Category Archives: News

Current Sci-Tech news

Soft robotics: Grabbed by a gel

Robotic hydrogel… North Carolina State University Imagine being grabbed by a lump of gel. It can happen. Scientists at North Carolina State University (Raleigh, USA) have developed a new technique to create motile devices from a water-based hydrogel that can pattern, fold and manipulate objects. How does that grab you? Actually, this may turn out […]
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No food for animals or fuel, feed 4 billion more people

A new study by the University of Minnesota backs up the proposition that if we gave up feeding animals for food or for making fuel, we’d increase the amount of food available (by 70%). One statement conveys the study’s tone: We essentially have uncovered an astoundingly abundant supply of food for a hungry world, hidden […]
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Black plasmonic metals: Add to the list of potential solar cell improvement

To be flippant about it, it seems like new materials for solar cells are a dime a dozen. Meanwhile the old-fashioned silicon continues to beat the newbies on sheer manufacturing clout and price. However, not necessarily forever. There are some new materials with good research pedigrees. Case in point, a newly announced black plasmonic metal […]
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Do you know why naked mole rats don’t get cancer?

Naked mole rat – sans cancer………Wikipedia Commons This is one of those stories beloved of the ‘man bites dog’ school of science journalism. Can one credit scarce belief about a treatment for cancer derived from the naked mole rat? If you’ve seen a picture of a naked mole rat (as above), you’d remember it. This […]
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Planck’s Universe

Cosmic Microwave Background radiation map of the Universe…Credit: ESA, Planck Collaboration The big news for this week and I do mean big as in as big as the whole Universe, is a new collation and analysis of data from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Planck observatory mission. The new analysis reveals several things about the […]
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Micro-endoscope: A visual probe as thin as hair

A schematic of the micro-endoscope….Credit: Joseph Kahn, Stanford University The endoscope, a thinish, flexible tube with a light and image sensor or lenses at the probe end, is an indispensable tool of medicine, especially surgery. Endoscopy, the technique of using the endoscope, is the driving force behind minimally invasive surgery, which is radically changing the […]
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Big Telescopes: ALMA already on the job

Some of the ALMA antenna array at Atacama….Credit: ESO Today, March 13, 2013 marks the official ‘opening’ of the world’s largest telescope, ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter-submillimeter Array). As the biggest and most complex telescope project in history, astronomers hope it will open a new chapter in the observations of the cosmos. Located near San Pedro […]
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Epigenetics ‘leaks’ into trans-generational inheritance

One of the bigger and most important ‘debates’ in biology – both now and in the past – is whether adaptations made for the environment of a single individual can be inherited by its offspring. This is not about genetic inheritance, mutation, and the reproduction of the genes in DNA. This is about epigenetics, the […]
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CRE: A killer coming to a critical care facility near you

It is not pandemic, not yet, but the spread of a particular form of drug resistant bacteria is serious enough to warrant this March 6 statement from Dr. Thomas Frieden the head of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): CRE poses a triple threat. First, they’re resistant to all or nearly […]
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ePSC: A new type of pluripotent stem cell

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco have discovered a new type of stem cell. This does not happen every day, guaranteed. In fact, this discovery is potentially very important. Called an endogenous pluripotent stem cell (ePSC), it has much the same characteristics as embryonic stem cells, the ability to become almost any other […]
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