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The Scientific Discovery Thread: Blow Our Minds World!

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It's almost as if poor DJ is talking to himself in this thread.
This is only the fourth post that is not his on this page.

'Smells good when you sweat perfume' is a great idea, I always wanted one.
 
That's how it goes in most of the threads I post in sadly. Lurkers seem to enjoy my post at least
 
Scientists Can Quickly Blast Large Cargoes Into Living Cells With Light

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It's incredibly time consuming to inject large cargoes into cells through their membranes without damaging them. Now, a team of researchers has developed a new technique which uses laser light to blast substances into them—quickly, and without damage.

The team from UCLA has developed a technique it calls BLAST—which stands for biophotonic laser-assisted surgery tool. An array of micron-sized holes, each surrounded by a semicircular coating of titanium, the devices houses a pool of liquid in which floats particles that are to be injected into cells. Application of lasers pulses rapidly heats the titanium, in turn boiling the water layer right next to it.

When a cell happens to be next to the hole, a bubble quickly forms and explodes, creating a tiny hole in the membrane of the cell so tiny that it can reseal. Then, liquid from below rushes in before the hole covers over, delivering the particles it holds. The laser can be scanned from hole-t0-hole in order to deliver molecules to the cells at rates of 100,000 cells per minute. In comparison, similarly reliable existing techniques, which use syringe-like micro-pipettes to accurately deliver drugs, can achieve speeds of only one cell per minute.

The researchers explain that the new device can inject nanoparticles, enzymes, antibodies, and bacteria into cells, all with ruthless efficiency. The research is published in Nature Methods. It's expected that the device will be used to perform high through-put testing of how cells respond to having such things injected into them—allowing scientist to generate statistical analyses at speeds far greater than currently achievable.

http://www.nature.com/nmeth/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nmeth.3357.html

That is awesome! If they can figure out how to use this technique to bypass the blood brain barrier that will be huge news
 
Genetically-Engineered Bacteria Can Keep Mice From Getting Fat

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Scientists now know that gut microbes almost certainly play a role in us getting fat, and poop transplants are sometimes touted as a potential route to weight loss. But if that’s a little too icky for you, Vanderbilt scientists have been experimenting with more refined microbiome tinkering in mice using genetically modified E. coli.

Previous experiments have taken gut bacteria from obese humans and put them in mice. The mice later grew fat even though their diet stayed the same. But these experiments involve transplanting thousands of different bacteria at once, and no one is really sure how they work together to make a mouse fat or not.

A recent obesity study presented at American Chemical Society meeting and reported on by MIT Technology Review also involves gut microbes, but its guiding principle is quite different. Instead of altering the overall microbial makeup of the gut, the Vanderbilt team added just one type of bacteria genetically modified to be, essentially, a little drug factory right in the gut.

The bacteria was your common E. coli, but it carried a gene for N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamines, molecules which become converted to appetite-suppressing molecules. Over 8 weeks, the mice given this bacteria gained 15 percent less weight than those that did not.

This technology is definitely not ready for primetime after just one mouse study. One complication, for example, is getting bacteria to survive in a gut naturally teeming with microbial competitors. But it does bring up the intriguing and far-off possibility of hacking our microbiome to create a perpetual drug factory within. It’s not that crazy if you consider that bacteria in our gut actually make most of our vitamin K. Why not appetite suppressors or even other vitamins? Instead taking a pill everyday, one pill of bacteria could last you a lifetime.

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/536376/microbes-engineered-to-prevent-obesity/

That is pretty dope, I wonder how long before that becomes commercially viable? Because when that happens they will basically have all of the worlds money
 
A Failed Lab Experiment Accidentally Invented a Replacement For Cement

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As the world’s cities expand at faster and faster speeds, so does its use of cement. One oft-quoted statistic shows that China alone used as much cement in the last three years as the US used in the last 100. Just one problem: Cement is responsible for pushing a hell of a lot of carbon dioxide into the world.

The process of making cement is resource-intensive and heat-intensive—that’s why it creates so much CO2. And that’s why researchers are interested in finding ways to trap or sequester that CO2, and why the research project of a University of Arizona student in the early 2000s is garnering so much interest. A recent PBS report introduced us to Stone—now Ph.D—whose product was made in a lab by accident, while he was experimenting with iron:

It was bubbling and spitting. And I thought, well, that — that didn’t work. The next day, when I came in and I found it and rescued it from the garbage, I realized, this just didn’t get hard. It got very hard, glassy hard.​

For the past 13 years, he’s built a business around the glassy stuff he calls Ferrock. It’s made from the waste of steel mills (steel dust) and doesn’t use the same heat-intensive production process of cement. It’s also more durable and stronger than cement.

But that’s not actually biggest selling point. That would be the fact that this mixture of chemicals actually sucks up CO2 and traps it, as University of Arizona explains:

Conversely Ferrock™ only hardens when exposed to high concentrations of carbon dioxide, which is absorbed and trapped, making it a carbon negative material. This greenhouse gas diffuses into the wet mixture and reacts with the iron, creating iron carbonate and becoming part of the material’s mineral matrix.​

Sounds great, right? What’s stopping the world from adopting Ferrock to replace cement? Well, making a massive paradigm shift in one of the biggest industries on Earth isn’t as easy as demonstrating a breakthrough. We’re talking about an industry that accounts for as much as $250 billion in profits a year.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/cement-alternative-absorbs-carbon-dioxide-like-sponge/

Would be amazing if we could get switched over to that
 
That could be potentially much better for the environment and practical use than cement. But as they pointed out, it's a tough undertaking to get a business that entrenched and that profitable to shift material. Just look at how hard it is to get the automotive industry to shift to better fuels.
 
Just look at any type of big business that buys out patents and keeps them away from the public for years because it might hurt their bottom line a tiny bit.
 
People are afraid to try new things if they are very different. We don't like change, either.
 
Kermit the Frog is real

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Hi-ho, Kermit the Frog has some competition.

A newly discovered species of glassfrog looks an awful lot like the famous Muppet.

Bulging white eyes, Kelly green skin, the works.

But the name's not nearly so catchy as its famous counterpart: Hyalinobatrachium dianae, or Diane's bare-hearted glassfrog. If you have to, you can call it H. dianae for short.

Scientists found the species on the Caribbean slopes of Costa Rica.

This is big news in the scientific community. The last time a new glassfrog was found in Costa Rica was back in 1973, according to the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center.

"Costa Rica is known to have 14 glassfrogs inhabiting its tiny national territory!" the center's Facebook page said.

It's called a glassfrog because of its translucent belly. You can see its internal organs from underneath.

Meet Kermit's real life doppelganger! @TODAYshow @TheMuppets #Kermit #Muppets pic.twitter.com/sZo0E9CxPs
— Muppet Central (@MuppetCentral) April 20, 2015

Miss Piggy wasn't immediately available for comment.
CNN
 
Dinosaur egg fossils found during road works in southern China


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Forty-three fossilized dinosaur eggs have been found in southern China while a road was being upgraded, state media reported.

The fossils were discovered earlier this month during road works in Heyuan in Guangdong province, the website Chinanews.com reported.

The fossilised eggs were large with one 13cm in diameter, Du Yanli, the director of the city’s Dinosaur Museum, was quoted as saying. Nineteen were completely intact.

Experts at the Chinese Academy of Sciences will examine the eggs to find out what species of dinosaur they belonged to, the report said.

Heyuan has dubbed itself the “Home of Dinosaurs”.

The city authorities say 17,000 fragments of fossilised dinosaur eggs have been found in the area since the first discovery was made on a river bank in 1996.

The latest discovery is the first of its kind to be made in central areas of the city, the report said.

Du was quoted as saying that it was possible that many other dinosaur remains would be found in sandstone beds around the city and that construction projects should be halted if fossils were unearthed.

A farmer in Heyuan was detained by the police in 2004 after 557 fossilised dinosaur eggs were found at his home which he had not reported to the authorities.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/1771958/dinosaur-egg-fossils-found-during-road-works-southern-china

Welcome...to Jurassic Park.
 
Scientists Edited a Human Embryo—But It Didn't Go Very Well

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It’s an unprecedented feat: tweaking the genomes of human embryos. In a groundbreaking move, Chinese researchers have officially done it, but the announcement comes amid a whole bunch of ethical fracas.

The technique, called CRISPR, seeks out genes that could cause problems like inherited diseases. CRISPR splices DNA, replacing the trouble gene with different molecules, potentially neutralizing the threat before birth.

This is a groundbreaking accomplishment, but at best, the practice is not ready for primetime, and at worst, it’s downright controversial. Opponents argue that embryo editing is dangerous, that healthy genes might inadvertently be changed, or that embryo editing can have unforeseen effects on incoming generations.

Lo and behold, a recent study published in the journal Protein & Cell confirmed everybody’s worries: Scientists at Sun Yat-sen University tested CRISPR on human embryos, in an effort to modify a gene that causes a deadly blood disease. The technique’s been used in animal embryos and adult human cells, according to Nature, but this is the first published study that deals with human embryos. The experiment did not go off without a hitch.

The researchers tried to use CRISPR to edit a gene called HBB, which encodes a protein whose mutations can trigger beta thalassaemia, the fatal blood disorder that was of the researchers’ interest.

However, CRISPR often missed its target and stuck DNA in the wrong parts of the genome, which could cause new diseases, not treat old ones. And of the 86 embryos used in the experiment, only 28 saw DNA successfully spliced, and but a handful of those were shown to contain the new genetic content.

(Worry not, those embryos from the study weren’t on track to form actual humans. They started as single in-vitro eggs that each had two sperm sending them their DNA, and thus the embryos naturally stopped growing in the early stages.)
“If you want to do it in normal embryos, you need to be close to 100 percent,” lead researcher Junjiu Huang told Nature. “That’s why we stopped. We still think it’s too immature.” So do a lot of other people.

http://www.nature.com/news/chinese-...human-embryos-1.17378?WT.mc_id=TWT_NatureNews

Of course it's still in it's infancy but this tech excites me, imagine a world with no diseases
 
The tech is great but we need less people opposing this stuff because they think that experimenting on things that are not and never will be human are human. We need less of them and more people willing to actually consider what can spring from these advances.
 
These 3D Printed Organs Beat Just Like Your Heart

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The rhythmic beating of these clumps is mesmeric—but it could be life-saving, too. These are tiny 3D printed versions of hearts and lungs, which work just like the real thing.

Created by researchers from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the pale gray objects mimic the heart and the dark one apes the liver. They’re manufactured by “reprogramming human skin cells into heart cells, which were then clumped together in a cell culture,” explains New Scientist. Those clumps were then formed into objected of the desired size and shape using 3D printing techniques, to create cellular blobs that measure just 0.01 of an inch across.

The hope is that a series of such 3D printed organs—lungs, kidneys, and the like—could be linked up to create an accurate model of the human body for drug testing. In turn that would allow scientists to screen new therapies faster and without the need for animal testing.

http://www.newscientist.com/article...mic-beating-heart-and-liver.html#.VTX4fxeepW0

Now that is cool
 
Now if we can just make them bigger.
 
In another century or so this stuff will be old hat and probably outdated technology replaced by even better improvements. Some of us might even still be alive to benefit from them by then.
 
Psychiatric Disorders and Violence: A Study of Delinquent Youth After Detention

aka: Mental illness does not equate to violent behavior.

Conclusion

Aside from substance use disorders, the psychiatric disorders studied may not be useful markers of subsequent violence. Violence assessment and reduction must be key components of ongoing psychiatric services for high-risk youth.
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
 
Pretty cool, freaky but cool

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Scientists Are Trying to Change All Blood Into Type O

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If you know anything about blood types, then you know how they add an extra wrinkle to blood donations. Match donor and recipient blood types incorrectly, and you could even kill a patient. That’s why scientists are working on artificially changing donated blood into type O, the universal donor.

In the simplest terms, blood types refer to whether someone an extra sugar molecule bound to the surface of their blood cells. People who are type A have one kind, B another, and AB both. Type O people have neither. That’s why people with type O can essentially donate to anyone.

But scientists have also been tinkering in a lab, and they’ve found that an enzyme can be used to snip off that extra A or B sugar molecule. Normally, though, that enzyme is not very efficient. In a recent study, scientists were able to tweak the enzyme so it became 170 times more efficient at getting rid of the the extra sugar molecules.

That’s a lot, but it’s still not perfect—even tiny bit of extra A or B sugars could trigger an immune reaction. But if the technology ever does get even better, it could make matching blood or organs donations less complicated.

http://www.popsci.com/scientists-figure-out-how-change-blood-types

If they can perfect that it would be a pretty big deal
 
But what about those people who don't want modified blood? They should have the right to choose not to have modified blood if it suits their beliefs. Even if no one can tell the difference. :o
 
New Injectable Brain Implants Take Us One Step Closer To A Cyborg Future

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Harvard scientists have developed an electrical scaffold that can be injected directly into the brain with a syringe. By using the technique to “cyborg”-ize the brains of mice, the team was able to investigate and manipulate the animals’ individual neurons—a technological feat the researchers say holds tremendous medical promise.

As reported in Nature News, the soft, conductive polymer mesh can be injected into a mouse’s brain, where it unfurls and takes root. And because the mesh can be laced with tiny electronic devices, the implant can be custom-designed to perform a number of tasks, from monitoring brain activity to stimulating brain functions. Once proven safe, the technology could be applied in humans, where it could be used to treat Parkinson’s, among other cognitive disorders. The details of this research, led by Harvard’s Charles Lieber, can be found in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

“I do feel that this has the potential to be revolutionary,” Lieber noted in a Harvard statement. “This opens up a completely new frontier where we can explore the interface between electronic structures and biology. For the past 30 years, people have made incremental improvements in micro-fabrication techniques that have allowed us to make rigid probes smaller and smaller, but no one has addressed this issue — the electronics/cellular interface — at the level at which biology works.”

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Nature News’s Elizabeth Gibney explains how it works:

The Harvard team [used] a mesh of conductive polymer threads with either nanoscale electrodes or transistors attached at their intersections. Each strand is as soft as silk and as flexible as brain tissue itself. Free space makes up 95% of the mesh, allowing cells to arrange themselves around it.

In 2012, the team showed that living cells grown in a dish can be coaxed to grow around these flexible scaffolds and meld with them, but this ‘cyborg’ tissue was created outside a living body. “The problem is, how do you get that into an existing brain?” says Lieber.

The team’s answer was to tightly roll up a 2D mesh a few centimetres wide and then use a needle just 100 micrometres in diameter to inject it directly into a target region through a hole in the top of the skull. The mesh unrolls to fill any small cavities and mingles with the tissue. Nanowires that poke out can be connected to a computer to take recordings and stimulate cells.​

Using this technique, the researchers implanted meshes consisting of 16 electric elements into two different brain regions, enabling them to monitor and stimulate individual neurons. The researchers would like to scale up to hundreds of devices outfitted with different kinds of sensors. In the future, these arrays might be used to treat motor disorders, paralysis, and repair brain damage caused by stroke. What’s more, these implants could conceivably be used in other parts of the body. But before they get too carried away, the researchers will have to prove that the implantable technology is safe in the longterm.

http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nnano.2015.115.html

That is freaking amazing! So many possibilities
 
Coming soon to the illegal US prison camp near you! :o
 
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