Enn Original News

Catalyzing Oxygen
October 28, 2011 12:37 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Normally Oxygen is fairly tight bound to the hydrogen in water. If it can be easily removed, it has potential benefits for certain energy and fuel systems. A team of researchers at MIT has found one of the most effective catalysts ever discovered for splitting oxygen atoms from water molecules — a key reaction for advanced energy-storage systems, including electrolyzers, to produce hydrogen fuel and rechargeable batteries. This new catalyst liberates oxygen at more than 10 times the rate of the best previously known catalyst of its type.

New Benefit of Aspirin: Preventing Cancer
October 28, 2011 08:54 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid, is one of the most widely used drugs in the world. It is proven to lower fevers, relieve minor aches and pains, and to reduce inflammation. It also has the long-term use of preventing heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots due to its antiplatelet characteristic, which prevents blood from clotting too large within the blood vessel. A new study from Queen's University in Belfast has found that the regular intake of aspirin can lower the risk of developing hereditary cancer by 50 percent.

The Impact of a Meteorite Storm
October 27, 2011 03:23 PM - Andy Soos ENN

Meteorites have been hitting the Earth since the beginning of time. Yet much is not known of what happens when they hit. Seeking to better understand the level of death and destruction that would result from a large meteorite striking the Earth, Princeton University researchers have developed a new model that can not only more accurately simulate the seismic fallout of such an impact, but also help reveal new information about the surface and interior of planets based on past collisions.

The Strong Woodpecker Head
October 27, 2011 02:05 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Banging you head against the wall is not to be recommended because it sort of hurts. Yet the woodpecker does it every day and seems content and happy. Woodpeckers are able to peck at a tree trunk at a high speed (6-7 meters per second), resulting in intense deceleration forces upon impact, without sustaining any brain injury. Why precisely this can be done without injury was investigated by Yubo Fan of Beihang University in Beijing and Ming Zhang of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The results may lead to better ways to prevent head injuries in humans.

Study: Marijuana Use Causes Chaos in the Brain
October 27, 2011 09:13 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Previous scientific studies have associated the consumption of cannabis with impairment of concentration and memory. Now a new study from the University of Bristol has delved deeper into the mind of the marijuana smoker. They found that brain activity becomes highly uncoordinated, erratic, and inaccurate while the user is under the influence. The researchers believe this brain-chaos can lead to neuropsychological and behavioral impairments similar to those observed in schizophrenia.

A world of sonic wonder
October 27, 2011 08:03 AM - BBC Earth Team

The First wonder, Speaking Sands For nearly a century, man has been baffled by the sound of singing sand dunes. The songs they emit are almost as diverse as the countless theories about how they occur. The sound is produced when the sand on the surface of dunes avalanches. It was once thought that these sounds were produced by the friction between the grains. More recent studies have revealed that the sound continues after the sand has stopped moving and the song that the dunes sing varies depending on the time of year. Some researchers now theorise that the sound is caused by the reverberation between dry sand at the surface and a band of wet sand within the dune, hence it changes seasonally. There are approximately thirty locations around the world where these booming dunes can be heard; the earliest records seem to date to Marco Polo’s time in the Gobi Desert. However you don’t need to adventure among the dunes to hear them sing; the strange sound, said to be like the drone of a low flying propeller plane, has reportedly been heard up to ten kilometres away from its source.

Cedar Trees Beneficial Uses
October 26, 2011 04:18 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Deserts are an unlikely place to find a form of plant life that is so promising as to grown quickly on very little. Still arid climate plants are very hardy. Tel Aviv University researchers are doing their part to reduce humanity's carbon footprint by successfully growing forests in the most unlikely place — deep in Israel's Aravah Desert. With environmental "extras" such as a local plant species, recycled sewage water unsuitable for agriculture, and arid lands unusable for crops, a group of researchers including Profs. Amram Eshel and Aviah Zilberstein of TAU's Department of Molecular Biology and Ecology of Plants at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and the university's new Renewable Energy Center have discovered a winning combination.

Prostate Cancer and Diet
October 26, 2011 01:52 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. Men who ate a low-fat diet with fish oil supplements for four to six weeks before having their prostate removed had slower cancer-cell growth in their prostate tissue than men who ate a traditional, high-fat Western diet, according to a study by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. The researchers also found a change in the composition of cell membranes in both healthy cells and cancer cells in the prostates of men on the low-fat, fish oil-supplement diet. The membranes had heightened levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and decreased levels of omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil, which may directly affect the biology of the cells, though further studies are needed, said Dr. William Aronson, the study's first author and a researcher with the Jonsson Cancer Center.

Alcohol and Strawberries
October 25, 2011 04:05 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

In an experiment on rats, European researchers have proved that eating strawberries reduces the harm that alcohol can cause to the stomach mucous membrane. Published in the open access journal Plos One, the study may contribute to improving the treatment of stomach ulcers. A team of Italian, Serbian and Spanish researchers has confirmed that there is a protecting effect that strawberries have in a mammal stomach that has been damaged by alcohol. Scientists gave ethyl alcohol to laboratory rats and have thus proved that the stomach mucous membrane of those that had previously eaten strawberry extract suffered less damage. Note that a common drink is called a strawberry daiquiri (made with rum).

Automated Vehicles and the Future of Fuel Efficiency
October 25, 2011 09:15 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Cars these days are becoming more and more like computers on wheels. Many car enthusiasts long for the days of simpler designs where they can figure out exactly what's going on under the hood. With all the advanced electronics in newer vehicles, trying to fix them yourself has become a daunting task. However, as more sophisticated electronics are added, cars will gradually become smarter, to the point where they may even drive themselves. Automated vehicles, while most likely not adopted by everyone, will probably make the road safer and more convenient for some "drivers". Plus, according to a new research study, they will have the extra benefit of increasing fuel efficiency.

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