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Random musings of an aspiring science writer.

Jason Carr
133 posts

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  • April 13, 2014
  • 01:56 PM
  • 456 views

Intro to External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion (EPPP)

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion (EPPP)  is something that’s been discussed for some time. In fact, it was originally proposed by Stanislaw Ulam way back in 1947. Unfortunately the public perception of atomic technology as well as pieces of otherwise well meaning legislation have called into question the feasibility of spacecraft that operate using this advanced … Read More →... Read more »

  • April 1, 2014
  • 10:17 PM
  • 180 views

Good vibrations: Using light-heated water to deliver drugs

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, in collaboration with materials scientists, engineers and neurobiologists, have discovered a new mechanism for using light to activate drug-delivering nanoparticles and other targeted therapeutic substances inside the body. This discovery represents a major innovation, said Adah Almutairi, PhD, associate professor … Read More →... Read more »

Viger, M., Sheng, W., Dore, K., Alhasan, A., Carling, C., Lux, J., de Gracia Lux, C., Grossman, M., Malinow, R., & Almutairi, A. (2014) Near Infrared-Induced Heating of Confined Water in Polymeric Particles for Efficient Payload Release. ACS Nano, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/nn500702g  

  • March 27, 2014
  • 10:51 AM
  • 129 views

Computing with Slime

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

A future computer might be a lot slimier than the solid silicon devices we have today. In a study published in the journal Materials Today, European researchers reveal details of logic units built using living slime molds, which might act as the building blocks for computing devices and sensors (citation below). Andrew Adamatzky (University of … Read More →... Read more »

Adamatzky, A., & Schubert, T. (2014) Slime mold microfluidic logical gates. Materials Today, 17(2), 86-91. DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2014.01.018  

  • February 5, 2014
  • 11:43 AM
  • 550 views

Solving a 30-Year-Old Problem in High Mass Star Formation

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

Some 30 years ago, astronomers found that regions of ionized gas around young high mass stars remain small (under a third of a light-year) for ten times longer than they should if they were to expand as expected in simple models. Recent supercomputer simulations predicted that these regions actually flicker in brightness over this period … Read More →... Read more »

C. G. De Pree, T. Peters, M.-M. Mac Low, D. J. Wilner, W. M. Goss, R. Galván-Madrid, E. R. Keto, R. S. Klessen, & A. Monsrud. (2014) Flickering of 1.3 cm Sources in Sgr B2: Toward a Solution to the Ultracompact H II Region Lifetime Problem. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 781(L36). DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/781/2/L36  

  • January 13, 2014
  • 08:49 PM
  • 383 views

Using Ultrasound to Boost Brain Performance

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists have demonstrated that ultrasound directed to a specific region of the brain can boost performance in sensory discrimination. Whales, bats, and even praying mantises use ultrasound as a sensory guidance system — and now a new study has found that ultrasound can modulate brain activity to heighten sensory perception … Read More →... Read more »

Wynn Legon, Tomokazu F Sato, Alexander Opitz, Jerel Mueller, Aaron Barbour, Amanda Williams, & William J Tyler. (2014) Transcranial focused ultrasound modulates the activity of primary somatosensory cortex in humans. Nature Neuroscience. info:/10.1038/nn.3620

  • November 11, 2013
  • 01:01 PM
  • 451 views

Let’s Explore Quantum Teleportation

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

Quantum teleportation is perhaps the closest that modern technology has come to developing a sort of teleporter for transmitting physical objects across distances without the use of some physical method of moving them. Quantum teleportation involves transmitting the exact state that an atom or photon exists in, and then using this data at a different … Read More →... Read more »

Satyabrata Adhikari, A S Majumdar, Dipankar Home, A K Pan, & P Joshi. (2012) Quantum teleportation using non-orthogonal entangled channels. Phys. Scr. DOI: 10.1088/0031-8949/85/04/045001  

  • November 8, 2013
  • 02:53 PM
  • 391 views

Photosynthesis Simulated on the Quantum Level

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

Physicists discover new properties of energy transport in experiments on “atomic giants” By realizing an artificial quantum system, physicists at Heidelberg University have simulated key processes of photosynthesis on a quantum level with high spatial and temporal resolution. In their experiment with Rydberg atoms the team of Prof. Dr. Matthias Weidemüller and Dr. Shannon Whitlock … Read More →... Read more »

G. Günter, H. Schempp, M. Robert-de-Saint-Vincent, V. Gavryusev, S. Helmrich, C.S. Hofmann, & S. Whitlock, M. Weidemüller. (2013) Observing the Dynamics of Dipole-Mediated Energy Transport by Interaction Enhanced Imaging. Science Express. DOI: 10.1126/science.1244843  

  • November 6, 2013
  • 08:53 AM
  • 318 views

Chronic Depression More Likely in Abuse Victims

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

Stress linked to abuse makes the brain more vulnerable to depression. A new study [citation below] indicates the highest risk variables of chronic depression in the population are linked to having suffered previous episodes of depression or delayed treatment when related to other physical or mental health problems or having suffered sexual abuse during childhood. Chronic … Read More →... Read more »

Garcia-Toro M, Rubio JM, Gili M, Roca M, Jin CJ, Liu SM, Bastianoni C, & Blanco C. (2013) Persistence of chronic major depression: a national prospective study. Journal of affective disorders, 151(1), 306-12. PMID: 23866303  

  • November 5, 2013
  • 07:43 AM
  • 538 views

What White Dwarfs Can Tell Us About the Universe

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

Researchers from Europe and the U.S. have ruled out a multitude of possible parameters for dark photons – a type of dark matter and energy – with the help of white dwarfs. In some aspects, the shining of these dying stars gives more information on dark forces than is provided by earth-based laboratories. The journal … Read More →... Read more »

Herbert K. Dreiner, Jean-François Fortin, Jordi Isern, & Lorenzo Ubaldi. (2013) White Dwarfs constrain Dark Forces. Phys. Rev. D, 88(4). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.88.043517  

  • November 1, 2013
  • 10:35 AM
  • 369 views

Non-genetic Inheritance & Changing Environments

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

In the last two decades climate change emerged as a momentous threat to ecosystems and species, calling for – politics aside – a greater interest in the adaptation abilities of the world’s creatures. Understanding and predicting how populations will respond to climate fluctuations has been attracting a wealth of research into evolutionary biology and the … Read More →... Read more »

Santiago Salinas, Simon C. Brown, Marc Mangel, & Stephan B. Munch. (2013) Non-genetic inheritance and changing environments. Non-Genetic Inheritance, 38-50. DOI: 10.2478/ngi-2013-0005  

  • October 31, 2013
  • 12:19 PM
  • 416 views

Defective Nanotubes Turned into Light Emitters

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country researchers have developed and patented a new source of light emitter based on boron nitride nanotubes and suitable for developing high-efficiency optoelectronic devices. Scientists are usually after defect-free nano-structures. Yet in this case the UPV/EHU researcher Angel Rubio and his collaborators have put the structural defects in boron nitride nanotubes … Read More →... Read more »

  • October 30, 2013
  • 09:57 AM
  • 310 views

The World’s Most Powerful Terahertz Quantum Cascade Laser

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

Whether used in diagnostic imaging, analysis of unknown substances or ultrafast communication – terahertz radiation sources are becoming more and more important. A recent Vienna University of Technology breakthrough has been made in this important area [Citations below]. Terahertz waves are invisible, but incredibly useful; they can penetrate many materials which are opaque to visible … Read More →... Read more »

M. Brandstetter et al. (2013) High power terahertz quantum cascade lasers with symmetric wafer bonded active regions. Appl. Phys. Lett., 103(171113). info:/10.1063/1.4826943

  • October 25, 2013
  • 11:40 AM
  • 716 views

What Aliens From Another World Will Look Like

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

Invading aliens from outer space won’t look like a Lady Gaga zombie or creatures with serious nasal drip problems. Top planetary scientists have now come up with different sketches of how aliens might appear. Here, then, are what real aliens will most likely look like if they drop on your house. First, the alien won’t … Read More →... Read more »

Cosmovici, C., Pluchino, S., Salerno, E., Montebugnoli, S., Zoni, L., & Bartolini, M. (2007) Radio Search for Water in Exo-Planetary Systems. Extreme Solar Systems, 33. info:/

  • October 23, 2013
  • 11:29 AM
  • 671 views

Are Dolphins More Intelligent than Humans?

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

Years ago when I was in the Navy, whenever we pulled out of port I’d watch dolphins glide along in front of our ship jumping out of the water in spectacular fashion. Their sheer power and beauty are difficult to describe unless you’ve witnessed them first-hand. As I’d watch them swim along in such graceful … Read More →... Read more »

  • October 22, 2013
  • 08:20 AM
  • 465 views

New Drug Reduces Negative Memory

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

Through analysis of the human genome, Basle scientists have identified molecules and compounds that are related to human memory. In a subsequent pharmacological study with one of the identified compounds, the scientists found a drug-induced reduction of aversive memory. This could have implications for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, which is characterized by intrusive … Read More →... Read more »

  • October 17, 2013
  • 10:59 AM
  • 370 views

When Neurons Have Less to Say, They Speak Up

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

The brain is an extremely adaptable organ – but it is also quite conservative. That’s in short, what scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried and their colleagues from the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel and the Ruhr-Universität Bochum were now able to show. The researchers found that neurons in the brain … Read More →... Read more »

Tara Keck, Georg B. Keller, R. Irene Jacobsen, Ulf T. Eysel, Tobias Bonhoeffer, & Mark Hübener. (2013) Synaptic scaling and homeostatic plasticity in the mouse visual cortex in vivo. Neuron, 80(2), 327-334. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.08.018  

  • October 16, 2013
  • 10:45 AM
  • 525 views

How the Largest Known Star is Tearing Itself Apart

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

An international team of astronomers has observed part of the final death throes of the largest known star in the Universe as it throws off its outer layers. The discovery, by a collaboration of scientists from the UK, Chile, Germany and the USA, is a vital step in understanding how massive stars return enriched material … Read More →... Read more »

Nicholas J. Wright, Roger Wesson, Janet E. Drew, Geert Barentsen, Michael J. Barlow, Jeremy R. Walsh, Albert Zijlstra, Jeremy J. Drake, Jochen Eisloffel, & Hywel J. Farnhill. (2013) The Ionized Nebula surrounding the Red Supergiant W26 in Westerlund 1. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. arXiv: 1309.4086v1

  • October 10, 2013
  • 12:56 AM
  • 304 views

I’m OK, You’re Not OK

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

The right supramarginal gyrus plays an important role in empathy Egoism and narcissism appear to be on the rise in our society, while empathy is on the decline. And yet, the ability to put ourselves in other people’s shoes is extremely important for our coexistence. A research team headed by Tania Singer from the Max … Read More →... Read more »

Giorgia Silani, Claus Lamm, Christian C. Ruff, & Tania Singer. (2013) Right Supramarginal Gyrus Is Crucial to Overcome Emotional Egocentricity Bias in Social Judgements. The Journal of Neuroscience, Online, 15466-15476. info:/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1488-13.2013

  • October 4, 2013
  • 12:16 PM
  • 424 views

Climate Puzzle Over Origins of Life on Earth

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

The mystery of why life on Earth evolved when it did has deepened with the publication of a new study in the latest edition of the journal Science (citation below). Scientists at the CRPG-CNRS University of Lorraine, The University of Manchester and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris have ruled out a theory as … Read More →... Read more »

Bernard Marty, Laurent Zimmermann, Magali Pujol, Ray Burgess, & Pascal Philippot. (2013) Nitrogen Isotopic Composition and Density of the Archean Atmosphere. Science, 342(6154), 101-104. DOI: 10.1126/science.1240971  

  • October 1, 2013
  • 09:32 AM
  • 478 views

New Estimate of Amount of Water on Surface of Mars

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

NASA’s rover Curiosity, which landed on the surface of Mars on 6 August 2012, has led to more detailed estimates of the amount of water on the Martian surface. The Finnish Meteorological Institute is part of the NASA research team. A study published in the magazine Science on 27 September reveals that according to observations made by … Read More →... Read more »

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