Category Archives: Science articles

Foods that taste good together – Is there any scientific co-relation?

foodThe art and science of wines, foods and flavor can be an intriguing issue to ponder over. The science of interrelation between food products is the major idea that Chartier Francois presents in his Taste Buds and Molecules book. Just like the title of the book suggests, the author looks at the aroma molecules which give wines and foods their definite character and taste. He uses the chemistry tied to foods as the major basis used for pairing wines and foods both. He goes ahead to propose the use of food charts to help in identifying the kind of foods which go well together. This is at least sheds some light on the science behind food compatibility and the reason why people need to grow over the past years of trial and error tastings. Continue reading Foods that taste good together – Is there any scientific co-relation?

Children Displays Social Skills

children solving problemsResearch studies have shown that children who want rewards often display social skills which can innovate and change human culture. A Zoologist of Durham University in England, Rachel Kendal and her colleagues conducted a study by grouping kids children of 3 to 4 year olds together to solve puzzles in order to get sticker rewards. They find that children, and not chimpanzees or capuchin monkeys, can solve more multipart tasks in a puzzle box by using three social strategies. One, children who have finished solving the problems taught the other children how to solve the puzzle. Two, children copied the actions of the other kids. And the third, the children who managed to solve the puzzles shared their sticker rewards with the other children who have yet to earn their own stickers.

The children who participated in Kendal’s study tried to reach the boxes which contain the food or sticker reward by shaking the sliding door from left to right and when that did not work, by pushing any of the two buttons in order to move the opening, the last thing the kids tried is to turn the switch in the boxes using one of the available colored holes in order to slide the door further. Continue reading Children Displays Social Skills

Using stem cells and rats to find solutions on penile dysfunction.

ratRelief for men suffering from penile dysfunction may be at hand,if a new study using rats is anything to go by. The recent study done on rats established that putting adult stem cells on graft penis instead of using graft alone can boost healing process and enhance sexual function. Men with penile impairments usually undergo surgical procedures that may result in erectile complications.

A global authority in urology, Wayne Hellstrom of Tulane University in Lousiana wanted to know whether he could offer his patients surgical procedures by building an improvised penis graft, an endeavor in which he was joined by colleagues from California and China. The team assembled pig intestine grafts laced with mature stem cells which had been extracted from fat rat tissues. Continue reading Using stem cells and rats to find solutions on penile dysfunction.

The Link Between Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Fish and Cognitive Ability in Women

fit womenAccording to leading lipid biochemist and psychiatrist Joseph Hibbeln, the government should change its standard dietary recommendations because recent research has proven that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish increases a woman’s cognitive ability more than omega-6 fatty acids. A change in dietary recommendations is even more critical for pregnant women as a fetus might not develop properly if some nutrients are lacking.

At the University of California, Professors Steven Gaulin and William Lassek observed that women who had more fat in their hips and thighs had cognitive test scores that were higher than those whose fat accumulated around the waist. Accordingly the fat on the hips meant that the mother had more omega-3s stored as opposed to the omega 6 fatty acids stored at the waist area. Interestingly enough even the children benefitted from the omega 3s taken by their mother as proven by comparative cognitive assessments. Continue reading The Link Between Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Fish and Cognitive Ability in Women

Core of the giant stars spin at a faster rate than the exterior

giant starInside facts can provide more curiosity than that of the outside facts. Yeah! It is correct because the NASA’s kepler spacecraft has come off with a new inside fact which tells that the core of the stars rotate at a faster rate than that of the exterior. This finding has paved the way for giving inside to the fact of stars life span and genesis. Not only are those but there predictions for future basic on this finding which says that our sun is going to be a behemoth.

Giant stars are very rare. Our sun is also going to join the giant star club. The brightness of the sun is due to the conversion of helium from hydrogen. After around 6.4 billion years the burnings would form a layer around the core of the sun and will help the sun to expands and with this the color of the sun will change to yellow and then to orange color. Aftermath of this the sun will change its color to red. The giant term in connection with the stars indicates the brightness of that stars. The giant term can be applied to only around 1% of the stars present in our galaxy. Arcturus is known to be an orange giant when Capella is constituted of two yellow stars.
Doppler’s shift is applied to measure the spin of the stars. Continue reading Core of the giant stars spin at a faster rate than the exterior

Do snake have ears?

SnakeWhenever we see snakes and when we notice their rapid movements there is one question that comes in our minds that whether snakes have ears or not? But this was one of the long-term myths that snakes are deaf and they cannot hear anything only the movement on the grounds can be sensed by them. But these points are no more exist able when it comes to rattle snakes where they can hear the rattling noise made by their tails.

A deep study has been carried out on this topic and analyses are made which proves that snakes do have internal ears and they can hear as well. Bruce Young is one of the neurobiologists and he made some new researches which can prove the mentioned points.

How humans inner ears are different from that of snakes? Human ears consists of several parts such as hair cells, bones and ear drum when there are sound waves that causes vibrations of tiny hair cells due to small movement of bones because of sound waves that hits the eardrum. These vibrations then reaches to the brain in the form of nerve impulses and this make us to hear the sounds. On the other hand snakes lacks these year drums and have totally different inner ear structures according to which their jawbone have a direct connection with their inner ears and the movements on the ground are received by their brain in the form of signals through their inner ears. Continue reading Do snake have ears?

Infrared Treatment May Prevent Blindness

Doctoral researchers in Australia have discovered a revolutionary treatment for damaged retinas. Using near infrared light, they have been able to both prevent damage and reverse sustained damage to the retinas through intense light damage. This new finding shows promise of helping to prevent blindness in people whose eyes have suffered light damage that can lead to blindness.

When the eyes are damaged by light, the vision cells become overly stressed and essentially shut down. Once they have shut themselves down, they eventually die. When vision cells have died, there is no way to recover them. Often what happens is one group of cells shuts down in the retina- a “hot-spot” of damaged cells, and then it spreads outward from that area.

With this new method of reversing damage using gentle, pain free infrared light, those damaged cells can be recovered before they die. Exposure to the near infrared light every day for less than a week shows incredible capabilities of healing damaged cells, and restoring vision.

In addition to providing treatment for eyes damaged from light, this process also shows promise for those suffering from Macular Degeneration, and even Dry Macular Degeneration- the leading cause of blindness in developed countries. The trick is providing treatment immediately after damage has ensued, or when a positive diagnosis of DMD is made. Once the cells have died, there is no way to get them back. Treating them when they are in the damaged phase- before death- can make the cells more resistant to stress and bring them back to a functioning status.

Not only is this an amazing treatment showing great promise- it is also affordable. The array of small LED lights the doctors use, make this process completely pain free and incredibly affordable. The researchers remark that the affordability is exciting in itself due to the high cost of blindness.

Researchers Successfully Track Quantum Sensor In Human Cells

Scientists track a single atom inside a human cell and foresee subsequent advances in drug development.
According to Professor Lloyd Hollenberg, a physicist at the University of Melbourne, the atom was encased in a nanodiamond shell. Researches used it to explore the human cell and they were excited to see how this quantum sensor experienced the environment of the cell’s interior.

Professor Hollenberg stated that this experiment would enable future researchers to create an entire class of these quantum devices and do more research in the nanoscale environment.

The quantum sensor was able to detect cell activity and the entrance and exit of chemicals. Understanding these processes is a crucial step in developing medicines targeted at the molecular level.

A team composed of members from various scientific departments at the University of Melbourne crafted the tools and technology to manipulate and monitor the atom inside its nanodiamond shell. When these proved successful, they inserted the quantum sensor into human cells kept in the laboratory and sought to track its movements there.

According to Dr Yan Yan of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department, the sensor they developed can provide important information about movement inside a human cell. Since drug delivery depends on the interactions of similarly-sized particles inside cells, the information gathered will be useful in new drug development.

Liam McGuiness, a physicist from the school of Physics at the University of Melbourne, also noted the significance of this achievement. The ability to monitor the movement of such a small sensor in a microscopic environment was not previously possible, he says, except in controlled environments inside physics labs.

Following these initial experiments, scientists involved in the effort hope to develop more of the same
technology in the coming years. These tools may enable the creation of previously impossible drug developments.

Working for Lower Pay – Women in Science

The following is a piece of a sales ad, created to entice additional women in science. Work and study hard, get good grades and earn an engineering degree or a science degree, and you will be rewarded with a great-paying career in your selected field. However, as stated by the new United States Government analysis, the “reward” involves working for lower pay, about 12% lower than women’s male equivalents.

“Women in ‘STEM’: A Gender Gap to Innovation,” developed and it is a report consisting of eleven pages, which is the initial study about women who are employed in technical environments, distributed by the CDESA, otherwise known as the ESA (Commerce Dept.’s Economic/Statistics Admin. “STEM” – science – technology – engineering – mathematics. The analysis is founded on information from a survey performed in the early 2000’s, an American Community Review, and it is a continuous opinion poll conducted by the USCB (United States Census Bureau) that complements the past ten years census.

The information’s general assumption is that women in science are working for lower pay and they are undersold in the United States Science, Technology, and Engineering & Math labor force – maintaining around 24 percent of all “S.T.E.M.” occupations whilst encompassing 48 percent of all employees – will not be surprising to any individual who tracks the subject. However, they might view the nonexistence of development decreasing: “Throughout the previous ten years, this understated instance regarding women in science and working for lower pay continues to be moderately continuous, even while the female’s portion of college cultured labor force has enlarged,” clarifies a branch official news statement on the analysis, released recently.

Rebecca Blank, a current secretary with Commerce and Ph.D. Economist, supervises both the Census Bureau as well as the CDESA. Rebecca attempted to add the best twist on the income difference amid women and men in science and other fields. Ms. Blank said, “There is a femininity/masculinity salary gap throughout the country.” She continued, saying, “However, it is essentially lower in Technology, engineering, science and math fields, meaning educated women working for lower pay.” Nevertheless, she recognized that the wages gap fosters bigger questions. “In reality, an individual might believe that the lower pay gap may essentially attract more women into engineering and/or science. Therefore, it enhances the mystery of what it is that everyone is doing within our colleges and our households that makes “S.T.E.M.” occupations apparently less appealing to the female population.”

Rebecca Blank continued by saying that the survey did not examine the gender hole by job setting, like academia as opposed to industry. “Hence, we failed to look at the hole by jobs,” she comments. “And what is intriguing is that manufacturing/engineering, which holds the lowermost fraction of women, really has the bottom gender gap. It is just seven cents.”

Rebecca stated that the gender salary gap “is, and continues to be, one of the largest research queries in money matters (otherwise referred to as economics). Why does this gap happen, even when you regulate for seemingly what are every one of the production characteristics?” Nonetheless, Ms. Blank is enthusiastic about risking a guess. One response, she states, is that women in science, engineering, math and/or technology do not appear to receive the same amount of workplace advancements and raises as men do.”

Reference:
Women in Science Work for Less Money, Jeffrey Mervis (August 4, 2011, 11:47 AM), Retrieved August 9, 2011 from http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/08/women-in-science-work-for-less.html

Man-Eating Lions

Did you know that lions are most likely to attack people sometime during the 10 days following a full moon? This is the period of time that puts people and the big cats at the greatest risk of encounter: when humans are out at night and when the lions are the hungriest. Between the years of 1988 and 2009, over 1000 people were attacked in Tanzania and over 700 were killed and either partially or wholly eaten.

Efforts have been taken to protect the people of the country against these brutal attacks. Through research and education, scientists hope to cut down on the number of people ambushed by ravenous lions. According to an article on Sciencemag.org, ‘Man Eating Lions Attack by the Dark of the Moon’, people at the greatest risk are those in rural areas who tend to spend the night in their fields to protect their crops. Bush pigs can wreak havoc on the livelihood of these farmers but the pigs are also a healthy source of food for the lions. As lions stalk the bush pigs, they often stumble upon sleeping farmers who make much easier prey than the wily hogs.

It has been studied and shown that the majority of attacks occur between the hours of 6pm and 9:45pm, with the instance of attack four times greater during the 10 days after the full moon. The reason for this is that, during this period, the moon rises later than normal, leaving these hours darker than any other time of the year. The movie ‘The Ghost and the Darkness’ (1996) dramatizes one of these events which took place in 1898. Two lions were reported to have killed about 35 people on a man-eating rampage in Kenya.

While scientists are trying to educate the rural people of Tanzania, it may be difficult. The poverty stricken people are often left with no choice than to protect their crops from destruction. To not do so would through them into near destitution. Researchers also hope that their studies will dispel the myths surrounding the moon, showing people that there is a very real basis for the correlation between the full moon and the time frame of attacks.

Biomedical Research Prizes

Centuries ago the British government offered a monetary prize to anyone who could develop an exact method of determining the longitude of a ship. A British cabinetmaker invented a clock for the purpose and won the £20,000 prize, the first offered for scientific research. Once again, offering a prize for accomplishments in the technical or scientific fields are in vogue. Multimillion dollar prizes offered by the X-Prize Foundation are mainly responsible for the current interest in handing out prizes for projects such as manned spaceflight and DNA sequencing. Now the United States government is coming on board with the Department of Defense and NASA offering prizes for technical goals or advances in research. The National Institutes of Health–the NIH–however, the usual benefactor of biomedical research prizes, has so far not entered the game, although that may change soon.

During a recent meeting on the Bethesda, Maryland campus of the NIH, several private organizations as well as government agencies reported their success with offering research prizes. Those reports spurred speculation as to whether the NIH will begin their own offers of prizes. At this meeting, it was reported that Francis Collins, NIH Director, will sign contracts soon that ensure NIH compliance with the America COMPETES Act. Under this Act, federal agencies are authorized to offer cash to researchers who will take on the harder high-risk projects in research. Although grants exists for such research, it is apparently not enough incentive to entice potential researchers and scientists to spend time on the riskier projects.

The 2007 America COMPETES Act allows Federal agencies to present a problem on Challenge.gov, to research teams or individuals, appraise the results, and award prizes for the best solution. Called incentives research, this was just one subject discussed during the crowdsourcing conference. Participants also looked at other ways to use the power of many willing brains. Tim O’Reilly, media guru, pointed out how the Internet collects massive amounts of information and data. Although not all information is collected in a scientific way, he believes scientists should mine the Internet for the newest and best ideas in this global brain. If cash incentives produce needed solutions, conference attendees felt it is money well spent.

Clouds can not continue to cool the Earth with the current progress of climate change

On a global scale clouds affect the climate by cooling the planet, however, as the global warming progresses the clouds cooling capacity will be lost, according to a study by the Texas A&M University published in the Science journal. The study supports current thinking on how atmospheric carbon dioxide affects global temperature.

Clouds can have both, negative and positive influence on climate and this leads to much insecurity about the amount of warming that will occur in the atmosphere due to increased carbon dioxide concentrations. Continue reading Clouds can not continue to cool the Earth with the current progress of climate change

Cloud crystals packed with life

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Next time you’re outside, look up. Is there a cloud in the sky? You might know that these clouds are made of drops of water or ice, but that’s not all. Scientists in the US have now directly measured the biological material and mineral dust in the ice crystals found in clouds.
When the temperature is just right, clouds form around aerosols such as dust, smoke, salt, bacteria, plant matter and even the spores of fungi. Water and ice in the atmosphere grow around these aerosols and eventually this leads to rain or snow.
The scientists sampled clouds while flying at high speeds in an aircraft to find out more about these aerosols. They had a scientific instrument onboard called a mass spectrometer. This allowed them to measure the chemicals that make up ice particles in the clouds.

“By determining the chemical composition of the very cores of individual ice particles, they discovered that both mineral dust and, surprisingly, biological particles play a major role in the formation of clouds,” says Anne-Marie Schmoltner of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Atmospheric Sciences. Previously this could only be predicted from laboratory experiments and measurements on the ground.
The team of scientists found that biological matter made up 33 per cent of the particles in ice crystals and mineral dust made up 50 per cent.
It was impossible for the scientists to determine whether the plant matter, fungal spores and bacteria they found were alive. This is because the mass spectrometer they used ionised the samples, smashing the samples to bits, in order to work out what chemicals were in the ice crystals.
Working out the exact composition of clouds will help scientists produce more accurate predictions about climate change. It may also lead to new ways of producing rain clouds to lessen drought.

Article and photo source: CSIRO Science by Email

The squeaky sounds of city living

Nature never feels further away than when you are in the middle of a city. Growling traffic, expanses of hot concrete and the countless tall buildings seem like another world far away from lush rainforests or tranquil mountain streams. You’d never think of a city as an ecosystem. Yet many animals have adapted to the hustle and bustle of the urban environment.
Birds and frogs use complicated songs to communicate with one another, usually to mark their territory or to attract a mate. Birds of the same species will often sing in different dialects just as we learn to speak in different languages. A study conducted in the US city of San Francisco has found the range of dialects sung by the white-crowned sparrow has changed over the past thirty years, while a study conducted by the University of Melbourne has found a similar change in frogs.
In both cases, the researchers wondered if the noise of the city influenced the species’ calls. Traffic, building construction and the effect concrete has on sound means the loudest noises in the city are low-pitched. Therefore high-pitched songs can be heard much more clearly.
In the American study, three different types of sparrow dialect were studied over three decades. The one with the lowest pitch disappeared by 1998, while the other two not only became more common, but seemed to increase in pitch when compared with their country cousins.
It’s unusual for bird dialects to change on their own so quickly, leading the researchers to believe the increasing noise of the city favoured white-capped sparrows who sang in higher pitches.
For frogs, the distance over which they can communicate can be reduced to as little as twenty metres if there’s noisy traffic around. To compensate, the males being studied seem to be croaking in a higher pitch to get the girls to listen. The question now is: do the ladies like the squeakier sounds?
Cities are important landscapes not just for humans, but for the animals who share it. While many species will adapt, and even thrive, others won’t do so well. It’s important to remember that nature isn’t always about forests, oceans and fields, but is often about what happens in our own backyard.

News: Dino sores wreck Rex

Tyrannosaurus rex might be well known as the ‘tyrant lizard king’, but it seems not even this royal reptile was immune to nature’s tiniest organisms. Once thought to be caused by the bite of a fellow T. rex, holes in the jaws of a number of skeletons around the world are now suspected to be caused by a type of microscopic parasite.
Modern day pigeons can suffer from mouth infections caused by a single-celled organisms called Trichomonas gallinae. If left untreated, this microbe can move through the body and shut down major organs, killing the bird. This bird illness has been a major concern for pigeon racers in the past.
Serious infections caused by trichomonas parasite can often cause degeneration of nearby bone, which has led some US and Australian palaeontologists to question if such markings on the jaws of Tyrannosaurus rex remains could be caused by a similar parasite. Given that birds share a branch of the family tree with dinosaurs, this similarity could be rather significant.
This is not the first time bones have provided clues on a possible disease. Contagious diseases such as syphilis, leprosy and even tuberculosis have left marks on human skeletons, helping anthropologists gain a better understanding of the lifestyle and health of people who lived during ancient times.
Discoveries such as these can tell us a lot about how dinosaurs lived and died. As with pigeons, a T. rex with an infected jaw would find it difficult to eat and may starve to death. No other dinosaurs have been found with similar markings, and it has been proposed that it may have been spread via direct contact between fighting tyrannosaurs or even through cannibalism.
When studying extinct species, scientists typically have very little to go on other than a couple of bones or an occasional footprint. Even a tiny hole or mark on a bone can tell an interesting story.