The Agricultural Lab of the Future
GE, Panasonic, Toshiba and Fujitsu—one can easily point out the similarities between these companies. They have long been recognized and heralded for their work in the electronics and semiconductor industry. However, given their recent investments, it’s possible that this editorial written 20 years down the road may reflect on these companies as agricultural powerhouses instead. Recently, each company has started an indoor vegetable farm to provide pesticide-free leafy veggies. The response so far has been positive, and the future looks bright enough that we may be seeing a new type of “lab of the future.”
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/blogs/2014/08/agricultural-lab-future
A Plastic World
A quote that has stuck with me for a long time is the one where a business partner (Mr. McGuire) of Benjamin Braddock’s father in the movie “The Graduate” advises Ben (played by Dustin Hoffman) at his graduation party that he, “just wants to say one word to you…..[and that word is] plastics.” Plastics in 1967, when this movie was made, was at the beginning of a substantial growth curve, and Mr. McGuire thought it had a great future.
Guest Blog: Metal Oxide Nanoparticles in Food Won’t Kill You
Recently Mother Jones published an article on the dangers of food laced with tiny metal oxide particles. The article, however, is laced with errors and misinformation.
The source material for the article came from a report by the environmental organization Friends of the Earth, an online database of nanotechnology-based consumer products and a peer-reviewed paper published in 2012. But, the analysis of the information is flawed.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/blogs/2014/06/guest-blog-metal-oxide-nanoparticles-food-wont-kill-you
Promise or Curse?
Animal testing—just those two words are likely to stir the pot for vocal activists who are against all types of testing on animals for any reason; and those less vocal supporters of animal testing who cite the advances in human suffering and longevity animal testing has brought in the past century. Activists cite technological advances as possible alternatives to animal testing, like the announcement at the recent American Chemical Society national meeting by Empiriko’s Mukund Chorghade of their in vitro chemosynthetic livers (Biomimiks) that could reduce the animal-based toxicity testing on new drugs before taking them into clinical trials. The company has tested their synthetic livers, which act similarly to a group of enzymes known as cytochrome P450, on about 50 pharmaceutical compounds with comparable results to those obtained in live animal testing. They need testing results from 100 different compounds before they’re allowed to submit it to the FDA for approval, who would then go through their own analysis. This announcement resulted in a plethora of media announcements citing a possible end to animal testing for drug discovery.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/blogs/2014/04/promise-or-curse
Jet Stream Convulsions
The jet stream is the primary driver for most weather patterns and this winter its departure from the normal lateral (west to east) movement and variations seen over the past few decades appears to have effected longer lasting stable flows with stronger and deeper north to south changes. The jet stream’s northerly flows along the U.S. Pacific coast have resulted in less rainfall in California and a significantly warmer southern Alaska region. As the jet stream reversed its flow over central northern Canada, it brought with it the Polar Vortex, resulting in long-lasting cold spells into the deep south and then strong winter storms along the eastern seaboard as it reversed once again.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/blogs/2014/03/jet-stream-convulsions
Breaking Down Barriers
Centenarians are the new 65. Children being born now could live to be 150 or even forever. These are headlines touting the technologies being developed that could allow people to live far beyond the current averages of 71.8 years for men and 78.8 years for women, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Of course if you live in the District of Columbia, those numbers are currently significantly lower (62.0 and 74.2 respectively) or if you live in Hawaii, the numbers are substantially higher (75.4 and 81.3).
Of course, prolonging life must go hand-in-hand with ensuring quality of life and contribution to society to guarantee that we don’t become a society relegated to the young being burdened with taking care of the old and infirm citizenry. Currently, however, prolonging life has become easier than increasing (or at the minimum of maintaining) the physical and mental abilities of senior citizens. Drugs for maintaining bodily functions (and directly as a result, increasing longevity) are now readily available and affordable and quite successfully deployed to millions of senior citizens. This maintenance of bodily functions includes those for heart, liver, kidney, endocrine and other essential organs. There are also a multitude of increasingly successful implants and joint replacements that provide a modicum of mobility to those seniors needing these improvements.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/blogs/2013/06/breaking-down-barriers
Guest Blog: Lab Safety: Must We Learn from our Mistakes?
All chemists will agree that laboratory safety is the first priority when it comes to experimentation in the lab. Proper practice, lab safety equipment and supervision are necessities when working in the lab. Most of all, prior preparation will assure that an accident doesn’t take place. Looking at recent laboratory accidents and tragedies, it seems that chemists are still learning lab safety the hard way. By analyzing these students’ mistakes, many chemists can avoid these types of occurrences in the future.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/blogs/2013/05/lab-safety-must-we-learn-our-mistakes
Editor’s Corner: Greener 2013 or Not?
Researchers continue to uncover bits and pieces of our changing environment—an environment that’s changing because of human effects. Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, for example, have found that melt water from glaciers and ice sheets could be an unexpectedly large source of iron to the North Atlantic. The iron input from the glaciers, which is several magnitudes higher than previously found, can stimulate plankton growth during spring and summer since these organisms rely on iron as an essential nutrient. The researchers are unsure of the biogeochemical effects of this melt water discharge, but it is an added result of global warming.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/blogs/2013/04/greener-2013-or-not
Combining and Creating New Knowledge
Technologies continue to advance across a wide range of areas. Two that are particularly intriguing are space and computer technologies. Space technologies are intriguing because of the highly competitive and increasingly international nature. In an area mostly dominated in the past by U.S. and Russian spacecrafts and technologies, the space technology arena has become convoluted and integrated, especially with the retirement of the U.S. space shuttle and the rapid rise of the Chinese space industry. China and the U.S. each launched about 20 major spacecrafts in 2012, and both expect to do about the same in 2013. U.S. spacecrafts are launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., Vandenberg AFB, Calif., Wallops Island, Va., the recently revived Sea Launch systems in the Pacific Ocean and several other smaller sites. China has three main spaceports and is building a fourth in Hainan. Russia has four main launch sites, Japan has two and seven other countries have their own as well.
Read complete article by Tim Studt here: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/blogs/2013/01/combining-and-creating-new-knowledge
Collaboration in the Information Age
Collaboration is, unfortunately, not as common as hoped for in the scientific community. Some researchers are quick to point out the detrimental effects, such as the difficulty young authors face in highlighting their work when they are four pages down on the author list, or the funding eligibility issues that may arise in such a partnership. The increase of scientific capability in non-traditional powerhouse countries, like China and Russia, raises additional concerns when it comes to data sharing. But like most things, there is a time and place for collaboration—and that’s in genomics.
We’ve lived in an “omics” age ever since the Human Genome Project (HGP) yielded the first human sequencing data more than a decade ago. In 2004, the last piece of the HGP puzzle was released, and that’s when our scientific landscape started shifting. With the advent of increasingly powerful computers, better software and enhanced methods, the “omics age” has given way to what is now being called the “information age” of genetics.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/blogs/2012/12/collaboration-information-age
Every research manager knows that most research projects are fraught with risk. But, with today’s high-performance computer modeling, simulation, analytical and technological proficiency capabilities, there are times when to fail in a research endeavor is now considered unacceptable. The oft-times massive investments now required for large-scale research endeavors can cause equally massive losses when those projects, products or processes fail to meet design goals. But in many cases, the easy to design and develop products, like new pharmaceuticals or state-of-the-art aerodynamic vehicles, were developed years ago, so the products being designed now are increasingly complex, sophisticated and more difficult to quantify. Currently designed products need to go faster, higher, be stronger and last longer, all the while having significantly fewer negative side effects on people, the environment and the pocketbook.
Read complete article by Tim Studt here: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/blogs/2012/09/increasingly-risky-research
National Chemistry Week During IYC 2011
This year is the 100th anniversary of Marie Curie winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Association of Chemical Societies. With such important anniversaries, 2011 has been dubbed the International Year of Chemistry (IYC 2011). The American Chemical Society (ACS) is paying tribute with interactive websites for everyone to enjoy.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/corner-National-Chemistry-Week-During-IYC-2011-101711.aspx