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Showing posts from January 19, 2016

Biodegradable bodies for more eco-friendly robots

By Matthew Stock Scientists from the Italian Institute of Technology are developing 'smart materials' that could lead to robots that will decompose like a human body once they've reached the end of their life-span. Bioplastics are made from plant material, but are more energy-intensive to produce.

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Transgenic mosquito ready to join Brazil's war on Zika virus

By Anthony Boadle BRASILIA (Reuters) - A genetically modified mosquito has helped reduce the proliferation of mosquitoes spreading Zika and other dangerous viruses in Brazil, its developers said on Tuesday. The self-limiting strain of the Aedes aegypti mosquito was developed by Oxitec, the UK-subsidiary of U.S. synthetic biology company Intrexon. Oxitec, which produces the mosquitoes in Campinas, announced it will build a second facility in nearby Piracicaba, Sao Paulo state, following strong results there in controlling the population of the Aedes vector that also carries the dengue virus.


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Transgenic mosquito ready to join Brazil's war on Zika virus

By Anthony Boadle BRASILIA (Reuters) - A genetically modified mosquito has helped reduce the proliferation of mosquitoes spreading Zika and other dangerous viruses in Brazil, its developers said on Tuesday. The self-limiting strain of the Aedes aegypti mosquito was developed by Oxitec, the U.K.-subsidiary of U.S. synthetic biology company Intrexon. Oxitec, which produces the mosquitoes in Campinas, announced it will build a second facility in nearby Piracicaba, Sao Paulo state, following strong results there in controlling the population of the Aedes vector that also carries the dengue virus.


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Stephen Hawking Warns of Planetary Doom (Again)

Stephen Hawking has once again warned that humanity could wipe itself out before it has a chance to establish far-flung space colonies. At a recent talk in England, the famed physicist singled out nuclear war, genetically engineered viruses and global warming as likely culprits. According to Hawking, the odds of a planetary disaster in the next millennia are high.


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Self-Filling Water Bottle Converts Humid Air into Drinkable H2O

Kristof Retezár, a designer based in Vienna, invented a device that can extract humidity from the air and condense it into drinkable water. The handy gadget, dubbed Fontus, can be attached to a bike so that cyclists can generate water during long-distance rides through the countryside, where pit stops may be few and far between. Fontus works using the basic principle of condensation, which can be easily demonstrated by taking something out of a refrigerator (for instance, a can of soda) and leaving it on the kitchen counter for a bit.


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NASA to Capture Best-Ever Portrait of Coral Reef Health

NASA is about to get up close and personal with Earth's corals: The space agency will use airplanes and water instruments to survey these delicate structures and capture the most detailed views ever of the planet's corals. Corals are crucial to Earth's ecosystem, but they are typically studied only occasionally, during diving expeditions. The new NASA campaign is aptly named CORAL (short for COral Reef Airborne Laboratory), and aims to assess the condition of these vulnerable ecosystems and to collect data on the size and quality of the reefs.


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Worm in the Eye! Creepy Crawly Removed in Odd Case

"His occupation as a fruit vendor may have increased his risk for infection, as fruit flies may carry the parasite," said Dr. Bhagabat Nayak, an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon at the Dr. R.P. Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences in New Delhi, India. Worms inside the eye are generally rare in India, he added.

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Poor Sleep Tied to Hardened Brain Arteries in Older Adults

Older people who sleep poorly may have a slightly increased risk of having hardened blood vessels in the brain, and oxygen-starved brain tissue, according to a new study. Both of these issues may contribute to a greater risk of stroke and cognitive impairment, the researchers said. "The forms of brain injury that we observed are important because they may not only contribute to the risk of stroke but also to chronic progressive cognitive and motor impairment," study author Dr. Andrew Lim, a neurologist and scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, said in a statement.

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Doctors Reflect on 'Surreal' Day of 2013 Asiana Airlines Crash

On July 6, Flight 214 from Incheon International Airport in South Korea crashed just short of the runway at San Francisco International Airport, striking the airport's seawall with its landing gear and tail section. It was San Francisco General that received the most patients of any area hospital that day, and doctors are now reporting their experience in the hopes of helping other hospitals prepare for a similar event. "The day was a surreal experience," said Dr. Rachael Callcut, a surgeon, and the lead author of a new article about the tragedy published today (Jan. 14) in the journal JAMA Surgery.

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Mysterious Cancers of 'Unknown' Origin in Men Traced Back to HPV

Some cancers are mysterious, in that doctors cannot determine where they originate and how they will spread. About 4 percent of head and neck cancers are of the UPSCC variety. Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore have found that the human papillomavirus (HPV) is strongly associated with UPSCCs in the head and neck area and, more specifically, cancer of the oropharynx, the middle part of the throat that includes the tonsils and the base of the tongue.

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Red, Dead Galaxies Are Also LIERs, Scientists Say

Many galaxies are LIERS, says Francesco Belfiore, a graduate student at the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge. Earth lies in a galaxy that is flush with new star birth. In trying to study the chemistry of these "dead" galaxies, researchers have found a different chemical fingerprint than the one that dominates star-forming galaxies.

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