Posts

October 30, 2014

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6:00 PM | How To Give A Mouse Ebola
Emerging Diseases Lab, University of Washington This lab was one of several that worked on making the Ebola-symptom mice described below. Brian Donohue If you give a lab mouse the mouse version of Ebola, it will die. But not in the same way humans with Ebola do. Lab mice infected with Ebola don't get hemorrhagic fever. They don't form tiny clots in their blood, like human Ebola sufferers do, even though the genetic sequence of the mouse Ebolavirus differs from human […]

October 29, 2014

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6:49 PM | Smallpox Samples Slated For Immediate Destruction Are Still Intact, Pending Red Tape
Smallpox Virions Imaged using a microscope, magnified about 370,000 times CDC/ Dr. Fred Murphy; Sylvia Whitfield After U.S. government researchers discovered six forgotten vials of smallpox in a freezer this past June, the plan was to destroy the vials. That's still the plan… but the demolition date has been pushed back, Nature News reports. The actual destruction should be fairly easy, biosecurity consultant Erik Heegaard told Popular Science in July. […]
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3:54 PM | Gallery: The Top 10 Failed NASA Missions
View of the Antares Rocket After Launch, October 28, 2014 Screenshot from Wallops Flight Facility's live, public video feed Orbital Science's Antares rocket exploded just seconds after liftoff yesterday. The rocket was carrying science experiments and supplies for the International Space Station. The mission was unmanned, and nobody on the ground was injured either, according to the public video feed from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. The combined value of the […]

October 28, 2014

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7:05 PM | Big Pic: Jupiter Gets An Eye In Its Storm
True-Color Jupiter, April 21, 2014 NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center) When the Hubble Telescope snapped this true-color image in April, NASA scientists found Jupiter staring right back at them. That black dot is Ganymede's shadow, crossing Jupiter's Great Red Spot, creating an eerily blank-looking eye. It is almost certainly the eye of a large and emotionally stunted monster. The shadows of Jupiter's four major […]
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5:17 PM | Plan To Save Great Barrier Reef Is 'Inadequate,' Scientists Say
The Great Barrier Reef, 2003 Image provided by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Landsat Team using data courtesy the Australian ground receiving station teams The Australian government has been working on a plan for taking care of the Great Barrier Reef over the next four decades—but scientists say it's inadequate. The Australian Academy of Science released today an 11-page critique of the government's latest draft of its "Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability […]
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1:45 PM | Your Washing Machine Could Charge Your Smartphone Someday
Wireless Charging Alison Seiffer Hanging out in the kitchen? Chances are, you—and your smartphone—are within 15 feet of the refrigerator. Right now, two companies are planning for a future in which that means you could get the charge on your phone topped off. Haier, a large-appliance maker, and Energous, a wireless-charging startup, have signed an agreement to develop their products together, Computerworld reports. The companies are thinking of placing Energous' […]

October 27, 2014

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8:00 PM | '3-D Cutter' Othermill Goes On Sale
An Othermill Other Machine Co. You can think of an Othermill as the opposite of a 3-D printer. Instead of building up objects from raw materials, Othermills create objects by cutting away a larger block of material into something smaller. They're like tiny robotic sculptors, similar to the artists who chisel away at a big block of marble until it becomes a work of art. Like home 3-D printers, however, Othermills are made to fit on a tabletop. And they've gone on […]
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3:00 PM | Chemists Find A New Chemical Bond
Bromine, Hydrogen, Bromine Photos of both the bromine and hydrogen samples were taken by Heinrich Pniok (www.pse.mendelejew.de), CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 Fresh evidence suggests there exists a type of chemical bond that nobody has ever seen before, Chemistry World reports.  Not that they haven't looked. In the early 1980s, chemists searched for--but couldn't find--evidence of this type of bond after some theorized it should exist. The bond occurs between two heavy atoms with a […]

October 24, 2014

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7:45 PM | This Paper Ticket Holds A Tiny Biological Machine
Gene Circuit on a Paper Ticket Harvard's Wyss Institute The paper ticket you see pictured above is actually a little biology machine. It's a gene circuit stored on a slip of paper. To turn the gene circuit on, you simply wet the paper with a dropper and all of its microscopic components will come to life. Depending on what circuit scientists freeze-dry onto the paper, these slips could be used to detect disease-causing microbes or medically important molecules, such as […]
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4:48 PM | How To Fast-Track An Ebola Vaccine
A Doctor Prepares a Measles Vaccine in Guinea, 2014 Photo by UNICEF Guinea on Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0 The World Health Organization said it will have Ebola vaccines ready to give to hundreds of thousands of West Africans by the middle of next year, Reuters reports. Right now, there's no approved vaccine for Ebola. Researchers worked on vaccines before, but trials stalled because the disease is rare and because it mostly afflicts poor countries, so companies haven't been […]

October 23, 2014

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8:30 PM | Can Robots Help Fight Ebola?
Helping Hand Takao Someya Group/University of Tokyo Engineers make disaster-response robots precisely because robots are able to work in situations that are too dangerous for humans. Now the humans have got a new idea: Perhaps robots could carry off waste from Ebola patients, or bury the bodies of people who have died from Ebola in West Africa. Roboticizing such tasks would keep people from having to touch bodies when they're most infectious. Working with the White […]
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6:01 PM | New Microscope Makes Gorgeous 3-D Movies Of Living Cells
Protist T. thermophila, Imaged with a Lattice Light-Sheet Microscope Click here to enlarge. Betzig Lab, HHMI There's a new microscope in town and the images it produces are stunning. An international team of engineers and biologists is announcing it's made a microscope that's able to see phenomena such as single proteins diffusing through thickly-packed cells, and the movement of the fibers that pull cells apart when they divide. Everything remains alive […]

October 16, 2014

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6:01 PM | A Look At The Sun Beneath The Corona
IRIS View of the Sun, December 2013 NASA Human eyes can't (or at least shouldn't) look directly at the sun, but NASA's IRIS can. The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph mission is the latest to fly into space to observe the solar atmosphere. Now, a little more than a year after it launched, the satellite has sent back a complex picture of a special region of the sun, just below its corona. IRIS observes the sun's ultraviolet radiation, which can't be seen by […]

October 15, 2014

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9:15 PM | Program That Mimics Fish Schooling Fools Fish Experts
Opening Screen from the Fish School Game Can you tell the difference between robot fish and real ones? You can take this online test to find out. Here's the catch: For every question, both fish schools are rendered as green dots on the screen. It's just that one set of dots corresponds to the actual movements of Pacific Blue Eye fish researchers filmed. The other set of dots moves according to algorithms researchers wrote. The algorithms are based on everything the researchers […]
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6:45 PM | Scientists Want To Try Electrical Stimulation In More Paralyzed Patients
Study Volunteers Andrew Meas, Dustin Shillcox, Kent Stephenson and Rob Summers in the University of Louisville lab where they get specialized training to work with electrical stimulation to move parts of their bodies below their spinal cord injuries. Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation More than 30 people who have been paralyzed by spinal-cord injuries could soon get an experimental treatment that involves sending electric currents to their spines. The […]
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4:45 PM | Another U.S. Healthcare Worker Contracts Ebola
Ebola Healthcare Workers Healthcare workers wear protective equipment in a clinic in Monrovia, Liberia, on September 22, 2014. Morgana Wingard/USAID The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that a second healthcare worker has contracted Ebola after treating a patient in the United States. News of a second worker's illness is not necessarily surprising after one Dallas nurse was confirmed to have Ebola on October 12. Both workers […]
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2:00 PM | Nearly Half Of American Adults Talk To Their Phones Every Day
Teens and Adults, Talking to their Phones Google Who talks to their phone? Google recently commissioned a little survey to find out. Below are some of their most interesting findings. Note: The report that Google shared split up its research population into two age groups, 17 and under, and 18-plus, so that's why we've reported them that way. The majority of Americans ages 13 to 17 talk to their phones every day (55 percent), as do a large proportion of American adults 18 […]

October 14, 2014

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5:45 PM | Big Pic: The Sun Gives Off A Jack-O'-Lantern Leer
Active Regions on the Sun, October 8, 2014 NASA/GSFC/SDO The sun got into the Halloween spirit a little early this year, producing active spots that look like a jack-o'-lantern leer on October 8. The active spots give off more light and energy than the rest of the sun's surface. This visualization shows the sun's activity in two wavelengths of light, 171 Angstroms and 193 Angstroms. Both wavelengths are in the extreme ultraviolet portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, […]
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4:00 PM | How Flies Are Responsible For Beer's Tasty, Fruity Smells
Mmmmm, beer Martha Harbison It's a love story—so who cares if the lovers are a little unattractive? We can't all be Snow Whites and Prince Charmings. I'm talking about the love affair between fruit flies and brewer's yeast, which scientists so kindly described in a paper published last week in the journal Cell Reports. In a series of experiments, biologists from several institutes in Belgium demonstrated that brewer's yeast makes fruity, floral smells […]

October 13, 2014

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7:30 PM | This App Turns Your Phone Into A Cosmic Ray Detector
One Source Lower-energy cosmic rays sometimes originate from supernova remnants, like the Crab Nebula, pictured here. NASA/ESA/ASU/J. Hester Want to turn your smartphone into a cosmic ray detector? Well there's an app for that. Cosmic Rays Found in Smartphones, or CRAYFIS, uses smartphones' and tablets' standard camera equipment to detect some of the super-rare particles that shower down on the Earth when a high-energy cosmic ray hits the atmosphere. CRAYFIS […]
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4:05 PM | Australia's Invasive Cane Toads Have Evolved To Hop Even Faster
Hello Cane Toad Photo from Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 Cane toads in Australia have evolved to hop straighter and farther than ever before, Australia's ABC News reports. That means they're spreading faster than ever through Australia, sparking worries that they'll harm native species in places where they've never lived before. Twenty-six years after the debut of Cane Toads: An Unnatural History, it seems scientists are still struggling to control the large, […]

October 10, 2014

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2:00 PM | Popular Science's Strange Reporting Of The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic
Chicago Street Sweepers Wear Masks To Protect Against Spanish Flu Popular Science, December 1918 This year marks the centennial of the start of World War I. To honor it, Popular Science is combing through our archives to bring you the best of our original war coverage--from the emergence of tanks, airplanes, and other military tech, to essays examining the relationship between war and eugenics.  Just as the First World War was winding down, another […]

October 09, 2014

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4:00 PM | Sense Of Touch Recreated For Amputees In Their Prosthetics
A Light Touch Study volunteer Igor Spetic wears an experimental prosthetic arm, plugged into his electrode implant. Russell Lee Years after they had lost parts of their arms in industrial accidents, Igor Spetic and Keith Vonderhuevel once again felt sensations -- such as the fuzz of a cotton ball, or a trickle of water -- seemingly on the backs of their prosthetic hands. The touches were lab-created, done as part of a study on how to electronically […]

October 08, 2014

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6:20 PM | Watch This Morning's Eclipse Happen In One Minute
Eclipsed Moon, October 8, 2014 Chad Horwedel on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Used with permission. Early this morning, Americas time, the moon underwent a total eclipse. The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles trained its telescope on the moon for the event, then made this wonderful one-minute video out of five and a half hours of footage: The sudden flick from white to red in the video occurs because the Griffith staff adjusted the "gain" on their camera, making it more […]

October 07, 2014

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7:55 PM | For The First Time, Baby Born From A Transplanted Human Uterus
Feet for Little Shoes Bay County, Michigan After getting a uterus transplant, a woman in Sweden has carried and given birth to a baby boy. She's named the baby Vincent, which means "to conquer," signifying his parents' tough path to this moment, the Associated Press reports. Vincent is the world's first baby to be born from a transplanted uterus. The operation itself had only been tried twice before this January, when the Swedish doctor treating the new, milestone-setting […]
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5:00 PM | Why A Blue LED Is Worth A Nobel Prize
LEDs! PiccoloNamek on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 Three scientists have jointly earned the Nobel Prize in physics for their work on blue LEDs, or light-emitting diodes. Why blue in particular? Well, blue was the last -- and most difficult -- advance required to create white LED light. And with white LED light, companies are able to create smartphone and computer screens, as well as light bulbs that last longer and use less electricity than any bulb invented […]

October 06, 2014

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10:27 PM | Scientists Want To Test Lab-Grown Penises In Humans
A Lab-Made Urethra From the same lab as the engineered penis described below Courtesy Wake Forest University Are you ready? A team of scientists say they're getting ready. They want to implant lab-grown penises onto human volunteers within the next five years, the Guardian reports. The pensies are designed to work for people who have lost theirs due to birth defects, cancer treatment, or injury. The team will seek approval from the U.S. Food and […]
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6:19 PM | Hundreds Of Bluetooth Beacons Secretly Track New York City Passersby
Man Stands Inside a Pay Phone Booth to Use his Cellphone, New York City, 2014 Phil Roeder on Flickr, CC BY 2.0 Update: New York City officials have told Titan to remove its tracking beacons from city phonebooths, Buzzfeed reports. The removal request came just hours after Buzzfeed pubished its story on the beacons. A company has installed beacons inside hundreds of downtown New York City pay phones that ping the smartphones and tablets of New Yorkers walking by, […]
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3:39 PM | Map-Making In The Brain Wins Nobel Prize In Medicine
Place Cells vs Grid Cells The illustration on the left shows how "place cells" light up when a rat is in a certain place in a room. The teardrop gray shape is supposed to be the rat, while the lines show where the rat traveled while exploring the room. The illustration on the right shows how "grid cells" light up in a regular pattern to make a mental grid for a rat while it explores a room. Illustration by Mattias Karlén for the Nobel Prize Committee for […]

October 02, 2014

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6:00 PM | Evidence Found Of A Particle That Is Its Own Antiparticle
Measure Here Closeup of the interior of the scanning tunneling microscope at Princeton University Princeton University, Office of Communications, Brian Wilson There's a particle that physicists theorize exists that acts simultaneously as both matter and antimatter. Whoa! The particle is called the Majorana fermion, and a team of physicists is announcing today that it's seen some evidence of its existence. The announcement is part of a recent flurry of research […]
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