• Carnivorous plants use pitchers of 'slimy saliva' to catch their prey

    Carnivorous plants supplement the meager diet available from the nutrient-poor soils in which they grow by trapping and digesting insects and other small arthropods. Pitcher plants of the genus Nepenthes were thought to capture their prey with a simple passive trap but in a paper in this week’s PLoS ONE, Laurence Gaume and Yoel Forterre, a biologist and a physicist from the CNRS, working respectively in the University of Montpellier and the University of Marseille, France show that they employ slimy secretions to doom their victims. They show that the fluid contained inside the plants’ pitchers has the perfect viscoelastic properties to prevent the escape of any small creatures that come into contact with it even when diluted by the heavy rainfall of the forest of Borneo in which they live. >> Read the Full Article
  • Proposed global warming solution needs more scientific research

    Neither the safety nor the effectiveness of ocean fertilization – adding iron or other ‘micronutrients’ to the sea to encourage plankton to grow – have been established and the method should not be touted as a cure for climate change until they have been, cautions the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

     

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  • Embryonic stem cells made without embryos

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Researchers have transformed ordinary human skin cells into batches of cells that look and act like embryonic stem cells -- but without using cloning technology and without making embryos.

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  • Japan eyes affordable cellulosic ethanol technology

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Wednesday it aimed to introduce new, cost-efficient technology for producing cellulosic ethanol by 2015 to help reduce gasoline demand in the world's third-biggest oil consumer.

    METI said one of its main objectives was to cut the cost of producing ethanol from such cellulosic biomass as waste wood and wood chips to 100 yen (91 cents) per liter ($3.45 per gallon) from more than 2,000 yen now.

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  • Catching Power Out of Mid-Air

    The times have certainly given way to digital but radio waves are re-defining their value. The Tate Ambient Power Module, patented by Joseph Tate of California, converts radio-wave energy (manmade and natural) into energy that can be used by small appliances such as smoke detectors and clock radios.The device is simple in its design and composition.

    The Ambient Power Module (APM) is nothing more than an electronic circuit connected to an antenna and grounded to the earth. Tate made this come to life by just loosely wrapped wire around a 3-inch plastic tube with a whip antenna. This module will deliver low voltage up to several milliwatts dependent upon the local radio noise levels and antenna specifications.

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  • Like father, like son: Attractiveness is hereditary

    Sexy dads produce sexy sons, in the insect world at least. While scientists already knew that specific attractive traits, from cricket choruses to peacocks’ tails, are passed on to their offspring, the heritability of attractiveness as a whole is more contentious. Now, new research by the University of Exeter, published today (20 November) in Current Biology, shows that attractiveness is hereditary. >> Read the Full Article
  • MIT IDs proteins key to brain function

    CAMBRIDGE, MA— MIT researchers have identified a family of proteins key to the formation of the communication networks critical for normal brain function. Their research could lead to new treatments for brain injury and disease.

    The team, led by MIT biology professor Frank Gertler, found that a certain family of proteins is necessary to direct the formation of axons and dendrites, the cellular extensions that facilitate communication between neurons.

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  • Nuclear desalination: Could nuclear power by the answer to fresh water?

    New solutions to the ancient problem of maintaining a fresh water supply is discussed in a special issue of the Inderscience publication International Journal of Nuclear Desalination. With predictions that more than 3.5 billion people will live in areas facing severe water shortages by the year 2025, the challenge is to find an environmentally benign way to remove salt from seawater.

    Global climate change, desertification, and over-population are already taking their toll on fresh water supplies. In coming years, fresh water could become a rare and expensive commodity. In the latest issue of the journal IJND, research results presented at the Trombay Symposium on Desalination and Water Reuse offer a new perspective on desalination and describe alternatives to the current expensive and inefficient methods.

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  • South Korea eyes moon orbiter in 2020, landing 2025

    The lunar probe program will be based on a rocket South Korea is developing at a cost of 3.6 trillion won ($3.9 billion) in the next decade.

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  • China plans first space-walk

    China in 2003 became only the third country to put a man into space using its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States. It then sent two astronauts on a five-day flight on its Shenzhou VI rocket in Oct 2005.

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