Aging Partially Reversed in Mice

November 29, 2010

Scientists have partially reversed age-related degeneration in mice, an achievement that suggests a new approach for tackling similar disorders in people.

By tweaking a gene, the researchers reversed brain disease and restored the sense of smell and fertility in prematurely aged mice. Previous experiments with calorie restriction and other methods have shown that aspects of aging can be slowed. This appears to be the first time that some age-related problems in animals have actually been reversed.

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The World’s Biggest Laser Powers Up

March 26, 2009


The most energetic laser system in the world, designed to produce nuclear fusion–the same reaction that powers the sun–is up and running. Within two to three years, scientists expect to be creating fusion reactions that release more energy than it takes to produce them. If they’re successful, it will be the first time this has been done in a controlled way–in a lab rather than a nuclear bomb, that is–and could eventually lead to fusion power plants.

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Kepler mission to hunt for planets just our size

March 5, 2009

The United States is scheduled to launch on Friday an orbiting telescope designed to help answer one of the oldest and deepest questions of astronomy: Are we – or at least our planet’s microbes – alone in the galaxy? The Kepler spacecraft will stare at a patch of sky – the same 100,000 stars near the northern constellation Cygnus, all at once – for at least 3-1/2 years. The goal is to detect Earth-like planets orbiting their host stars at distances thought to be sweet spots for life. Dubbed habitable zones, these are orbits where a planet is bathed in light that is strong enough to permit liquid water to collect and remain a persistent feature of the planet’s surface. If all goes well, Kepler’s journey will start with the launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida at around 10:49 p.m. Eastern time.

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Visions of the 21st Century

January 30, 2009


What Will Replace The Internet? First it will become wireless and ubiquitous, crawling into the woodwork and perhaps even under our skin. Eventually, it will disappear. The Internet seems to have just arrived, so how can we possibly imagine what will replace it? In truth, early versions of the Net have been around since the 1960s and ’70s, but only after the mid-1990s did it begin to have a serious public impact. Since 1994, the population of users has grown from about 13 million to more than 300 million around the world. About half are in North America, and most–despite significant progress in rolling out high-speed access–still reach the Internet by way of the public telephone network. What will the Internet be like 20 years from now?

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State board to hear science testimony

January 22, 2009


The (Texas) State Board of Education spent the morning hearing from members of the public regarding proposed changes to how science is taught in Texas schools. Although the standards cover a range of topics and changes, most of this morning’s discussion was about proposed changes on the teaching of the origins and evolution of life on Earth (aka evolution).

The first thing that came to mind here is the seven day theory religious nuts bringing the hate on evolution again. Turns out they wanted to teach the ‘strengths and weaknesses’ of the theory of evolution. I agree that when we teach evolution the first point that should be made is that it is a theory. However, I believe it is pretty much accepted as scientific fact. So then, what are the ‘weaknesses’ of evolution? First Google result yields…

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The 100 most important inventions of 2008

November 21, 2008


TIME magazine recently released their 100 most important inventions of 2008. Here is a quick snippet of the list:

1. The Retail DNA Test *Check* (See image above)
2. The Tesla Roadster *Check*
3. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter *Check*
4. *WTF*
5. The Large Hadron Collider *Check* (Tough I might bump it higher than the Lunar Orbiter)

Seriously TIME? is a more important invention than The Large Hadron Collider? So I site that basically copied YouTube and lets you watch such ‘quality programming’ as SNL and 30 Rock is more important than unlocking the secrets of the universe? Don’t get me wrong I love to watch the Daily Show on Hulu and that keeps me from having cable TV in my apartment, but that doesn’t really compare to what the LHC can tell us about who we are. Seriously half of the things on this list are not even inventions! Seems like, whatever company owns TIME must own Hulu too.

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Less Than 20 Years Until First Contact?

November 13, 2008


The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) has come online with its initial configuration of 42 antennas. The project, led by the SETI Institute, is a non-governmental project funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in which eventually 350 small radio antennas will scan the sky for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. Senior SETI scientist Seth Shostak said that the array could become strong enough by 2025 to look deep enough into space to find extraterrestrial signals. “We’ll find E.T. within two dozen years,” he said. That’s, of course, assuming the distance we can look into space will be increased with new instruments yet to be built, and that the projected computing power under Moore’s Law actually happens. Shostak estimated that if the assumptions about computing power and the strength of forthcoming research instruments are correct, we should be able to search as far out as 500 light years into space by 2025, a distance he predicted would be enough–based on scientist Frank Drake’s estimate of there being 10,000 civilizations in our galaxy alone capable of creating radio transmitters–to find evidence of intelligent life that is broadcasting its existence.

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