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Two new research papers signal how the next class of powerful medications may currently reside at the bottom of the ocean. 

Sea life studies could aid researchers in several ways, including the development of new medications and perhaps biofuels. Because many of these ocean animal species have existed in harmony with their bacteria for millions of years, these benign bacteria have devised molecules that can affect body function without side effects - and therefore better fight disease.

A new estimate is that each intravenous drug user contracting Hepatitis C could infect around 20 other people with the virus, half of these transmissions occurring in the first two years after the user is first infected.

Some time this month, in Poker Flat, Alaska, a team of scientists from  The Aerospace Corporation of El Segundo, Calif.and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center of Greenbelt, Md., will launch a sounding rocket up through the Northern Lights. 

Biologists have discovered a bioelectric signal that can identify cells that are likely to develop into tumors. The researchers also found that they could lower the incidence of cancerous cells by manipulating the electrical charge across cells' membranes. 

Bioelectric signals underlie an important set of control mechanisms that regulate how cells grow and multiply. The study investigated the bioelectric properties of cells that develop into tumors in Xenopus laevis frog embryos. 

Here is a conundrum in the culture wars; genetically modified tobacco has been shown to have numerous beneficial effects and now another one has been added.

The treatment for rabies (painful shots, thankfully not all in the stomach in 2013) is not as bad as the disease (death) but it is hardly civilized, so here is hoping the anti-science crowd does not claim genetically modified tobacco will create giant rats with SuperRabies.  Rabies deaths are not a big issue in the USA, 10 a year or so, and therefore it may be safe to do fundraising campaigns about Frankentobacco here, but for developing nations a better solution would save a lot of lives. 

Mathematicians have shown how to use an algorithm for analyzing void space in sphere packing where the spheres need not all be the same size. 

This method could be applied to analyze the geometry of liquids present between multi-sized spheres that are akin to a model for porous material. This provides a tool for studying the flow of such fluids through porous material. More importantly, it can also be used to study the packing geometry of proteins.

There have been several previous attempts to calculate the volume and the surface area of packing of spheres. But few methods have taken into account the connectivity of empty space between spheres, which matters, for example, when detecting buried cavities in proteins.