Archive for the ‘science fiction’ Category

November 12, 2008

From http://eurekalert.org:

Physical Review Letters
Evolution’s new wrinkle
A team of Princeton University scientists has discovered that chains of proteins found in most living organisms act like adaptive machines, possessing the ability to control their own evolution. The research, which appears to offer evidence of a hidden mechanism guiding the way biological organisms respond to the forces of natural selection, provides a new perspective on evolution, the scientists said.
National Science Foundation
http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S22/60/95O56/index.xml?section=science

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Quarterly Review of Biology
The miseries of allergies just may help prevent some cancers, study finds
There may be a silver — and healthy — lining to the miserable cloud of allergy symptoms: Sneezing, coughing, tearing and itching just may help prevent cancer — particularly colon, skin, bladder, mouth, throat, uterus and cervix, lung and gastrointestinal tract cancer, according to a new Cornell study.
http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Nov08/allergies.cancer.sl.html

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Lab on a Chip
New laser method reproduces art masterworks to protein patterns
To illustrate the precision of their protein patterning technique, the research team reproduced a masterwork of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, specifically Girl with a Pearl Earring, in the miniature dimension of 200 microns wide or about the thickness of two hairs. The researchers also used their novel technology to replicate the brain’s complex cellular environment.
Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada, Fonds quebecois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Fonds de la recherche en sante du Quebec
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uom-nlm111108.php

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
Without enzyme, biological reaction essential to life takes 2.3 billion years
All biological reactions within human cells depend on enzymes. Their power as catalysts enables biological reactions to occur usually in milliseconds. But how slowly would these reactions proceed spontaneously, in the absence of enzymes — minutes, hours, days? And why even pose the question?
NIH/National Institute of General Medicine
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uonc-web111008.php

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Journal of Neuroscience
Fatty diet during pregnancy makes new cells in fetal brain that cause early onset obesity
A study in rats shows that exposure to a high-fat diet during pregnancy produces permanent changes in the offspring’s brain that lead to overeating and obesity early in life. This surprising finding provides a key step toward understanding mechanisms of fetal programming involving the production of new brain cells that may help explain the increased prevalence of childhood obesity during the last 30 years.
National Institutes of Health
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/ru-fdd110708.php

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Miniaturizing memory: Taking data storage to the molecular level
Researchers at The University of Nottingham are now exploring ways of exploiting the unique properties of carbon nanotubes to create a cheap and compact memory cell that uses little power and writes information at high speeds.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
http://tinyurl.com/68fmdj

November 9, 2008

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 9-Nov-2008
Nature Neuroscience
Simple brain mechanisms explain arbitrary human visual decisions
Scientists report in Nature Neuroscience that a simple decision-making task does not involve the frontal lobes, where many of the higher aspects of human cognition, including self-awareness, are thought to originate. Instead, the regions that decide are the same brain regions that receive stimuli relevant to the decision and control the body’s response to it.
European Union, NIH/National Institutes of Mental Health, Italian Ministry of University and Research
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/wuso-sbm110708.php
“Tosoni and Corbetta plan next to probe whether more complicated decisions are carried out by this relatively simple sensory-motor mechanism and how decisions are affected by the amount of reward the subject expects when performing simple and complex decisions.”

Public Release: 9-Nov-2008
Nature Nanotechnology
New small-scale generator produces alternating current by stretching zinc oxide wires
Researchers have developed a new type of small-scale electric power generator able to produce alternating current through the cyclical stretching and releasing of zinc oxide wires encapsulated in a flexible plastic substrate with two ends bonded.
National Science Foundation, US Department of Energy, Air Force Office of Scientific Research
http://tinyurl.com/6mrn8t

From http://arxiv.org via http://arxivblog.com:

MMOGs as Social Experiments: the Case of Environmental Laws
Authors: Joost Broekens
(Submitted on 5 Nov 2008)

Abstract: In this paper we argue that Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs), also known as Large Games are an interesting research tool for policy experimentation. One of the major problems with lawmaking is that testing the laws is a difficult enterprise. Here we show that the concept of an MMOG can be used to experiment with environmental laws on a large scale, provided that the MMOG is a real game, i.e., it is fun, addictive, presents challenges that last, etc.. We present a detailed game concept as an initial step.

Subjects: Computers and Society (cs.CY)
Cite as: arXiv:0811.0709v1 [cs.CY]

Full paper: http://arxiv.org/pdf/0811.0709v1

Science Press Releases

November 8, 2008

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 7-Nov-2008
Open Atmospheric Science Journal
Revised theory suggests carbon dioxide levels already in danger zone
If climate disasters are to be averted, atmospheric carbon dioxide must be reduced below the levels that already exist today, according to a study published in Open Atmospheric Science Journal by a group of 10 scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom and France.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/yu-rts110708.php

Public Release: 7-Nov-2008
Science
U of Minnesota researchers uncover surprising effects of climate patterns in ancient China
University of Minnesota geology and geophysics researchers, along with their colleagues from China, have uncovered surprising effects of climate patterns on social upheaval and the fall of dynasties in ancient China. Their research identifies a natural phenomenon that may have been the last straw for some Chinese dynasties: a weakening of the summer Asian Monsoons. Such weakening accompanied the fall of three dynasties and now could be lessening precipitation in northern China.
National Science Foundation, National Science Foundation of China, Gary Comer Science and Education Foundation
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uom-uom110708.php
“The study also showed that the ample summer rains of the Northern Song Dynasty coincided with the beginning of the well-known Medieval Warm Period in Europe and Greenland. During this time–the late 10th century–Vikings colonized southern Greenland. Centuries later, a series of weak monsoons prevailed as Europe and Greenland shivered through what geologists call the Little Ice Age. In the 14th and early 15th centuries, as the cold of the Little Ice Age settled into Greenland, the Vikings disappeared from there. At the same time, on the other side of the world, the weak monsoons of the 14th century coincided with the end of the Yuan Dynasty.”

Public Release: 7-Nov-2008
Physics Review Letters
Physicists create BlackMax to search for dimensions in space at the Large Hadron Collider
A team of theoretical and experimental physicists, with participants from Case Western Reserve University, have designed a new black hole simulator called BlackMax to search for evidence that extra dimensions might exist in the universe.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/cwru-pcb110708.php

Public Release: 6-Nov-2008
Growing problem for veterans: Domestic violence
The increasing number of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder raises the risk of domestic violence and its consequences on families and children in communities across the United States,” says Monica Matthieu, an expert on veteran mental health at Washington University in St. Louis. Matthieu and Peter Hovmand, domestic violence expert at the University, are merging their research interests and are working to design community prevention strategies to address this emerging public health problem.
http://news-info.wustl.edu/tips/page/normal/12902.html