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  • May 27, 2015
  • 03:52 PM
  • 92 views

Expanding the code of life with new ‘letters’

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The DNA encoding all life on Earth is made of four building blocks called nucleotides, commonly known as “letters,” that line up in pairs and twist into a double helix. Now, two groups of scientists are reporting for the first time that two new nucleotides can do the same thing — raising the possibility that entirely new proteins could be created for medical uses.... Read more »

Georgiadis, M., Singh, I., Kellett, W., Hoshika, S., Benner, S., & Richards, N. (2015) Structural Basis for a Six Nucleotide Genetic Alphabet. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b03482  

Zhang, L., Yang, Z., Sefah, K., Bradley, K., Hoshika, S., Kim, M., Kim, H., Zhu, G., Jiménez, E., Cansiz, S.... (2015) Evolution of Functional Six-Nucleotide DNA. Journal of the American Chemical Society. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b02251  

  • May 27, 2015
  • 08:50 AM
  • 71 views

Back in black: record efficiency for black-silicon solar cell

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Crystalline silicon solar cells are reaching their efficiency limit and manufacturing costs. But a new method to create black-silicon solar cells, potentially cheaper, has led to a record 22.1% efficiency. Learn about the physics behind the record here!... Read more »

Savin H, Repo P, von Gastrow G, Ortega P, Calle E, Garín M, & Alcubilla R. (2015) Black silicon solar cells with interdigitated back-contacts achieve 22.1% efficiency. Nature nanotechnology. PMID: 25984832  

  • May 20, 2015
  • 06:04 PM
  • 116 views

Tiny grains of lithium dramatically improve performance of fusion plasma

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

While fusion might still be a far off dream, a new discovery may help bring that dream closer to reality. Scientists have discovered a phenomenon that helps them to improve fusion plasmas, a finding that could quicken the development of large scale fusion energy. The scientists found that when they injected tiny grains of lithium into a plasma undergoing a particular kind of turbulence then, under the right conditions, the temperature and pressure rose dramatically.... Read more »

Kaye, S., Abrams, T., Ahn, J., Allain, J., Andre, R., Andruczyk, D., Barchfeld, R., Battaglia, D., Bhattacharjee, A., Bedoya, F.... (2015) An overview of recent physics results from NSTX. Nuclear Fusion, 55(10), 104002. DOI: 10.1088/0029-5515/55/10/104002  

  • May 15, 2015
  • 03:13 PM
  • 101 views

The fingerprint drug test

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have demonstrated a new, noninvasive test that can detect cocaine use through a simple fingerprint. For the first time, this new fingerprint method can determine whether cocaine has been ingested, rather than just touched.... Read more »

  • May 15, 2015
  • 10:03 AM
  • 95 views

Nature's natural fix to the ticking carbon time bomb in the peatlands

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Peatlands have long been seen as a dangerous store of carbon that could be released as glaciers melt and temperatures increase. But new research suggests Nature has some natural adaptations at hand to prevent such a release from occurring!... Read more »

  • May 11, 2015
  • 12:21 PM
  • 87 views

Microbial nitrogen transformation in constructed wetlands

by Ruth Garcia de la Calle in ADVOCATE Marie Curie Network

Microbial nitrogen transformation in constructed wetlands for the treatment of contaminated groundwater... Read more »

Coban, O., Kuschk, P., Kappelmeyer, U., Spott, O., Martienssen, M., Jetten, M., & Knoeller, K. (2015) Nitrogen transforming community in a horizontal subsurface-flow constructed wetland. Water Research, 203-212. DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2015.02.018  

  • May 8, 2015
  • 07:56 AM
  • 118 views

MPs with Science Degrees: How did Science & Technology do in the UK General Election 2015?

by Duncan Hull in O'Really?

In case you missed it, the people of the United Kingdom just elected 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) to run their government for the next give years. How many of these newly elected MPs have science backgrounds? Like many, I was inspired by Mark Henderson’s book The Geek Manifesto [1] back in 2012 after reading an article which argued that (quote) “with just one British MP having a scientific background, the people who run the country clearly need some expert advice”. So when I........ Read more »

  • May 7, 2015
  • 05:46 PM
  • 144 views

What you need to know about the newly proposed science funding legislation

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

The House Science Committee, chaired by Lamar Smith, unveiled their new science budget last week. Read on to see what it proposes and what it means for science.... Read more »

  • May 7, 2015
  • 03:17 PM
  • 135 views

Nanoparticles in products can significantly alter normal gut microbiome

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Nanoparticles, it’s the new buzzword that cosmetics and even consumer “anti-aging” products use to promote their brand. As the word suggests, nanoparticles are small and it shouldn’t be too surprising that these nanoparticles are causing problems in nature because of their prevalence. In that light, it might not be a surprise that there could also be some serious health issues associated with these nanoparticles.... Read more »

  • May 4, 2015
  • 07:22 PM
  • 190 views

Fracked, shale-drilling additives in drinking-water taps near leak

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Shale oil has helped the US see lower gas prices and even an opportunity to start exporting. However, it isn’t as great as it might sound, hydraulic fracturing — also known as fracking — has been scrutinized by environmentalists since it’s inception. As it turns out, for good reason, substances commonly used for drilling or extracting Marcellus shale gas foamed from the drinking water taps of three Pennsylvania homes near a reported well-pad leak, according to new analysis from a team of........ Read more »

Garth T. Llewellyn, Frank Dorman, J. L. Westland, D. Yoxtheimer, Paul Grieve, Todd Sowers, E. Humston-Fulmer, & Susan L. Brantley. (2015) Evaluating a groundwater supply contamination incident attributed to Marcellus Shale gas development. PNAS. info:/10.1073/pnas.1420279112

  • May 1, 2015
  • 12:08 AM
  • 147 views

Eyes on Environment: the search for artificial photosynthesis

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

How can we mimic plant photosynthesis to move to a fossil-free economy? Read here to find out!... Read more »

Sun, K., Saadi, F., Lichterman, M., Hale, W., Wang, H., Zhou, X., Plymale, N., Omelchenko, S., He, J., Papadantonakis, K.... (2015) Stable solar-driven oxidation of water by semiconducting photoanodes protected by transparent catalytic nickel oxide films. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201423034. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1423034112  

  • April 30, 2015
  • 04:26 PM
  • 145 views

Pesticides alter bees’ brains, making them unable to live and reproduce adequately

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new report suggests that a particular class of pesticides called “neonicotinoids” wreaks havoc on the bee populations, ultimately putting some crops that rely on pollination in jeopardy. Specifically, these pesticides kill bee brain cells, rendering them unable to learn, gather food and reproduce. The report, however, also suggests that the effects of these pesticides on bee colonies may be reversible by decreasing or eliminating the use of these pesticides on plants pollinated by bees and........ Read more »

  • April 27, 2015
  • 12:28 PM
  • 158 views

Boron and the Permian extinction: a glimpse into the past gives a hint of the future

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

How will ocean acidification from anthropogenic CO2 emissions affect marine life? Recent work studying a similar time during the Permian extinction 200 million years ago gives a clue.... Read more »

Clarkson MO, Kasemann SA, Wood RA, Lenton TM, Daines SJ, Richoz S, Ohnemueller F, Meixner A, Poulton SW, & Tipper ET. (2015) Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction. Science (New York, N.Y.), 348(6231), 229-32. PMID: 25859043  

  • April 24, 2015
  • 04:19 PM
  • 196 views

Diabetes drug found in freshwater potential cause of intersex fish

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A medication commonly taken for Type II diabetes, which is being found in freshwater systems worldwide, has been shown to cause intersex in fish –or male fish that produce eggs. The study determined exposure to the diabetes medicine metformin causes physical changes in male fish exposed to doses similar to the amount in wastewater effluent.... Read more »

  • April 22, 2015
  • 11:42 AM
  • 143 views

Earth Day spotlight: a survey of the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Five years ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill changed the trajectory of ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. We take a look at how species have been affected and what we can do to prevent another disaster.... Read more »

Cornwall W. (2015) Deepwater Horizon: after the oil. Science (New York, N.Y.), 348(6230), 22. PMID: 25838362  

  • April 18, 2015
  • 04:45 AM
  • 192 views

Major Advance in Artificial Photosynthesis

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

A potentially game-changing breakthrough in artificial photosynthesis has been achieved with the development of a system that can capture carbon dioxide emissions before they are vented into the atmosphere and then, powered by solar energy, convert that carbon dioxide into valuable chemical products, including biodegradable plastics, pharmaceutical drugs and even liquid fuels.... Read more »

  • April 17, 2015
  • 12:27 PM
  • 132 views

Electricity generation from pollution? Yes, it is possible !

by Ruth Garcia de la Calle in ADVOCATE Marie Curie Network

how bacteria batteries work and the role they play in contaminated groundwater remediation. ... Read more »

  • April 17, 2015
  • 12:25 PM
  • 134 views

On the trail of nitrogen to quantify N removal from contaminated aquifers

by Ruth Garcia de la Calle in ADVOCATE Marie Curie Network

Naomi Wells is working on developing better ways of measuring where water pollution comes from, and how long it’s going to stick around for. She uses light stable isotopes to improve the understanding of the fate and transport of key nutrients across biomes, landscapes, and scales.... Read more »

  • April 17, 2015
  • 11:15 AM
  • 164 views

The downfall of coal: job trends in a changing energy landscape

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Coal jobs have decreased dramatically in the past seven years, but are renewable energy and natural gas jobs compensating? New policy work reveals the geographical patterns in job changes that do not bode well for coal-producing states.... Read more »

  • April 15, 2015
  • 08:20 AM
  • 151 views

Eyes on Environment: the organic side of fracking

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Little research to date has looked into the organic chemicals from fracking fluid that get into surrounding groundwater - here's how science can help!... Read more »

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