Archive | General Science

Game Changing ‘Biowire’ Technology developed by Canadian Cardiovascular Research Team

researchMilica Radisic and her team recently announced in the scientific journal, Nature Methods, that they have developed a new method of maturing human heart cells by applying electrical pulses to the cells, in a pattern that mimics the fetal cardiac development of humans. The new technology, called ‘Biowire’ uses silk sutures to grow human heart cells which are mature enough to be used in research and transplantation. Electrical pulse is applied to the cardiomyocytes that mimics the fetal heart rate of humans to stimulate a natural environment for the heart cells to mature in. This new process has achieved much better results than previous methods to mature stem cells derived from human caridomyocytes.

Radisic, who is the Canada Research Chair in Functional Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering, was named a “Top Innovator under 35″ by MIT Technology Review and has received the Order of Ontario and the Young Engineers of Canada 2012 Achievement Award. Her team included Dr. Sara Nunes, a scientist and cardiac and vascularization specialist at the University Health Network (UHN) Toronto, and Jason Miklas, a graduate student at the University of Toronto. Continue Reading

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Commute by Electric Skateboard…Using Brain Power?

electronic skateboard When considering electric transportation methods, a skateboard usually isn’t the first set of wheels that comes to mind. However, thanks to the advent of new technology, the long-time vehicle of choice by kids and rebel teens alike has shone a new light on daily commuting. Some of the latest decks are equipped with remote control devices, as well as the ability to be controlled by the mind.

When 50% of the world’s car trips are under five miles, and public transportation systems often leave the passengers walking the last mile to their destinations, it’s no wonder manufacturers are looking to market the electric skateboard as an eco-friendly alternative to getting around traffic while saving gas. It’s becoming a great commuting option for those with balance, according to William Hurley, co-founder of electric boarding pioneers, Chaotic Moon. “In fact,” Hurley remarks, “Several companies have emerged in the past two years in attempt to grab a piece of this growing market.” He mentions that the two largest trends in the market are controlling devices and battery options. Continue Reading

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Copyright Infringes May Soon Start Getting Warnings From Service Providers.

copyrightPeople who illegally upload and share online digital media like music, movies and TV shows may very soon start receiving warning signals from their service providers for copyright infringement. Those who simply turn a deaf ear to the warning notices may even risk penalties with the simplest being a 48 hour internet shutdown though other penalties could be imposed if the culprit fails to heed to the constant notices. The alert system was created by the Center for Copyright Information which is still working out the methods that companies will be allowed to use in order to catch pirates.

This though is not the first time that the stakeholders in the music, movie and TV industries have tried to fight copyright infringement. The first attempt was through law suits that were common a decade or so ago but this did very little to stop people from illegally swapping digital files online. However, the major players in these industries are now taking a different approach to try and reduce rate at which files are illegally exchanged by internet users. The new system aims at educating internet pirates about the dangers and encouraging them to stop the practice. Continue Reading

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A new approach to the effect of gravity on the growth of plants

plantGravitational force influences how living organisms respond to one another, their physical and chemical environment as well as how they develop and diversify. It is clear in general how plants respond to the force of gravity. The roots respond by growing towards the force of gravity while the stems grow upwards against gravity to get exposure to the sunlight. Botanists have in the past tried to explain exactly how plant cells are able to sense gravity, communicate with other cells and respond accordingly. However, a recent review of the current knowledge by the American Journal of Botany shows that there is much more we need to know on the mechanisms involved. There is a better molecular explanation of what actually happens. Continue Reading

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The Use of RNA in Genetic Bar Coding

DNAThe DNA databases are well protected resources, as they have a large number of detailed fingerprints that may be employed to discover an individual from cancer, paternity tests, genetic predisposition up to criminal records. It also appears that RNA databases, a derivative of large genome studies are used in the identification of persons. The databases are available in journals and to the public, and have the information from large number of people worldwide.
Having these discoveries, the scientists can improve the health of a patient using the RNA and deep individual data. But this as well brings up some questions concerning the genomic privacy.

The study performed in New York at the Mount Sinai School Medical Department changes the RNA detection process inside out. Scientists Ke Hao and Eric E. Schadt discovered that to get the DNA of an individual by use of RNA data. Nearly all the studies revealed how the RNA relays the genetic information using DNA sequences. Continue Reading

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Relation between Fatty Diet and Brain Cells

fatty dietScientist’s endless efforts to conquer the problem of obesity are not new to the world. People are well-versed with the fact that researchers have been striving hard to eradicate the problem of obesity from its root. Their unstoppable thirst to look for a cure has made it possible to solve many unsolvable health complications. Likewise, a recent revelation of some factual information pertaining to obesity may help to address the doubt regarding effect of fatty foods on the cells of brain. Scientists undertook a research on mice. The research result advises that highly fatty foods initiate the production of some new brain cells which trigger weight gain in mice.

As per the opinion of experts like neuroscientist Seth Blackshaw of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a published online report on March 25th in Nature Neuroscience, except few rare cases, most part of the human brain does not make any new nerve cells. But there is a place called the median eminence, which makes new nerve cells throughout the whole life of a human being and is also a vital place of brain’s metabolism. Continue Reading

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How to predict system collapse

scienceFor a long time, predicting the future has been known to be almost impossible. In fact, apart from weather forecasting, the task of predicting future events has largely been left to fortunetellers, who have seemed to delight in the fact that little progress has been made by scientists in this field.

However, a recent study published in February could prove to be a groundbreaking study in the search for a scientific formula for examining imminent system collapse. This study seeks to ascertain when a system of a certain level of complexity is headed towards collapse.Using math principles, the research tries to help people to get an understanding of systems even when there is little data available to make any complex computations.Perhaps the background of a study of this nature would have to be the apparently numerous ecological systems and other systems that seem to be collapsing at an unprecedented rate. The need to have a scientific manner of analyzing system collapse is perhaps at its highest now. Continue Reading

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What’s the deal with 29 February?

calendarTomorrow, 29 February, only happens once every four years. It’s the only date in a year which isn’t always there. So why do we have this sometimes day in what we call a ‘leap year’?

Let’s start by clarifying what a day and a year actually are. One day is the time it takes for Earth to rotate on its axis, so the same bit of the Earth is pointing at the Sun. This the time from one midnight to the next, or from one midday to the next.

One year is the time it takes for Earth to orbit the Sun once. It’s around 365 ¼ days long, and that ¼ is a problem. If our calendar only had 365 days, then dates would occur earlier and earlier in the seasons. To keep the dates lined up with the seasons, we use a 365 day calendar, but we sometimes add a day at the end of February, making it 29 days long, instead of 28. Continue Reading

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Is anyone average?

measuring tapeYou will need:
* Internet access
* Spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel or Open Office

To get the data

1. Get online and visit the CensusAtSchool random sampler. This page will provide responses from a survey called CensusAtSchool. Read the conditions of use and if you agree, then click through to the next page.

2. Select the following data options:

* Reference Year – 2011
* Questions to display – Select data by question

For ‘data by question’, check the following boxes:

* Q8. Eye colour
* Q17. Favourite take-away
* Q20. Getting to school Continue Reading

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Are you average?

measuring tapeIs your favourite food pizza? Do you get to school by car? Is your favourite sport netball? Are you 157cm tall?

If you answered yes to all of the above, then your answers agree with ‘averages’ obtained from a random sample of the 2011 CensusAtSchool questionnaire. But does this make you average? ‘Average’ can mean different things depending on who you’re talking to. In everyday language average can mean typical, or something that you wouldn’t be surprised about. However, in statistics average and typical are very different things.

An average summarises a characteristic (such as height) using data taken from different sources. There are different types of average – each tells you something different and all are useful. Continue Reading

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