Saturday, September 27, 2008

Power from Wave Energy !

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The renewable energy sector has received a boost with the inauguration of the world's first commercial wave power project off the Portuguese coast.

It is hoped that the Pelamis Wave Energy Converters will provide energy for 15,000 homes.

more photos » Developed by a Scottish engineering company, Pelamis Wave Power Limited, the Pelamis Wave Energy Converters (PWEC) have been towed into position three miles off the coast of Agucadoura in north Portugal.

The first phase of the project is using three PWEC to generate 2.25 megawatts of power at a cost of nine million euros.

If successful, a second phase will see energy generation rise to 21 megawatts from a further 25 machines providing electricity for 15,000 Portuguese homes.

The project is a joint venture between Pelamis Wave Power Limited, Babcock and Brown Ltd -- a global specialist asset manager, Energias de Portugal (EDP) and Portuguese energy group EFACEC.

Named after the sea snake Pelamis, each machine measures 140 meters in length, is 3.5 meters wide and sits partially submerged in the sea.

"Effectively what you have is four long sections making up one machine. Between those sections are three small generating motors," he said.

"The four sections are all joined by hydraulic rams. As the waves run through the machine it pushes the rams in and out. The action of the rams going to and fro pushes hydraulic fluid into a high-pressure reservoir. That high-pressure reservoir then releases the fluid at a steady rate through a generating motor."

This power is fed down to a cable on the sea bed which then links back to a sub-station on shore where it is converted into useable electricity.

The PWEC are, of course, reliant on the weather. Depending on the wave resource, Pelamis predict that the machines will on average produce 25-40 percent of their full power output over the course of a year.

When the full array of 25 machines are in place it is calculated that around 60,000 tons of CO2 will be displaced.

If wave power was fully exploited, the British Wind Energy Association estimates that one-two billion tons of CO2 could be displaced every year.

Ian Fells, emeritus professor of energy conversion at Newcastle University in England, gave this latest development in wave power a cautious welcome.

"It's extraordinarily difficult to design a machine that will cope with the extreme violence of waves. Some wave machines are under the surface all the time -- but they are not as well developed as yet. Pelamis lies in the surface and it remains to be seen how successful it will be," he told CNN.

"But good luck to them. We'll just have to see how it operates over time and how it copes with serious weather conditions."

Professor Fells, a founding chairman of the New and Renewable Energy Center (NaREC) at Blyth, Northumberland, is convinced of the potential of wave power engineering but says it is still in its infancy.

"A few years ago when I was talking about a 500-kilowatt Wavegen machine, I was asked by a reporter how many of these we would need to replace the two nuclear power stations in Scotland, and the answer is 10,000. That puts things into perspective."


Friday, September 26, 2008

Scientists give artificial fingers ‘extra feeling’

Scientists give artificial fingers ‘extra feeling’

Published on Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 00:22 in Health section


ARTIFICIAL SENSATION : Scientists give artificial hands and fingertips the power of touch.

London: People fitted with artificial hands will not only be able to sense touch, but would "instinctively" stop objects slipping from their grasp, all thanks to a group of researchers, who have developed sensitive limbs and fingers for making artificial limbs more and more life-like.

Scientists at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, have developed artificial hands and fingertips that have the power of touch and can "instinctively" stop objects slipping from their grasp.

Human hands make use of a built-in reflex that automatically estimate the minimum force needed to hold on to an object.

The reflex works by responding to tiny vibrations in the skin as an object starts to slip through our fingers.

However, the reflex mechanism is missing in existing artificial hands, thus operators have to consciously estimate the required force.

"It’s very mentally taxing," Telegraph quoted Jeremy Fishel, a member of the research team, as telling New Scientist.

The researchers have developed a system in which the finger tip consists of a rubber skin, filled with thick silicon gel.

If an object begins to slip, the vibrations in the finger’s elastic skin transmit through the silicon gel to sensors attached to a central acrylic "bone".

The vibration provides instant feedback, telling the motors in the hand to tighten their grip before the vibrations stop.

The bone of the finger is also covered with tiny electrodes, across which a small voltage is applied.

The deformations in the elastic skin caused by holding an object alter the distribution of gel in the fingertip, which changes the amount of electricity that is conducted between the electrodes.

The information could then be transmitted to a pressure device worn on a patch of the hand-operator’s healthy skin, helping them to "feel" what their prosthetic hand is touching.

A prototype of the finger will be presented at the BioRob conference in Scottsdale, Arizona

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Scientists start world's biggest physics experiment

Scientists start world's biggest physics experiment
Courtesy: Yahoo NEWS.
Wed, Sep 10 06:51 PM

By Robert Evans

GENEVA (Reuters) - International scientists celebrated the successful start of a huge particle-smashing machine on Wednesday aiming to recreate the conditions of the "Big Bang" that created the universe.

Experiments using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the biggest and most complex machine ever made, could revamp modern physics and unlock secrets about the universe and its origins.

The project has had to work hard to deny suggestions by some critics that the experiment could create tiny black holes of intense gravity that could suck in the whole planet.

Such fears, fanned by doomsday writers, have spurred huge interest in particle physics before the machine's start-up. Leading scientists have dismissed such concerns as "nonsense."

The debut of the machine that cost 10 billion Swiss francs ($9 billion) registered as a blip on a control room screen at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, at about 9:30 a.m. (0730 GMT).

"We've got a beam on the LHC," project leader Lyn Evans told his colleagues, who burst into applause at the news.

The physicists and technicians huddled in the control room cheered loudly again an hour later when the particle beam completed a clockwise trajectory of the accelerator, successfully completing the machine's first major task.

Eventually, the scientists want to send beams in both directions to create tiny collisions at nearly the speed of light, an attempt to recreate on a miniature scale the heat and energy of the Big Bang, a concept of the origin of the universe that dominates scientific thinking.

The Big Bang is thought to have occurred 15 billion years ago when an unimaginably dense and hot object the size of a small coin exploded in a void, spewing out matter that expanded rapidly to create stars, planets and eventually life on Earth.


Problems with the LHC's magnets caused its temperature -- which is kept at minus 271.3 degrees Celsius -- to fluctuate slightly, delaying efforts to send a particle beam in the counter-clockwise direction. The beam started its progression and then was halted.

"This is a hiccup, not a major thing," Rudiger Schmidt, CERN's head of hardware commissioning, told reporters, adding the second rotation should be completed on Wednesday afternoon.

Evans, who wore jeans and running shoes to the start-up, declined to say when those high-energy clashes would begin.

"I don't know how long it will take," he said. "I think what has happened this morning bodes very well that it will go quickly ... This is a machine of enormous complexity. Things can go wrong at any time. But this morning we had a great start."

Once the particle-smashing experiment gets to full speed, data measuring the location of particles to a few millionths of a metre, and the passage of time to billionths of a second, will show how the particles come together, fly apart, or dissolve.

It is in these conditions that scientists hope to find fairly quickly a theoretical particle known as the Higgs Boson, named after Scottish scientist Peter Higgs who first proposed it in 1964, as the answer to the mystery of how matter gains mass.

Without mass, the stars and planets in the universe could never have taken shape in the aeons after the Big Bang, and life could never have begun -- on Earth or, if it exists as many cosmologists believe, on other worlds either.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A kid's first hand report to her friend on her experiences at Washington D.C.

Dear Sunny B.,

Today I returned from Washington D.C. {Well, basically "today" because 12:37 a.m. is supposed to be the first hour of the day}.

Now I'll tell you a little about my visit.

As was planned, we started from New Jersey on Saturday at 9:45 a.m. We reached the Baltimore Aquarium at 1:something p.m. We still hadn't eaten lunch. Then when we got up to one of the ticket counters, we got all of our tickets except Simmi(my sister) because she doesn't need a ticket. Then the trouble starts.

Suddenly, as we are heading towards the door of the aquarium, the person that gave us the tickets suddenly shouts that because of the crowd of people in the aquarium, we can't go to the aquarium until 4:45. p.m. Disgusting, and we still hadn't eaten lunch. Then, my mom realized that we had forgotten to bring lunch. Then she remembered that restaurants at tourist places make their food much more costly. Then my dad suggested that we go to P.F. Chang's because that is usually less costly. Then my mom says that grandpa might not like noodles, noodles and more noodles. Then my grandpa throws a tantrum that he can eat noodles anywhere and at anytime.

Finally, after about an hour or so, we find ourselves a normally priced Asian restaurant. After some while, my mom throws a tantrum because we didn't bring food from home and the food at the restaurant was horrible and that we were wasting our money. Then she said that she wouldn't eat this "uncooked" food. A bad start to a good day.

Then we got busy taking pictures and drinking lemonade and water. That took about up to 3:45. Then we lazied around the park until 4:25 and then headed out to the line forming at the speed of light at the door of the aquarium. At long last, {at 4:45}, we were allowed inside of the aquarium.

We see little sharks and stingrays on top of a high pier {balcony}. Then we went and explored fish, octopuses, sea lilies, anemones, clams, and last of all, real sharks. After seeing all of those animals, we went to the dolphin show. The dolphins leaped, jumped, and played when their trainers signaled them to. One dolphin jumped 25 feet off the water and touched it's nose to the exact target. The most enjoyable of all, the dolphins copied whatever the trainers were doing. For instance, when the trainers were waving to the people, the dolphins were waving too.

After seeing all of this, we drove ourselves to the hotel 4 blocks away from the White House. Before going to sleep, I turned on the Olympics channel {NBC at 8:30}. Michael Phelps won his first gold medal in swimming! His target is 6 more. In case you're confused, Michael Phelps is a 20 year-old swimmer swimming for America in the Olympics.

Next morning, on Sunday, we headed out to the Capitol building were laws are made. Then we drove to the White House about 2 minutes away from the Capitol Building. After that, we entered the NASA Museum. I saw the command module of Apollo something which was actually once in space! Then we went to the hands-on section of the museum. I got to see many things such as what is pressure, and why airplanes have wings shaped like they do. When I walked a little farther, there was this chunk of an airplane that people had cut out for the museum. There was the seats, the racks up head for storing luggage, food on the trays, and sculptures of people on the seats. Wow! In one part of the museum, there was this actual dead monkey that had once been launched into space. Disgusting, but cool. After that we went into a building that was once a portable house launched to the moon. In there, there was a bag for going to the bathroom, beds with straps so that you wouldn't float out of bed while sleeping, and a magnetic dining table with magnetic dishware so they don't float of the table also. Very interesting. Also, there was this real plane where Simmi went into the cockpit and the plane actually started moving! Good thing no one was around and that she hadn't stepped on the gas pedal or she would've taken off! {Just kidding about the taking off part}. There were many other things that we did see, but they are too hard to express in words. They will be easier to express when you come back to New Jersey and we can talk on the phone or meet each other.

Next, we went to the National History museum where we saw whale fossils, dinosaur fossils, butterflies, priceless diamonds, priceless gems and a gift shop. From the gift shop, all my mom allowed me to buy was a souvenir penny.

Anyways, after that, we got stuck in a big car jam that lasted for two hours and finally reached home at 12:37 a.m. How sad. Tell me something about your visits. Bye for now!

From your sleepy BFF,

Debby M.

(Debby M is a friend of my granddaughter Sanchitha. Both are friends.)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Cat's Eye Nebula Redux

The Cat's Eye Nebula Redux

This composite of data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope is a new look for NGC 6543, better known as the Cat's Eye nebula. This famous object is a so-called planetary nebula that represents a phase of stellar evolution that the Sun should experience several billion years from now. When a star like the Sun begins to run out of fuel, it becomes what is known as a red giant. In this phase, a star sheds some of its outer layers, eventually leaving behind a hot core that collapses to form a dense white dwarf star. A fast wind emanating from the hot core rams into the ejected atmosphere, pushes it outward, and creates the graceful filamentary structures seen with optical telescopes.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

3-Stage hybrid HEART SURGERY




Umiwana Chrisine, a 24 year old woman from Rwanda may not understand the procedures of this
epoch making surgery but the medical world does.

What a marvellous feat by the Cardiac thoracic surgeons at Miot Hospital, Chennai !
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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cancer vaccine target pinpointed

Cancer vaccine target pinpointed

Read more by clicking HERE

Dendritic cell
Dendritic cells tell the immune system what to attack

Scientists may be one step closer to producing a specific targeted vaccine for killing cancer cells.

UK researchers have pinpointed a protein on immune cells which they hope will help them harness the body's defences to attack a tumour.

A vaccine designed to "home in" on the protein would deliver a message to the immune system to attack the invading cancer, they said.

The research is published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The protein is unique to a type of immune cell called a dendritic cell, which is responsible for triggering the body's defence system.

The results of this research are an important step towards understanding how to create targeted cancer vaccines in the future
Dr Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK

Its job is to present pathogens or foreign molecules to other cells of the immune system, which in turn eliminate them.

The team at Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute said scientists have been searching for proteins or "tags" on dendritic cells for over 30 years.

In theory a vaccine carrying a foreign molecule from a cancer cell could be targeted to the dendritic cells, which would then prompt the immune system to attack the "invading" cancer. The same approach could be used for treating HIV or malaria, the researchers said.

T cell army

Study leader Dr Caetano Reis e Sousa said the team had found a unique protein called DNGR-1, which could be used to deliver such a vaccine to the door of the dendritic cell.

"Vaccines work by triggering an army of immune cells, called T cells, to attack potentially dangerous foreign molecules, like those found on pathogens.

"Dendritic cells are the messengers, telling the T cells who to attack.

"Vaccines will carry a sample of the offending molecule and deliver it to DNGR-1 on the dendritic cells, which in turn will present the molecule to the armies of T cells and instruct them to attack."

Cancer Research UK's director of cancer information, Dr Lesley Walker, said: "Developing treatments that accurately target cancer and have few serious side-effects is one of Cancer Research UK's top goals.

"The results of this research are an important step towards understanding how to create targeted cancer vaccines in the future."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

How secondhand smoking affects your family and environment!

Passive Smoking Effects
Read More by clicking HERE

How secondhand smoking affects your family and environment!

Passive smoking means the smoke in the ambience exhaled from the lungs of the smoker or the smoke that comes from a person’s burning end of cigarette, cigar or pipe and that inhaled by others. This is also known as involuntary smoking, secondhand smoking and Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS).

There are 4000 chemicals in tobacco having 100 identified poisons and 63 components that cause cancer. When the smokers are directly taking these poisons in, they are, at the same time, polluting the environment with the dangerous chemicals. Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) causes death of an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans per year due to lung cancer and 300,000 children undergo lower respiratory tract infections.

Worldwide research institutes have established the facts of short term and long term effects of environmental tobacco smoke. Let us understand these one by one;

Short Term Effects: It depends upon the susceptibility of a person to nicotine. Some can stay in a room with smokers for quite a long time apparently without being effected. Others may feel ill within a few minutes or an hour of exposure to environmental smoke.

* Asthma patients may experience attacks due to ETS exposure.
* Allergy patients experience all types of allergic symptoms like stuffy nose, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, wheezing etc.
* Coughing
* Headache
* Nausea
* Lethargy
* People who are trying to quit feel cravings for a smoke

Long Term Effects: There are quite a number of dangerous long term effects of environmental smoke depending upon the frequency of exposure to involuntery smoking. The likelihood of below mentioned diseases are increased by frequent exposure to passive smoking.

* Risk of lung cancer
* Risk of heart disease
* Risk of miscarriages and birth defects
* Risk of developing asthma in children and adults
* Risk of ear infections
* Aggravated asthma, allergies, and other conditions
* Learning difficulty in children
* Risk of lung infection

California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a review by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) identify the consequences of passive smoking

r e a d m o r e and
s p r e a d this
m e s s a g e.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Plants and flowers can grow in Moon rocks

Plants and flowers can grow in Moon rocks
Thu, Apr 17 01:05 PM

London, April 17 (ANI): Scientists with the European Space Agency (ESA) have shown that plants and flowers can be grown on the Moon by demonstrating that marigolds can grow in crushed rock very much like the lunar surface, with no need for plant food.

According to a report by BBC News, the new research was presented at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) meeting in Vienna.

"We would bring a system of water circulation and recovery, which is also the type of system that in any case you want to develop when you are going to manufacture a primitive sort of life support system," said Bernard Foing, a senior scientist with the European Space Research and Technology Centre (Estec) in the Netherlands.

"So it is also a kind of 'technological breadboard' for maintaining a simple life form in an extreme environment," he added.

The new step, taken in the experiments reported at the EGU, is to remove the need for bringing nutrients and soil from Earth.

A team led by Natasha Kozyrovska and Iryna Zaetz from the National Academy of Sciences in Kiev planted marigolds in crushed anorthosite, a type of rock found on Earth, which is very similar to much of the lunar surface.

In neat anorthosite, the plants fared very badly. But adding different types of bacteria made them thrive; the bacteria appeared to draw elements from the rock that the plants needed, such as potassium.

Dr Foing, who presented the study at the EGU meeting, said there was no reason in principle why the same idea could not bear fruit on the Moon itself. Tools could crush lunar rock and add bacteria and seeds.

"But, scientists could look to go further, by selecting plants or bacteria that are especially well adapted to lunar conditions, or even by genetically engineering new strains," he added.

According to Foing, growing plants on the Moon would be a useful as a tool to learn how life adapts to lunar conditions, and as a practical aid to establishing manned bases. (ANI)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Evolition ! or Just a Deviation or a Birth Genetic Defect ?

Miracle baby' is feted in India

By Sanjoy Majumder
BBC News, Delhi

Mother Sushma holds her daughter Lali
There's even talk of a temple being built in Lali's honour.

They're calling her the miracle baby.

Barely a month old, baby Lali was born with a rare condition which has given her two faces.

It's called Craniofacial Duplication and she has two sets of eyes, noses and lips.

In the village where she was born, close to the edge of Delhi, her condition has made her an object of fascination and reverence.


"When I first saw her, I was scared. It's natural," her father, Vinod Singh, tells me.

"But now I feel I'm blessed."

Doctors have told him them that despite having two faces Lali is healthy and normal.

She is able to drink milk through either mouth and breathe normally.

Mr Singh is a poor farm worker. At his mud and brick house at the end of a narrow dusty lane, a neighbour applies a fresh coat of paint to his front door.

Vinod Singh
We just want to enjoy time with our first born child
Vinod Singh

Inside, he stands surrounded by villagers, some sitting on sturdy hessian cots, others smoking pipes.

For the past few days, people have been lining up to see his daughter.

Many of them bring offerings of money, believing that Lali has special powers.

"When you see something unnatural, it can only be the miracle of God," says Jatinder Nagar, a neighbour who's taken on the self-appointed role of tour guide.

"It's something so magical that we believe that she's a goddess. We regard her as one."


Eighty-year-old Ballabh Saini is a grandmother and respected as a village elder.

But even she bows her head in reverence.

"She has brought us fame and she is blessed," she tells me.

"So many people have been coming to see her - travelling long distances on cars, motorbikes, horse-drawn carts."

But all this is making Vinod Singh increasingly uncomfortable and upset.

"She's my daughter. I don't want any more of this. I'm fed up," he says, throwing up his hands in despair.

But he's up against centuries of superstition.

Faced with something they're unable to comprehend, the villagers believe she is the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess.

There's even talk of a temple being built in her honour.

Her new found status is lost on Lali, as she lies cradled in her grandfather's arms.

Doctors in Delhi say there is no possibility of separating her head.

But they do want to carry out more medical tests to determine if her internal organs are normal.

But her parents won't allow them.

"What is the need? As far as we are concerned she's like any other child," says Vinod Singh.

"We just want to enjoy time with our first-born child."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chilling images of ice-shelf collapsing in the heat

Wed, Mar 26 02:50 PM

New York, March 26 (IANS) A US satellite has captured chilling images of over 400 square kilometres of Antarctica's massive Wilkins Ice Shelf collapsing because of rapid climate changes.

The area is part of the much larger shelf of nearly 13,000 square kilometres that is now supported only by a narrow strip of ice between two islands.

'If there is a little bit more retreat, this last 'ice buttress' could collapse and we'd likely lose about half the total ice shelf area in the next few years,' warned Ted Scambos of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

In the past 50 years, the western Antarctic Peninsula has experienced the biggest temperature increase on earth, rising by 17.27 degrees Celsius per decade.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Snakes Hear Through Their Jaws.

Washington, March 4 (ANI): A new research by US and German scientists has shown that snakes have a second hearing system through their jaws, which can provide valuable insight into their evolution.
According to a report in Discovery News, snakes pick up their prey's vibrations via their jaws, and then send these patterns to their brains for processing.
For years, it was assumed that snakes couldn't hear, that they sensed prey by smell, taste, and in some species, special heat-sensing pits near the nose.
Though basic experiments during the 1970s showed snakes could hear, they didn't explain how.
Now, the new research has proved that with each tiny footstep, a mouse or other prey radiates waves through the ground and air the same way drops of water ripple through a pool and produce a single drip sound.
Just as a ship bobs up and down in response to a wave in the ocean, a snake jaw resting on the ground responds to sound waves carried by the ground.
"The lower jaw of a snake is essentially a ridged cylinder," said Bruce Young, a biology professor at Washburn University. "So in that respect it's not terribly different from a ship," he added.
Therefore, for their research, the scientists borrowed techniques from nautical engineers.
The researchers used the exact equations that measure a ship's movement to model how a snake's jaw would move in response to waves moving through sand or earth.
Just as a ship can move in six different directions - heave, pitch, roll, etc, so can a snake's jaw - up, down, side to side, etc.
Also, just as a ship is more stable the deeper it rides in the water, snakes often bury themselves in sand to make their hearing more precise.
When buried, a snake can more easily detect the differences in the way its jaw moves.
After a snake's jawbones pick up a sound, it travels into the cochlea, where nerves pick up the signal and transmit it to the brain.
According to the researchers, by hearing through their jaw bone and through a traditional ear, snakes essentially evolved a second way to hear. (ANI)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Who is in ourSpace ?

Who's Orbiting the Moon?

Click Here to know more.

February 20, 2008: The space around Earth is a busy place, as teeming with traffic as a roundabout. More than 500 active satellites are bustling about up there right now. Some are transmitting radio, television, and telephone signals; others are gathering information about Earth's atmosphere and weather; still others are helping people navigate down here; and the rest are conducting space research.

Soon the space around the moon will be busy too. China, Japan, India, Russia, and the US either have sent or plan to send satellites there for a bird's-eye view of lunar features and resources.

Why is the moon such a draw?

Read More .by clicking at just below the title.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Machines 'to match man by 2029'

Machines will achieve human-level artificial intelligence by 2029, a leading US inventor has predicted.

Humanity is on the brink of advances that will see tiny robots implanted in people's brains to make them more intelligent, said Ray Kurzweil.

The engineer believes machines and humans will eventually merge through devices implanted in the body to boost intelligence and health.

"It's really part of our civilisation," Mr Kurzweil explained.

"But that's not going to be an alien invasion of intelligent machines to displace us."

Machines were already doing hundreds of things humans used to do, at human levels of intelligence or better, in many different areas, he said.

Man versus machine

"I've made the case that we will have both the hardware and the software to achieve human level artificial intelligence with the broad suppleness of human intelligence including our emotional intelligence by 2029," he said.

We'll have intelligent nanobots go into our brains... to make us smarter

Ray Kurzweil

"We're already a human machine civilisation; we use our technology to expand our physical and mental horizons and this will be a further extension of that."

Humans and machines would eventually merge, by means of devices embedded in people's bodies to keep them healthy and improve their intelligence, predicted Mr Kurzweil.

"We'll have intelligent nanobots go into our brains through the capillaries and interact directly with our biological neurons," he told BBC News.

Make solar energy affordable
Provide energy from fusion
Develop carbon sequestration
Manage the nitrogen cycle
Provide access to clean water
Reverse engineer the brain
Prevent nuclear terror
Secure cyberspace
Enhance virtual reality
Improve urban infrastructure
Advance health informatics
Engineer better medicines
Advance personalised learning
Explore natural frontiers

The nanobots, he said, would "make us smarter, remember things better and automatically go into full emergent virtual reality environments through the nervous system".

Mr Kurzweil is one of 18 influential thinkers chosen to identify the great technological challenges facing humanity in the 21st century by the US National Academy of Engineering.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Three-parent embryo formed in lab
IVF treatment
The scientists have created the embryo in the lab
Scientists believe they have made a potential breakthrough in the treatment of serious disease by creating a human embryo with three separate parents.

The Newcastle University team believe the technique could help to eradicate a whole class of hereditary diseases, including some forms of epilepsy.

The embryos have been created using DNA from a man and two women in lab tests.

It could ensure women with genetic defects do not pass the diseases on to their children.

It is human beings they are experimenting with
Josephine Quintavalle
Comment on Reproductive Ethics

'Our aim is to help children'

The technique is intended to help women with diseases of the mitochondria - mini organelles that are found within individual cells.

They are sometimes described as "cellular power plants" because they generate most of the cell's energy.

Faults in the mitochondrial DNA can cause around 50 known diseases, some of which lead to disability and death.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


* Westerlund 2: A Stellar Sight

A new Chandra X-ray Observatory image shows Westerlund 2, a young star cluster with an estimated age of about one or two million years. Until recently little was known about this cluster because it is heavily obscured by dust and gas. However, using infrared and X-ray observations to overcome this obscuration, Westerlund 2 has become regarded as one of the most interesting star clusters in the Milky Way galaxy. It contains some of the hottest, brightest and most massive stars known.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Violent History of Time

A Violent History of Time

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January 24, 2008: From mother Earth, the night sky can look peaceful and unchanging, but the universe as seen in gamma-rays is a place of sudden and chaotic violence. Using gamma-ray telescopes, astronomers witness short but tremendously intense explosions called gamma-ray bursts, and there is nothing more powerful.

Think about this: When you look up at the night sky, you are looking at the ultimate history book – one that goes back to the very beginning of what we call time. And each star is a chapter in the book. You are not really seeing the stars as they are now. You are looking at stars as they used to be when their light left them long ago. And the deeper we peer into space, the farther back in time we are looking. In fact, light from the galaxies farthest away is billions of years old.

Read More by clicking the above Link.
Courtesy: TIME

Friday, January 25, 2008

Scientist Creates Life — Almost ! He sequenced his own DNA !!!

Scientist Creates Life — Almost

Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008 By ALICE PARK

Not only has Venter constructed the first man-made genome, he has also sequenced his own dna, which is now part of a public genetic database
Venter has devoted much of his career to understanding the engineering of other organisms. He was the leader of one of two teams that in 2000 sequenced the human genome—the entire 25,000-gene cookbook that makes us people in the first place and not chimps or birds or banana trees—and he has conducted the same work with many other organisms. But Venter, 61, may have just done something that is at once more thrilling and promising and unsettling than all that. According to a just-released paper in the journal Science, he has gone beyond merely sequencing a genome and has designed and built one. In other words, he may have created life.

Certainly, defining what we mean when we say life has become a moving target over the years. Are we alive? Yes. Is a virus alive? Maybe. Still, a half-century after the discovery of the double helix, nobody doubts that it is our DNA that determines what we are—in the same way that lines of code determine software or the digital etchings on a CD determine the music you hear. Etch new signals, and you write a new song. That, in genetic terms, is what Venter has done. Working with only the four basic nucleotides that make up all DNA—adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine—he has assembled an entirely new chromosome for an entirely new one-celled creature. Insert that genome into a cell—like inserting a disc into a computer—and a new species of living thing will be booted up. Venter hasn't done that yet, which is why even he won't say that he has technically invented life. He has, however, already shown that a genome transplanted from an existing cell to another will shut down the host's genetic programming and bring its own online. If that cellular body-snatching works with an ordinary chromosome, there's little reason to think it won't with a manufactured one. "The fact that this is even possible is mind-boggling to most people," Venter says.

Read More by clicking the article below:,8599,1706552-2,00.html

Not only did Venter's team members succeed in building their own mycoplasma at their own lab benches, they also took the opportunity to rewrite its genetic score. First, they introduced a mutation that would prevent it from causing disease. Then they branded it with a series of watermarks that would distinguish it as a product of their lab. Using a code built around selected genes, they spelled out five words that Venter coyly refuses to reveal, saying only that any molecular-biology study can suss them out and promising that there are no obscenities. The next step, which could happen in a matter of months, will be to insert the gene into a cell and see if it indeed stirs to life. "This team is betting its reputation that that will happen in 2008," Venter says.

Not everyone believes he will succeed—or if he does, that it will matter much.

Corporate giants like DuPont already put synthetic biology to industrial use.

In the company's Loudon, Tenn., plant, for example, billions of E. coli bacteria stew inside massive tanks. The bacteria's genomes contain 23 alterations that instruct it to digest sugar from corn and produce propane diol, a polyester used in carpets, clothing and plastics. The hard-working bugs churn out 100 million lbs. (45 million kg) of the stuff each day, and all it took was a little tinkering with their genomes, not the construction of a new one. "In terms of whether I can think of anything I can only do with a whole synthetic chromosome that I can't do now, the short answer is no," says John Pierce, vice president of technology at DuPont Applied BioSciences.

Courtesy: TIME magazine
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

a living cell printer to create 3-D structures

Now, a living cell printer to create 3-D structures

Tue, Jan 22 01:45 PM

London, January 22 (ANI): A Wake Forest University researcher has adapted standard inkjet printing mechanism into a method of printing three-dimensional structures from living cells.

James Yoo of the Institute of Regenerative Medicine says that his technology may facilitate the creation of layers of viable cells, which can then be transformed into 3-D structures.

He says that making such structures will involve several different types of cells, just like conventional printers use different colours of ink to print images, reports New Scientist.

The system may also print dyes to make the structure easily visible and growth factors to encourage healthy development, adds the researcher.

Yoo claims that his technique can be used to create almost anything from skin and bone to pancreatic or nerve tissue. (ANI)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What was the Biggest Breakthrough in 2007 ?

Human Genetic Variation
Elizabeth Pennisi

Equipped with faster, cheaper technologies for sequencing DNA and assessing variation in genomes on scales ranging from one to millions of bases, researchers are finding out how truly different we are from one another

What makes us unique. Changes in the number and order of genes (A-D) add variety to the human genome. If you are not taken to this site, please cut and paste the URL below:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Beating Heart for a Rat Created In Laboratory: Method May Revolutionize How Organ Tissues Are Developed

Rat heart decellularization (top three images), and during recellularization (bottom two images).

University of Minnesota researchers have created a beating heart in the laboratory.

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By using a process called whole organ decellularization, scientists from the University of Minnesota Center for Cardiovascular Repair grew functioning heart tissue by taking dead rat and pig hearts and reseeding them with a mixture of live cells.

"The idea would be to develop transplantable blood vessels or whole organs that are made from your own cells," said Doris Taylor, Ph.D., director of the Center for Cardiovascular Repair, Medtronic Bakken professor of medicine and physiology, and principal investigator of the research.

Nearly 5 million people live with heart failure, and about 550,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. Approximately 50,000 United States patients die annually waiting for a donor heart.

While there have been advances in generating heart tissue in the lab, creating an entire 3-dimensional scaffold that mimics the complex cardiac architecture and intricacies, has always been a mystery, Taylor said.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saliva test seeks to screen for breast cancer
Saliva test seeks to screen for breast cancer
January 10, 2008 at 1:36 PM EST

WASHINGTON — U.S. scientists are developing a screening test for breast cancer that checks a woman's saliva for evidence of the disease to help find tumours early, when they are most treatable.

In research published on Thursday, the scientists said they identified 49 proteins in saliva that the screening test would track to distinguish healthy women from those with benign breast tumours and those with malignant breast tumours.

Breast cancer triggers a change in the type and amount of proteins in secretions from the salivary glands, said Charles Streckfus, a professor of diagnostic sciences at the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A pill to protect us from Addiction. Read TIME magazine,8599,1701864,00.html?xid=rss-topstories

What if science made a pill to protect us from addiction — keeping us from smoking cigarettes, getting fat or abusing drugs and alcohol? According to encouraging results from several lines of study, it seems that day may be closer than we thought. Researchers in labs around the world are now developing vaccines (not a pill, but an injection) to inoculate people against dangerously addictive substances such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Within "one to 10 years, and closer to one year," says Dr. Frank Vocci, director of treatment research and development at the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), scientists may produce a vaccine against cocaine — one of the more promising areas of research — that can potentially help millions of addicts, two million in the U.S. alone.

One such vaccine, known as TA-CD (for "therapy for addiction — cocaine addiction"), is being developed by husband-and-wife team Dr. Thomas Kosten, a psychiatry professor, and Therese Kosten, a neuroscientist and psychologist, at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. TA-CD has had success in early clinical trials:

Sunday, January 6, 2008

New World Medical - The Ahmed Glaucoma Valve

New World Medical - The Ahmed Glaucoma Valve: "The Ahmed™ Glaucoma Valve (AGV) uses state of the art technology and innovation in controlling intraocular pressure (IOP), lowering the chance of hypotony, and reducing drug use. The AGV is effective in all types of glaucoma due to its unique valve system. Exhibiting a level of control only a true valve can offer."The Ahmed™ Glaucoma Valve (AGV) uses state of the art technology and innovation in controlling intraocular pressure (IOP), lowering the chance of hypotony, and reducing drug use. The AGV is effective in all types of glaucoma due to its unique valve system. Exhibiting a level of control only a true valve can offer.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Asteroid Threatens to Hit Mars

There is a 1-in-75 chance of 2007 WD5 hitting Mars; researchers can't be more confident than that because of uncertainties in the asteroid's orbit. If this unlikely event were to occur, however, the strike would happen somewhere within a broad swath across the planet north of where the Opportunity rover is.

"We estimate such impacts occur on Mars every thousand years or so," said Steve Chesley, a scientist at JPL. "If 2007 WD5 were to thump Mars on Jan. 30, we calculate it would hit at about 30,000 miles per hour and might create a crater more than half-a-mile wide." The Mars Rover Opportunity is currently exploring a crater approximately this size.

Such a collision could release about three megatons of energy. Scientists believe an event of comparable magnitude occurred here on Earth in 1908 in Tunguska, Siberia, but no crater was created. The object was disintegrated by Earth's atmosphere before it hit the ground, although the air blast devastated a large area of unpopulated forest. The Martian atmosphere is much thinner than Earth's so a similar sized impactor would be more likely to reach the ground.
Asteroid Threatens to Hit Mars
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