For a whole lot of people, especially those in developing countries, science — and with it, medicine — isn’t readily available to the majority of citizens. But Manu Prakash wants to change that. Prakash, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford, is the proprietor of “frugal science,” a term he coined to explain the movement toward building cheap versions of high tech tools. His endeavour aims to make medical devices both affordable and available to the masses…So in 2014 he created a paper microscope, aptly named the Foldscope, that costs only 50 cents to produce.
Although plants do not have nervous systems, they respond to stress with chemical and electrical signals that are remarkably similar to those of animals, a new study has found. The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, could help to explain why certain plant-derived drugs work so well in humans. At the center of it all is the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which humans and animals, as well as plants, release when they are stressed out.
“I have a hard time saying this with a straight face, but I will: You can teleport a single atom from one place to another,” says Chris Monroe, a biophysicist at the University of Maryland. His lab’s setup in a university basement looks nothing like the slick transporters that rearrange atoms and send them someplace else on Star Trek. Instead, a couple million dollars’ worth of lasers, mirrors and lenses lay sprawled across a 20-foot table. “What they do in the TV show is, they send the atoms over a long distance,” says David Hucul, who recently got his Ph.D. with Monroe. “But, really — if you could build anything, you wouldn’t send the atoms.” That’s because atoms are big and heavy, and you don’t really need them, he explains. The laws of physics say that any atom of carbon is identical to any other atom of carbon. Oxygen, hydrogen and so on: They’re all perfect atomic clones.
It is often held aloft by environmental campaign groups as an example of one of the last remaining regions of unspoiled habitat left in the world. But instead of being a pristine rainforest untouched by human hands, the Amazon appears to have been profoundly shaped by mankind. An international team of researchers have published evidence that suggests the Amazon was once home to millions of people who lived and farmed in the area now covered by trees. The scientists claim the Amazon basin was a major centre of crop domestication that saw at least 83 native species being cultivated to some degree.
Watch NASA’s video above and learn all you need to know about the term “blue moon” in mere minutes. You just might come off as a sort of astronomical whiz at tonight’s dinner party. Enjoy!
In a new study, researchers found evidence that fat interacts with our taste buds in a way similar to the five basic tastes. We have known for some time that receptors in our mouths recognize fat, which has led scientists to believe it could change the way we perceive food in the same way that tastes such as sour and sweet do. Now there’s evidence that it does.
Lihong Wang creates the sort of medical technology you’d expect to find on the starship Enterprise. Wang, a professor of biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has already helped develop instruments that can detect individual cancer cells in the bloodstream and oxygen consumption deep within the body. He has also created a camera that shoots at 100 billion frames a second, fast enough to freeze an object traveling at the speed of light.
If you ever find yourself digging through the fridge looking for food when you’re not really hungry, it could be more than a lack of willpower that’s to blame. Scientists believe the phenomenon could be the result of a hormone deficiency in the brain.
Have you ever observed that time seems to be going by faster as you get older? There’s a reason that one summer seems to stretch out forever when you’re a kid, but zips by before you know it when you’re 30. That reason is perspective, as a gorgeous interactive visualization, by Austrian designer Maximilian Kiener, demonstrates. When you’re one year old, a year is literally forever to you — it’s all the time that you’ve ever known. But as you grow older, one year is a smaller and smaller fraction of your total life. It’s like watching something shrink in your rear view mirror.
Women’s brains might be more vulnerable to the degenerative effects of Alzheimer’s disease than men’s, causing them to decline in memory and cognitive function twice as fast, according to new research that could explain why women make up two-thirds of all diagnosed Alzheimer’s cases in the US.
The finding was presented this week at the 2015 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in Washington, DC, with the team also noting that women tend to decline more dramatically than men in cognition, function, and brain size after they’ve been in surgery or under general anaesthesia.
Neuroscientists have identified an area of the brain that might give the human mind its unique abilities, including language. The area lit up in human, but not monkey, brains when they were presented with different types of abstract information.
A 1,500-year-old parchment could be one of the oldest known copies of the Quran, possibly dating back to a time that overlapped with the life of the Prophet Muhammad, according to researchers who recently dated the manuscript fragments. The text underwent radiocarbon dating, which measured the age of the find’s organic materials. Researchers at the University of Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, found that the leaves of parchment date back to A.D. 568 and A.D. 645.
This week, two major studies of the DNA of living and ancient people try to settle the big questions about the early settlers: who they were, when they came, and how many waves arrived. But instead of converging on a single consensus picture, the studies, published online in Scienceand Nature, throw up a new mystery: Both detect in modern Native Americans a trace of DNA related to that of native people from Australia and Melanesia.
A trio of Nao robots has passed a modified version of the “wise man puzzle” and in so doing have taken another step towards demonstrating self-awareness in robotics.
Birth order study: Researchers have found that the differences between first-borns and ‘later-borns’ are so small that they have no practical relevance.