Univ. of Oregon chemists have devised a way to see the internal structures of electronic waves trapped in carbon nanotubes by external electrostatic charges.
Carbon nanotubes have been touted as exceptional materials with unique properties that allow for extremely efficient charge and energy transport, with the potential to open the way for new, more efficient types of electronic and photovoltaic devices. However, these traps, or defects, in ultra-thin nanotubes can compromise their effectiveness.
Peanuts in Dust Linked to Allergy in Kids with Mutation
A new study led by researchers at King’s College London in collaboration with the Univ. of Manchester and the Univ. of Dundee has found a strong link between exposure to peanut protein in household dust during infancy and the development of peanut allergy in children genetically predisposed to a skin barrier defect.
Around 2 percent of school children in the UK and the U.S. are allergic to peanuts. Severe eczema in early infancy has been linked to food allergies, particularly peanut allergy. A major break-through in the understanding of eczema developed with the discovery of the FLG gene which codes for the skin barrier protein filaggrin. Mutations in the FLG gene result in an impaired skin barrier which is thought to allow allergens to penetrate the skin and predispose the body towards an allergic response.
If growing vegetables in a box with no soil and out of direct sunlight sounds a little fishy, well, it is. Aquaponics is a relatively new way of intensified farming that combines aquaculture and hydroponics, according to Joe Masabni of College Station, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service vegetable specialist.
“We are combining fish, which is the aquaculture, and hydroponics, which is vegetable production in soilless media,” Masabni said. “Whether it’s running water through pipes or a flood-and-drain system, the idea is to combine the two where the fish waste becomes food for the plants, and the plant roots clean the water by absorbing all the nutrients. The water then is recycled back to the fish.”
Faster, more accurate and more consistent instrumentation is key to capitalizing on and furthering the advancements of the nanotechnology industry.
Nanotechnology is one of the most innovative developments of our time—it revolutionizes industries such as materials science, pharmaceutics, food, pigments and semi-conductor technology. Nanotechnology deals with particles in a range from 1 to 100 nm. These particles possess special properties because of their size, as their surface is greatly enlarged in relation to their volume (so-called “size-induced functionalities”). Ultrafine particles are, for example, harder and more break-resistant than larger particles. Nanotechnology brings effects that occur in nature to a commercial scale—for example, the lotus effect: nanocoated fabrics or paints that are water- and dirt-repellent, just like the lotus flower.
Crewed missions to Mars remain an essential goal for NASA, but scientists are only now beginning to understand and characterize the radiation hazards that could make such ventures risky, concludes a new paper by Univ. of New Hampshire scientists.
In the paper, published online in the journal Space Weather, associate professor Nathan Schwadron of the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS) and the department of physics says that, because of a highly abnormal and extended lack of solar activity, the solar wind is exhibiting extremely low densities and magnetic field strengths, which causes dangerous levels of hazardous radiation to pervade the space environment.
Shift Workers Should Skip High-iron Foods at Night
Workers punching in for the graveyard shift may be better off not eating high-iron foods at night so they don’t disrupt the circadian clock in their livers.
Disrupted circadian clocks, researchers believe, are the reason that shift workers experience higher incidences of type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer. The body’s primary circadian clock, which regulates sleep and eating, is in the brain. But other body tissues also have circadian clocks, including the liver, which regulates blood glucose levels.
Europeans Lactose Intolerant 5k Years Post Farming
By analyzing DNA extracted from the petrous bones of skulls of ancient Europeans, scientists have identified that these peoples remained intolerant to lactose (natural sugar in the milk of mammals) for 5,000 years after they adopted agricultural practices and 4,000 years after the onset of cheese-making among Central European Neolithic farmers.
The find, published online in the scientific journal Nature Communications, also suggests that major technological transitions in Central Europe between the Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age were also associated with major changes in the genetics of these populations.
Image of the Week: Simulations Reveal Unusual Death for Stars
Massive primordial stars, between 55,000 and 56,000 times the mass of our Sun, may have died unusually. In death, these objects — among the universe’s first generation of stars — would have exploded as supernovae and burned completely, leaving no remnant black hole behind.
Astrophysicists at the UC Santa Cruz and the Univ. of Minnesota came to this conclusion after running a number of supercomputer simulations at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) and Minnesota Supercomputing Institute. They relied extensively on CASTRO, a compressible astrophysics code developed at the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (Berkeley Lab’s) Computational Research Division (CRD). Their findings were recently published in the Astrophysical Journal (ApJ).
Listeria are extremely undemanding bacteria. In low amounts they are present almost everywhere, including soil and water. In order to better understand how Listeria spread, a group of scientists from the Institute of Milk Hygiene at the Univ. of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna collected soil and water samples throughout Austria. Their study revealed a higher detection of Listeria in soil and water samples during periods of flooding. The researchers also found antibiotic-resistant strains of Listeria in soil samples. The data were published in the journal Applied Environmental Microbiology.
The literature describes Listeria as ubiquitous bacteria with widespread occurrence. Yet they only become a problem for humans and animals when they contaminate food processing facilities, multiply and enter the food chain in high concentrations. An infection with Listeria monocytogenes can even be fatal for humans or animals with weakened immune systems.
"There are a lot of new areas to tackle in the technology space, and in the industries and types of problems we tackle. I really believe we are just scratching the surface, and I can’t wait to see what Watson will transform next."
INSIDE THE INVENTIVE MIND Leanne LeBlanc Product Manager IBM Watson Solutions
The key to creating a material that would be ideal for converting solar energy to heat is tuning the material’s spectrum of absorption just right. It should absorb virtually all wavelengths of light that reach Earth’s surface from the sun — but not much of the rest of the spectrum, since that would increase the energy that is reradiated by the material, and thus lost to the conversion process.
Now, researchers at MIT say they have accomplished the development of a material that comes very close to the “ideal” for solar absorption. The material is a two-dimensional metallic dielectric photonic crystal, and has the additional benefits of absorbing sunlight from a wide range of angles and withstanding extremely high temperatures. Perhaps most importantly, the material can also be made cheaply at large scales.
Dolphins are sensitive to magnetic stimuli and they behave differently when swimming near magnetized objects, according to Dorothee Kremers and her colleagues at Ethos unit of the Université de Rennes. They work appears in Springer’s journal Naturwissenschaften – The Science of Nature. Their research, conducted in the delphinarium of Planète Sauvage in France, provides experimental behavioral proof that these marine animals are magnetoreceptive.
Magnetoreception implies the ability to perceive a magnetic field. It is supposed to play an important role in how some land and aquatic species orientate and navigate themselves. Some observations of the migration routes of free-ranging cetaceans, such as whales, dolphins and porpoises, and their stranding sites suggested that they may also be sensitive to geomagnetic fields.
Droplets are simple spheres of fluid, not normally considered capable of doing anything on their own. But now, researchers have made droplets of alcohol move through water. In the future, such moving droplets may deliver medicines.
To be able to move on your own – to be self-moving – is a feature normally seen in living organisms. But also non-living entities can be self-moving, report researchers from Univ. of Southern Denmark and Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague, Czech Republic.
The number of days an expectant mother was deprived of electricity during Quebec’s 1998 Ice Storm predicts the epigenetic profile of her child, a new study found.
Scientists from the Douglas Mental Health Univ. Institute and McGill Univ. have detected a distinctive “signature” in the DNA of children born in the aftermath of the massive Quebec ice storm. Five months after the event, researchers recruited women who had been pregnant during the disaster and assessed their degrees of hardship and distress in a study called Project Ice Storm.
Brisbane researchers have developed a blood test that can accurately detect one of the commonest causes of hay fever, paving the way for new treatments.
The research, by The Univ. of Queensland and Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, promises relief to the sufferers who endure the annual misery of sneezing, runny noses and itchy eyes when the pollen count climbs.