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Current Topic: Science

Wired News: Big Concern for Very Small Things
Topic: Science 6:33 pm EDT, Apr  7, 2004

] To see what might happen if buckyballs got into the
] environment, Eva Oberdörster, an aquatic scientist at
] Southern Methodist University, put some into a fish tank
] at a concentration of 0.5 parts per million, along with
] nine largemouth bass. The buckyball-breathing fish
] experienced significant brain damage after 48 hours.
] Brain-cell membranes were disrupted, an affliction that
] has been linked to illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease
] in humans.
] Oberdörster's unpublished study, which was released last
] week, is one of the few completed studies looking at the
] potential risks of nanomaterials. There is some cause for
] concern. Two recent studies documented lung damage in
] animals after they inhaled a type of buckyball called a
] carbon nanotube. Another showed that nanoparticles can
] get into the brain if inhaled.
] They're also small enough to cross cell walls and leak
] into the nucleus, the home of an organism's DNA. And, in
] the case of titanium dioxide nanoparticles, they can kill
] bacteria. That's good news in a hospital, but bad news in
] the environment, where bacteria are extremely important
] for maintaining soil fertility, among other things.

Wired News: Big Concern for Very Small Things - 03/26/04: Aerogel
Topic: Science 2:58 pm EST, Mar 27, 2004

] This guy here is Peter Tsou. He's a scientist at NASA's
] Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and he's holding an amazing
] substance called aerogel. Aerogel is a solid, but it is
] 99.8% empty space. In fact, it very closely approaches
] the density of air. It practically IS air. It's still a
] solid, though, and you can even pick it up or set things
] on it.

Very neat. - 03/26/04: Aerogel

Wired News: Science Cooks Up Deadly Proteins
Topic: Science 6:10 pm EST, Mar 24, 2004

Researchers have figured out how to build their own artificial prions, the deadly, malformed proteins that cause the brain decay of mad-cow disease as well as Creutzfeldt-Jakob, the human form of the disease.

Why would anyone want to build something so destructive? Because by making their own prions, researchers can learn how they work. Learning how these deadly proteins operate is the first step in understanding how to stop their destruction.

Wired News: Science Cooks Up Deadly Proteins

Evidence bubbles over to support tabletop nuclear fusion device
Topic: Science 11:47 pm EST, Mar 13, 2004

] Researchers are reporting new evidence supporting their
] earlier discovery of an inexpensive "tabletop" device
] that uses sound waves to produce nuclear fusion
] reactions.
] The researchers believe the new evidence shows that
] "sonofusion" generates nuclear reactions by creating tiny
] bubbles that implode with tremendous force. Nuclear
] fusion reactors have historically required large,
] multibillion-dollar machines, but sonofusion devices
] might be built for a fraction of that cost.

Freakin cool

Evidence bubbles over to support tabletop nuclear fusion device

New Scientist - Artificial Blood
Topic: Science 11:40 pm EST, Mar 13, 2004

] Numerous past attempts to develop synthetic blood have
] failed because doctors got the basic science wrong, claim
] a handful of researchers. This week it was announced that
] a blood substitute based on their alternative theories is
] looking promising in an early trial.
] Developing a suitable blood substitute for people has
] been a major effort for decades. An artificial blood
] would relieve shortages and prevent patients being
] infected by contaminated supplies.
] Ideally, it could be given to anyone without triggering
] rejection, so accident victims could be given
] transfusions immediately without testing to see what
] blood group they are. And a long-lasting form that does
] not need to be kept cold would be ideal for use in
] disasters, wars and remote areas.

New Scientist - Artificial Blood

Martian Pasta
Topic: Science 11:30 pm EST, Mar  4, 2004

Opportunity's Microscopic Imager found this intriguing object, looking more like Rotini pasta. Its odd shape has stirred up Mars researchers, both inside and outside of the NASA Mars Rover Exploration team. Whether or not this object is related to biology has prompted a variety of views.

Main Story:

[Looks like it could be some form of bacteria currently dubbed spirochete - But I don't know what magnification that pic was taken at....probably too big to be a bacteria:) - Nano]

Martian Pasta

TAPPED: Conservative Lysenkoism, Continued.
Topic: Science 12:15 am EST, Feb 19, 2004

] Mooney reports here on a startling development: 20 Nobel
] Laureates have signed a statement calling on the Bush
] administration restore scientific integrity to the
] policymaking process. It's quite unprecedented, and very
] interesting. I've been following this topic -- often
] through Chris's valuable blog -- for the last two years,
] and I think this is emerging as one of the key political
] issues for 2004. For more reading, I'd check out the
] following three articles. First, Chris's profile of White
] House science advisor John Marburger in the Prospect.
] Second, this article by Nick Thompson documenting the
] growing divide between the GOP and the scientific
] community on a variety of issues where conservative
] theology conflicts with available evidence or scientific
] consensus. Finally, this piece by Richard Florida in the
] Washington Monthly, which explains how the Bush
] administration's anti-scientism (among other things)
] threatens our economic health.

TAPPED: Conservative Lysenkoism, Continued.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Bacteria help make missile fuel
Topic: Science 1:21 pm EST, Feb 10, 2004

] Scientists have recruited an unusual ally in their quest
] to produce safer, cheaper rocket fuel: bacteria.
] The microbes help make a key ingredient of a fuel mix
] used in missiles but could also reduce the cost of drugs
] used to lower cholesterol levels.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Bacteria help make missile fuel

Uut and Uup Add Their Atomic Mass to Periodic Table
Topic: Science 9:04 pm EST, Feb  4, 2004

] A team of Russian and American scientists are reporting
] today that they have created two new chemical elements,
] called superheavies because of their enormous atomic
] mass. The discoveries fill a gap at the furthest edge of
] the periodic table and hint strongly at a weird landscape
] of undiscovered elements beyond.

Cooooooool! - nano

Uut and Uup Add Their Atomic Mass to Periodic Table

Yahoo! News - Flower-Power Could Help Clear Land mines
Topic: Science 9:36 pm EST, Jan 27, 2004

] A Danish biotech company has developed a genetically
] modified flower that could help detect land mines and it
] hopes to have a prototype ready for use within a few
] years.

Yahoo! News - Flower-Power Could Help Clear Land mines

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