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Feb 6, 2019

Graphene quantum dots sensitized C-ZnO nanotaper photoanodes for solar cells application

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, solar power, sustainability

In a paper to be published in the forthcoming issue in NANO, researchers from the National Institute of Technology, India, have synthesized blue-green-orange photoemissive sulfur and nitrogen co-doped graphene quantum dots (SNGQDs) using hydrothermal method. These GQDs showed strong UV-visible photoabsorption and excitation dependent photoemission which have low-cost, eco-friendly solar cell application.

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Feb 6, 2019

Decentralized systems are more efficient at reaching a target when its components are not overly capable

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI, transportation

A team of researchers including Neil Johnson, a professor of physics at the George Washington University, has discovered that decentralized systems work better when the individual parts are less capable.

Dr. Johnson was interested in understanding how systems with many moving parts can reach a desired target or goal without centralized control. This explores a common theory that decentralized systems, those without a central brain, would be more resilient against damage or errors.

This research has the potential to inform everything from how to effectively structure a company, build a better autonomous vehicle, optimize next-generation artificial intelligence algorithms—and could even transform our understanding of evolution. The key lies in understanding how the “” between decentralized and centralized systems varies with how clever the pieces are, Dr. Johnson said.

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Feb 6, 2019

Move Over, Spintronics: Here Comes Magnonics to the Rescue of Electronics

Posted by in categories: electronics, particle physics

New type of logic gate promises to completely replace electricity with magnetic spin waves for computation.

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Feb 6, 2019

Ancient Druid Healing ‘Treatment’ Shows Potential For Killing Today’s Superbugs

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Faced with the rising threat of drug resistant pathogens, researchers are all but giving up hope that new treatments can be easily cooked up in the lab.

One recent discovery gives us hope that novel antibiotics are easier to find than we think, perhaps in plain sight right under our very feet. And it’s possible their curative properties could have already been recognised centuries in the past.

An international team of researchers based at Swansea University Medical School in South West Wales recently identified a new strain of bacterium in ‘healing soil’ taken from a site associated with ancient druidic rituals in Northern Ireland.

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Feb 6, 2019

Ebola Vaccinations Expanding in Central Africa

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The African country of South Sudan has started vaccinating front-line response staff with the Ebola Zaire vaccine candidate v920.

The vaccine’s producer, Merck, has given 2,160 doses of the vaccine candidate V920 (rVSV-ZEBOV) as part of preparedness measures to fight the spread of the Ebola disease, said the World Health Organization (WHO) in a press release on January 28, 2019.

This preventive effort is in reaction to South Sudan’s neighboring country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which is now experiencing its 10th Ebola outbreak.

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Feb 6, 2019

Superhuman Skin Senses Sound Waves and Magnetic Fields

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, nanotechnology, wearables

Researchers have developed a new kind of sensor designed to let artificial skin sense pressure, vibrations, and even magnetic fields. Developed by engineers, chemists, and biologists at the University of Connecticut and University of Toronto, the technology could help burn victims and amputees “feel” again through their prosthetic skin.

“The type of artificial skin we developed can be called an electronic skin or e-skin,” Islam Mosa, a postdoctoral fellow at UConn, told Digital Trends. “It is a new group of smart wearable electronics that are flexible, stretchable, shapable, and possess unique sensing capabilities that mimic human skin.”

To create the sensor for the artificial skin, Mosa and his team wrapped a silicone tube with a copper wire and filled the tube with an iron oxide nanoparticle fluid. As the nanoparticles move around the tube, they create an electrical current, which is picked up by the copper wire. When the tube experiences pressure, the current changes.

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Feb 6, 2019

Bulletproof Skin Made From Spider Silk Proteins And Human Skin Cells

Posted by in category: futurism

Circa 2013

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Feb 6, 2019

Patient Tested for Ebola in Pennsylvania

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

A patient in Pennsylvania is being tested for a possible Ebola virus infection, according to news reports.

On Wednesday (Feb. 6), the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) said that it was testing the patient for the deadly virus out of “an abundance of caution,” according to local news outlet NBC 10 Philadelphia. Early test results suggest the patient has another condition that is the cause of their illness, but the hospital is taking precautions until the definitive results are in.

“A patient who met screening criteria for Ebola testing is currently being evaluated at HUP while tests to assess the patient’s condition are completed,” Dr. Patrick J. Brennan, chief medical officer at Penn Medicine, told told NBC 10.

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Feb 6, 2019

DNA-Functionalized Metal–Organic Framework Nanoparticles for Intracellular Delivery of Proteins

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

Due to their large size, charged surfaces, and environmental sensitivity, proteins do not naturally cross cell-membranes in intact form and, therefore, are difficult to deliver for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Based upon the observation that clustered oligonucleotides can naturally engage scavenger receptors that facilitate cellular transfection, nucleic acid–metal organic framework nanoparticle (MOF NP) conjugates have been designed and synthesized from NU-1000 and PCN-222/MOF-545, respectively, and phosphate-terminated oligonucleotides. They have been characterized structurally and with respect to their ability to enter mammalian cells. The MOFs act as protein hosts, and their densely functionalized, oligonucleotide-rich surfaces make them colloidally stable and ensure facile cellular entry. With insulin as a model protein, high loading and a 10-fold enhancement of cellular uptake (as compared to that of the native protein) were achieved. Importantly, this approach can be generalized to facilitate the delivery of a variety of proteins as biological probes or potential therapeutics.

Proteins play key roles in living systems, and the ability to deliver active proteins to cells is attractive for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Potential uses involve the evaluation of metabolic pathways, regulation of cellular processes, and treatment of disease involving protein deficiencies. (4−6) During the past decade, a series of techniques have been developed to facilitate protein internalization by live cells, including the use of complementary transfection agents, nanocarriers, (7−9) and protein surface modifications. (10−13) Although each strategy has its own merit, none are perfect solutions; they can cause cytotoxicity, reduce protein activity, and suffer from low delivery payloads. (14) For example, we have made the observation that one can take almost any protein and functionalize its surface with DNA to create entities that will naturally engage the cell-surface receptors involved in spherical nucleic acid (SNA) uptake. (13,15−17) While this method is extremely useful in certain situations, it requires direct modification of the protein and large amounts of nucleic acid, on a per-protein basis, to effect transfection. Ideally, one would like to deliver intact, functional proteins without the need to chemically modify them, and to do so in a nucleic-acid efficient manner.

Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) have emerged as a class of promising materials for the immobilization and storage of functional proteins. (18) Their mesoporous structures allow for exceptionally high protein loadings, and their framework architectures can significantly improve the thermal and chemical stabilities of the encapsulated proteins. (19−24) However, although MOF NPs have been recognized as potentially important intracellular delivery vehicles for proteins, (25−27) their poor colloidal stability and positively charged surfaces, (28,29) inhibit their cellular uptake and have led to unfavorable bioavailabilities. (30−33) Therefore, the development of general approaches for reducing MOF NP aggregation, minimizing positive charge (which can cause cytotoxicity), and facilitating cellular uptake is desirable. (34,35)

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Feb 6, 2019

The inverse CSI effect in the age of digital crime

Posted by in category: entertainment

The “CSI Effect” has been described as being an increased expectation from jurors that forensic evidence will be presented in court that is instantaneous and unequivocal because that is how it is often presented for dramatic effect in television programs and movies. Of course, in reality forensic science, while exact in some respects is just as susceptible to the vagaries of measurements and analyses as any other part of science. In reality, crime scene investigators often spend seemingly inordinate amounts of time gathering and assessing evidence and then present it as probabilities rather than the kind of definitive result expected of a court room filled with actors rather than real people.

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