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Breakthrough - researchers convert ordinary heart cells into "pacemakers"

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about a year and a half ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute researchers have reprogrammed ordinary heart cells to become exact replicas of highly specialized pacemaker cells by injecting a single gene (Tbx18)–a major step forward in the decade-long search for a biological therapy to correct erratic and failing heartbeats.
Previous efforts to generate new pacemaker cells resulted in heart muscle cells that could beat on their own. Still, the modified cells were closer to ordinary muscle cells than to pacemaker cells. Other approaches employed embryonic stem cells to derive pacemaker cells. But, the risk of contaminating cancerous cells is a persistent hurdle to realizing a therapeutic potential with the embryonic stem cell-based approach. The new work, with astonishing simplicity, creates pacemaker cells that closely resemble the native ones free from the risk of cancer."

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How life began

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about a year and a half ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "Describing how living organisms emerged from Earth's abiotic chemistry has remained a conundrum for scientists, in part because any credible explanation for such a complex process must draw from fields spanning the reaches of science.
Creating life from scratch requires two abilities: fixing carbon and making more of yourself. The first, essentially hitching carbon atoms together to make living matter, is a remarkably difficult feat. Carbon dioxide (CO2), of which Earth has plenty, is a stable molecule; the bonds are tough to break, and a chemical system can only turn carbon into biologically useful compounds by way of some wildly unstable in-between stages.
As hard as it is to do, fixing carbon is necessary for life. A carbon molecule's ability to bond stably with up to four atoms makes it phenomenally versatile, and its abundance makes it suitable as a backbone for trillions of compounds. Once an organized chemical system can harness and manipulate carbon, it can expand and innovate in countless ways..."

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Albert Einstein's brain shows remarkable, uncommon features

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about a year and a half ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "Portions of Albert Einstein’s brain have been found to be unlike those of most people and could be related to his extraordinary cognitive abilities, according to a new study led by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk.
The researchers compared Einstein’s brain to 85 “normal” human brains..."

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Extending Einstein's theory beyond light speed

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "University of Adelaide applied mathematicians have extended Einstein’s theory of special relativity to work beyond the speed of light.
Professor Jim Hill and Dr Barry Cox in the University’s School of Mathematical Sciences have developed new formulas that allow for travel beyond this limit.
http://www.allgoodread.com/first/2012/10/extending-einsteins-theory-beyond-light-speed.html"
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UC study finds flirting can pay off for women

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "To determine whether women who flirt are more effective in negotiating than men who flirt, researchers asked 100 participants to evaluate to what extent they use social charm in negotiation on a one-to-seven scale. Women who said they used more social charm were rated more effective by their partners. However, men who said they used more social charm were not regarded as more effective.
Flirtation that generates positive results is not overt sexual advances but authentic, engaging behavior without serious intent. In fact, the study found female flirtation signals attractive qualities such as confidence, which is considered essential to successful negotiators.
Read about the study at http://www.allgoodread.com/first/2012/10/uc-study-finds-flirting-can-pay-off-for-women.html"
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Invisibility, once the subject of magic, is slowly becoming reality

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "A University of Washington mathematician is part of an international team working to understand invisibility and extend its possible applications. The group has now devised an amplifier that can boost light, sound or other waves while hiding them inside an invisible container. "You can isolate and magnify what you want to see, and make the rest invisible," said corresponding author Gunther Uhlmann, a UW mathematics professor. "You can amplify the waves tremendously. And although the wave has been magnified a lot, you still cannot see what is happening inside the container.”"
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Shoppers use mobile devices and apps to look for best deals but not to buy stuff

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "Tech-savvy consumers are using their smart phones and apps to find the best bargains. Many shoppers, however, are still reluctant to make those purchases using their mobile devices, according to a new report by Ryerson University’s Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity. Two-thirds of the students surveyed use their mobile device to look up information about retailers or products, yet only one-third made purchases with their smart phone. The most common purchases made on mobile devices were music/video (32%), video games (24%), books (19%) and fashion (19%).
Key findings of the research include:
  Most students surveyed prefer to shop in physical store locations as opposed to online;
  Nearly 70 per cent of students prefer to view a product in-store before purchasing it online.
Read more on this...http://adf.ly/D2Wzy"
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Honor for two cancer survivors

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "It's definitely an honor for the two having survived cancer free for 25 years.
House and Olsen, who are among the longest surviving bone marrow transplant patients, will be honored at 2 p.m. Sunday along with a handful of other 25-year survivors at Loyola University Medical Center's annual Bone Marrow Transplant Celebration of Survivorship at the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, 2160 S. First. Ave., Maywood.
"Velma and Mary were some of the early pioneers of bone marrow transplants," said Stiff, director of Loyola's Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center."
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Germ-killing copper

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "While disease-causing organisms can lurk on stainless steel surfaces for two weeks, according to a recent University of Arizona research study, 99.9 percent die within two hours on surfaces that contain at least 60 percent copper.
Surfaces at the Ronald McDonald House were swabbed and tested for bacteria for ten weeks before new copper alloy products were installed. Follow-up tests on the items converted to copper showed they carried 94 percent fewer bacteria. They are now trying to recreate the Charleston project at other Ronald McDonald Houses around the world to create a safer living and working environment for the children, families and staff. Before we started using stainless steel weren't we using copper vessels? The ancients knew this one better!"
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Dinosaur extinction may have been caused by two major events

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "The most-studied mass extinction in Earth history happened 65 million years ago and is widely thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs. New University of Washington research indicates that a separate extinction came shortly before that, triggered by volcanic eruptions that warmed the planet and killed life on the ocean floor.
The well-known second event is believed to have been triggered by an asteroid at least 6 miles in diameter slamming into Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. But new evidence shows that by the time of the asteroid impact, life on the seafloor – mostly species of clams and snails – was already perishing because of the effects of huge volcanic eruptions on the Deccan Plateau in what is now India.."
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No pain brings plenty of gains

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "The oft heard quote " No Pain, No Gain" does not hold good here. People don't want to endure pain; look at the efforts people have taken to alleviate pain...nurses have taken it upon themselves to find innovative ways of avoiding pain for their patients. Kudos to them...."
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Manipulating microbes to manage body weight is a new area of research

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "Vaccines and antibiotics may someday join caloric restriction or bariatric surgery as a way to regulate weight gain, according to a new study focused on the interactions between diet, the bacteria that live in the bowel, and the immune system.
Bacteria in the intestine play a crucial role in digestion. They provide enzymes necessary for the uptake of many nutrients, synthesize certain vitamins and boost absorption of energy from food. Fifty years ago, farmers learned that by tweaking the microbial mix in their livestock with low-dose oral antibiotics, they could accelerate weight gain. More recently, scientists found that mice raised in a germ-free environment, and thus lacking gut microbes, do not put on extra weight, even on a high-fat diet. A research team based at the University of Chicago was able to unravel some of the mechanisms that regulate this weight gain.."
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Humans were helped by sophisticated wiring not just bigger brains in evolution

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "Weren't we always told that man is different from the ape because of bigger brains? Now researchers find it's not just that that made man different from chimps, it's also the sophisticated wring in the brain that helped evolve beyond chimpsA new UCLA study pinpoints uniquely human patterns of gene activity in the brain that could shed light on how we evolved differently than our closest relative.."
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"Naked Darth Vader" super bug approach

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "Imagine the "super bugs to be "Darth Vader" with the armor, light saber et al. How in the world can you defeat him? Easy — remove his armor and light saber! He is now one "naked Darth Vader" and utterly defenseless.
This is the approach researchers are using to fight superbugs that are developing immunity against antibiotics.
Once they are disarmed, they are easy prey to our body's own defense mechanism....
Ain't that smart?"
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Animation to the fore in cancer study

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "There is something called "cancer metastasis" which is the escape and spread of primary tumor cells, a common cause of cancer-related deaths and very poorly understood. When tumor cells break through a blood vessel's wall, the stickiness of the blood tears off the tumor cells and scientists do not know the physical forces involved in the process. Using Active Shape Model , a statistical technique that animators use to create furry monsters, the researchers could compute the fluid forces acting on the cell."
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Batteries made from world's thinnest material

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "Engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute made a sheet of paper from the world’s thinnest material, graphene, and then zapped the paper with a laser or camera flash to blemish it with countless cracks, pores, and other imperfections. The result is a graphene anode material that can be charged or discharged 10 times faster than conventional graphite anodes used in today’s lithium (Li)-ion batteries.
Rechargeable Li-ion batteries are the industry standard for mobile phones, laptop and tablet computers, electric cars, and a range of other devices. While Li-ion batteries have a high energy density and can store large amounts of energy, they suffer from a low power density and are unable to quickly accept or discharge energy. This low power density is why it takes about an hour to charge your mobile phone or laptop battery, and why electric automobile engines cannot rely on batteries alone and require a supercapacitor for high-power functions such as acceleration and braking.
The Rensselaer research team, led by nanomaterials expert Nikhil Koratkar, sought to solve this problem and create a new battery that could hold large amounts of energy but also quickly accept and release this energy.
http://www.allgoodread.com/first/2012/08/batteries-from-thinnest-materials-for-cars-tomorrow.html"
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Statin potency linked to side effects in muscle

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "A study from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, published August 22 online by PLoS ONE, reports that muscle problems reported by patients taking statins were related to the strength or potency of the given cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Adverse effects such as muscle pain and weakness, reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were related to a statin’s potency, or the degree by which it typically lowers cholesterol at commonly prescribed doses.
“These findings underscore that stronger statins bear higher risk – and should be used with greater caution and circumspection,” said investigator Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, professor in the Departments of Medicine and Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego.
http://www.allgoodread.com/first/2012/08/statin-potency-linked-to-muscle-side-effects.html"
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"DNA Wires" can help physicians diagnose disease

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "In a discovery that defies the popular meaning of the word “wire,” scientists have found that Mother Nature uses DNA as a wire to detect the constantly occurring genetic damage and mistakes that if left unrepaired can result in diseases like cancer and underpin the physical and mental decline of aging. Barton won the U.S. National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor for scientific achievement, for discovering that cells use the double strands of the DNA helix like a wire for signaling, which is critical to detecting and repairing genetic damage. http://www.allgoodread.com/first/2012/08/dna-wires-can-help-physicians-diagnose-disease.html"
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"DNA Wires" can help physicians diagnose disease

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "In a discovery that defies the popular meaning of the word “wire,” scientists have found that Mother Nature uses DNA as a wire to detect the constantly occurring genetic damage and mistakes that if left unrepaired can result in diseases like cancer and underpin the physical and mental decline of aging. “DNA is a very fragile and special wire,” said Jacqueline K. Barton, Ph.D., who delivered the talk.Barton won the U.S. National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor for scientific achievement, for discovering that cells use the double strands of the DNA helix like a wire for signaling, which is critical to detecting and repairing genetic damage.
http://www.allgoodread.com/first/2012/08/dna-wires-can-help-physicians-diagnose-disease.html"
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Birth control drug for mosquitos

ACXNew ACXNew writes  |  about 2 years ago

ACXNew (2639799) writes "Using information about the unique mating practices of the male malaria mosquito which, unlike any other insect, inserts a plug to seal its sperm inside the female scientists are zeroing in on a birth-control drug for Anopheles mosquitoes, deadly carriers of the disease that threatens 3 billion people, has infected more than 215 million and kills 655,000 annually. To ensure mating success, an Anopheles male produces a special “mating plug” to seal its sperm inside the female’s mating chamber. The Yale researchers purified the specific enzyme, a transglutaminase, responsible for coagulating another protein called Plugin within the male’s seminal fluid to form the plug. They went on to purify the Plugin protein and reconstitute the coagulation reaction in the lab, setting the stage to search for chemicals that inhibit this reaction."
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