Τετάρτη, 31 Ιουλίου 2013

Science News SciGuru.com

Science News SciGuru.com

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A Reverse Process of PCR to Eliminate Unwanted Genes Cycle by Cycle - New Invention

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 05:22 PM PDT

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technique used to amplify many copies of a desired DNA fragment, cycle by cycle. 30 years after the invention of PCR, a reverse process of PCR, removing PCR (R-PCR), has been developed which can eliminate undesired DNA fragments, cycle by cycle. If researchers want to amplify their desired genes, they can use PCR, whereas, if researchers want to remove their undesired genes, they can use this new technique, R-PCR.

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Newsletter for Wednesday 31 July

 

Newsletter - July 31 - Today in Science History

TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY
NEWSLETTER - 31 JULY

Feature for Today
Today, a double feature - two famous people. On 31 July, within a few years of each other, two significant individuals were born: inventive Swedish-American naval engineer, John Ericsson (1803) and German chemist, Friedrich Wöhler (1800).

Ericsson was the inventor of the screw propeller, and built the first armoured turret warship, the venerated USS Monitor. As with many other inventors, there is more to know of what he accomplished during his life, and you can read more in a not-too-long biographical piece from A History of American Manufactures (1866).

Friedrich Wöhler co-discovered an element, but is best known for his landmark accomplishment as the first chemist to create an organic compound from purely inorganic substances. Thus he united two disciplines formerly regarded as totally independant. This “Biographical Sketch of Frederick Wöhler” from The Popular Science Monthly (1880) will not only give you a comprehensive insight into his life and career, but should also impress you with the appetite of nineteenth century popular magazine readers for substantial science content.


Book of the Day
On 31 Jul 1919, Primo Levi was born, an Italian novelist, short-story writer and poet. Primo Levi was also a chemist most of his professional life. As a memoirist, he is noted for his restrained and moving autobiographical account of and reflections on survival in the Nazi concentration camps. Today's Science Store pick is his most famous book: The Periodic Table. In it, Primo Levi uses the elements as metaphors to create a cycle of linked, somewhat autobiographical tales, including stories of the Piedmontese Jewish community he came from, and of his response to the Holocaust. With 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 50 reviewers, if you do nothing more than read their comments on the Amazon site, this book is well worthy of your attention. Your Webmaster has read and recommends it as an exquisite diversion from chemistry into profound  stories from an all-to-real life.
Price New from $12.50. Also a
vailable Used from $0.84 (as of time of writing).

For picks from earlier newsletters, see the Today in Science Science Store home page.


Quotations for Today

"No research will answer all queries that the future may raise. It is wiser to praise the work for what it has accomplished and then to formulate the problems still to be solved."
(Theobald also has several more pithy quotes, so be sure to click his Quotes icon below too.)
- Theobald Smith, American pathologist (born 31 Jul 1859) Quotes Icon
"Just as the spectroscope opened up a new astronomy by enabling the astronomer to determine some of the constituents of which distant stars are composed, so the seismograph, recording the unfelt motion of distant earthquakes, enables us to see into the earth and determine its nature with as great a certainty, up to a certain point, as if we could drive a tunnel through it and take samples of the matter passed through."
Richard Dixon Oldham, Irish geologist and seismologist  (born 31 Jul 1858) Quotes Icon

"I picture the vast realm of the sciences as an immense landscape scattered with patches of dark and light. The goal towards which we must work is either to extend the boundaries of the patches of light, or to increase their number. One of these tasks falls to the creative genius; the other requires a sort of sagacity combined with perfectionism."
- Denis Diderot, French encyclopedist (died 31 Jul 1784) Quotes Icon

QUIZ
Before you look at today's web page, see if you can answer some of these questions about the events that happened on this day. Some of the names are very familiar. Others will likely stump you. Tickle your curiosity with these questions, then check your answers on today's web page.
Births

Theobald Smith, born 31 Jul 1859, was an American microbiologist and pathologist who discovered the causes of several infectious and parasitic diseases. He is often considered the greatest American bacteriologist. In 1892 he linked Texas cattle fever with a protozoan parasite spread by blood-sucking arthropods. At the time, many scientists were skeptical that disease would be spread by bloodsucking insects. However, the precedent was established for other scientists to make links in cases of other diseases spread by insects.
Which insect did Smith identify in the spread of Texas Cattle Fever?

Friedrich Wöhler, born 31 Jul 1800, was a German chemist who co-discovered a new element. Having studied first medicine, then mineralogy, it was chemistry that became his primary interest. He found a method in 1827 for the production of metallic aluminum in the form of a grey powder by heating aluminum chloride with  potassium. In 1828, he succeeded in the isolation of beryllium as a black-grey powder as well as of yttrium and (1856) crystalline silicon. His is most well-known for the synthesis of urea from ammonium cyanate (1828), which created an organic compound from an inorganic one, showing there was no absolute distinction between the two areas of chemical study. In 1862, he produced acetylene from calcium carbide.
Not named above, can you identify the new element he co-discovered?
Deaths
Francis Edgar Stanley (1849-1918) was an American inventor, who with his twin brother Freeman, were famous manufacturers of automobiles. Francis previously had invented a photographic dry-plate process (1883), and as the Stanley Dry Plate Company the brothers had engaged in the manufacturing of the plates. They sold the company to Eastman Kodak in 1905, as their interest had turned to automobiles. At racing events, they often competed successfully against gasoline powered cars. 
What powered Stanley cars?
Events
On 31 July 1790, the first U.S. patent was granted to Samuel Hopkins of Vermont for a process for making potash and pearl ashes. Potash was used as an ingredient in soap and fertilizer. The patent was granted for a term of 14 years and signed by George Washington.
What  patent number was on this patent?

Answers

When you have your answers ready to all the questions above, you'll find all the information to check them, and more, on the July 31 web page of Today in Science History. Or, try this link first for just the brief answers.

Fast answers for the previous newsletter for July 30: haemin; lead; John Dalton; insulin; the decade including the year 1888; Atlantic Ocean.

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ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News


How did Earth's primitive chemistry get kick started?

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 08:55 PM PDT

How did life on Earth get started? Three new papers strengthen the case that Earth's first life began at alkaline hydrothermal vents at the bottom of oceans. Scientists are interested in understanding early life on Earth because if we ever hope to find life on other worlds -- especially icy worlds with subsurface oceans such as Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's Enceladus -- we need to know what chemical signatures to look for.

Controlling contagion by restricting mobility: In the face of an epidemic, even moderate travel restrictions would slow contagion

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 04:35 PM PDT

In an epidemic or a bioterrorist attack, the response of government officials could range from a drastic restriction of mobility -- imposed isolation or total lockdown of a city -- to moderate travel restrictions in some areas or simple suggestions that people remain at home. Deciding to institute any measure would require officials to weigh the costs and benefits of action, but at present there's little data to guide them on the question of how disease spreads through transportation networks. However, a new study comparing contagion rates in two scenarios -- with and without travel restrictions -- shows that even moderate measures of mobility restriction would be effective in controlling contagion in densely populated areas with highly interconnected road and transit networks.

Planetary 'runaway greenhouse' more easily triggered, research shows

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 01:31 PM PDT

It might be easier than previously thought for a planet to overheat into the scorchingly uninhabitable "runaway greenhouse" stage, according to new research.

North Pole not flooded -- but lots of melting in the Arctic

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 01:31 PM PDT

Widespread media reports of a lake at the North Pole don't hold water -- but scientists who deployed the monitoring buoys are watching closely as Arctic sea ice approaches its yearly minimum.

Plasmonic black metals: Breakthrough in solar energy research?

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 10:26 AM PDT

The use of plasmonic black metals could someday provide a pathway to more efficient photovoltaics -- the use of solar panels containing photovoltaic solar cells -- to improve solar energy harvesting, according to researchers.

Novel technology for producing 'electronic ink' may lead to inexpensive, durable electronics and solar cells

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 09:32 AM PDT

Electronic touch pads that cost just a few dollars and solar cells that cost the same as roof shingles are one step closer to reality today.

Lifelike cooling for sunbaked windows: Adaptable microfluidic circulatory system could cut air-conditioning costs

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 07:17 AM PDT

Sun-drenched rooms make for happy residents, but large glass windows also bring higher air-conditioning bills. Now a bioinspired microfluidic circulatory system for windows could save energy and cut cooling costs dramatically -- while letting in just as much sunlight.

Injuries from teen fighting deal a blow to IQ

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 10:29 AM PDT

A new study has found that adolescent boys who are hurt in just two physical fights suffer a loss in IQ that is roughly equivalent to missing an entire year of school. Girls experience a similar loss of IQ after only a single fighting-related injury.

New primate species native of Madagascar, Lavasoa Dwarf Lemur, discovered

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 08:17 AM PDT

The island of Madagascar harbors a unique biodiversity that evolved due to its long-lasting isolation from other land masses. Numerous plant and animal species are found solely on Madagascar. Lemurs, a subgroup of primates, are among the most prominent representatives of the island's unique fauna. They are found almost exclusively on Madagascar. The only exceptions are two species of the genus Eulemur that also live on the Comoros Islands, where they probably have been introduced by humans.

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


How did Earth's primitive chemistry get kick started?

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 08:55 PM PDT

How did life on Earth get started? Three new papers strengthen the case that Earth's first life began at alkaline hydrothermal vents at the bottom of oceans. Scientists are interested in understanding early life on Earth because if we ever hope to find life on other worlds -- especially icy worlds with subsurface oceans such as Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's Enceladus -- we need to know what chemical signatures to look for.

Aquatic playground can turn water tanks into fish schools

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 04:35 PM PDT

Raising fish in tanks that contain hiding places and other obstacles can make the fish both smarter and improve their chances of survival when they are released into the wild, according to scientists.

Planetary 'runaway greenhouse' more easily triggered, research shows

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 01:31 PM PDT

It might be easier than previously thought for a planet to overheat into the scorchingly uninhabitable "runaway greenhouse" stage, according to new research.

Simulations aiding study of earthquake dampers for structures

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 01:31 PM PDT

Researchers have demonstrated the reliability and efficiency of "real-time hybrid simulation" for testing a type of powerful damping system that might be installed in buildings and bridges to reduce structural damage and injuries during earthquakes.

North Pole not flooded -- but lots of melting in the Arctic

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 01:31 PM PDT

Widespread media reports of a lake at the North Pole don't hold water -- but scientists who deployed the monitoring buoys are watching closely as Arctic sea ice approaches its yearly minimum.

Sequestration and fuel reserves: Storing carbon dioxide to release liquid fuels

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 01:31 PM PDT

A technique for trapping the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide deep underground could at the same be used to release the last fraction of natural gas liquids from ailing reservoirs, thus offsetting some of the environmental impact of burning fossil fuels, experts say.

Environmental impact on mouse strains used for disease models

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 01:31 PM PDT

A study addresses how location and sex can affect mouse models in scientific research.

Plasmonic black metals: Breakthrough in solar energy research?

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 10:26 AM PDT

The use of plasmonic black metals could someday provide a pathway to more efficient photovoltaics -- the use of solar panels containing photovoltaic solar cells -- to improve solar energy harvesting, according to researchers.

Radio waves carry news of climate change: Surprising tool to measure our changing climate

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 09:34 AM PDT

Radio waves reflecting back to Earth from the ionosphere can offer valuable news about the extent of climate change. His simple, cost-effective measurement can be a valuable contribution to the ongoing effort to track climate change, adding to current measurements for a more holistic picture.

Improving dogs' ability to detect explosives

Posted: 30 Jul 2013 06:11 AM PDT

Training of dogs to recognise explosives could be quicker and more effective following research by animal behaviour experts.

New understanding of actin filament growth in cells

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 08:20 AM PDT

Biochemists have determined how tiny synthetic molecules disrupt an important actin-related molecular machine in cells in one study and, in a second one, the crystal structure of that machine when bound to a natural inhibitor.

New primate species native of Madagascar, Lavasoa Dwarf Lemur, discovered

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 08:17 AM PDT

The island of Madagascar harbors a unique biodiversity that evolved due to its long-lasting isolation from other land masses. Numerous plant and animal species are found solely on Madagascar. Lemurs, a subgroup of primates, are among the most prominent representatives of the island's unique fauna. They are found almost exclusively on Madagascar. The only exceptions are two species of the genus Eulemur that also live on the Comoros Islands, where they probably have been introduced by humans.

The Hobbit and his spider

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 08:16 AM PDT

A spider expert has discovered further previously unknown spider species in Laos. One of the spiders, now described for the first time, crawled across his path during the filming of a nature documentary.