Strong Solar Flare Eruption Caught on Video

Space.com - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 4:04pm
On January 28th, 2014, NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) witnessed an M-class flare, the strongest its seen since it was launched. The spacecraft studies the Sun's chromosphere.
Categories: Science

Jolla Announces Sailfish OS 1.0

Slashdot - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 4:04pm
An anonymous reader writes "Sailfish, the Linux-based mobile operating system developed by Finnish devicemaker Jolla, has reached version 1.0. Sailfish arose from the ashes of several failed and interrupted projects to bring a new, major Linux-based platform to mobile devices. It's already running on phones sold in India and Russia, but more importantly, Sailfish was designed to be easily ported to existing Android devices. It's also built to support many Android apps. Jolla will begin providing complete firmware downloads during the first half of the year."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Shocking behavior of a runaway star: High-speed encounter creates arc

Science Daily - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 4:01pm
Roguish runaway stars can have a big impact on their surroundings as they plunge through the Milky Way galaxy. Their high-speed encounters shock the galaxy, creating arcs, as seen in a newly released image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
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What has happened to the tsunami debris from Japan?

Science Daily - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:39pm
The amount of debris in the ocean is growing exponentially, becoming more and more hazardous and harmful to marine life and therefore to our ocean food source. Measuring and tracking the movements of such debris are still in their infancy. The driftage generated by the tragic 2011 tsunami in Japan gave scientists a unique chance to learn about the effects of the ocean and wind on floating materials as they move across the North Pacific Ocean.
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Schizophrenics at greater risk of getting diseases

Science Daily - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:39pm
People suffering from schizophrenia have an increased risk of contracting autoimmune diseases, especially if they have suffered from a severe infection, new research based on data sets covering the majority of the Danish population shows. With the aid of these large data sets, the researchers have been able to show certain correlations with great statistical certainty, but the study does not provide a definitive explanation for why schizophrenics have such an increased risk of contracting these diseases, except to suggest that lifestyle, genetics and the disease itself may contribute to the complicated situation.
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Team sport compensates for estrogen loss

Science Daily - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:39pm
When women enter menopause, their estrogen levels taper. This increases their risk of cardiovascular disease. New research shows that interval-based team sport can make up for this estrogen loss as it improves their conditions, reduces blood pressure and thereby protects the cardiovascular system.
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Degradation of viral DNA in cell nucleus opening up new treatment for hepatitis B

Science Daily - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:39pm
Viruses such as HBV can persist by depositing their genetic information (DNA) in the cell nucleus, where the DNA is normally not degraded. This prevents antiviral drugs from eliminating these viruses. But a newly discovered mechanism could make this possible without damaging the infected cell in the liver, possibly opening up new therapeutic possibilities.
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Newly discovered marsupial the victim of fatal attraction: Due to stress hormone, males die before young are born

Science Daily - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:39pm
A highly sexed mouse-like marsupial in Queensland's Springbrook National Park, Australia, has been discovered by a mammalogist. The rare, Black-tailed Antechinus is a rare, mouse-like marsupial with a deadly mating habit. "A single female's brood of young will typically be sired by several fathers. But during mating, stress hormone levels rise dramatically, eventually causing the males' bodies to shut down. The males all die before their young are born," found the researchers.
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Temperature and ecology: Rival Chilean barnacles keep competition cool

Science Daily - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:39pm
A lot of research shows that temperature can strongly influence species interactions and sometimes shape the appearance and functioning of biological communities. That's why a newly published finding that changes in temperature did not alter the competitive balance of power between two rival species of Chilean barnacles is an ecological surprise.
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Developmental gene influences sperm formation, fruit fly model demonstrates

Science Daily - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:38pm
The basic regulatory mechanisms of stem cell differentiation have been under investigation using the Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly as a model organism. Researchers were able to show how a special developmental gene from the Hox family influences germline stem cells. These cells are responsible for sperm formation. The scientists found that impairment of Hox gene function resulted in prematurely aged sperms.
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Drawing the map of West African Internet

Science Daily - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:38pm
Internet has nowadays become a booster of development. This knowledge sharing space allows people to communicate with ease anywhere and anytime, and it considerably reduces the prices of services while opening new horizons for progress: e-government, e-education, telemedicine, e-commerce, research, e-companies, remote assistance, e-tourism, etc. Its adoption and rapid expansion lower the rate of poverty in some developing countries, hence considered to be emergent.
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Jupiter will be at its highest point in the sky for many years to come

Science Daily - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:38pm
In just over a week, Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, will be at its highest point in the sky for many years to come. Near their closest to Earth, Jupiter and its moons will appear obvious in the sky, offering fantastic opportunities to view the giant planet through a telescope.
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Early warning system for epidemics: Risk map correlates environmental, health data

Science Daily - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:38pm
The environment has an impact on our health. Preventing epidemics relies on activating the right counter-measures, and scientists are now trying to find out how better use of forecasting can help. The EU’s EO2HEAVEN project developed a risk map for correlating environmental and health data in order to identify where a disease may break out next.
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Some employers find excuses to fire pregnant employees

Science Daily - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:37pm
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 makes it illegal in the United States for a woman to be fired just because she is pregnant. But that doesn’t stop it from happening, according to new research by two sociologists. What employers do to get around the law is vilify pregnant women as poor performers and tardy employees while also pointing to seemingly fair attendance policies and financial costs, their research shows. Pregnancy discrimination only compounds other gender-based employment inequalities women face in the workplace in areas such as hiring, wages and harassment, the authors argue.
Categories: Science

Physical therapy intervention reduces injury in custodial workers

Science Daily - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:37pm
An intervention to help minimize workplace injury for custodial workers, and decrease the costs associated, has been developed by a doctoral student. Repetitive motion injuries are a growing problem in the US, resulting in an average of 23 days away from work – three times the number of days from other injuries. Shoulder injuries are the most common repetitive motion injury reported and the second most frequent injury experienced by janitors and custodial workers. The program, which includes employers, occupational health, physical therapy, and the employee, are expected to make an impact and save costs while reducing personal injury.
Categories: Science

Significant increase in overdoses involving heroin in Kentucky, research finds

Science Daily - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:37pm
Emergency department overdose visits involving heroin climbed 197 percent, and heroin-related deaths climbed 207 percent in Kentucky in 2012, while benzodiazepines were associated with the highest number of emergency department visits and hospitalizations, according to new analysis. The spike in drug abuse and overdoses involving heroin is not unique to Kentucky. According to American data, the number of heroin users increased by up to 80 percent from 2007 to 2012. Many experts suspect a connection between increased heroin use and decreasing non-medical prescription opiate abuse.
Categories: Science

Heart in Darkness | Space Wallpaper

Space.com - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:20pm
This fascinating Chandra X-Ray Observatory space wallpaper of the young star cluster NGC 346 highlights a heart-shaped cloud of 8 million-degree Celsius gas in the central region.
Categories: Science

Making Sure Our Lab Equipment Isn't Tricking Us

Slashdot - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:20pm
An anonymous reader writes "In a newly published paper, MIT researchers propose an experiment that may close the last major loophole of Bell's inequality. The test is to see whether, as far-fetched as it sounds, a particle detector's settings conspire with events in the shared past to determine which properties of a particle to measure — a scenario that implies that a physicist running the experiment does not have complete free will in choosing each detector's setting. MIT’s David Kaiser says, 'It sounds creepy, but people realized that's a logical possibility that hasn't been closed yet. Before we make the leap to say the equations of quantum theory tell us the world is inescapably crazy and bizarre, have we closed every conceivable logical loophole, even if they may not seem plausible in the world we know today?' The test involves quasars, telescopes, and lots of deep, deep space. It was published this week in the journal Physical Review Letters (pre-print available at the arXiv)."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Space History Photo: Dr. Robert Goddard

Space.com - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 3:00pm
Dr. Robert Goddard, namesake for the Goddard Space Flight Center, is known as a pioneer in American Rocketry.
Categories: Science

A new micro-robotic technique for 3D-printing tissues

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 21/02/2014 - 2:50pm

Two-dimensional micro-robotic coding of hydrogels for bioprinting (credit: S. Tasoglu et al., Nature Communications)

A new magnetic micro-robotic technique for assembling components of the complex materials used in tissue engineering* and 3D printing of cell materials has been developed by Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Carnegie Mellon University.

Described in Nature Communications, the technique allows for precise construction of individual cell-encapsulating hydrogels (such as cell blocks).

Described in the Jan. 28, 2014, issue of Nature Communicationsthe research was conducted by Savas Tasoglu, PhD, MS, research fellow in the BWH Division of Renal Medicine, and Utkan Demirci, PhD, MS, associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Biomedical Engineering, part of the BWH Department of Medicine, in collaboration with Eric Diller, PhD, MS, and Metin Sitti, PhD, MS, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University.

The current process for “bioprinting” cells for tissues or organs (such as a pancreas) is limited because the process can’t be modified  or reversed. For example, misplacement of an ejected droplet or clogging can cause bioprinting to fail, the researchers say in the paper.

“Moreover, simultaneous coding of rigid and soft micro-components into 3D functional materials has presented a significant challenge,” the researchers said in the paper.

Micro-robotic construction of hydrogels

Motion of untethered magnetic micro-robot and coding of building units, for example, soft hydrogels or rigid micro-components. Scale bar, 1 mm. (Credit: S. Tasoglu et al./Nature Communications)

The researchers demonstrated that micro-robotic construction of cell-encapsulating hydrogels (used for used as scaffolds or supports for cells) can be performed without affecting cell vitality and proliferation.  The micro-robot, which is remotely controlled by magnetic fields, can move one hydrogel at a time to build structures. This is critical in tissue engineering, as human tissue architecture is complex, with different types of cells at various levels and locations.

They spatiotemporally coded a heterogeneous group of objects including rigid copper bars, polystyrene beads, silicon chiplets, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) blocks, and cell-encapsulating hydrogels in a fluid environment suitable for cell growth and culture.

Combining soft and rigid materials

This approach offers high precision in 2D and 3D, as well as the capability to code a combination of soft and rigid materials together, according to the researchers. The coding resolution is tens of microns and can be adjusted with the size of the micro-robot and the resolution of real-time imaging.

Numerous micro-robots can also be used together in creating a design that can be used by a bioprinter to generate tissue and other complex materials in the laboratory environment.

“Our work will revolutionize three-dimensional precise assembly of complex and heterogeneous tissue-engineering building blocks and serve to improve complexity and understanding of tissue engineering systems,” said Metin Sitti, professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Robotics Institute and head of CMU’s NanoRobotics Lab.

Broad applications in medicine, microscale manufacturing

“The coding and manipulation methodology developed here can find broad applications in areas such as diagnostics, regenerative medicine, microphysiological system engineering, pharmaceutical research, biological research, and microscale manufacturing,” Demirci explained to KurzweilAI in an email interview.

“The microrobot can scan among cells, manipulate them, remove targets or change their orientation at a scale what we could not control before. It can be thought of as a microscale tweezer that can pick and move cells and cellular aggregates in a 3-D fashion.

“Few of the previous [tissue-engineering] methods have shown the manipulation of building blocks (e.g., cell-encapsulating hydrogels) with a high precision at tens of microns, and none of them has yet presented the coding of a group of soft and rigid materials together with reconfigurability. There is no existing method to really manipulate cells or cell aggregates one by one with control over time and position. It can place a single cell encapsulating cell or a cell aggregate relative to another complex structure and place it precisely.

“This technology can be commercially available as a 3-D printer where you can supply various cell types and aggregates and the microrobot will precisely place them in a 3-D configuration. This allows one to be able to create scaffold-free high-cell-density constructs that mimic the native microenvironment and microarchitecture for applications for in vitro testing of drugs. An automated, simpler user interface control of micro-robot can be the first component to be integrated for making it a product for wider use in broad applications.”

* Tissue engineering and 3D printing have become vitally important to the future of medicine for many reasons. The shortage of available organs for transplantation, for example, leaves many patients on lengthy waiting lists for life-saving treatment. Being able to engineer organs using a patient’s own cells can alleviate this shortage and also address issues related to rejection of donated organs. Developing therapies and testing drugs using current preclinical models have limitations in reliability and predictability. Tissue engineering provides a more practical means for researchers to study cell behavior, such as cancer cell resistance to therapy, and test new drugs or combinations of drugs to treat many diseases.

Abstract of Nature Communications paper

Complex functional materials with three-dimensional micro- or nano-scale dynamic compositional features are prevalent in nature. However, the generation of three-dimensional functional materials composed of both soft and rigid microstructures, each programmed by shape and composition, is still an unsolved challenge. Here we describe a method to code complex materials in three-dimensions with tunable structural, morphological and chemical features using an untethered magnetic micro-robot remotely controlled by magnetic fields. This strategy allows the micro-robot to be introduced to arbitrary microfluidic environments for remote two- and three-dimensional manipulation. We demonstrate the coding of soft hydrogels, rigid copper bars, polystyrene beads and silicon chiplets into three-dimensional heterogeneous structures. We also use coded microstructures for bottom-up tissue engineering by generating cell-encapsulating constructs.

Categories: Science