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A Potential Cure for Sunburn
July 29, 2011 09:35 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
A research team from Ohio State University has been studying the effects of solar radiation on skin cells. They have been able to replicate the process within the tight scrutiny of their laboratory. What they found is that the key biological molecules, which operate during the repair of sunburned cells, function in a way totally unexpected. This new knowledge may possibly lead to the production of special treatments that can heal sunburn. Their findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Turns out, there IS water in outer space after all
July 26, 2011 04:16 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Did you think that the earth was unique in having vast amounts of water? Not that much fresh water, or pure water, but lots of water nonetheless! Water is formed when two hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen atom get together, so in theory, there could be LOTS of water in outer space. Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world's ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole, called a quasar, more than 12 billion light-years away. "The environment around this quasar is very unique in that it's producing this huge mass of water," said Matt Bradford, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "It's another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at the very earliest times." Bradford leads one of the teams that made the discovery. His team's research is partially funded by NASA and appears in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Northeast Bakes Under Blistering Heat
July 22, 2011 02:02 PM - David A Gabel, ENN
The ungodly weather that scorched the Midwest of the USA has travelled east, giving the large population centers along the Atlantic coast a chance to experience the skin-frying joy. Temperatures exceeding 100 degrees F (38 C) have lingered for several days. When factoring in humidity and other conditions, the outdoors can feel like a sultry 115 degrees F (46 C). The inhuman heat wave is expected to break by the end of the weekend, with temperatures dipping to a relatively cool 90 degrees F. The end of July is known to be the hottest time of the year, but today's heat goes far above the average. With current trends in the climate, is it possible that this extreme weather may one day become the norm?
July 22, 2011 01:57 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Ambient energy sources are all around us in a busy technological world. These sources are small and often imperceptible such as as radio and television transmitters, cell phone networks and satellite communications systems. Researchers have discovered a way to capture and harness energy transmitted by such sources as radio and television transmitters, cell phone networks and satellite communications systems. By scavenging this ambient energy from the air around us, the technique could provide a new way to power networks of wireless sensors, microprocessors and communications chips. Tentzeris and his team are using inkjet printers to combine sensors, antennas and energy-scavenging capabilities on paper or flexible polymers. The resulting self-powered wireless sensors could be used for chemical, biological, heat and stress sensing for defense and industry; radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging for manufacturing and shipping, and monitoring tasks in many fields including communications and power usage.
Electric Frog Face
July 22, 2011 01:20 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
There are always oddities and strange patterns. For the first time, Tufts University biologists have reported that bioelectrical signals are necessary for normal head and facial formation in an organism and have captured that process in a time-lapse video that reveals never-before-seen patterns of visible bioelectrical signals outlining where eyes, nose, mouth, and other features will appear in an embryonic tadpole. The Tufts biologists found that, before the face of a tadpole develops, bioelectrical signals (ion flux) cause groups of cells to form patterns marked by different membrane voltage and pH levels. When stained with a reporter dye, hyperpolarized (negatively charged) areas shine brightly, while other areas appear darker, creating an electric face.
Brea Solar Power
July 21, 2011 03:55 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Chevron Energy Solutions and the City of Brea today unveiled Orange County's largest municipal solar installation. The effort is part of a comprehensive energy efficiency and solar project expected to generate an estimated $13 million in net savings over the 25-year project, plus significant environmental benefits. The savings have been immediate and the City has already seen results exceeding expectations. One early example is a 65% reduction in electricity costs at the Brea Community Center for the month of June. At the Civic & Cultural Center the reduction was 35%. By using the sun to generate its own power, the city has projected to reduce its electrical utility costs by an average 40 percent and its carbon emissions by 86,000 metric tons; comparable to removing 16,000 cars from the road. During construction, the project also provided more than 25 local jobs and 125 indirect jobs with an estimated $3 million boost to the local economy.
Study: Height Plays a Factor in Cancer Risk for Women
July 21, 2011 09:39 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
The risk of contracting cancer is generally thought to be caused by a combination of lifestyle and inheritance. If you decide to smoke too much, drink too much, or eat too much, the risk of cancer goes up. Plus, if your ancestors had a heightened risk of cancer, chances are you contain similar genetics. Now, new research from the University of Oxford has put forward a new theory: taller women are at increased risk of a wide range of cancer. Data has been compiled from over one million individuals which supports this theory. However, the reason why height equates to greater cancer risk remains a mystery.
US Shale Gas and the World Energy Power Balance
July 20, 2011 12:33 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Rising U.S. natural gas production from shale formations has already played a critical role in weakening Russia's ability to wield an "energy weapon" over its European customers, and this trend will accelerate in the coming decades, according to a new Baker Institute study, "Shale Gas and U.S. National Security." The study, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, projects that Russia's natural gas market share in Western Europe will decline to as little as 13 percent by 2040, down from 27 percent in 2009. The Baker Institute study dismisses the notion, recently debated in the U.S. media, that the shale gas revolution is a transitory occurrence. The study projects that U.S. shale production will more than quadruple by 2040 from 2010 levels of more than 10 billion cubic feet per day, reaching more than 50 percent of total U.S. natural gas production by the 2030s. The study incorporates independent scientific and economic literature on shale costs and resources, including assessments by organizations such as the U.S. Geological Survey, the Potential Gas Committee and scholarly peer-reviewed papers of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. Oil shale, an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock, contains significant amounts of kerogen (a solid mixture of organic chemical compounds) from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil and/or natural gas can be produced. Deposits of oil shale occur around the world, including major deposits in the United States of America.
Pollutants Can Lurk and Hide
July 20, 2011 12:10 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The health implications of polluting the environment weigh increasingly on our public consciousness, and pharmaceutical wastes continue to be a main culprit. Now a Tel Aviv University researcher says that current testing for these dangerous contaminants isn't going far enough. Dr. Dror Avisar, head of the Hydro-Chemistry Laboratory at TAU's Department of Geography and the Human Environment, says that, when our environment doesn't test positive for the presence of a specific drug, we assume it's not there. But through biological or chemical processes such as sun exposure or oxidization, drugs break down, or degrade, into different forms — and could still be lurking in our water or soil in different forms.
Nano Scale Energy
July 19, 2011 01:11 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Modern electronics as we know them, from televisions to computers, depend on conducting materials that can control electronic properties. As technology shrinks down to pocket sized communications devices and microchips that can fit on the head of a pin, nano-sized conducting materials are in big demand. Now, Prof. Eran Rabani of Tel Aviv University's School of Chemistry at the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, in collaboration with Profs. Uri Banin and Oded Millo at the Hebrew University, has been able to demonstrate how semiconductor nanocrystals can be doped in order to change their electronic properties and be used as conductors. This opens a world of possibilities, says Prof. Rabani, in terms of applications of small electronic and electro-optical devices, such as diodes and photodiodes, electric components used in cellular phones, digital cameras, and solar panels.