Sci/tech

Using Tomatoes for Power
March 16, 2016 07:13 AM - American Chemical Society via EurekAlert!

A team of scientists is exploring an unusual source of electricity -- damaged tomatoes that are unsuitable for sale at the grocery store. Their pilot project involves a biological-based fuel cell that uses tomato waste left over from harvests in Florida.

Sponge cuts oil spill clean-up cost
March 15, 2016 07:22 AM - Emiliano Rodriguez Mega, SciDevNet

A simple but super-absorbent artificial sponge could lower the cost of cleaning up crude oil spills in developing countries.

A team of researchers, based at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, found that simple sponges made from polyurethane foam soaked up oil spills better than more expensive sponges treated with nanoparticles.

Adding evidence that exercise is a potent cancer prevention tool
March 9, 2016 02:33 PM - Dr. Mercola , Organic Consumers Association

Compelling evidence suggests exercise is an important component of cancer prevention and care; slashing your risk of developing cancer, improving your chances of successful recuperation, and diminishing your risk of cancer recurrence.

A pattern revealed in these studies is that the longer you exercise, the more pronounced the benefits. Studies show that both men and women who exercise during their early years have a lower risk of cancer later in life.

But like most things in life, exercise must also be done in moderation and be balanced. There is a sweet spot and excessive exercise can cause its own set of issues, but most in the U.S. are far from being at risk for this problem.

Advances in understanding the development of blood cancers
March 4, 2016 10:01 AM - WALTER AND ELIZA HALL INSTITUTE via EurekAlert

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researchers have uncovered a protein that is key to the development of blood cancers caused by a common genetic error. 

The discovery is a missing piece in the puzzle of understanding how high levels of a protein called MYC drive cancer development, and may to lead to future strategies for early treatment or possibly even prevention of these cancers.

Seventy per cent of human cancers have abnormally high levels of MYC, which forces cells into unusually rapid growth.

Preserved moose with DNA of ancestors being studied in Russia
March 1, 2016 09:26 AM - NATIONAL RESEARCH TOMSK STATE UNIVERSITY via EurekAlert

Scientists of the Tomsk State University have found preserved moose in Western Siberia that have unique features of DNA structure. This discovery of Tomsk scientists will help determine the origin and path of moose movement in the last few tens of thousands of years and gives reason to believe that Siberia is a unique genetic repository. The research has been presented at International Conference "Theriofauna of Russia and adjacent territories" (X Congress of Russian Theriological Society).

Unique moose were found in the southeastern part of Western Siberia. Hunters of the Tomsk Region assisted in this discovery. Along with the license for opening the animals, they got set for the capture of prototypes and a small profile.

Scientists fight deadly banana fungus
February 29, 2016 07:11 AM - Editors, SciDev.Net

Around the world, banana farmers are fighting a losing battle against Tropical Race 4, a soil fungus that kills Cavendish bananas, the only type grown for the international market. The disease was first spotted in the early 1990s in Malaysia, but has now started to wipe out crops in large parts of South-East Asia as well as in Africa and the Middle East.

New Heat Wave Formula Can Help Public Health Agencies Prepare for Extreme Temperatures
February 26, 2016 07:13 AM - University of Missouri Health

Extreme heat can pose several health risks, such as dehydration, hyperthermia and even death, especially during sustained periods of high temperatures. However, a uniform definition of a heat wave doesn’t exist. As a result, public health agencies may be unsure of when to activate heat alerts, cooling centers and other protective measures. A University of Missouri School of Medicine researcher has developed a uniform definition of a heat wave that may help public health agencies prepare for extreme temperatures.

Scientists unlock key to turning wastewater and sewage into power
February 23, 2016 07:16 AM - Virginia Tech

As renewable energy sources goes, solar rays have historically hogged the limelight. 

But two Virginia Tech researchers have stolen the spotlight from the sun by discovering a way to maximize the amount of electricity that can be generated from the wastewater we flush down the toilet. 

Lawrence Livermore Laboratory looking at ways to deflect killer asteroids
February 17, 2016 08:23 AM - Lawrence Livermore Laboratory

Asteroids headed for a collision with the Earth, if found early enough, can be acted upon to prevent the potentially devastating consequences of an impact. One technique to divert an asteroid, called kinetic impact, uses a spacecraft to crash into the body at high speeds.

This approach delivers the momentum of the spacecraft, while also providing an additional boost of momentum through the production of impact crater ejecta exceeding the asteroid’s escape velocity. Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have been studying the effectiveness of the kinetic-impactor strategy by carrying out 3D simulations of the process.

In a new paper published in Icarus(link is external), LLNL planetary defense researchers find that asteroid deflection by kinetic impact is sensitive to a range of asteroid characteristics, including strength, porosity, rotation and shape. These and other asteroid properties may not be well constrained before an actual deflection mission is staged, leading to variability in the deflection outcome. By simulating a range of initial conditions for the target asteroids, researchers were able to quantify, for example, how greater target strength decreases the delivered momentum impulse and how, for an asteroid of constant size, added porosity can result in more effective deflections, despite the dampening of the shock waves produced during an impact

Rocks have growth rings too and they can help us learn about past climates
February 14, 2016 07:23 AM - University of California - Berkeley via ScienceDaily

Scientists have found a new way to tease out signals about Earth's climatic past from soil deposits on gravel and pebbles, adding an unprecedented level of detail to the existing paleoclimate record and revealing a time in North America's past when summers were wetter than normal.

A research team led by soil scientists at the University of California, Berkeley obtained data about precipitation and temperature in North America spanning the past 120,000 years, which covers glacial and interglacial periods during the Pleistocene Epoch. They did this at thousand-year resolutions -- a blink of an eye in geologic terms -- through a microanalysis of the carbonate deposits that formed growth rings around rocks, some measuring just 3 millimeters thick.

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