Fragments of Science
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Fragments of Science
The history, present and future and nature of science and their relationship
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3-D Printed Shark Skin Boosts Swimming Speeds

3-D Printed Shark Skin Boosts Swimming Speeds | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

“You can’t modify real shark skin,” explains George Lauder from Harvard University, one of the authors of the study, published Wednesday in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Lauder found a piece of mako shark at a local fish market, and scanned the skin to create a high-resolution view of the surface. Next, he and his team zoomed in on a single denticle to build a detailed model of its structure, and then reproduced it thousands of times in a computer model.

But they needed to build a real model. To do that, they constructed a realistic artificial skin using a 3-D printer, which allowed them to embed hard denticles in a flexible substrate—after some trial and error.

“The denticles are embedded into the membrane and overlap, which posed a key challenge for 3-D printing,” Lauder says. Finally, after a year of testing different materials, sizing and spacing, the team produced a convincing fascimile.

“Seeing the SEM [scanning electron micrograph] of the curved membrane with the denticles was a great moment for us,” Lauder says."

 

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Looking At Tears Under A Microscope Reveals A Shocking Fact.

Looking At Tears Under A Microscope Reveals A Shocking Fact. | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

One day Rose-Lynn Fisher wondered if her tears of grief would look different compared to her tears of joy, so she began to explore them up close under a microscope.

She studied 100 different tears and found that basal tears (the ones that our body produces to lubricate our eyes) are drastically different from the tears that happen when we are chopping onions. The tears that come about from hard laughter aren’t even close to the tears of sorrow. Like a drop of ocean water each tiny tear drop carries a microcosm of human experience. Her project is called The Topography of Tears.

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Bone grown from monkey skin cells

Bone grown from monkey skin cells | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Researchers have been able to grow new bone using a monkey's own skin cells.

The US study is the first time such a development has been shown in an animal that is similar to humans.

Professor Martin Pera, program leader of the ARC Stem Cells Australia, says the work, published today in Cell Reports, is "another step towards the development of safe stem cell therapies for human disease".

The study uses induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), which are derived from adult skin cells and can be reprogrammed to work as other cells.

Pera says pluripotent stem cells can be used to make any type of healthy human tissue and therefore have great potential for treatment of disease."

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Solar winds may trigger lightning

Solar winds may trigger lightning | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
UK scientists have detected the first evidence that high-energy particles in the solar wind may influence thunderstorms.
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'Candles' light up Milky Way's dark side

'Candles' light up Milky Way's dark side | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
A new picture of the far side of our galaxy has come to light following the discovery of stars hidden in a giant hydrogen cloud flaring out from the galactic disk.
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'Empty space' reveals pulsar's secrets

'Empty space' reveals pulsar's secrets | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
The powerful energy beams produced by pulsars are generated far closer to the star's surface than previously thought.

 

Reporting in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a team of astronomers have found the region from which the beams originate from is much smaller and closer to the pulsar's surface than previously assumed.

"Compared to other objects in space, neutron stars are tiny — only tens of kilometres in diameter — so we need extremely high resolution to observe them and understand their physics ," says study co- author Dr Jean-Pierre Macquart of Curtin University in Perth.

Despite being first observed more than 45 years, not much is known about how pulsars emit their lighthouse-like beams.

"The actual physics of how this radiation is generated in the atmospheres of these stars is still a subject of great debate," says Macquart."

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Ganymede a 'club sandwich' of ocean layers

Ganymede a 'club sandwich' of ocean layers | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Jupiter's moon Ganymede may possess ice and liquid oceans stacked up in several layers raising the chances that this distant icy world harbours life.
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Ancient Egyptians transported pyramid stones over wet sand

Ancient Egyptians transported pyramid stones over wet sand | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Physicists from the FOM Foundation and the University of Amsterdam have discovered that the ancient Egyptians used a clever trick to make it easier to transport heavy pyramid stones by sledge. The Egyptians moistened the sand over which the sledge moved. By using the right quantity of water they could ...
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Far-off planet a spinning dynamo

Far-off planet a spinning dynamo | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

"Scientists have for the first time measured the rotation of a planet in another solar system — a juvenile, gassy giant spinning at a breakneck 90,000 kilometres per hour.

Orbiting a star about 63 light years from Earth, Beta Pictoris b is more than 16 times larger and 3000 times more massive than our planet, but its days last only eight hours.

"Beta Pictoris b spins significantly faster than any planet in the solar system" — at a rate of about 25 kilometres per second, a team of Dutch astronomers write in the journal Nature."

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How Liquid Metal Can Be Used to Fix Nerve Damage

How Liquid Metal Can Be Used to Fix Nerve Damage | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Chinese researchers created a temporary liquid metal bridge between nerves of dead frogs that could conduct electrical pulses.
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Galactic red light stops star birth

Galactic red light stops star birth | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
A galaxy's ability to make new generations of stars is directly related to the size of its central bulge, according to a new study.
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MERS virus antibodies identified

MERS virus antibodies identified | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Scientists have found natural human antibodies to the newly-emerging Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus.
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Galactic red light stops star birth

Galactic red light stops star birth | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
A galaxy's ability to make new generations of stars is directly related to the size of its central bulge, according to a new study.
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Scientists are creating a whole new class of antibiotics

Scientists are creating a whole new class of antibiotics | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Danish researchers are developing a new class of antibiotics to fight the growing threat of superbugs.
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Turning light into matter

Turning light into matter | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

In 1934, scientists Gregory Breit and John Wheeler suggested light can be converted into matter by smashing two photons together to create an electron and its antimatter counterpart, a positron.

Breit and Wheeler's calculations were correct, but they never expected anyone to physically demonstrate their prediction.

"The Breit-Wheeler process is one of the simplest interactions of light and matter and one of the purest demonstrations of E = mc2," says the study's lead author Oliver Pike of Imperial College London.

"However, Breit-Wheeler pair production has never been observed. The experimental design we propose can be carried out with relative ease and with existing technology."

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Skeleton reveals secrets of New World's first people

Skeleton reveals secrets of New World's first people | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
A superbly preserved skeleton found in an underwater Mexican cave is that of a teenage girl that lived around 13,000 years ago, a genetic analysis of her remains has revealed.
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Tropical storms shifting away from the equator

Tropical storms shifting away from the equator | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Intense tropical cyclones are moving further away from the equator, an analysis of historical storm data reveals.
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Sea creatures are threatened by our medicines

Sea creatures are threatened by our medicines | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Medication ingested by humans is taken up by algae and sea creatures. Entire ecosystems can be affected, according to a Swedish researcher.
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Sounding out quantum dots

Sounding out quantum dots | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Researchers are using microwaves to probe the sounds made by a single electron in a quantum dot.
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One of science’s greatest mysteries deepens: Did humans kill off Neanderthals?

One of science’s greatest mysteries deepens: Did humans kill off Neanderthals? | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Sometime in the late Pleistocene period, humans and Neanderthals are believed to have lived together. Only one species still exists, and people who study human pre-history have battled for decades over the reasons why. One of the more popular theories is that modern humans migrating out of Africa killed off the Neanderthal, because the humans were...
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Space clouds glitter where stars are born

Space clouds glitter where stars are born | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Like shiny gemstones embedded in a rocky matrix, star-forming clouds of dust and gas glimmer within the swirling structures of our galaxy in an infrared image from ESA's Herschel Space Observatory.

The image was acquired as a part of Hi-GAL, a survey mapping the entire plane of the Milky Way in a wide range of infrared light that Herschel was specially designed to detect. The image above is just a small section of a larger version, which in itself is just 1/30th of the entire Hi-GAL survey.

Normally invisible to our eyes, vast filaments of gas and dust fill the plane of the galaxy where stars like our Sun reside. As these cold clouds of interstellar material collapse, they get denser and denser until they eventually form stars, which then blaze with heat and light.

The energy from these newborn stars blasts out into nearby space, illuminating the shrouds of material they were born in as well as ionizing them with shockwaves of radiation.

These ionized 'shock fronts' also release light in wavelengths corresponding to the elements within the clouds, and can also eventually lead to the formation of yet more stars — a continuous cycle of star birth on a galactic time scale."

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Even Before Its Very First Lifeforms, Earth Might Not Have Been So Dead

Even Before Its Very First Lifeforms, Earth Might Not Have Been So Dead | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Researchers present evidence that metabolic processes were occurring even before biological life.
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New naming rules for fungi? Genetic advances spur mycologists to put their kingdom in order

New naming rules for fungi? Genetic advances spur mycologists to put their kingdom in order | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
A rebellion has broken out against the traditional way of naming species in the peculiar, shape-shifting world of fungi.

 

Many fungi are shape-shifters seemingly designed to defy human efforts at categorization. The same species, sometimes the same individual, can reproduce two ways: sexually, by mixing genes with a partner of the same species, or asexually, by cloning to produce genetically identical offspring.

 

The problem is that reproductive modes can take entirely different anatomical forms. A species that looks like a miniature corn dog when it is reproducing sexually might look like fuzzy white twigs when it is in cloning mode. A gray smudge on a sunflower seed head might just be the asexually reproducing counterpart of a tiny satellite dish–shaped thing. Just by looking at them, you’d never know.

 

When many of these pairs were discovered, sometimes decades apart, sometimes growing right next to each other, it was difficult or impossible to demonstrate that they were the same thing. So one species would get two names. Careful observation later suggested that officially different species are actually one, but the pairs of names remained. In fact, it soon became standard mycological practice to name many species twice — once for the sexual form, once for the asexual one.

 

Now, mycologists have a chance to set the record straight. A group of upstart scientists has rebelled against the dual-naming system, arguing that DNA analysis can endow fungi with a one-species, one-name system. Having won a major victory at a recent international scientific congress, they are poised to bring their field into a new era of genetic nomenclature. But however justified genetically, their project is not without perils.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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The molecular secrets of celiac disease

The molecular secrets of celiac disease | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
X-rays from the Australian Synchrotron have revealed the molecular face of celiac disease, paving the way for potential treatments and diagnostics, say researchers.
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Antibiotics from mangroves

Antibiotics from mangroves | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

"Researchers at the Universiti Teknologi MARA in Malaysia have conducted a study on the mangrove ecosystem to search for actinomycetes bacteria. The mangrove ecosystem is known as a highly productive habitat for isolating actinomycetes, which has the potential of producing biologically active secondary metabolites."

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