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Archive for the ‘chemistry’ category

Feb 7, 2016

The Tiny Startup Racing Google to Build a Quantum Computing Chip

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, quantum physics, robotics/AI

As I said this morning; there is something definitely going with Quantum today. Maybe it’s the planet alignment (I saw there was something going on with the alignment with Aquaris today) — this is awesome news.


Rigetti Computing is working on designs for quantum-powered chips to perform previously impossible feats that advance chemistry and machine learning.

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Feb 4, 2016

How to efficiently convert carbon dioxide from air to methanol fuel

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy

Convert carbon dioxide from air (at low temp) to methanol fuel — why not!


The carbon dioxide-to-methanol process (credit: Surya Prakash)

Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute have created fuel out of thin air — directly converting carbon dioxide from air into methanol at relatively low temperatures for the first time. While methanol can’t currently compete with oil, it will be there when we run out of oil, the researchers note.

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Jan 28, 2016

How to Build a Starship — and Why We Should Start Thinking About It Now

Posted by in categories: alien life, chemistry, engineering, nanotechnology, space travel

With a growing number of Earth-like exoplanets discovered in recent years, it is becoming increasingly frustrating that we can’t visit them. After all, our knowledge of the planets in our own solar system would be pretty limited if it weren’t for the space probes we’d sent to explore them.

The problem is that even the nearest stars are a very long way away, and enormous engineering efforts will be required to reach them on timescales that are relevant to us. But with research in areas such as nuclear fusion and nanotechnology advancing rapidly, we may not be as far away from constructing small, fast interstellar space probes as we think.

There’s a lot at stake. If we ever found evidence suggesting that life might exist on a planet orbiting a nearby star, we would most likely need to go there to get definitive proof and learn more about its underlying biochemistry and evolutionary history. This would require transporting sophisticated scientific instruments across interstellar space.

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Jan 13, 2016

Does our Microbiome Control Us or Do We Control It?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, food, genetics, health, neuroscience

This is an interesting conjecture.


We may be able to keep our gut in check after all. That’s the tantalizing finding from a new study published today that reveals a way that mice—and potentially humans—can control the makeup and behavior of their gut microbiome. Such a prospect upends the popular notion that the complex ecosystem of germs residing in our guts essentially acts as our puppet master, altering brain biochemistry even as it tends to our immune system, wards off infection and helps us break down our supersized burger and fries.

In a series of elaborate experiments researchers from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital discovered that mouse poop is chock full of tiny, noncoding RNAs called microRNAs from their gastrointestinal (GI) tracts and that these biomolecules appear to shape and regulate the microbiome. “We’ve known about how microbes can influence your health for a few years now and in a way we’ve always suspected it’s a two-way process, but never really pinned it down that well,” says Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, not involved with the new study. “This [new work] explains quite nicely the two-way interaction between microbes and us, and it shows the relationship going the other way—which is fascinating,” says Spector, author of The Diet Myth: Why the Secret to Health and Weight Loss Is Already in Your Gut.

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Dec 25, 2015

Rimac — Electric Concept One Super Car 1088hp

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy, transportation

Specifications:

Performance Power output: 1088 hp Torque: 1600 Nm from 0 to 6500 rpm Acceleration: 0–100 km/h (0−62 mph) 2,8 seconds Range: up to 600 km (realistic range — 500 km) Braking distance: 31.5m (100−0 km/h) Lateral g-force: 1.4 g Efficiency: 140–550 Wh/km 40 kW on-board charging 100 kW fast DC-charging Weight-to-power ratio: 1.79 kg/hp Weight distribution: 42% front, 58% rear

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Dec 9, 2015

Scores of Labs Should be Gearing Up to Work on Glucosepane Cross-Link Breakers, But Are They?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, health, life extension, neuroscience

Glucosepane is one of the most significant mechanisms of aging and yet very few people are working on it!


As we age skin and blood vessels lose their elasticity. People care too much about the skin and too little about the blood vessels, but that is always the way of it. Appearance first and substance later, if at all. Yet you can live inside an aged skin; beyond the raised risk of skin cancer its damaged state arguably only makes life less pleasant, and the present state of medical science can ensure that the numerous age-related dermatological dysfunctions can be kept to a state of minor inconvenience. Loss of blood vessel elasticity, on the other hand, will steadily destroy your health and then kill you. Arterial stiffening causes remodeling of the cardiovascular system and hypertension. The biological systems that regulate blood pressure become dysfunctional as blood vessels depart from ideal youthful behavior, creating a downward spiral of increasing blood pressure and reactions to that increase. Small blood vessels fail under the strain in ever larger numbers, damaging surrounding tissue. In the brain this damage contributes to age-related cognitive decline by creating countless tiny, unnoticed strokes. Ultimately this process leads to dementia. More important parts of the cardiovascular system are likely to fail first, however, perhaps causing a stroke, or a heart attack, or the slower decline of congestive heart failure.

From what is known today, it is reasonable to propose that the two main culprits driving loss of tissue elasticity are sugary cross-links generated as a byproduct of the normal operation of cellular metabolism and growing numbers of senescent cells. Elasticity is a property of the extracellular matrix, an intricate structure of collagens and other proteins created by cells. Different arrangements of these molecules produce very different structures, ranging from load-bearing tissues such as bone and cartilage to elastic tissues such as skin and blood vessel walls. Disrupting the arrangement and interaction of molecules in the extracellular matrix also disrupts its properties. Persistent cross-links achieve this by linking proteins together and restricting their normal range of motion. Senescent cells, on the other hand, secrete a range of proteins capable of breaking down or remodeling portions of the surrounding extracellular matrix, and altering the behavior of nearby cells for the worse.

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Nov 25, 2015

Inkjet hologram printing now possible

Posted by in categories: chemistry, materials, security

Vivid holographic images and text can now be produced by means of an ordinary inkjet printer. This new method, developed by a team of scientists from ITMO University in Saint Petersburg, is expected to significantly reduce the cost and time needed to create the so-called rainbow holograms, commonly used for security purposes — to protect valuable items, such as credit cards and paper currency, from piracy and falsification. The results of the study were published 17 November in the scientific journal Advanced Functional Materials.

The team, led by Alexander Vinogradov, senior research associate at the International Laboratory of Solution Chemistry of Advanced Materials and Technologies (SCAMT) in ITMO University, developed colorless ink made of nanocrystalline titania, which can be loaded into an inkjet printer and then deposited on special microembossed paper, resulting in unique patterned images. The ink makes it possible to print custom holographic images on transparent film in a matter of minutes, instead of days as with the use of conventional methods.

Rainbow holograms are widely used to fight against the forgery of credit cards, money, documents and certain manufactured products that call for a high level of protection. Even though the technology of obtaining holographic images was already developed in the 1960s, there still exist numerous technical difficulties that impede its further spread and integration into polygraphic industry.

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Nov 25, 2015

Ray Kurzweil — The Future of Medicine

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing, health, life extension, nanotechnology, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI, singularity, transhumanism

Ray Kurzweil: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Kurzweil#Health_and_aging

Raymond “Ray” Kurzweil is an American author, computer scientist, inventor and futurist. Aside from futurology, he is involved in fields such as optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments. He has written books on health, artificial intelligence (AI), transhumanism, the technological singularity, and futurism. Kurzweil is a public advocate for the futurist and transhumanist movements, and gives public talks to share his optimistic outlook on life extension technologies and the future of nanotechnology, robotics, and biotechnology.

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Nov 10, 2015

Next Big Future: Superconducting at −70 degrees celsius seems to be accepted

Posted by in categories: chemistry, materials, physics

The world of superconductivity is in uproar. Last year, Mikhail Eremets and a couple of pals from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, made the extraordinary claim that they had seen hydrogen sulphide superconducting at −70 °C. That’s some 20 degrees hotter than any other material—a huge increase over the current record.

Eremets and co have worked hard to conjure up the final pieces of conclusive evidence. A few weeks ago, their paper was finally published in the peer reviewed journal Nature, giving it the rubber stamp of respectability that mainstream physics requires. Suddenly, superconductivity is back in the headlines.

Today, Antonio Bianconi and Thomas Jarlborg at the Rome International Center for Materials Science Superstripes in Italy provide a review of this exciting field. These guys give an overview of Eremet and co’s discovery and a treatment of the theoretical work that attempts to explain it.

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Nov 3, 2015

Researchers create lithium-air battery that could be 10x more powerful than lithium-ion

Posted by in categories: chemistry, electronics, mobile phones, solar power, sustainability, transportation

A new lithium-air battery created by researchers at the University of Cambridge points the way to the ultimate battery packs of the future, its makers say. With a very high energy density, more than 90 percent efficiency and the capability for more than 2,000 recharge cycles, the new test battery could prove an important stepping stone in the development of this essential technology.

If you’re getting tired of announcements about breakthroughs in battery technology, that’s understandable: as they’re so essential to modern life, many teams of scientists are busy working on the problem around the clock, but it’s an incredibly complex area of chemistry. Any new battery has to improve on what we already have, be safe to use in consumer gadgets, and be commercially viable enough to be affordable for manufacturers.

Those are difficult targets to hit, and that’s why many ‘miracle’ batteries have since fallen by the wayside – once the initial lab work is done, proving concepts and scaling up production is very difficult to get right. The potential rewards are huge though, not just for smartphones but for electric cars and solar power, where batteries are essential for storing energy to use when the sun isn’t shining.

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