--Advertisement--
Ad by The Cutting Edge News

The Cutting Edge

Thursday July 20 2017 reaching 1.4 million monthly
--Advertisement--
Ad by The Cutting Edge News

The Edge of Health

Overactive Part of Brain Hinders Socialization Skills of Autistic Teens

January 15th 2013

Black infant

A new University of Michigan study finds that an overactive part of the brain hinders autistic teens from coping in unfamiliar social settings, leaving them feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Seeing the same faces repeatedly can negatively affect autistic children, especially in social situations. If a teen looks away or does not pay attention, this is often interpreted as someone who isn't interested in other people, says U-M researcher Christopher Monk.

"The present findings along with other work suggest that for many kids with ASD, it may not be just a lack of interest," said Monk, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and a research associate professor at the Center for Human Growth and Development.

"They may find it distressing to look at and interact with other people. If kids find it distressing to watch and engage in social situations from an early age, they will disengage from them and miss many opportunities to learn about the social world."

Data were analyzed from 32 children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders and 56 typically developing youth. They underwent functional MRI scanning while performing a gender identification task for faces that were fearful, happy, sad or neutral. Read more ..


The Edge of Climate Change

Global Warming Has Increased Monthly Heat Records By A Factor Of Five

January 14th 2013

mexico drought

Monthly temperature extremes have become much more frequent, as measurements from around the world indicate. On average, there are now five times as many record-breaking hot months worldwide than could be expected without long-term global warming, shows a study now published in Climatic Change. In parts of Europe, Africa and southern Asia the number of monthly records has increased even by a factor of ten. 80 percent of observed monthly records would not have occurred without human influence on climate, concludes the authors-team of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Complutense University of Madrid.

“The last decade brought unprecedented heat waves; for instance in the US in 2012, in Russia in 2010, in Australia in 2009, and in Europe in 2003,” lead-author Dim Coumou says. “Heat extremes are causing many deaths, major forest fires, and harvest losses – societies and ecosystems are not adapted to ever new record-breaking temperatures.” The new study relies on 131 years of monthly temperature data for more than 12.000 grid points around the world, provided by NASA. Comprehensive analysis reveals the increase in records.

Read more ..

The Edge of Nature

Scientists Use Marine Robots to Detect Endangered Whales

January 13th 2013

Blue whale

Two robots equipped with instruments designed to “listen” for the calls of baleen whales detected nine endangered North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of Maine last month. The robots reported the detections to shore-based researchers within hours of hearing the whales (i.e., in real time), demonstrating a new and powerful tool for managing interactions between whales and human activities.

The team of researchers, led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists Mark Baumgartner and Dave Fratantoni, reported their sightings to NOAA, the federal agency responsible for enforcing the Marine Mammal Protection Act. NOAA Fisheries Service, in turn, put in place on Dec. 5 a “dynamic management area,” asking mariners to voluntarily slow their vessel speed to avoid striking the animals. Read more ..


Edge of Space

Scientists Find the Backbone of the Milky Way

January 13th 2013

Milky Way spine structure

Scientists have announced the discovery of a spine-like structure within the Milky Way that might help explain the dynamics of galactic formation. The Milky Way is the spiral galaxy we live in and is one of billions of such vast pinwheel-like formations scattered throughout the universe, each containing hundreds of billions of stars.

Harvard University astronomy professor Alyssa Goodman is an expert on star formation. Not long ago, she and her colleagues at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics were reviewing data of a dense cosmic cloud nicknamed Nessie by the scientist who first described it. Goodman’s team saw a new feature, a long tendril of dust and gas, eight times longer, about 1,000 light years longer, than it was thought to be before. Read more ..


The Edge of Medicine

Multiple Sclerosis Study Revels How Killer T Cells Learn to Rcognize Nerve Fiber Insulators

January 12th 2013

t cells attack cancer

Misguided killer T cells may be the missing link in sustained tissue damage in the brains and spines of people with multiple sclerosis, findings from the University of Washington reveal. Cytoxic T cells, also known as CD8+ T cells, are white blood cells that normally are in the body's arsenal to fight disease.

Multiple sclerosis is characterized by inflamed lesions that damage the insulation surrounding nerve fibers and destroy the axons, electrical impulse conductors that look like long, branching projections. Affected nerves fail to transmit signals effectively.

Intriguingly the UW study also raises the possibility that misdirected killer T cells might at other times act protectively and not add to lesion formation. Instead they might retaliate against the cells that tried to make them mistake the wrappings around nerve endings as dangerous. Read more ..


The Edge of Earth

Faulty Behavior

January 12th 2013

Continental Crust

In an earthquake, ground motion is the result of waves emitted when the two sides of a fault move—or slip—rapidly past each other, with an average relative speed of about three feet per second. Not all fault segments move so quickly, however—some slip slowly, through a process called creep, and are considered to be "stable," or not capable of hosting rapid earthquake-producing slip.  One common hypothesis suggests that such creeping fault behavior is persistent over time, with currently stable segments acting as barriers to fast-slipping, shake-producing earthquake ruptures. But a new study by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) shows that this might not be true.

"What we have found, based on laboratory data about rock behavior, is that such supposedly stable segments can behave differently when an earthquake rupture penetrates into them. Instead of arresting the rupture as expected, they can actually join in and hence make earthquakes much larger than anticipated," says Nadia Lapusta, professor of mechanical engineering and geophysics at Caltech and coauthor of the study, published January 9 in the journal Nature.

Read more ..

The Way We Are

Rhythms In The Brain May Help Give A Sense Of Location

January 11th 2013

Baby Boomer

Research at the University of Edinburgh tracked electrical signals in the part of the brain linked to spatial awareness.

The study could help us understand how, if we know a room, we can go into it with our eyes shut and find our way around. This is closely related to the way we map out how to get from one place to another

Scientists found that brain cells, which code location through increases in electrical activity, do not do so by talking directly to each other. Instead, they can only send each other signals through cells that are known to reduce electrical activity. This is unexpected as cells that reduce electrical signalling are often thought to simply supress brain activity. The research also looked at electrical rhythms or waves of brain activity. Previous studies have found that spatial awareness is linked to not only the number and strength of electrical signals but also where on the electrical wave they occur. Read more ..


The Edge of Medicine

Stem Cells Found to Heal Damaged Artery in Lab Study

January 10th 2013

Human embryonic stemcell cluster

Scientists at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute have for the first time demonstrated that baboon embryonic stem cells can be programmed to completely restore a severely damaged artery. These early results show promise for eventually developing stem cell therapies to restore human tissues or organs damaged by age or disease.

"We first cultured the stem cells in petri dishes under special conditions to make them differentiate into cells that are the precursors of blood vessels, and we saw that we could get them to form tubular and branching structures, similar to blood vessels," said John L. VandeBerg, Ph.D., Texas Biomed's chief scientific officer.

This finding gave VandeBerg and his team the confidence to do complex experiments to find out if these cells could actually heal a damaged artery. Human embryonic stem cells were first isolated and grown in 1998.

The scientists found that cells derived from embryonic stem cells could actually repair experimentally damaged baboon arteries and "are promising therapeutic agents for repairing damaged vasculature of people," according to the authors.  Read more ..


The Race for Alt Energy

New Material Harvests Energy from Water Vapor

January 9th 2013

Polymer Film

MIT engineers have created a new polymer film that can generate electricity by drawing on a ubiquitous source: water vapor.

The new material changes its shape after absorbing tiny amounts of evaporated water, allowing it to repeatedly curl up and down. Harnessing this continuous motion could drive robotic limbs or generate enough electricity to power micro- and nanoelectronic devices, such as environmental sensors.

"With a sensor powered by a battery, you have to replace it periodically. If you have this device, you can harvest energy from the environment so you don't have to replace it very often," says Mingming Ma, a postdoc at MIT's David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. "We are very excited about this new material, and we expect as we achieve higher efficiency in converting mechanical energy into electricity, this material will find even broader applications," says Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT. Those potential applications include large-scale, water-vapor-powered generators, or smaller generators to power wearable electronics. Read more ..


The Race for Waste to Energy

Thermo-Electric Material Shows Promise for Capturing Energy from Waste Heat

January 8th 2013

Click to select Image

Researchers in the Center for Revolutionary Materials for Solid State Energy Conversion at Michigan State University —an Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) funded by the U.S. Department of Energy—are developing a thermoelectric material based on natural mineral tetrahedrites. Their work was recently published in Advanced Energy Materials. The researchers, led by Donald Morelli, a professor of chemical engineering and materials science, developed the material based on natural minerals known as tetrahedrites.

“What we’ve managed to do is synthesize some compounds that have the same composition as natural minerals,” said Morelli, who also directs MSU’s Center for Revolutionary Materials for Solid State Energy Conversion. “The mineral family that they mimic is one of the most abundant minerals of this type on Earth – tetrahedrites. “By modifying its composition in a very small way, we produced highly efficient thermoelectric materials.” Read more ..


Edge of Science

Key Substance Essential to Blood-Clotting Discovered

January 8th 2013

In 2006, the lab of Dr. David Ginsburg at the Life Sciences Institute put a call out for siblings attending the University of Michigan to donate blood for a study of blood-clotting disorders. The samples were collected over three years and have now enabled the researchers to identify the specific parts of the genome responsible for levels of a key substance for blood clotting. The findings were reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Von Willebrand disease is the most common hereditary blood-clotting disorder—it's more common, but usually milder, than hemophilia. The disease is caused by lower-than-normal levels of von Willebrand factor, a substance that circulates in blood and serves as the "glue" to help blood platelets stick where they're needed to stop bleeding. Read more ..


Edge of Health

Low-Level Electric Shocks Release Opiate-Like Relief for Pain Sufferers

January 8th 2013

Boy in pain

Researchers used electricity on certain regions in the brain of a patient with chronic, severe facial pain to release an opiate-like substance that's considered one of the body's most powerful painkillers.

The findings expand on previous work done at the University of Michigan, Harvard University and the City University of New York where researchers delivered electricity through sensors on the skulls of chronic migraine patients, and found a decrease in the intensity and pain of their headache attacks. However, the researchers then couldn't completely explain how or why. The current findings help explain what happens in the brain that decreases pain during the brief sessions of electricity, says Alexandre DaSilva, the senior researcher in the study from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Other study authors include DaSilva's PhD student, Marcos DosSantos, and also Dr. Jon-Kar Zubieta from the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute.

In their current study, DaSilva and colleagues intravenously administered a radiotracer that reached important brain areas in a patient with trigeminal neuropathic pain (TNP), a type of chronic, severe facial pain. They applied the electrodes and electrically stimulated the skull right above the motor cortex of the patient for 20 minutes during a PET scan (positron emission tomography). The stimulation is called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Read more ..


The Edge of Climate Change

Climate Change a Top Global Risk

January 8th 2013

Glacier calving

Climate change ranked among the top global risks in the annual World Economic Forum survey of more than 1,000 experts released Tuesday. The group, most associated with its yearly conference in Davos, Switzerland, said leaving environmental issues unaddressed compounded with global economic stress could handcuff policymakers.

“A sudden and massive collapse on one front is certain to doom the other’s chance of developing an effective, long-term solution,” the report said of the interplay between the global environment and economy.

That diagnosis underscores several tension points in the United States, where GOP lawmakers are pressing for increased domestic energy production despite concerns from green groups about environmental impacts. Industry groups and Republican lawmakers are trying to push President Obama to expand fossil fuel drilling, saying increased exploration would engender an economic recovery. They also have fought several administration emissions rules, calling them economically burdensome. Read more ..


The Ancient Edge

Sophisticated Irrigation Technology Discovered at Ancient Petra

January 7th 2013

Petra irrigation Syria

A team of international archaeologists including Christian Cloke of the University of Cincinnati is providing new insights into successful and extensive water management and agricultural production in and around the ancient desert city of Petra, located in present-day Jordan. Ongoing investigations, of which Cloke is a part, are led by Professor Susan Alcock of the Brown University Petra Archaeological Project (BUPAP).

Using a variety of tools and techniques, including high-resolution satellite imagery and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of soils, Cloke, a doctoral student in the Department of Classics at UC, and Cecelia Feldman, classics lecturer at UMass-Amherst, have suggested that extensive terrace farming and dam construction in the region north of the city began around the first century, some 2,000 years ago, not during the Iron Age (c. 1200-300 BC) as had been previously hypothesized. Read more ..


The Edge of Space

Satellite’s Space Trip Ends After 30 Years

January 6th 2013

RBSPs deploy solar panels

The longest operating Earth-observing satellite is about to be decommissioned by the US Geological Survey. The USGS has begun the task of lowering Landsat-5 from its operational orbit. The first series of maneuvers in that effort is likely to take place within the next month. Landsat-5 was the fifth of seven satellites launched as part of the Landsat program, which has been acquiring satellite imagery of Earth since 1972.

Launched from California on March 1, 1984, Landsat-5 has circled Earth more than 150,000 times. According to the USGS, which helps manage the mission, the satellite has been an extraordinary success, providing valuable contributions to the global record of land change. Its original mission was only supposed to last three years, but Landsat-5 continued to deliver imagery and data for more than 25 more years beyond that. Read more ..


The Edge of Space

Milky Way Could Contain 100 Billion Planets

January 6th 2013

protoplanetary disk

It seems like hardly a week goes by without another planet being discovered in some far off stellar system, but a new study, released by the California Institute of Technology, indicates there will likely be many, many more such discoveries.
 
The Caltech team made this conclusion based on analyzing the planets orbiting the Kepler-32 star, which contains five planets and which the scientists say is representative of the vast majority of stars in our galaxy. Kepler-32 is classified as an M dwarf, and scientists say three out of every four stars in the galaxy are M dwarfs, also known as red dwarfs. "There's at least 100 billion planets in the galaxy—just our galaxy," says John Johnson, assistant professor of planetary astronomy at Caltech and coauthor of the study, which was recently accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. "That's mind-boggling."
Read more ..

The Edge of Space

Supersonic Outflows Contain a Million Times the Energy of an Exploding Star

January 5th 2013

galactic magnetic

The outflows were detected by astronomers from Australia, the USA, Italy and The Netherlands. They report their finding in today’s issue of Nature. “These outflows contain an extraordinary amount of energy — about a million times the energy of an exploding star,” said the research team’s leader, CSIRO’s Dr Ettore Carretti.

But the outflows pose no danger to Earth or the Solar System. The speed of the outflow is supersonic, about 1000 kilometers a second. “That’s fast, even for astronomers,” Dr Carretti said.

“They are not coming in our direction, but go up and down from the Galactic Plane. We are 30,000 light-years away from the Galactic Center, in the Plane. They are no danger to us.” From top to bottom the outflows extend 50,000 light-years (five hundred thousand million million kilometers) out of the Galactic Plane. That’s equal to half the diameter of our Galaxy (which is 100,000 light-years — a million million million kilometers — across). Seen from Earth, the outflows stretch about two-thirds across the sky from horizon to horizon.

The outflows correspond to a “haze” of microwave emission previously spotted by the WMAP and Planck space telescopes and regions of gamma-ray emission detected with NASA’s Fermi space telescope in 2010, which were dubbed the “Fermi Bubbles”. Read more ..


The Edge of Health

Robotic Vaporizers Fight Hospital-Borne Infections

January 4th 2013

Surgeons

It's a growing problem for hospitals around the world: strains of deadly, drug-resistant bacteria contaminating operating and recovery rooms. To combat this serious threat to patient health, two dozen U.S. hospitals are now using robotic, hydrogen-peroxide vaporizers to sanitize rooms where infected patients have stayed. A new study finds that use of the vaporizers' germ-killing mist has significantly lowered the number of hospital-borne infections.

Hospitals can be a haven for many types of dangerous, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. The microbes can survive on hard surfaces long after an infected patient has been discharged. Read more ..


The Edge of Space

Galactic Geysers Duelled by Star Stuff

January 3rd 2013

Artist’s conception a white dwarf and companion

Enormous outflows of charged particles from the centre of our Galaxy, stretching more than halfway across the sky and moving at supersonic speeds, have been detected and mapped with CSIRO’s 64-m Parkes radio telescope.

Corresponding to the “Fermi Bubbles” found in 2010, the recent observations of the phenomenon were made by a team of astronomers from Australia, the USA, Italy and The Netherlands, with the findings reported in today’s issue of Nature.

“There is an incredible amount of energy in the outflows,” said co-author Professor Lister-Staveley-Smith from The University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Perth and Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO). “The source of the energy has been somewhat of a mystery, but we know there is a lot there, about a million times as much energy as a supernova explosion (a dying star).”  Read more ..


The Medical Edge

Growing Human Organs in Labs is Coming Soon

January 2nd 2013

Research and Development Chemistry

In the 1970s and 1980s, tissue engineers began working on growing replacement organs for transplantation into patients. While scientists are still targeting that goal, much of the tissue engineering research at MIT is also focused on creating tissue that can be used in the lab to model human disease and test potential new drugs.

This kind of disease modeling could have a great impact in the near term, says MIT professor Sangeeta Bhatia, who is developing liver tissue to study hepatitis C and malaria infection.

Like other human tissues, liver is difficult to grow outside the human body because cells tend to lose their function when they lose contact with neighboring cells. “The challenge is to grow the cells outside the body while maintaining their function after being removed from their usual microenvironment,” says Bhatia, the John and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Read more ..


The Edge of Climate Change

How To Regulate Geo-Engineering Efforts To Fight Climate Change

January 2nd 2013

Glaciers

With policymakers and political leaders increasingly unable to combat global climate change, more scientists are considering the use of manual manipulation of the environment to slow warming’s damage to the planet.

But a University of Iowa law professor believes the legal ramifications of this kind of geo-engineering need to be thought through in advance and a global governance structure put in place soon to oversee these efforts.

“Geo-engineering is a global concern that will have climate and weather impacts in all countries, and it is virtually inevitable that some group of people will be harmed in the process,” says Jon Carlson, professor of law at the UI College of Law. “The international community must act now to take charge of this activity to ensure that it is studied and deployed with full attention to the rights and interests of everyone on the planet.”

Read more ..

The Edge of Health

New Spectroscopic Diagnosis Distinguishes Benign from Cancerous Breast Tumors

January 1st 2013

Click to select Image

Tiny calcium deposits can be a telltale sign of breast cancer. However, in the majority of cases these microcalcifications signal a benign condition. A new diagnostic procedure developed at MIT and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) could help doctors more accurately distinguish between cancerous and noncancerous cases.

When microcalcifications are spotted through mammography, doctors perform a follow-up biopsy to remove the suspicious tissue and test it for cancer. In 15 to 25 percent of cases, however, they are unable to retrieve the tissue that contains the calcium deposits, leading to an inconclusive diagnosis. The patient then has to undergo a much more invasive surgical procedure. Read more ..


The Edge of Health

Fat Influences Decisions Taken By Brain Cells For Production And Survival

January 1st 2013

Baby Boomer

Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified two molecules that play an important role in the survival and production of nerve cells in the brain, including nerve cells that produce dopamine. The discovery, which is published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, may be significant in the long term for the treatment of several diseases, such as Parkinson's disease. The same scientists have previously shown that receptors known as "liver X receptors" or LXR, are necessary for the production of different types of nerve cells, or neurons, in the developing ventral midbrain. One these types, the midbrain dopamine-producing neurons play an important role in a number of diseases, such as Parkinson's disease.

What was not known, however, was which molecules stimulate LXR in the midbrain, such that the production of new nerve cells could be initiated. The scientists have used mass spectrometry and systematic experiments on zebrafish and mice to identify two molecules that bind to LXR and activate it. These two molecules are named cholic acid and 24,25-EC, and are bile acid and a derivate of cholesterol, respectively. Read more ..


The Edge of Autism

Neuroscientists Find Excessive Protein Synthesis Linked To Autistic-Like Behaviors

December 31st 2012

Autistic child

Autistic-like behaviors can be partially remedied by normalizing excessive levels of protein synthesis in the brain, a team of researchers has found in a study of laboratory mice. The findings, which appear in the latest issue of Nature, provide a pathway to the creation of pharmaceuticals aimed at treating autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that are associated with diminished social interaction skills, impaired communication ability, and repetitive behaviors.

"The creation of a drug to address ASD will be difficult, but these findings offer a potential route to get there," said Eric Klann, a professor at NYU's Center for Neural Science and the study's senior author. "We have not only confirmed a common link for several such disorders, but also have raised the exciting possibility that the behavioral afflictions of those individuals with ASD can be addressed." Read more ..


Ancient Times

Starvation Ended the Reign of Californian Sabretooth Cats

December 31st 2012

Sabretooth cats, PLos One

When prey is scarce, large carnivores may gnaw prey to the bone, wearing their teeth down in the process. A new analysis of the teeth of saber-toothed cats and American lions reveals that they did not resort to this behavior just before extinction, suggesting that lack of prey was probably not the main reason these large cats became extinct. The results, published in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Larisa DeSantis of Vanderbilt University and colleagues, compares tooth wear patterns from the fossil cats that roamed California 12,000 to 30,000 years ago.

The saber-toothed cat and American lion were among the largest terrestrial carnivores that lived during their time, and went extinct along with other large animals approximately 12,000 years ago. Read more ..


The Edge of Nature

Why Some Grasses Evolved A More Efficient Photosynthesis And Others Didn't

December 30th 2012

New Mexico irrigation

Even on the evolutionary time scale of tens of millions of years there is such a thing as being in the right shape at the right time. An anatomical difference in the ability to seize the moment, according to a study led by Brown University biologists, explains why more species in one broad group, or clade, of grasses evolved a more efficient means of photosynthesis than species in another clade did.

Their findings appear this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Biologists refer to the grasses that have evolved this better means of making their food in warm, sunny and dry conditions with the designation "C4." Grasses without that trait are labeled "C3."

What scientists had already known is that while all of the grasses in the BEP and PACMAD clades have the basic metabolic infrastructure to become C4 grasses, the species that have actually done so are entirely in the PACMAD clade. A four-nation group of scientists wondered why that disparity exists. Read more ..


The Edge of Science

Significant Scientific Breakthroughs of 2012 include Higgs Boson Particle

December 29th 2012

Planet-forming disk Artist's conception

The observation of an elusive sub-atomic particle, known as the Higgs boson, has been heralded by the journal Science as the most important scientific discovery of 2012. This particle, which was first hypothesized more than 40 years ago, holds the key to explaining how other elementary particles (those that aren't made up of smaller particles), such as electrons and quarks, get their mass.

In addition to recognizing the detection of this particle as the 2012 Breakthrough of the Year, Science and its international nonprofit publisher, AAAS, have identified nine other groundbreaking scientific achievements from the past year and compiled them into a top 10 list that will appear in the 21 December issue.

Researchers unveiled evidence of the Higgs boson on 4 July, fitting into place the last missing piece of a puzzle that physicists call the standard model of particle physics. This theory explains how particles interact via electromagnetic forces, weak nuclear forces and strong nuclear forces in order to make up matter in the universe. However, until this year, researchers could not explain how the elementary particles involved got their mass. Read more ..


Ancient America

Ancient Smokers Preferred Imported Pipes

December 29th 2012

ancient American pipe

In the early 1900s, an archaeologist, William Mills, dug up a treasure-trove of carved stone pipes that had been buried almost 2,000 years earlier. Mills was the first to dig the Native American site, called Tremper Mound, in southern Ohio. And when he inspected the pipes, he made a reasonable – but untested – assumption. The pipes looked as if they had been carved from local stone, and so he said they were. That assumption, first published in 1916, has been repeated in scientific publications to this day. But according to a new analysis, Mills was wrong.

Illinois State Archaeological Survey director Thomas Emerson and his colleagues discovered that pipestone pipes buried roughly 2,100 years ago in a mound site in southeast Ohio came from stone gathered in northern Illinois. In a new study, the first to actually test the stone pipes and pipestone from quarries across the upper Midwest, researchers conclude that those who buried the pipes in Tremper Mound got most of their pipestone – and perhaps even the finished, carved pipes – from Illinois. Read more ..


The Environmental Edge

Revolutionary New Air Cleaner for Pollution Wracked Europe

December 29th 2012

Smog and Pollution2

Industries across Europe are threatened with shutdown as European Union emission rules for Volatile Organic Compounds are tightened. Now an air cleaning invention from the has proven its ability to remove these compounds. And in the process they have helped a business in Danish town Aarhus improve relations to angry neighbors. Inventor, Copenhagen chemist Matthew Johnson, presented evidence for the air cleaning invention at the rcent conference "First International Education Forum on Environment and Energy Science" held in Hawaii.

In deepest secrecy the inventor Matthew Johnson from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen has been collaborating with an investor, INFUSER, in mounting and testing a revolutionary air cleaning device at the industrial plant, "Jysk Miljoerens" in Danish town Aarhus. Read more ..


The Edge of Space

Private Enterprise Poised to Take Customers to the Moon and Back

December 28th 2012

Moon

The last time a human went to the moon was 40 years ago this month. Now, a private U.S. company called Golden Spike is trying to reignite interest by creating a transport system to the moon that any nation can use. RFE/RL correspondent Charles Recknagel spoke to Golden Spike's business manager, Max Vozoff, to learn more.

RFE/RL: Your company, Golden Spike, announced earlier this month that it hopes to build a rocket system that will be able to fly two-person crews to the moon and back for a price of $1.5 billion per flight by 2020. You hope to interest nations around the world in renting your service to send their own astronauts to the moon. But which nations and to do what?

Max Vozoff: There are half-a-dozen nations that are sending robotic spacecraft to the moon in this decade alone, with orbiters and landers, and the price tags on all of those missions are right in the ballpark of what we are proposing in order to send two people to the moon. Read more ..


The Efge of Space

Space Turbulence Detected

December 27th 2012

Red Giant engulfs one of its planets

Imagine riding in an airplane as the plane is jolted back and forth by gusts of wind that you can’t prove exist but are there nonetheless. Similar turbulence exists in space, and a research team led by the University of Iowa reports to have directly measured it for the first time in the laboratory.

“Turbulence is not restricted to environments here on Earth, but also arises pervasively throughout the solar system and beyond, driving chaotic motions in the ionized gas, or plasma, that fills the universe,” says Gregory Howes, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the UI and lead author of the paper to be published Dec. 17 in the online edition of Physical Review Letters, the journal of the American Physical Society. “It is thought to play a key role in heating the atmosphere of the sun, the solar corona, to temperatures of a million degrees Celsius, nearly a thousand times hotter than the surface of the sun." Read more ..


Technology Edge

New Video Technology Makes Visible the Invisible

December 27th 2012

enhanced video technology

At this summer's Siggraph — the premier computer-graphics conference — researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) will present new software that amplifies variations in successive frames of video that are imperceptible to the naked eye.

So, for instance, the software makes it possible to actually "see" someone's pulse, as the skin reddens and pales with the flow of blood, and it can exaggerate tiny motions, making visible the vibrations of individual guitar strings or the breathing of a swaddled infant in a neonatal intensive care unit. Read more ..


The Automotive Edge

Easily Readable Dashboards Make Driving Safer

December 27th 2012

driving dashboard simulator

Typeface aficionados perceive major differences among fonts that look broadly similar to the rest of us. Now an MIT study suggests that when it comes to the typefaces used on auto dashboards, such differences might not be just an aesthetic matter, but a vital safety matter.

In recent tests, researchers with MIT’s AgeLab have found that dashboard displays using the more open and differentiated lettering found in the “humanist” family of typefaces are easier for people to read quickly than displays using the more uniform and tightly spaced letters of the “square grotesque” style. Male drivers, in particular, can process messages in humanist lettering about 10 percent faster, on average. That might not sound like a lot, but under highway conditions automobiles will cover about 50 feet in the time it takes drivers to process the less user-friendly messages. In some circumstances, that could be the difference between an accident and a near miss on the road. Read more ..


The Edge of Medicine

Building Blood Vessels with Stem Cells

December 26th 2012

Research and Development Chemistry

owing new blood vessels in the lab is a tough challenge, but a Johns Hopkins engineering team has solved a major stumbling block: how to prod stem cells to become two different types of tissue that are needed to build tiny networks of veins and arteries.

The team’s solution is detailed in an article appearing in the January 2013 print edition of the journal Cardiovascular Research. The article also was published recently in the journal’s online edition. The work is important because networks of new blood vessels, assembled in the lab for transplanting into patients, could be a boon to people whose circulatory systems have been damaged by heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses.

“That’s our long-term goal—to give doctors a new tool to treat patients who have problems in the pipelines that carry blood through their bodies,” said Sharon Gerecht, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering who led the research team. “Finding out how to steer these stem cells into becoming critical building blocks to make these blood vessel networks is an important step.” Read more ..


The Edge fo Space

How Aging Stars Manage to Still Look Young

December 25th 2012

First stars form after Big Bang

The aging of star clusters is linked more with their lifestyle than with how old they actually are, according to a new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope study coauthored by Steinn Sigurdsson, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State. "Our observations of star clusters have shown us that, although they all formed over ten billion years ago, some of them are still young at heart," Sigurdsson said. "We now can see how fast the clusters are racing toward their final collapse. It is as if each cluster has its own internal clock, some of which are ticking slower than others." Sigurdsson is a Penn State theorist working in collaboration with the European Research Council's Cosmic-Lab project.

Globular clusters are spherical collections of stars, tightly bound to each other by their mutual gravity. The roughly 150 globular clusters in the Milky Way contain many of our galaxy's oldest stars. These 12-to-13 billion-year-old relics of the early universe are nearly as old as the Big Bang. "Although these clusters all formed billions of years ago, we wondered whether some clusters might be aging faster or slower than others," said Francesco Ferraro of the University of Bologna in Italy, the leader of the team that made the discovery. Read more ..


The Edge of Recycling

Making Bricks from Paper Waste

December 24th 2012

Paper Stack

Researchers at the University of Jaen (Spain) have mixed waste from the paper industry with ceramic material used in the construction industry. The result is a brick that has low thermal conductivity meaning it acts as a good insulator. However, its mechanical resistance still requires improvement.

"The use of paper industry waste could bring about economic and environmental benefits as it means that material considered as waste can be reused as raw material." – This is one of the conclusions of the study developed by researchers at the Upper Polytechnic School of Linares (University of Jaen), which has been published in the 'Fuel Processing Technology' journal.

The scientists collected cellulous waste from a paper factory (recycled waste in this case) along with sludge from the purification of its waste water. In their laboratory they then mixed this material with clay used in construction and passed the mixture through a pressure and extrusion machine to obtain bricks. Read more ..


The Edge of Climate Change

Amazonian Rainforest Shows Resilience to Global Warming

December 23rd 2012

Click to select Image

A new genetic analysis has revealed that many Amazon tree species are likely to survive human-caused climate warming in the coming century, contrary to previous findings that temperature increases would cause them to die out. However, the authors of the new study warn that extreme drought and forest fires will impact Amazonia as temperatures rise, and the over-exploitation of the region's resources continues to be a major threat to its future. Conservation policy for the Amazon should remain focused on reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions and preventing deforestation, they said.

The study by University of Michigan evolutionary biologist Christopher Dick and his colleagues demonstrates the surprising age of some Amazonian tree species – more than 8 million years – and thereby shows that they have survived previous periods as warm as many of the global warming scenarios forecast for the year 2100. The new study is at odds with earlier papers, based on ecological niche-modeling scenarios, which predicted tree species extinctions in response to relatively small increases in global average air temperatures. Read more ..


The Health Edge

Invisible Scalpel from Sound Converted from Light with Carbon-Nano Technology

December 23rd 2012

Surgery

A carbon-nanotube-coated lens that converts light to sound can focus high-pressure sound waves to finer points than ever before. The University of Michigan engineering researchers who developed the new therapeutic ultrasound approach say it could lead to an invisible knife for noninvasive surgery.

Today's ultrasound technology enables far more than glimpses into the womb. Doctors routinely use focused sound waves to blast apart kidney stones and prostate tumors, for example. The tools work primarily by focusing sound waves tightly enough to generate heat, says Jay Guo, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, mechanical engineering, and macromolecular science and engineering. Guo is a co-author of a paper on the new technique published in the current issue of Nature's journal Scientific Reports. Read more ..


The Edge of Nature

Looking for Gold? Follow the Ants

December 23rd 2012

Ant slaves rebel

Ant and termite nests show evidence of gold hidden deep underground in new research conducted by CSIRO. Research published in science journals PLoS ONE and Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis, found that at a test site in the West Australian goldfields termite mounds contained high concentrations of gold. This gold indicates there is a larger deposit underneath.

"We're using insects to help find new gold and other mineral deposits. These resources are becoming increasingly hard to find because much of the Australian landscape is covered by a layer of eroded material that masks what's going on deeper underground," Dr Aaron Stewart, CSIRO entomologist said.

"The insects bring up small particles that contain gold from the deposit's fingerprint, or halo, and effectively stockpile it in their mounds," Dr Stewart said.

Termites and ants burrow into this layer of material where a fingerprint of the underlying gold deposit is found, and bring traces of this fingerprint to the surface. "Our recent research has shown that small ant and termite mounds that may not look like much on the surface, are just as valuable in finding gold as the large African mounds are that stand several metres tall." Read more ..


The Genetic Edge

Most Crucial Genetic Mutations Occured within past 5,000 to 10,000 Years

December 22nd 2012

Eyeball Surveillance

A study dating the age of more than 1 million single-letter variations in the human DNA code reveals that most of these mutations are of recent origin, evolutionarily speaking. These kinds of mutations change one nucleotide – an A, C, T or G – in the DNA sequence. Over 86 percent of the harmful protein-coding mutations of this type arose in humans just during the past 5,000 to 10,000 years.

Some of the remaining mutations of this nature may have no effect on people, and a few might be beneficial, according to the project researchers. While each specific mutation is rare, the findings suggest that the human population acquired an abundance of these single-nucleotide genetic variants in a relatively short time.

"The spectrum of human diversity that exists today is vastly different than what it was only 200 to 400 generations ago," said Dr. Joshua Akey, associate professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is one of several leaders of a multi-institutional effort among evolutionary geneticists to date the first appearance of a multitude of single nucleotide variants in the human population. Read more ..



See Earlier Stories 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44

Copyright © 2007-2017The Cutting Edge News About Us