Science & Society

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M. and Livermore, Calif., are part of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) -funded team led by UOP, LLC, a Honeywell company, looking at the production of military Jet Propellant 8 (JP-8) fuel based on the use of renewable biomass oil crop feedstocks, including microalgae.

The goal of the 18-month effort, which is backed by a $6.7 million project award from DARPA, is to develop and commercialize a process to produce the Jet Propellant 8 (JP-8) fuel used by U. S.

Alcohol and smoking can be harmful, if not deadly. While the desire for these substances can be due to environmental cues, genomic factors also play an important role. The etiology of these desires is multifactorial and a result of complex interactions with the environment. Adoption and twin studies have shown that the use of these substances is likely to be inherited. Such studies have provided evidence that one’s sex can influence the genetic factors for alcohol and tobacco use.

In an attempt to find the genomic determinants underlying alcohol and tobacco use, researchers examined 120 families (approximately 900 individuals). The researchers identified an area relating to alcohol and tobacco use on chromosome 1. They found another area relating to alcohol on chromosome 3.

Oregon Health & Science University researchers have figured out how to turn a mouse into a factory for human liver cells that can be used to test how pharmaceuticals are metabolized.

The technique could soon become the gold standard not only for examining drug metabolism in the liver, which helps scientists determine a drug's toxicity.

While cardiovascular disease occurs in both men and women, it does not affect them in the same way. Risk factors and protective factors for heart diseases are likewise unequal.

The molecular mechanisms responsible for these differences are so far unknown, but some believe it is due to chromosomal linked genes or sexual hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. While the mechanisms behind the differences are unknown, the physiological differences are clear.

A new study examining chronic exercise in male and female mice finds that moderate long-term exercise provokes a sex-dependent cardiac adaptation that is different for females versus males. The findings may eventually help improve treatment strategies for women and men with heart disease.

A team of researchers contends that animals learn to connect the taste of food with the amount of caloric energy it provides, and children who consume low-calorie versions of foods that are normally high in calories may develop distorted connections between taste and calorie content, leading them to overeat as they grow up.

So diet foods and drinks for children may inadvertently lead to overeating and obesity.

"Based on what we've learned, it is better for children to eat healthy, well-balanced diets with sufficient calories for their daily activities rather than low-calorie snacks or meals," said Dr. David Pierce, a University of Alberta sociologist and lead author of the paper.

Part of an ongoing study into the impact of drinking milk after heavy weightlifting has found that milk helps exercisers burn more fat.

The study by researchers at McMaster University and published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was conducted by the Department of Kinesiology’s Exercise Metabolism Research Group, lead by Stuart Phillips.

The researchers took three groups of young men 18 to 30 years of age – 56 in total – and put them through a rigorous, five-day-per-week weightlifting program over a 12-week period.

In a new study appearing in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers at the University of Illinois explore real-life relationship issues by looking at the choices people make in simulated online dating relationships. By standardizing the behavior of the romantic “partner,” the study clarifies how each participant’s outlook influences his or her choices and satisfaction with the romance.

The online study took participants through a series of scenarios about a relationship with a fictional partner.

After complaining that there was not enough time to cover everything at the Science Foo Camp, and after getting some very positive feedback from our chemical reaction mechanism representation in Second Life, it occurred to me that it would make sense to attempt to continue the conversation in a virtual medium. I have previously presented a poster in Second Life and I was thoroughly impressed with how well it worked.
The past few days have been quite stimulating. The SciFoo conference started right after I got off the plane in San Francisco on Friday evening around 18:00 and lasted till midnight. With the jetlag from the east coast I was exhausted but the energy of the meeting definitely kept my interest. Friday night was the only part of the conference deliberately set up with the traditional format of speakers. The most impressive talk was on the big picture of planetary energy input and consumption. It was refreshing because the speakers seemed genuinely concerned with reporting on the actual state of things, instead of building up evidence to support their pet eco-solution.

Last week, it was announced that drug addicts in England are to be given shopping vouchers for complying with treatment programs.

Rewarding patients to cooperate is not new, argues Tom Burns, a senior psychiatrist at Warneford Hospital in Oxford. Most mental health practitioners reward patients for “healthy” behavior and financial incentives are no different.

People who criticize money for medicines emphasize the “exploitation of impoverished patients” and worries about how patients would spend the money.