Thursday, September 29, 2011

drag2share: The Dead Sea Isn't Really Dead After All [Science]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5844911/the-dead-sea-isnt-really-dead-after-all

The Dead Sea Isn't Really Dead After All The Dead Sea earned its name because its 33 percent salinity prevents the growth of most organisms. It's one of the world's saltiest bodies of water which is why microbiologists were surprised to find thick biofilms on its sea floor.

These microbial mats were growing on craters where jets of fresh water from undersea springs entered the bottom of the lake. And these areas were teeming with new species. The community was so diverse you would expect to see it in a lake, not an extreme salty environment.

An earlier expedition revealed there's about 30 craters on the sea floor that could be home to these microbial communities and the team from the Max Planck Institute in Germany will return to the Dead Sea to study them. I wonder what other interesting things they will find? A bacteria that could remove salt from saline water or one that holds the cure to a disease? [National Geographic; Image from Christian Lott, Hydra Institute]


You can keep up with Kelly Hodgkins, the author of this post, on Twitter, Google + or Facebook.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

drag2share: This Badass Virus Kills Breast Cancer Cells [Science]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5843009/this-badass-virus-kills-cancer

This Badass Virus Kills Breast Cancer Cells
Penn State researchers have identified a virus that's benign to humans but deadly to cancer.

The virus is called adeno-associated virus type 2, and the scientists showed in the lab that it kills breast cancer in three stages. That's a big deal because different stages of cancer now require different types of treatment, and it's difficult to get it just right. They published their results in Molecular Cancer.

The scientists still don't know how the virus takes down cancer, which is crucial for developing a drug or other type of therapeutic. If they figure out which viral genes are at work, some type of gene therapy might be the way to go. Or they could test drugs, or even use the virus itself as a remedy.

Other studies have shown the virus also kills cervical cancer, so it's an exciting lead. But it's a long way from petri dish to medicine. If animal studies are successful, then the treatment has to pass three rigorous phases of human trials. But since breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the world and leads to the most deaths in women, a potential alternative to chemo and radiation is something to cheer for.

[Penn State; Image: Shutterstock/MichaelTaylor]

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drag2share: New Study Suggests We Really Are What We Eat [Science]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5842774/new-study-suggests-we-really-are-what-we-eat

New Study Suggests We Really Are What We Eat Scientists at Nanjing University made a startling discovery about the food we eat. Not only do we ingest the nutrients from our food, we incorporate some of the genetic material as well.

The research team discovered abundant levels of rice microRNA in the bloodstream of Chinese test subjects. And this miRNA isn't just sitting there idly, it may have an effect on our genes. In earlier laboratory trials, this rice miRNA had an effect on gene expression in mice and changed the liver's ability to filter LDL cholesterol.

The possibility that the food we eat may regulate gene expression is an exciting discovery, but it brings up as many questions as answers. Does this explain the medicinal qualities of some foods? Could our food be used as a vector to treat disease? And what does this mean for genetically modified foods? [Popsci; Image from Valentyn Volkov/Shutterstock]

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drag2share: Microbial fuel cell produces hydrogen from wastewater without wasting energy

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/22/microbial-fuel-cell-produces-hydrogen-from-wastewater-without-wa/

Back in 2005, Bruce Logan and his team of Penn State researchers developed a microbial fuel cell capable of converting poop into power. Now, Logan has refined his system to the point where it can produce hydrogen from wastewater or biodegradable organic materials without using a drop of grid electricity, and without emitting even a hint of carbon dioxide. His approach, outlined in the September 19th issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involves something known as reverse-electrodialysis (RED) -- a process that harvests energy from the ionic discrepancy between fresh and salt water. Logan's bacterial hydrolysis cell (pictured left) features a so-called RED stack that's comprised of alternating positive and negative ion exchange membranes, which it uses to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Normally, this process would involve about 25 pairs of membranes, but by using RED technology in conjunction with electricity-producing exoelectrogenic bacteria, Penn State's team was able to extract hydrogen with just five membrane pairs. All told, Logan's cells proved to be about 58 to 64 percent energy efficient, while producing between 0.8 to 1.6 cubic meters of hydrogen for every cubic meter of liquid that passed through the system. The researchers' results show that only one percent of that energy was used to pump water through the cells, which are completely carbon ne! utral, a s well. According to Logan, this breakthrough demonstrates that "pure hydrogen gas can efficiently be produced from virtually limitless supplies of seawater and river water and biodegradable organic matter." Somewhere, the US Navy is taking scrupulous notes. Full PR after the break.

[Image courtesy of Penn State / Bruce Logan]

Continue reading Microbial fuel cell produces hydrogen from wastewater without wasting energy

Microbial fuel cell produces hydrogen from wastewater without wasting energy originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 22 Sep 2011 07:01:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

drag2share: A Pool So Green It'll Look And Feel Almost Like A Lake [Design]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5841930/a-pool-so-green-itll-look-and-feel-almost-like-a-lake

A Pool So Green It'll Look And Feel Almost Like A LakePools are great for cooling off but they're not very green. They use lots of electricity, are kept clean with harsh chemicals and create an artificial landscape that screams "I love vinyl." But it doesn't have to be that way.

More and more pool companies are designing Eco-Smart pools that'll look and feel like you've got a lake in your backyard. These green pools are designed to match the topography of your backyard and have stone and wood accents that'll give the pool that natural look.

These green pools also have an ozone and smart filtration system that'll keep the water fresh and clean without using harsh chemicals like chlorine. Even the variable speed pumps, which use significantly less electricity, are easy on the environment. And you don't have to install the pool in the middle of your yard to maximize its sun exposure. Your pool can be nestled in a secluded area and heated using solar panels - a coolness factor that's worth every green penny. [KB Custom Pools]

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Monday, September 19, 2011

drag2share: Print your own blood vessels, no need for red toner

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/19/print-your-own-blood-vessels-no-need-for-red-toner/

Barely 24 hours after we told you about printing your own bones, the franken-science continues with the announcement that blood vessels are next on the body-parts-you-can-print list. Unsurprisingly, you'll need more than just regular toner if you want to start printing your own at home, but pioneering work by application-oriented research organization Fraunhofer has claimed to have cracked it by adding some good old 'two-photon polymerization' into the mix -- yeah, obvious once you know. The added photon special sauce is what makes the printed synthetic tubes biofunctionalized, which in turn enables living body cells to dock onto them -- we're guessing that's important. Sounds cute, but how long until we can start printing whole people -- Weird Science, anyone?

Continue reading Print your own blood vessels, no need for red toner

Print your own blood vessels, no need for red toner originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 19 Sep 2011 13:46:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

drag2share: Artega SE electric supercar is coming to the US, we go eyes-on

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/16/artega-se-electric-supercar-is-coming-to-the-us-we-go-eyes-on/

Artega SE electric supercar is coming to the US, we go eyes-on
With the Tesla Roadster's tenure drawing to a close and a proper two-seat replacement seemingly just a twinkle in Peter Rawlinson's eye at this point, there's something of a coming void in the world of the electric supercar. Artega would love to fill that with the SE. It's an all-electric version of the company's GT supercar, and while the GT will not see a release on American shores, we got confirmation from Artega that the battery-powered SE will -- eventually. The 375 horsepower motor drives the car to 62MPH in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 126.5. Maximum range is 172 miles, but drive the car "more enthusiastically" and you can expect a more realistic 124.

The car was announced earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show and here in Frankfurt we were able to spend a few minutes ogling its curves in a variety of interesting colors, including one model with a cut-away fender showing off the positioning of some of the 16 battery modules. 12 of those are scattered around the rear of the car, while four are up front, giving the car a rearward-biased 40:60 weight distribution. Cost is said to be 150,000 euro, or about $207,000. That's nearly twice the cost of a Roadster. Worth it? We'll see.

Artega SE electric supercar is coming to the US, we go eyes-on originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 16 Sep 2011 16:43:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

drag2share: Volkswagen Nils concept has an HTC Desire HD dashboard, seats one Engadget editor

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/14/volkswagen-nils-concept-has-an-htc-desire-hd-dashboard-seats-on/

VW Nils
Audi isn't the only one with a tiny little EV with exposed wheels at Frankfurt this year. Parent company Volkswagen has one too, but this is even smaller. It's called the Nils and it's designed for commuters in the "world of tomorrow" -- commuters who will be very thin and, apparently, short. Big people just don't fit well into this tiny thing, but if you're of modest size or below this could be an interesting little ride. It has only 34-horsepower (25kW) available from a rear-mounted electric motor, but since it weighs just 1,000-pounds (460kg) that should make for some peppy commutes -- of less than 40 miles (65 kilometers), which is the maximum range here. More details after the break.

Continue reading Volkswagen Nils concept has an HTC Desire HD dashboard, seats one Engadget editor

Volkswagen Nils concept has an HTC Desire HD dashboard, seats one Engadget editor originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 14 Sep 2011 17:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

drag2share: Rimac Automobili unveils 1,088 horsepower Concept One electric supercar

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/13/rimac-automobili-unveils-1-088-horsepower-concept-one-electric-s/

Rimac Automobili unveils 1,088 horsepower Concept One electric supercar
When you need four digits and a comma to specify the amount of horsepower your car puts down, you know you're talking about something very, very special indeed. Such is the case for the Concept One, the first car from virtual unknown manufacturer Rimac Automobili, styled by designer Adriano Mudri. The firm (which is Croatian, not Italian, by the way) has created this machine and given it four electric motors. They combine for an astounding 1,088 horsepower but, perhaps even more importantly, enable torque vectoring across all four wheels -- varying the power at each corner to pull the car around turns.

That performance equates to a 0 - 62MPH time of 2.8 seconds, while the maximum range is rated as 600km (about 375 miles) thanks to a 92kWh lithium ion phosphate (LiFePO4) battery. It is, alas, just a concept for now, but with a little bit of funding the folks at Rimac hope to bring it to market. And we hope they do too.

Rimac Automobili unveils 1,088 horsepower Concept One electric supercar originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Sep 2011 11:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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drag2share: Fisker Surf plug-in hybrid: five doors of good Karma

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/13/fisker-surf-plug-in-hybrid-five-doors-of-good-karma/

Fisker Surf
Like Fisker's Karma but need a little more room for the kids -- or maybe the dogs? Check out the Surf. Fisker just unveiled this new five-door at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and, while it's based on the Karma (that has just finally entered full production), as you can see it's grown a bit. It's a five-door version of the iconic shooting brake body style (a three-door sporty hatchback) that houses the same series hybrid powertrain that powers the Karma. That means 80km (50 miles) of pure electric driving and, thanks to the gasoline motor in there that acts as an onboard generator, you can go up to another 400km (about 250 miles).

Because of the similarity between the two cars this prototype was actually able to roll off of the Fisker assembly line, and it's said to go into production sometime in mid-2012. Fisker also announced a new partnership with BMW, which will provide the 2.0 liter engine that will come along for the ride. Interestingly the car will be built in Delaware, meaning this European beauty has some decidedly strong American roots.

Gallery: Fisker Surf


Continue reading Fisker Surf plug-in hybrid: five doors of good Karma

Fisker Surf plug-in hybrid: five doors of good Karma originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Sep 2011 08:17:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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drag2share: Evil Genius Virus Literally Melts Troublesome Caterpillars [Wtf]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5839357/evil-genius-virus-literally-melts-troublesome-caterpillars

Evil Genius Virus Literally Melts Troublesome CaterpillarsThe Gypsy moth is one of the most obnoxious pests in the US today, capable of decimating whole forests. So of course the government wants them eradicated. But so potent is the virus they use to control them that it makes them suicidal and melts their insides.

The virus is known as baculovirus, and it's wicked stuff. When exposed to the virus, the Gypsy moth caterpillars begin to behave erratically, climb up to a high part of the tree they live in, and eventually die. It doesn't end there though. The virus breaks their bodies down from the inside out, melting their organs down until there's nothing left but caterpillar goop. Brutal.

But that's not the evil genius of the baculovirus, and why it's so attractive to officials who want the pest dead and gone. The virus actually controls this behavior on a genetic level in order to propagate itself. By activating the caterpillar's gene responsible for molting behavior, it convinces the creature to crawl high up in a tree and stop eating. Once it dies, the melted remains drip down onto the leaves below for other caterpillars to eat, eventually infecting the whole population. It's like an honest to goodness zombie movie, but with bugs.

Considering the threat the moths continue to pose, I suppose the end justifies the means. But Christ, couldn't it be just a little less gruesome? [NPR]

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mel Evans

Correction: Baculovirus. No. This has nothing to do with Scott Bakula. Thanks guys.

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drag2share: Ford Evos cloud-connected concept car unveiled at Frankfurt

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/12/ford-evos-cloud-connected-concept-car-unveiled-at-frankfurt/

Ford Evos cloud-connected concept car unveiled at Frankfurt
The 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show doesn't kick off until tomorrow, but already Ford's unveiled the tasty hunk of conceptual automotive design it teased us with a few weeks back. It's called the Evos, it's loaded with technology and, while it doesn't look much like any of the current autos you'll find down at the local Blue Oval dealer, it's actually said to be the precursor of a new model that's coming in just four months time. Join us after the break for more details.

Continue reading Ford Evos cloud-connected concept car unveiled at Frankfurt

Ford Evos cloud-connected concept car unveiled at Frankfurt originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 12 Sep 2011 14:48:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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