Sunday, October 01, 2006

Science Sunday: Wrap-up of recent advancements in science from EurekAlert!

MIT: engine on a chip promises to best the battery:

MIT researchers are putting a tiny gas-turbine engine inside a silicon chip about the size of a quarter. The resulting device could run 10 times longer than a battery of the same weight can, powering laptops, cell phones, radios and other electronic devices.

Copper circuits help brain function -- could tweaking the circuits make us smarter?:

The flow of copper in the brain has a previously unrecognized role in cell death, learning and memory, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The researchers' findings suggest that copper and its transporter, a protein called Atp7a, are vital to human thinking. They speculate that variations in the genes coding for Atp7a, as well as other proteins of copper homeostasis, could partially account for differences in thinking among individuals.

Solved: The mystery of flesh-eating bacteria's relentless attack:

A Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) international research scholar in Israel has discovered one reason why so-called "flesh-eating" bacteria are so hard to stop.

An infectious agent of deception, exposed through proteomics:

How Salmonella escapes detection by macrophages, turning predator cells to prey complicit in promoting infection, has seemed impossibly complicated, a needle-in-a-haystack proposition involving thousands of proteins, the building blocks that carry out cells' vital functions. Now, applying the high-volume sorting and analytical power of proteomics -- a detailed survey of microbial proteins present in the 24 hours that follow mouse-macrophage infection -- a team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has turned up a suspect protein.

Swedish researcher launches unique search engine for the Web:

The Sweden-based company Polar Rose will soon be introducing a Web-based search engine that can find photographs of people by analyzing pictures and identifying faces. The search engine­ -- which will be the first of its kind in the world­ -- is the result of research carried out by Jan Erik Solem at Technology and Society, Malmö University College. He will publicly defend his thesis on Friday, September 29.

Study identifies part of brain responsible for tone deafness:

A new study has discovered that the brains of people suffering from tone deafness are in fact lacking in white matter. The study published in the current issue of Brain was conducted by a team of researchers from the Université de Montréal, the Montreal Neurological Institute and the Newcastle University Medical School.

Bacteria for better ice cream and artificial snow no longer depends on trek to poles:

The search for a type of bacteria that creates better ice cream and artificial snow has suddenly become a lot easier, thanks to a discovery by Queen's University biologist Virginia Walker.

Study shows internet to be resilient against terror attack:

Researchers have simulated what would happen to Internet reliability in the United States if terrorists were able to knock out various physical components of the network. The good news is that it would be very difficult to cause major disruptions across the country, although destruction of some key parts could seriously degrade Internet quality. "When it comes to the Internet, there is strength in numbers," said the co-author of the study.

Scientists use gene signatures to match cancer and other diseases with potentially effective drugs:

In one of the most ambitious spinoffs of the human genome project, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Children's Hospital Boston, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and other collaborating centers have unveiled a new, systematic approach to drug discovery that matches diseases with potential treatments using a universal language based on cells' distinctive gene activity profiles, or "signatures."

Entanglement unties a tough quantum computing problem:

Error correction coding is a fundamental process that underlies all of information science, but the task of adapting classical codes to quantum computing has long bumped up against what seemed to be a fundamental limitation. But a new approach by three theorists working at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering dramatically changes the rules of the game. Adding entangled photons as part of the message stream, they report in Science, opens the door to use of the entire error coding playbook.

Bose-Einstein condensation in the solid state:

New experimental research shows that half-matter, half-light quasi-particles called polaritons show compelling evidence of Bose-Einstein condensation at the relatively high temperature of 19 degrees Kelvin. The creation of a polariton Bose-Einstein condensate in the solid state provides scientists with a unique opportunity to better understand and possibly exploit the quantum effects that occur in these very special conditions.

Tarantulas produce silk from their feet:

Researchers have found for the first time that tarantulas can produce silk from their feet as well as their spinnerets, a discovery with profound implications for why spiders began to spin silk in the first place.

It might could is!!!:

Scientists of the CDF collaboration at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced today (September 25, 2006) that they have met the exacting standard to claim discovery of astonishingly rapid transitions between matter and antimatter: 3 trillion oscillations per second.



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