember: Computers are quick to guess dictionary words, your birth year, and numbers substituted for letters. No repeats allowed. Oh, and whatever you do, don't write anything down.
Who can possibly remember all those characters? It's a nutty system, so we ignore it. People have been crying, "the password is dead," for years (that one was courtesy of Bill Gates in 2004), but we're finally in a position where change is possible. . . .
Consumer Reports is urging U.S. limits for arsenic in rice after tests of more than 60 popular products -- from Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal to Gerber infant cereal -- showed that most contained some level of inorganic arsenic, a known human carcinogen.
The watchdog group said that some varieties of brown rice -- including brands sold by Whole Foods Markets Inc and Wal-Mart Stores Inc -- contained particularly significant levels of inorganic arsenic.
It recommended ways for children and adults to limit their intake of rice products each week and said U.S. regulators should ban arsenic-containing drugs and pesticides used in crop and animal production. For the full report, see: here
On the web, we have a host of user names and passwords we have to remember, whether for news sites or apps or Netflix. So Michael Thomas and Vahur Roosimaa of Los Angeles-based startup Scopely have hacked together PhoneID, which lets you login to websites without a username and password.
As its name would imply, PhoneID turns your phone into your identity. You don’t need plug-ins or widgets, just your phone. And it works on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, while keeping your Facebook account, email and phone number completely private.
It’s simple to integrate for developers, as they just need a couple lines of code to integrate on the front end and one callback on the backend. Users scan a QR code on the site they want to go to and PhoneID logs you in automatically. The hackers see this working well with publications and news organizations — really any site that has login information you don’t want to take the time to remember.
Usually, this can be more complicated and platform-specific, but PhoneID wants to eliminate that hassle without the friction. Login to PhoneID to scan the code, and, bada bing, you’re there. If you’re on a new phone that PhoneID doesn’t recognize yet, you input your number, the application sends you an SMS to authenticate your phone, and you’re in.
It’s a nifty little hack, and the guys say they’ll be building out a landing page over the next few days. LaunchRock page here.
Chris Kelly, New Relic’s Developer Evangelist, actually saw PhoneID’s presentation and picked the company out as the “Best B2B App” at the Hackathon, which means that the guys won a new MacBook Pro with retina display and Thunderbolt and a free year of New Relic. When asked why they loved PhoneID, Kelly tells us that no one wants to focus on user name and authentication issues — end users or developers — but that PhoneID is making that easy and making it so that they don’t have to worry about. Making the experience easy on users.
In two recent articles, Joel Hood from the Chicago Tribune and Adam Jensen of the Tahoe Daily Tribune report on rotenone, a fish poison used in lakes and rivers across the country to kill invasive fish species. Both articles ignore information on human health or ecosystem concerns associated with rotenone.
Rotenone is a powerful neurotoxin that kills fish and other aquatic organisms by shutting down energy production in cells. Lab studies show that at low doses over time, rotenone selectively kills dopamine-producing nerve cells grown in petri dishes. Loss of these cells leads to Parkinson’s disease, and researchers routinely use rotenone to induce Parkinson’s disease in research animals.
A few human studies have linked Parkinson's disease with exposure to rotenone and other neurotoxic pesticides. One study that looked at people living in Texas found significantly increased risk of Parkinson's disease with any occupational or environmental use of rotenone in the prior year as well as an increased risk from using pesticides, including rotenone, during the last year while gardening.
However, more studies in humans are needed to fully understand the health risks of rotenone exposure and to evaluate the sources of exposure after a waterway is doused. At risk for exposure are people applying rotenone, anyone who may use treated water recreationally, and the general public if drinking water is contaminated following rotenone applications.
When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reviewed rotenone in 2007, it noted that, "using the existing database, EPA cannot quantitatively assess a potentially critical effect (neurotoxicity) at doses to which rotenone users could be exposed." Essentially, neurological impacts of rotenone were not considered in EPA's assessment, despite the fact that neurological impacts are the main issue of concern with rotenone. To account for this lack of information, EPA added a 10 times uncertainty factor to set approved concentrations for rotenone…..
A production of the Institute for Responsible Technology
Are you and your family on the wrong side of a bet?
When the US government ignored repeated warnings by its own scientists and allowed untested genetically modified (GM) crops into our environment and food supply, it was a gamble of unprecedented proportions. The health of all living things and all future generations were put at risk by an infant technology.
After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves.
This seminal documentary provides compelling evidence to help explain the deteriorating health of Americans, especially among children, and offers a recipe for protecting ourselves and our future.
Social isolation in youth may wreak havoc on the brain by disrupting a protein crucial to the development of the nervous system's support cells, new research finds.
A new study in mice finds that when the animals are isolated during a crucial early period, brain cells called oligodendrocytes fail to mature properly. Oligodendrocytes build the fatty, insulating sheathes that cushion neurons, and their dysfunction seems to cause long-lasting behavioral changes.
Research in rhesus monkeys and humans has shown that social isolation during childhood has an array of nasty and lifelong effects, from cognitive and social problems in neglected children to working memory troubles in isolated monkeys. These children and monkeys also show abnormalities in the white matter of the brain, which includes support cells such as oligodendrocytes as well as the fat-covered neural projections that act as the brain's communication system.
But while previous studies had noted a correlation between white matter problems and cognitive struggles after isolation, they could not prove one caused the other. Gabriel Corfas, a professor of neurology and otolaryngology at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and his colleagues wanted to understand how the relationship works. They took baby mice from their mothers at 21 days of age, right after weaning. Some of the young mice were put in typical laboratory conditions, living in a cage with three other mice. Another group was given an enriched environment, with lots of mousey company and an ever-changing array of toys. The final group of mice was put in individual isolation for two weeks, never seeing another rodent.
The effects of isolation
At 50 days of age, the mice were tested for sociability and working memory. In line with previous findings, the isolated mice struggled with both, while the enriched and normal-environment mice did fine. Soon after, the researchers examined the brains of all three groups for abnormalities. [Top 10 Controversial Psychiatric Disorders]
They found no problems in the normal-environment and enriched-environment mice. But the animals that had been left all alone had strange, stumpy oligodendrocytes. These cells usually have long, complex projections (called axons) that reach out almost like tree roots. In the isolated mice, however, the oligodendrocyte projections were short and simple, without their usual complexity.
What's more, the isolated mice had thinner protective sheathes around these neural axons, the projections that brain cells use to communicate. These sheathes, which are made of a fatty substance called myelin, help insulate axons and speed up neuron-to-neuron chatter.
Changing the brain
Next, Corfas and his colleagues went looking for the cause of this white matter damage. Previous research has turned up a possible, though somewhat controversial, link between white matter dysfunction and a molecular communications chain called ErbB. Oligodendrocytes have receptors called ErbB3, which respond to a protein called neuregulin-1, and are involved in that communications chain.
First, they pinpointed the crucial period of oligodendrocyte maturation in the prefrontal cortex, the brain region associated with planning, higher-level thought and social interaction. In mice, that period is between 21 and 35 days of age. Then the researchers disabled the ErbB3 receptors on the oligodendrocytes, so no matter how much neuregulin-1 the body produced, the message could never get through. The result? The mice acted socially and behaviorally stunted, as if they'd been isolated — even though they never had. The disruption also mimicked the thinning of myeline (the fatty substance that protects the axons) caused by isolation. [Amazing Images: Inside the Brain]
"It indicates that the ability of the ErbB signaling of oligodendrocytes is essential for the prefrontal cortex absorbing the benefits of social interaction during this juvenile period," Corfas, who is also affiliated with the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Boston Children's Hospital, told LiveScience.
The researchers now suspect that social isolation somehow reduces the amount of neuregulin-1 in the brain, leading to the oligodendrocyte and myelin problems.
Next, Corfas said, the goal is to understand which facet of isolation is responsible for the changes and how the isolation acts to changed neuregulin-1 production. Some of the myelination changes produced from isolation are also seen in patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, Corfas said, making the project promising for a number of neuropsychiatric disorders.
"The genes we are working with have been shown to be linked with these disorders, and also white matter defects have been proven to be correlated with those disorders as well," he said. "So our lab and other investigators are working to try to understand how those pathways and these genetic susceptibilities may be linked to produce neuropsychiatric disorders."
You can't keep a bad pest down. Corn rootworms in the US may have developed resistance to the insecticide that has been engineered into a genetically modified corn variety. The corn, produced by Monsanto, was grown on more than 150,000 square kilometers of US farmland last year. . . .
Cardiologist Dr.William Davis says people are losing substantial weight, getting healthy by scrapping wheat from their diet.
Davis said that the wheat we eat these days isn't the wheat your grandma had: "It's an 18-inch tall plant created by genetic research in the '60s and '70s," he said on "CBS This Morning." "This thing has many new features nobody told you about. . . ."
The National Media Museum in the U.K. announced today that it has discovered the world's first color moving pictures. The reels were found inside a museum vault, hidden inside an old tin dating back to 1899. The remarkable discovery is set to re-write the history of early film.
The color film was created by an Edwardian inventor named Edward Raymond Turner. During the 1890s, Turner worked with color photographs — something that in all likelihood inspired him to do the same with moving pictures. It was during this time that he learned about color separation, the process of breaking down images into red, green, and blue.
Growing food vertically in the city? The Swedish company Plantagon will show how to grow more food in less space when it opens its first urban greenhouse in 2013 in Linkoping, a city some 180 miles from Stockholm.
The plan is to grow vegetables in a turning helix with minimal water, energy and the need for fertilizer. With the world's population to top 9 billion by 2050 -- and with 80% of those people projected to live in cities -- finding innovative, cost effective, and environmentally friendly ways to supply food to cities is a major challenge. Earth Focus visits Plantagon for a look at what might well be the future of urban food.