Archive by Author

3D Movies of Living Cells

26 Mar

Bored of the usual movies available on DVD’s and in theaters? A technique developed by microscope innovator Betzig enables recording of 3D movies. And guess who plays the main role.. yes, it is the living cell. So how does it works? In the field of microscopy, most of the techniques require killing of cells or inflicts damage on the cells being viewed. But the technique proposed by Betzig in his research paper entitled Rapid three-dimensional isotropic imaging of living cells using Bessel beam plane illumination minimizes the damage inflicted on cells being viewed. This technique minimizes the exposure of cells to light (which can damage them) and allows 3D images to be obtained. They were even able to produce a short movie of cell division, one of the main processes undergone by cells, in great detail.

Based on the article:

http://www.gizmag.com/3d-microscope-movies-living-cells/18138/

For further reading, try to browse through Betzig’s paper:

Rapid three-dimensional isotropic imaging of living cells using Bessel beam plane illumination

Cancer Detecting Smartphone

26 Mar

Scientists from the Center for Systems Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital have integrated a microNMR device to smartphone enabling it to accurately detect cancer cells. The technology, for now, is just a prototype. But according to the scientists, this device enables extraction of small amounts of cells from a mass inside a patient, analyze the sample on the spot, acquire the results in an hour and update your medical records about it. Very handy isn’t it? This is very important since, early detection of cancer cells can help save a life.

For more information you can visit this website:

http://singularityhub.com/2011/03/10/a-smartphone-enabled-device-that-detects-cancer-in-under-an-hour/

Isobutanol to replace Ethanol?

26 Mar

Researchers from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory stated that, they have developed a method of using bacteria for grass decomposition to produce isobutanol. Isobutanol is a colorless, flammable liquid, having the chemical formula (CH3)2CHCH2OH. And yes, compared to ethanol, it has two additional Carbon atoms (ethanol only has two). According to the BioEnergy Science Center of the Department of Energy, isobutanol, compared to ethanol, has a higher grade. Isobutanol also has a higher heating value (produces more energy during combustion) and may be blended in any ratio with gasoline. Thus, removing the need for alterations in the tanks or vehicles.

References:

http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/researchers-develop-more-powerful-biofuel-alt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isobutanol

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol

Anti-fog Coating

26 Mar

Have you ever been troubled by the fog blurring your eyeglasses? Worry no more. Researchers from Quebuec City’s Université Laval have found of way to permanently blur this troubles away. They claim that they have developed an anti-fog coating for eyeglasses, windshields, camera lenses and any transparent glass or plastic surface. According to them, just one application of the coating can permanently solve the fog problem. The anti-fog coating is made up of polyvinyl alcohol, a hydrophobic element, capable of dispersing droplets that condense on the surface.

For additional information, you may visit this website: http://www.gizmag.com/permanent-anti-fog-coating-developed/18163/

Air Pollution, Water Pollution….. Errr… Light Pollution?

25 Mar

I really don’t like going home late at night, when instead of the sunset welcoming me back home, I see Mr. Moon floating with his dim light.( Well, no offense to the moon, I really like you a lot, it’s just that, I don’t like to go home when it’s already dark.)

Looking at the bright side of my evenings (there’s something wrong with that statement, haha), going home when it’s already dark has its perks. One of these is being able to do some stargazing. Just walking at the street in our village, looking at the vast vast sky, and hoping that you don’t step on poop. haha. Anyway, recently, I found that it’s been more difficult to decipher the constellations on the night sky. Thanks too light pollution. Sure, light from the stars gets dim after many many years of glowing, but then, there’s the light from lamp posts, houses, industrial facilities, establishments, that compete with the natural light of the evening. Stargazing even doesn’t seem to be that romantic anymore. Instead of being able to point at constellations, you say, “hey look at that glowing sign of *insert name of establishment*, don’t you find it interesting?”

Anyway, light pollution is one of the serious problems that we have today. Sure, it’s not that hazardous to our health like air pollution or water pollution, but then again can you stand not being able to see even if just the Orion? Anyway, in a more serious note, light pollution affects astronomers, and even animals. Maybe it is time to be a little bit more responsible in the way we use our resources like light sources.

Reference: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/03/21/the-skies-at-night-are-too-darn-bright/

How to Attain a Productive Office

25 Mar

I read this article that gives four scientifically proven tips to help increase the productivity in an office. These are:

  • use high color temperature light sources
  • bring nature into office
  • use a highly adjustable chair
  • keep the ambient temperature comfortable

What these four tips have in common is that, they aim to make working easier and more relaxed. They aim to remove unnecessary stress from the working environment. It really just shows that, it is important for a person to feel comfortable in his/her working environment, but then again, not too comfortable since this might lead to too much relaxation = sleepy feeling. After all, too much of anything (even if that something is good) can lead to not so good things. 😄

Reference:

http://grokcode.com/655/how-to-increase-productivity-by-reordering-your-office/

Fourth Domain of Life

25 Mar

So far, scientists have identified three domains of life: prokaryotes, eukaryotes and bacteria & archaea. A recent study however in Marseille School of Medicine, suggests that there may be a fourth one. The “Mimivirus”, named, or should I say, nicknamed, as such due to its mimicking abilities. The Mimivirus, more formally known as the giant virus, is an organism that inhabits amoebae. Viruses are known to be dependent beings, relying on living organisms to synthesize their proteins. According to genetic analysis however, it was found that Mimivirus has genes for protein translation, DNA repair enzymes and other proteins. As such, Mimivirus seems to support that a fourth family emerged 4 billion years ago.

Read more about this: http://www.rense.com/general58/dorth.htm