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MGIS - Manila Science
A broad range of topics and items on science pedagogy and learning for use in the academe.
Curated by Nikko Persia
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This Self-healing Concrete Repairs Itself with the Help of Bacteria

This Self-healing Concrete Repairs Itself with the Help of Bacteria | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it

Concrete cracks for many reasons: just for starters, the heating and cooling of changing seasons make it expand and contract, and the stress produced as the freshly poured goo dries and shrinks in volume, pulling against its underlying metal supports, can also cause cracks. But Dutch researchers are testing a new way to deal with the problem of cracking concrete: bacteria that, when exposed to water, form limestone.


The concrete mix they’ve developed contains small ceramic pods filled with dormant spores of the bacteria and nutrients (calcium lactate) to feed them. In solid concrete slabs, these spores remain dormant, but when the concrete cracks and water seeps into the ceramic pods, the bacteria spring into action, using the calcium lactate to form calcite, one of the two primary components of limestone, which fills the crack. In the lab, the bacteria can fill cracks up to 0.5 millimeters wide, microbiologist Henk Jonkers told the BBC News. Now the researchers want to test their self-healing concrete outside for a few years before putting it on the market.


And they have some serious obstacles to work out, since in a recent paper, from 2010, they note that spores mixed with wet concrete and left to dry only lasted four months. Hopefully, they last longer when coated with ceramic, but there don’t seem to be any reports to that effect out. For now, best just not to step on the cracks.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Developing science for environmental protection in the 21st century

Developing science for environmental protection in the 21st century (Developing science for environmental protection in the 21st century: A new report from the National Research Cou...)...
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As Droughts Extend, Crops Wither

As Droughts Extend, Crops Wither | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it

This summer’s heat and rainlessness, which rivals the devastating 1988 drought, has left crops withering in the fields and farmers trying to calculate their losses. An analysis by The New York Times looks at the widely varying effects of this summer’s heat and drought on crops critical to the nation’s farm economy.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Surprising finding: Tree's leaves genetically different from its roots

Surprising finding: Tree's leaves genetically different from its roots | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it

Black cottonwood trees (Populus trichocarpa) can clone themselves to produce offspring that are connected to their parents by the same root system. Now, after the first genome-wide analysis of a tree, it turns out that the connected clones have many genetic differences, even between tissues from the top and bottom of a single tree. The variation within a tree is as great as the variation across unrelated trees. Such somatic mutations — those that occur in cells other than sperm or eggs — are familiar to horticulturalists, who have long bred new plant varieties by grafting mutant branches onto ‘normal’ stocks. But until now, no one has catalogued the total number of somatic mutations in an individual plant.

 

In one tree, the top buds of the parent and offspring were genetically closer to each other than to their respective roots or lower branches. In another tree, the top bud was closer to the reference cottonwood genome than to any of the other tissues from the same individual.The tissue-specific mutations affected mainly genes involved in cell death, immune responses, metabolism, DNA binding and cell communication. Olds think that this may be because many of the mutations are harmful, and the tree reacts by destroying the mutated tissues or altering its metabolic pathways and the way it controls its genes, which leads to further mutations.

 

The findings have parallels to cancer studies, which have recently shown that separate parts of the same tumor can evolve independently and build up distinct genetic mutations, meaning that single biopsies give only a narrow view of the tumor’s diversity.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Extreme Weather and Drought Are Here to Stay

Extreme Weather and Drought Are Here to Stay | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it
It is increasingly clear that we already live in the era of human-induced climate change, with unprecedented weather and climate extremes.

 

I don't delight in sharing the bad news.  So is this drought just a freak anomaly or a sign of a new normal?


Via Seth Dixon
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Seth Dixon's comment, August 13, 2012 2:28 PM
The graphic was not connected to the article. It was linked on a PBS facebook page and I linked the juxtaposition of the graphic and the NY Times article. Here is the FB page: https://www.facebook.com/EarthTheOperatorsManual.Page Personally, an entire century as a baseline of comparison does not feel like cherrypicking data. True the Earth is an incredibly complex system that controlling for all variables is in essence impossible, but denying that the system has changed seems foolish to me. Why has the system changed? I'm okay with that being a reasonable debate worthy of academics.
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NASA:'Cry' of a Shredded Star Heralds a New Era for Testing Relativity

NASA:'Cry' of a Shredded Star Heralds a New Era for Testing Relativity | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it
Last year, astronomers discovered a quiescent black hole in a distant galaxy that erupted after shredding and consuming a passing star. Now researchers have identified a distinctive X-ray signal observed in the days following the outburst that comes from matter on the verge of falling into the black hole.

 

This tell-tale signal, called a quasi-periodic oscillation or QPO, is a characteristic feature of the accretion disks that often surround the most compact objects in the universe -- white dwarf stars, neutron stars and black holes. QPOs have been seen in many stellar-mass black holes, and there is tantalizing evidence for them in a few black holes that may have middleweight masses between 100 and 100,000 times the sun's.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Desertification threatens Qinghai-Tibet Railway - China.org.cn

Desertification threatens Qinghai-Tibet Railway - China.org.cn | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it
China News- Desertification threatens Qinghai-Tibet Railway http://t.co/9z7H5mXs...
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Human-centric Design | Stanford Graduate School of Business

Human-centric Design | Stanford Graduate School of Business | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it
RT @StanfordBiz: A "bottoms-up" approach to innovation to reduce health care costs & improve outcomes http://t.co/rpmaeMcW...
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Caribbean Monk Seal Gone Extinct From Human Causes, NOAA Confirms

Caribbean Monk Seal Gone Extinct From Human Causes, NOAA Confirms | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it
After a five year review, NOAA's Fisheries Service has determined that the Caribbean monk seal, which has not been seen for more than 50 years, has gone extinct -- the first type of seal to go extinct from human causes.
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King crabs threaten seafloor life near Antarctica

King crabs threaten seafloor life near Antarctica | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it
King crabs and other crushing predators are thought to have been absent from cold Antarctic shelf waters for millions of years.
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Scientists Say 'God Particle' May Be an Impostor

Scientists Say 'God Particle' May Be an Impostor | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it
Last Wednesday everyone went crazy when CERN scientists announced proof of the existence of the Higgs boson, which theoretically gives us mass and holds the Universe together.
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Cytokinesis Animal Plant | Biology | Genetics

To purchase this DVD please visit http://www.greatpacificmedia.com/ Segment from the program Cellular Reproduction: Mitosis, Cytokinesis, and the Cell Cycle ...
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FDA Approves First HIV-Prevention Drug

FDA Approves First HIV-Prevention Drug | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it
FDA Approves First HIV-Prevention Drug - http://t.co/1uDs5w9z -...
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Water on Mars has a long history

Water on Mars has a long history | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it
Stuart Clark: Curiosity's discovery of a dry river bed adds to a 40-year-old body of evidence for once-flowing water on Mars...

Via Leopoldo Benacchio
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Post mortem begins on dead Anstruther whales

Post mortem begins on dead Anstruther whales | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it
Scientist and council workers yesterday started to analyse and then remove the carcasses of 17 pilot whales which became stranded on the coast of Fife, Scotland.
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New technology produces up to 50 fold more electricity from wastewater using microbial fuel cells

New technology produces up to 50 fold more electricity from wastewater using microbial fuel cells | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it

Engineers at Oregon State University have made a breakthrough in the performance of microbial fuel cells that can produce electricity directly from wastewater, opening the door to a future in which waste treatment plants not only will power themselves, but will sell excess electricity. The new technology developed at OSU can now produce 10 to 50 more times the electricity, per volume, than most other approaches using microbial fuel cells, and 100 times more electricity than some.

 

Researchers say this could eventually change the way that wastewater is treated all over the world, replacing the widely used “activated sludge” process that has been in use for almost a century. The new approach would produce significant amounts of electricity while effectively cleaning the wastewater.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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New fragrance created that mosquitoes can’t resist

New fragrance created that mosquitoes can’t resist | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it

Those pesky mosquitoes snacking on your arms and legs aren’t only out for blood. Like most other creatures, they have a favorite food. In their case, it’s sweet, succulent flower nectar. Mosquitoes don’t pollinate flowers as other insects do. After sniffing out a floral fragrance, they track down the plant and steal its nectar for energy. That weakness for nectar, however, could be their kryptonite. Using flower scents created in a lab, a team of researchers at Ohio State University plans to lure mosquitoes into traps. The objective: Kill the pests that carry life-threatening diseases, including West Nile Virus and malaria. 

 

The first step was building a machine, called an olfactometer, to detect and measure odor. That started in 2006. The team began analyzing plant chemicals in 2008 and got to the tests two years later. The experiment was simple: Give a mosquito two options and see which one it chooses. The research team plans to take its study into the field soon, but the venture won’t be without its challenges. For example, synthetic scents might not be as effective as the real thing outside the lab. They hope someday to expand the study and identify scents that would attract a host of mosquitoes around the world, particularly those that transmit malaria in African countries, where a child dies every minute from the disease, according to the World Health Organization.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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The biological impacts of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan on the pale grass blue butterfly

The biological impacts of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan on the pale grass blue butterfly | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it

The collapse of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant caused a massive release of radioactive materials to the environment. A prompt and reliable system for evaluating the biological impacts of this accident on animals has not been available.The accident caused physiological and genetic damage to the pale grass blue Zizeeria maha, a common lycaenid butterfly in Japan. The F1 offspring from the first-voltine females showed more severe abnormalities, which were inherited by the F2 generation. Adult butterflies collected in September 2011 showed more severe abnormalities than those collected in May. Similar abnormalities were experimentally reproduced in individuals from a non-contaminated area by external and internal low-dose exposures. Conclusion: the artificial radionuclides released from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant caused a variety of physiological and genetic damage to this species.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Giant carbon-capturing funnels discovered in Southern Ocean

Giant carbon-capturing funnels discovered in Southern Ocean | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it

Oceans represent an important global carbon sink, absorbing 25% of annual man-made CO2 emissions and helping to slow the rate of climate change. The Southern Ocean in particular is known to be a significant oceanic sink, and accounts for 40% of all carbon entering the deep oceans. And yet, until now, no-one could quite work out how the carbon gets there from the surface waters.

 

A team of scientists from the UK and Australia has shed new light on the mysterious mechanism by which the Southern Ocean sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. Winds, vast whirlpools and ocean currents interact to produce localized funnels up to 1000 km across, which plunge dissolved carbon into the deep ocean and lock it away for centuries

 

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Building Organs, On One Microchip at a Time

Building Organs, On One Microchip at a Time | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it
Scientists are making tiny microchips that can breathe, digest and pump blood like human organs.
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Mapping the Habitable Universe - Current Potential Habitable Worlds

Mapping the Habitable Universe - Current Potential Habitable Worlds | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it

The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog (HEC) is an online database for scientists, educators, and the general public focused on potential habitable exoplanets discoveries. The catalog uses various habitability indices and classifications to identify, rank, and compare exoplanets, including potential satellites, or exomoons. Check the NEWS section for news and updates. A full database of exoplanets is available in the DATA section. The catalog is updated as new data is available. Latest entry is Gliese 581g.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, Lawrence Buck
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Our Penchant For Rarity Could Threaten Conservation Efforts

Our Penchant For Rarity Could Threaten Conservation Efforts | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it
Rare plant and animal species are like rare stamps or coins: they are perceived to be inherently more valuable to people, whatever they look like.
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Shape-shifting Coral Evade Identification

Shape-shifting Coral Evade Identification | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it
The evolutionary tendency of corals to alter their skeletal structure makes it difficult to assign them to different species.
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Japanese rocket blasts off

Japanese rocket blasts off | MGIS - Manila Science | Scoop.it
A Japanese rocket has blasted off to deliver an unmanned supplies vessel to the International Space Station.
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