11_Science Word 08_08_16

August 22nd, 2008

Persistent Free Radicals – Chemists have discovered a new class of air pollutant, persistent free-radicals, which form and last on fine airborne particles indefinitely, and might contribute substantially to cardio-pulmonary diseases.

Flesh-eating Bacteria’s Weapon Figured Out – Flesh-eating bacteria release a special compound called Strep pyogenes cell envelope protease or SpyCEP for short, which inactivates white blood cells and blocks the body from defending itself against the necrotizing infection.

Memory of a Robot Brain – Scientists are figuring out how the brain works by using rat brain cells to control a robot.

How to Stop Addiction – Researchers kept mice from becoming addicted to cocaine by blocking glutamate receptors on dopamine producing brain cells.

Eyes Do More than See - Mice were switched from night to daytime activity by messing with the amount of light in the room and the sensitivity of their eyes to light suggesting that they eyes play a major role in setting the body’s internal clock.

Depression is Bad for Driving – A study of 60 individuals found that people who were depressed and taking anti-depressant medication performed worse on simulated driving tests than both medicated and unmedicated individuals who weren’t depressed. So, don’t be depressed and drive.

Humans Like Pretty People - Analysis of contestant behavior on a Dutch game show called Shafted supports the idea that humans have a bias for beautiful people.

Beer Goggles - Beer goggles are for real! Drunk students rated pictures of people of both sexes more attractive.

A Reason For Sexual Preference? - Homosexual and bisexual men had female relatives with more children than heterosexual men. So, whatever makes women like men and have more children might make men like men as well.

Smell What You Like? –If you’re a woman on the contraceptive pill, you could be with the wrong partner. Women preferred different body odors before and after beginning to take the pill. It’s thought that women use smell to choose an immunologically compatible partner.

09_Science Word_08_08_12

August 21st, 2008

Science news headlines from the week of 08/12/08 with Dr. Kiki Sanford. Distributed by Tubemogul.

Formats available:Quicktime (.mov), Flash Video (.flv)

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Show Notes:

Arsenic-eating bacteria found - Arsenic isn’t usually thought of as delicious and nutritious, but a new species of bacteria found in hot pools at Mono Lake in California thrives on the stuff, using it instead of water in the process of photosynthesis.

Cassini Takes Pictures
- The space probe Cassini imaged giant cracks in the surface of Enceladus to investigate the source of giant geysers of liquid water that shoot from the moon’s surface.

Where For Art Thou Meteorite? – Meteorites that landed here on earth are more like the space rocks in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter than like low metal content LL chondrite asteroids found closer to the earth.

Something Like a Comet – Researchers using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey reported finding a comet-like object in a 22,500 year orbit around the sun. It doesn’t have a comet tail because it never gets close enough to the sun.

How to Get There - Theoretical physicists have come up with a new idea for space travel. They suggest manipulating dark energy through another dimension of space, shrinking space in front of a ship and expanding it behind. The trouble is that it requires a quantity of energy equal to converting something like the planet Jupiter into pure energy.

Entangled particles really are “spooky” - Nothing travels faster than light, but two entangled particles separated by 18 kilometers and located in two different Swiss towns were able to communicate with instantaneous precision, thereby validating quantum mechanics and spooky action at a distance.

10_Science Word 08_08_14

August 21st, 2008

Science news headlines from the week of 08/12/08 with Dr. Kiki Sanford. Distributed by Tubemogul.

Formats available:Quicktime (.mov), Flash Video (.flv)

Tags: , , , ,

 

Show Notes:

Best Thing About a Big Laser - The Advanced Tactical Laser will give the United States plausible deniability, says the chief engineer of the Directed Energy Directorate in describing its benefits.

Nanotubes Are Strong - Experiments at Northwestern University proved that carbon nanotubes really are as strong as calculations predicted, and that radiation makes them even stronger. I’m still waiting for that space elevator.

A Limit to Tall -  Physics imposes a limit on the height of trees. The maximum height to which Douglas Firs should be able to transport water is between 131 to 145 meters. That’s also the limit of their height.

Nature is the Best Teacher - Scientists mimicked photosynthesis in the lab, and were able to split water into hydrogen and oxygen using the power of light.

Asphalt into Energy – Hot asphalt roads and parking lots may produce energy one day. Scientists are experimenting with the idea of adding a heat exchanger that would convert the heat absorbed by asphalt into energy.

Planet Friendly Paper Coating - A replacement for the waterproof wax coating that’s used on paper products like drink boxes has been created from the lignin of sugarcane, which unlike wax leaves the paper it coats completely recyclable.

The Effect of Climate change – A recent study found that 9 out of 10 tree species measured in the Santa Rosa mountains of California have increased the elevation of their habitat by 213 feet. The change in growing range was linked to changes in local climate.

Antarctica is not Alone – Ice cores revealed that West Antarctica is highly affected by atmospheric and oceanic changes in the tropics of the Pacific Ocean.

Dead Zones of the World - The number of oxygen poor dead zones in the world’s oceans has doubled to 400 in just the past two years. These dead zones are linked to algae blooms fed by fertilizer run-off, sewage, and the burning of fossil fuels.

Science Word Needs A Logo

August 15th, 2008

After receiving the comment below, I changed my mind about having an official contest. I think contests are great and all, but I don’t want to be a part of the problem.

I need help creating a logo for The Science Word, the new video series that I’ve been playing with the past couple of weeks. I think it would do well as a vid-cast, and need some help making it come to life.

So, since I am terrible at graphic design, I am holding a contest  asking for help to create The Science word logo. I know that there are people out there with amazing abilities. Send me something that can be the face of The Science Word to the world. If you have any ideas, or would like to help just because you’re nice like that I’d love to hear from you. I can’t pay cash money, and if I could it wouldn’t be much, but I can pimp the hell out of you and your work.

The contest starts today, and the deadline is next Friday, August 23rd.

If I pick your design, you will get all credit for creating the design, and I will pimp you like crazy on this website and all places related to The Science Word.

Send your logo designs (300 dpi and 300 x 300 min. size) to

Please, email me at kirsten at this week in science dot com.

This Week’s Science Word Videos Are Out!

August 14th, 2008

I’ve published another set of Science Word videos… the science headlines in brief. Here’s the first of the set of four:

Hubble Space Telescope - What’s up in space, travels 5 miles per second, and has offered us an unparalleled view of our universe? The Hubble Space telescope, which just passed 100,000 times around the planet.

Size Doesn’t Matter - In nanotech, it’s apparently not the size of the particle that determines cell penetration, but the shape. Rods do much better than spheres.

Invisibility? - Harry Potter might have worn invisibility chain mail instead of a cloak if J.K Rowling had been paying attention to science. Researchers have created a new metal material that bends light backwards through electromagnetic interactions with the light istelf.

Large Hadron Collider - The Large Hadron Collider will officially begin operations on September 10th, but won’t get to full strength until sometime next spring.

Bicycle Saddles and the Police - The results are in… bike seats without noses keep bike cops frisky. Cops testing the special saddles had less genital numbing and better penile sensation.

Is Infertility Treatment Worth It? - Intrauterine insemination was only 6% more effective in producing a live birth than no treatment at all in a group of 580 women experiencing unexplained infertility. However, women who had insemination felt more reassured during the process.

Females Are The Same - Sexual harassment doesn’t just bother human females. It also bugs female guppies who tend to prefer the risk of being eaten to hanging out around pushy males.

Complete Neanderthal Mitochondrial Genome
- The most complete and accurate Neanderthal mitochondrial genome to date was produced from a 38,000 year old fossil. Whether or not humans and Neanderthals ever got jiggy wid it is still in question.

A Pill For Alcoholics - Researchers in Oregon are testing a drug called CRF 154,526, which blocks all of the good, but none of the bad effects of alcohol– none of the euphoria, and the hangover’s still waiting. They say CRF is meant for treating hedonistic dysregulation.

Gene Link to Smoking Addiction -
People who say they got hooked on the first puff of a cigarette are likely to have a gene variant called CHRNA5.
You can find this video all these places:

YouTube, MySpace, Metacafe, Google, DailyMotion, Blip.tv and Viddler

The Science Word - Episode #3

August 8th, 2008

First Star in Universe Grew Fast - Computer simulations suggest the first stars started small, but grew 100 times larger than our sun in just 10,000 years.

Duck-Billed Dinos Outgrew Predators - Best predator defense? Grow fast and make babies. That’s what the duck-billed hadrosaur did as it grew up to 4.4 tons in 2-3 years. Gives a new meaning to “eat my dust.”

Moss, Insect Fossils Evince Once-Living Antarctica - Researchers found freeze-dried moss, crustaceans, insects, and pollen trapped in the glacial ice. 14 million years ago Antarctica was much warmer.

Hostile-to-Life Substance Found in Martian Soil - NASA thought they could grow vegetables on Mars, but then discovered perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel, in one of their tests. They have decided to perform more tests.


Dark Energy’s Fingerprint Found in Distant Galaxies
- Researchers have made one of the most statistically probable measurements of dark energy to date, but they still don’t know what it is.


X-rays reveal Van Gogh portrait
- A particle accelerator was used to blast a Van Gogh painting with high intensity x-rays. A second painting was discovered beneath the outer surface of paint.


‘Laser jumbo’ testing moves ahead
- The US Air Force has begun fuel tests of their Airborne Laser system, which is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles from the inside of a 747 aircraft.

The Science Word

August 8th, 2008

I’m trying out something new, and hoping that it will compliment what we do on This Week in Science. Check it out!

If you’re interested in any of the stories referred to in The Science Word, here are the links:

The Cassini space probe confirmed that a lake on Saturn’s moon, Titan, is filled with pleasantly chilled liquid ethane and methane hydrocarbons, molecules thought to be building blocks for life.

NASA got past a sticky dirt problem, and identified water in the Martian soil.

After 30 years, the guitarist for Queen finished and published his doctoral thesis.

According to Australian research, playing outdoors might be good for a child’s developing eyes.

A US CDC study found that national annual HIV/AIDS rates are underestimated by 40%. Regardless of this new data, the director of the WHO, Kevin De Cock, still thinks current global estimates are good. Yes, he does.

A study doubled population estimates of the Western Lowland Gorilla, an endangered species. A report recently warned that human activity puts almost half of the world’s primate species at risk for extinction.

People weigh less in neighborhoods with sidewalks.

Opposites might attract, but Germans stay married if they are similarly agreeable and conscientious.

Blue sharks taste bad, but people are developing a taste for them because other fish are in short supply.

Hot, black smokers were found venting supercritical seawater on the bottom of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean.

Unlike freshwater turtles, the epaulette shark goes blind when oxygen levels go down.