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Let's send The Fossil Huntress to Antarctica!

Look what I found on Quark Expedition website!http://www.blogyourwaytoantarctica.com/blogs/view/257In...

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Daisyworld And Your New White Roof

At the opening of last week’s Nobel Laureate symposium, US Energy Secretary Steven Chu endorsed...

Grassroots Science: An Article Wishlist For The Journal Of Scientific Communication

I’m fascinated by the contributions of researchers outside of the mainstream— the monk whose...

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Stephanie PulfordRSS Feed of this column.

As engineering grad student at UCDavis, I am interested in the common ground between biology and machinery. Incidentally, my column's title refers to the way bacteria navigate-- first they "run"... Read More »

If Google is hoarding all of the information in the world, I want in on some of it.  Lured by the siren song of  the new ocean features in Google Earth 5, I took the plunge.  Embarked upon my maiden voyage.  Threw myself in with the sharks.  Ran out of sea cliches.  Downloaded Google 5 in all of its beta-riffic glory.
Oral medication is convenient, but its specificity is lousy.  Your stomach gets a concentrated dose of every pill you take, and the rest of it gets dispersed where your stomach sees fit.  Even the treatment of the subsequent organs in the digestive tract requires a means to sidestep the stomach.  

A notable feature of the gastrointestinal tract is its well-defined acidity gradient, starting in the harsh stomach and steadily tapering toward neutral in the colon.   By creating a polymer that automatically responds to acidity, researchers are develop drug delivery methods that passively target specific locations in the GI tract.  
It seems that a new study is always uncovering new health benefits of hot peppers. Garnering a high-profile endorsement  from Hillary Clinton as well as doctors and scientists, peppers' heat producing chemical capsaicin has been linked to benefits ranging from anti-inflammatory properties to cancer killing.  Though capsaicin is beneficial to humans, packing heat isn't a cure-all for the peppers themselves.  A recent study busted the myth that hotter peppers are more resistant to Phytopthora blight.
Nanotubes are often regarded as a precursor to nanocircuitry.  A group at UC San Diego has found that they work pretty well for transferring biological information, too.  Oh, et al. showed that selective differentiation of stem cells into bone cells could be achieved on titanium nanowires of approximately 70-100 nanometers in diameter.  Using smaller nanowires caused less selectivity and slower differentiation. This suggests that the shape of the nanowires provided a signal to metamorphose into bone cells.

Stem cells incubated on nanowires. Oh, et al.

Better keep that resolution to hit the gym - you don't want to end up like an astronaut.  A recent study by Joyce Keyak of UCIrvine suggests that the bones of astronauts  lose up to 30% of their hipbone strength, comparable losses caused by osteoporosis in the elderly.
Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger's heroic Hudson River landing was a good reminder that a twenty pound bird at 200 miles per hour is not so different from a bowling ball shot from a cannon. The results range from minor dents to Flight 1549's disabled engines to the damage below: double-lapped, 1/16” reinforced aluminum totally blown through, and feathers clear to the cockpit.