LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- McDonald's fries may be more useful than just for munching on according to recent study. According to a Japanese stem cell research team - an ingredient found in the famous fries may just cure baldness. The scientists - from Yokohama National University - discovered that a chemical found in the fries, known as dimethylpolysiloxane, can be used to produce hair follicles on mice. That chemical - is a silicone used to prevent frothing and splashing in the fry oil. The method has proved widely successful in creating what is known as "hair follicle germs" (HFG), or cells that help grow hair follicles. It is the dimethylpolysiloxane chemical that researchers are crediting with
DNA is supposed to rescue us from a computing rut. With advances using silicon petering out, DNA-based computers hold the promise of massive parallel computing architectures that are impossible today. But there's a problem: The molecular circuits built so far have no flexibility at all. Today, using DNA to compute is “like having to build a new computer out of new hardware just to run a new piece of software,” says computer scientist David Doty. So Doty, a professor at the University of California, Davis, and his colleagues set out to see what it would take to implement a DNA computer that was in fact reprogrammable. As detailed in a paper published this week in Nature, Doty and his colleagues
A trove of rare moon rocks, preserved untouched for half a century, will be unsealed by Bay Area scientists this summer and used for experiments that NASA hopes will solve lingering mysteries about the lunar surface and pave the way for future habitation of Earth's natural satellite. Nine research teams, including two at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View and one at UC Berkeley, were selected this month to conduct high-tech studies of a special collection of rocks that astronauts dug up during the last Apollo mission in 1972 and placed in hermetically sealed containers. The rocks, which have never been exposed to Earth's atmosphere, will undergo a variety of tests that will help scientists identify elements and pinpoint places on the lunar surface that could be useful for humans on future missions.
For Nader Engheta of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering and Applied Science, one of the loftier goals in this field has been to design metamaterials that can solve equations. This "photonic calculus" would work by encoding parameters into the properties of an incoming electromagnetic wave and sending it through a metamaterial device; once inside, the device's unique structure would manipulate the wave in such a way that it would exit encoded with the solution to a pre-set integral equation for that arbitrary input. In a paper recently published in Science, Engheta and his team have demonstrated such a device for the first time. Such metamaterial devices would function as analog computers that operate with light, rather than electricity.
Marcelo Gleiser, a 60-year-old Brazil-born theoretical physicist at Dartmouth College and prolific science popularizer, has won this year's Templeton Prize. Valued at just under $1.5 million, the award from the John Templeton Foundation annually recognizes an individual “who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension.” Its past recipients include scientific luminaries such as Sir Martin Rees and Freeman Dyson, as well as religious or political leaders such as Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. Across his 35-year scientific career, Gleiser's research has covered a wide breadth of topics, ranging from the properties of the early universe to the behavior
Meritocracy is a popular idea for structuring society, but whether committees are picking students to go to Yale or doling out coveted time on the Hubble Space Telescope to astronomers, it's often nearly impossible in practice. Merit can be hard to measure — doable enough in tennis or swimming, but harder to define in art, science or college admissions. When merit can't be measured, nominally meritocratic institutions tend to assess it by past success, even if that success was based on subjective judgments and a dose of good luck. The Hubble Telescope is a limited resource — it can only do so much science in a day — so a committee has to pick a fraction of winners from among hundreds of worthy proposals.
Bodies of Knowledge vs. Practices and Methodologies Science is popularly understood in two distinct ways, as a methodology and as a body of knowledge. The methodology is the scientific method. It's never as precise as the clear-cut formula taught in science textbooks, but the system of creating and testing hypotheses is, nevertheless, a methodology. It's a method for coming upon empirical answers for empirical problems. These answers, however, are often seen as a different aspect of “science,” the body of knowledge. It is the total set of facts and theories we use to understand the world as it is presented to us. If we don't acknowledge such a body of facts as science, then we at least acknowledge
"We've got groups that perhaps don't understand the science but they hear a little piece of science that fits with their own narrative, so they grab onto that," said Andrew Trites, who oversees the marine mammal unit at the University of British Columbia. Trites said a Washington state advocacy group called Save Family Farming recently posted a story alongside a slide from a presentation he gave on the endangered southern resident killer whales. Trites said the slide shows population changes over a 45-year period, which show four different periods of decline, but could be used to illustrate an overall positive trend. Save Family Farming's post specifically says the data doesn't mean the whales are safe and adds that Trites and other experts believe the prognosis for the species is not very positive.
Recent studies of an elusive otter species living in the highly modified mangroves and reclaimed lands on the coast of Goa offer new insights into otter behaviour that could inform future conservation efforts. Researchers have studied these adaptable otters with camera traps, ground GPS surveys and satellite images; they're now testing drone photogrammetry to improve the accuracy of their habitat mapping. Using data gathered over a period of time, the researchers aim to pinpoint changes in the landscape and, in combination with the behavioral data gathered by the camera traps, understand how otters are reacting to these changes. With a little over 5,000 people, the small Goan island of Chorao
This article, A solar storm hits Earth this week, pushing northern lights south, originally appeared on CNET.com. After a prolonged quiet period, the sun let off an explosion Wednesday when a new sunspot fired a small solar flare lasting over an hour. The high-energy blast caused disruptions for some radio operators in Europe and Africa, but it was accompanied by a slower-moving, massive cloud of charged particles known as a coronal mass ejection (CME) that will deliver Earth a glancing blow this weekend. All those particles colliding with Earth's magnetic field could turn up the range and the intensity of the aurora, also known as the northern and southern lights. Aurora are caused by particles
The World Health Organization (WHO), an agency of the United Nations, is trying to sort out how scientists could responsibly alter human genomes in their labs — an effort to prevent the next He Jiankui from performing unpublicized genetic experiments on human subjects. Many of the organization's recommendations mirror the way clinical research is currently managed in the U.S., where scientists are required to seek approval from regulatory bodies in advance and are required to publish updates to their studies in a publicly-accessible database. “Gene editing holds incredible promise for health, but it also poses some risks, both ethically and medically,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The Scientist points out that the WHO has arrived at different conclusions than many scientists who have called for a temporary halt on human gene-editing research so that leaders in the field can figure out the most responsible and ethical way to move forward.
On March 22, two astronauts will take the first spacewalk of Expedition 59 in order to upgrade aging batteries on the International Space Station. The astronauts will be Nick Hague and Anne McClain, and it will be the first spacewalk for both of them. Next week, on March 29, McClain will venture into space again, joined by Christina Koch. This will mark the first all-female spacewalk, a historic event. Koch and Hague joined the space station just last week. For Hague, this was a delay from the aborted Soyuz launch in October. McClain joined the station in December. Power Upgrade The International Space Station has been in use for nearly two decades. While it draws most of its energy from the
Source: Maximilian Paradiz, via Wikimedia Commons. Distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license. Several years ago, biologist Daniel Wiegmann of Bowling Green State University decided he needed a new research topic. His colleague, arachnid expert Eileen Hebets of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, suggested he buy a whip spider on the web. She guaranteed that if Wiegmann just observed one for a little while, he'd want to study the animals. “She was right,” says Wiegmann. “They are mesmerizing to watch. They're beautiful animals and incredible predators, but harmless to humans.” Whip spiders, also known as amblypygids, are a type of nocturnal arachnid native to warm and tropical habitats. Like all
Within the next 10 days, the US Air Force may issue an opportunity for rocket companies to bid on contracts for about 25 launches between 2022 and 2026. Although a “request for proposals” may not sound all that provocative, this particular government solicitation is filled with intrigue—and will have major implications for all of the big US rocket companies. At present, United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX launch rockets for the Air Force, lofting powerful spy cameras, communication satellites and other sensitive payloads into various orbits for the government. In recent years, the military has sought to modernize its contractor base for the coming decade, encouraging new launch competitors
UTA faculty member's research holds implications for the impact of climate change University of Texas at Arlington Luke Frishkoff, University of Texas at Arlington assistant professor of biology, explores how human land use expedites biodiversity loss in a paper recently published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. For a study conducted at the University of Toronto, Frishkoff, as a postdoctoral fellow, and his collaborators traveled to the Dominican Republic to take a census of the region's Anolis lizard species along an elevation gradient affected by deforestation. The species is a common group of tropical lizards that are a model system in ecology and evolutionary biology. "This work uses elevation