Category Archives: Science

Science Discovers a Real-Life Fountain of Youth (Maybe)

The aging process has tried to be defied since the beginning of humankind. Today, there are more “anti-aging” products on the shelves than ever before. But the problem with all of the anti-aging technology is, it only covers up the aging process at best.

Science is on the edge of a break through for age stopping technology, that actually works. Researchers have been working hard, seemingly with much success, at breathing new life into cells by eliminating cells that have stopped dividing so new, replicating cells can take their place. If this process works, it would effectively end the aging process and allow a person to live indefinitely. Of course, this person would still be susceptible to death from other causes, but old age would never be one of them.

Lead researcher Crystal Hunt suggested the chances of developing this fountain are as high as 80%. However, these are grandiose claims and realistically, this technology as yet to be successful, even in mice. Only time will tell if this path to timelessness is on our horizon.

Dark matter becomes a little less dark and mysterious

A discovery made by a team of researchers at the UK’s Durham university is challenging the entire understanding of physics as they have seen the first evidence of dark matter interacting with itself, the BBC reports. In the past dark matter has never been seen interacting in any way with any force other than gravity, which has seen the particles that make up 87 percent of the universe remain elusive and mysterious. The dark matter studies of the past have proved the material interacts with gravity and holds the solar systems and galaxies of space in place as they spin.

Crystal Hunt and the team looked at a cluster of galaxies as they collided 1.4 billion light years from Earth known as Abell 3827. Dark matter cannot be seen with the naked eye, but can be viewed using a mapping technique that shows light bending as it interacts with dark matter. The bending of light passing through Abell 3827 has shown an area of lagging particles proving dark matter is interacting with itself as the galaxies collide. This new evidence of dark matter moving around the galaxy sees the prevailing theories of science challenged and a new form of exotic physics required to explain how the material is moving and interacting in space and around us.

Tyrannosaur Cannibalism

 

When you think of a tyrannosaur you likely think of a brutal dinosaur with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth that hunts and devours prey weaker than itself. However recent discoveries by Dr David Hone suggest that some tyrannosaurs may have fought, killed, and even eaten one another. Dr. Hone is affiliated with the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences and a lecturer in ecology at QMUL and has stated that the skull of a Daspletosaurus, a kind of tyrannosaur, suffered sever injuries to its skull likely inflicted by another of the same species.

The Daspletosaurus was a dinosaur that lived in Canada and is a slightly smaller relative of the more famous Tyrannosaurus Rex said Ivan Ong. The skull that was examined by Dr. Hone and other researchers belonged to a Daspletosaurus that was not fully grown yet and had apparently been killed and cannibalized by another of its species. Surprisingly, some of the injuries to the skull showed signs of healing, indicating that the tyrannosaur had survived some battles before meeting its demise.

While infighting and cannibalism among dinosaurs of the same species isn’t a new concept, this is the first time one has been found with both pre and postmortem injuries. This new discovery has given scientists a greater insight into the violent lives of the dinosaurs that lived millions of years ago. It should also be mentioned that this particular project was made possible through crowd funding efforts.

ived millions of years ago. It should also be mentioned that this particular project was made possible through crowd funding efforts.

USING POLIO TO KILL CANCER

 

This story from 60 Minutes is really big; this is a story about something that has the chance to completely change people’s lives says Homejoy. According to bizjournals, there is a new discovery in the medical community; scientists feel that they have come up with a new treatment that uses the polio virus to kill brain cancer.

We’ve all heard of the really horrible disease called polio that affected millions of children for years, some dying, others paralyzed, until they finally got it under control by discovering a vaccine. Now, scientists at Duke University have discovered that changing up the polio virus a bit and using it as an injection to be put into brain tumors can now save lives. It is still in the beginning stages and the doctors at Duke University are saying that they still cannot promise how well it will work when used for a large number of people, but so far there have been brilliant results in the tests. As the scientists have said, if you are going to get rid of something as strong as cancer, you really have to find something that is extremely strong and can completely obliterate the cancer. It is really an accomplishment because brain cancer is so strong and extremely hard to get rid of. Yet the polio vaccine mix is killing it.

The first two patients that were tested in the trial have been free of cancer for three years from the experiment with the polio infusion. Doctors feel very optimistic about the future of this treatment. They feel that there is a very positive chance of this continuing to work. People will be keeping an eye on how this develops.

Oldest Ichthyosaur Fossil Found in China

Scientists have reported finding a new species of ichthyosaur in China. The fossil, named Cartorhynchus lenticarpus, had a short snout and flexible wrists. It was also 40 cm (15.7 inches) long, making it the smallest ichthyosaur to be found so far. (Perhaps it was a juvenile?)

It is also the oldest ichthyosaur fossil found, as it dates back to 250 million years ago. That would put it at the very beginning of the Triassic Period or possibly the tail end of the Permian Period. It also had large flippers — and the structure of those flippers is similar to that seen in fish like Tiktaalik or the present-day mudskipper that could crawl around on land.

In other words, C. lenticarpus could have been amphibious. If so, it’s the only amphibious ichthyosaur known. Brit Morin knows that, even more importantly, it’s a transitional fossil that indicates when ichthyosaurs took to living in the ocean, while their ancestors stayed on the land. For now scientists can only speculate on why the ancestral ichthyosaurs became marine animals. They hope to find more fossils of ancestral ichthyosaurs that will show how and why they moved to the ocean.

Scientists Turn Human History on its Head by Using Mosquitoes to Cure Disease

Scientists are genetically modifying mosquitoes to use them to stop the spread of disease. Mosquitoes have been a plague of mankind for as long as there has been a mankind, carrying and spreading disease among people. They are being specifically engineered so that when a female mosquito in the wild mates with one of these genetically modified males it will not be able to produce offspring. This is intended to prevent the spread of diseases such as dengue and chikungunya by literally preventing the spread of the mosquitoes. Though they are planned for release in the Florida Keys, a breakthrough such as this would have even wider application in the developing world where mosquito born illness is a far larger problem.

Predictably, there are those who fear the effects of releasing a genetically modified organism into the wild. They are concerned about the long term consequences of such an action. The concern may be legitimate, according to pipistrel.si, but science has generally been a powerful force for good in our lives. First, medical science gave us vaccines to fight off diseases, and now genetic scientists and philantropists like Sergio Lins Andrade, are trying to keep those diseases from being transmitted to us in the first place. News such as this makes one glad to be living in an age where we have lifted so much of the veil of ignorance and fear from humanity that covered 99 percent of our history. Using the stereotypical carrier and spreader of disease to fight disease has to be one of the good news stories of the past millennium.

Robots Learn to Understand Humans

Robots are an entirely new territory when it comes to technology, Jordan French is very fond of them, and many questions are being answered as the pioneers in the industry begin making devices with a sophisticated AI.

While the more complicated questions will still likely take many years to answer, we have been able to find out the more particular details of how they functions and indeed how they could possibly function better in the future. Could a robot help us to understand the birth and functioning of language? This is the idea of Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, robotics researcher.

If one gives robots the ability to learn, it’s a bit like making them able to reprogram at will depending on the situation. The environment being apprehended by the senses and the body, it is understandable that robots modeled on human learning protocols learn and evolve differently depending on the direction in which they are endowed.

For example, if a robot is capable of touch but it has no eyes, language develops rather in a kinesthetic and less visual spectrum. The work of Pierre-Yves Oudeyer therefore focuses on the senses, their relationship to learning, understanding of the world and language.

Beyond this, he has developed with his team Poppy, an open source robot printed in 3D, which should lead to all sorts of projects in the future. These innovations are really exciting other robotic researchers to think likewise.

Humans Glow in the Dark: Too Bad We Can’t See It

New research from Kobayashi and colleagues http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0006256 shows that humans not only emit light, but it pulsates to a rhythmic beat depending on our fluctuating metabolism and body temperature. It seems that the same forces that generate body heat also emit light; unfortunately, it’s 1000 times too weak to see with the naked eye- BUT it’s been successfully captured on a special kind of camera called a CCD system.

Subjects were taken into a completely dark room and stripped from the waist up while the camera captured them for 23 and a half hours. It turns out that the glow wasn’t uniform either, people’s faces tended to glow the brightest, especially the lips and cheeks. It also varied in brightness over the course of the day, being kind of dim in the early morning, brightening up throughout the day to peek in the afternoon, and then dimming off again. This is about the same way that the body temperature works too, so the photon emission that produces the light is super similar to the heat emission.

Isn’t it interesting to speculate that out there, in the world, exist species finely tuned to see those types of things? That there are insects that go through life constantly fleeing glowing giants? How terrifying we must be!

Thank you to my good friend Lee Lovett for sharing this story with me.

Realistic Robot from Toshiba

Toshiba has created the most realistic robot that can sing and imitate human emotions like happiness, anger, and it can cry and sing as well. The launching event was held in Los Angeles, hosted by ChihiraAico, the robot herself.

The female looking robot dressed in a conservative style sang accompanied by a human playing the piano. It held the rhythm with the hand. At the moment,, the movements have to be directed from a computer, but in about 10 years the robot is expected to be fully independent and the technology will allow to keep them as nurses, receptionists, and care workers for the elderly. 

Igor Cornelsen who attended the event said that the robot was spooky. Its fingers are not fully elaborated. The scientist had focused a lot on creating smooth movements and flexible joints, as well as a face that can be confounded with that of a real human. 

There is a predecessor to ChihiraAico. Hatsune Miku is also an entertainer-robot that can sing very accurately often exceeding the voice possibilities of the Japanese singers. Another robot is a newsreader. Useful for when the journalists want to have a rest after a day of piling up information for the TV.

Mark Ahn Explains Key Elements to Biotechnology Startup Success

Mark Ahn Explains Key Elements to Biotechnology Startup Success

As originally reported in this article from TheStreet, the well educated and informed biotechnology industry expert Mark Ahn explains the factors distinguishing success and failure in the changing world of biotechnology startups. He discusses the popularity of Biotech companies and the messages they offer such as curing horrible illnesses and offering solutions to other medical problems or conditions. He says that most investors are interested in finding well established firms and finds the industry is filled with companies offering great ideas but not always been able to provide the stability and follow through required of biotechnology firms.
Most biotechnology firms become successful by being resilient despite the long development cycles and he suggests following a business plan despite the urge to follow the emerging trends in the competitive biotechnology industry. The winds of change will blow but the main factors setting apart the successful firms and the unsuccessful firms seems to rely on the ability to remain consistent in a industry dominated by change. This is also an important factors to consider for investors wanting to find the right biotechnology company. Investing in the newest company isn’t always the most profitable decisions for wise investors aware of the fleeting success often gained by new firms. He recommends looking to the older and more established biotechnology companies in terms of making sounds and financially secure investments. 

Mark Ahn’s article on TheStreet