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Feb 16, 2018

CRISPR-Cas9 may be a double-edged sword for bacteria

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

CRISPR-associated protein Cas9 (white) from Staphylococcus aureus based on Protein Database ID 5AXW. Credit: Thomas Splettstoesser (Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0) A team of researchers with the Catholic University of America has found evidence that suggests a defense mechanism used by bacteria to ward off phage attacks might also be benefiting the phages. In their paper published on the open access site Science Advances, the group describes testing the impact of CRISPR-Cas9 on phages that infect Escherichia coli and what they found. In nature, CRISPR-Cas9 is a defense mechanism used by bacteria t…

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Feb 16, 2018

Lab-grown human cerebellar cells yield clues to autism

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

This Purkinje neuron was derived from patients with tuberous sclerosis and model properties of the disease at the cellular and molecular level. Sundberg and colleagues first created induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from patients’ blood cells or skin cells, then differentiated them into neural progenitor cells and finally Purkinje cells. Credit: Courtesy Maria Sundberg, PhD, Sahin Laboratory, Boston Children’s Hospital Increasing evidence has linked autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with dysfunction of the brain’s cerebellum, but the details have been unclear. In a new study, researchers…

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Feb 16, 2018

Forever Young: The Documentary — BBC News

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, life extension

Is ageing a disease? One that can be ‘cured’? BBC’s Gabriela Torres meets the self-experimenters and scientists who are trying to dramatically extend our lives.

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Feb 15, 2018

Intel just put a quantum computer on a silicon chip

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

A Dutch company called QuTech, working with Intel, just pulled off a silicon chip-based quantum computer. The future’s looking good for spooky action.

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Feb 15, 2018

Graphene film makes dirty water drinkable in a single step

Posted by in categories: materials, nanotechnology

Every year, millions of people around the world die from drinking unclean water. Now, researchers have developed a process that can purify water, no matter how dirty it is, in a single step. Scientists from Australian research organization CSIRO have created a filtration technique using a graphene film with microscopic nano-channels that lets water pass through, but stops pollutants. The process, called “Graphair”, is so effective that water samples from Sydney Harbor were safe to drink after being treated.

And while the film hails from graphene, Graphair is comparatively cheaper, faster and more environmentally-friendly to make, as its primary component is renewable soybean oil, which also helps maximise the efficiency of the purifying technique’s filter counterpart. Over time, oil-based pollutants can impede water filters, so contaminants have to be removed before filtering can even begin, but using Graphair removes these pollutants faster than any other method.

Water purification usually involves a complex process of several steps, so this breakthrough could have a significant impact on the some 2.1 billion people who don’t have clean, safe drinking water. “All that’s needed is heat, our graphene, a membrane filter and a small water pump. We’re hoping to commence field trials in a developing world community next year,” said lead author Dr Dong Han Seo, who added that the team is looking for industry partners to help scale up the technology, and is also working on other applications for Graphair, such as seawater and industrial effluents.

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Feb 15, 2018

Removing One Enzyme Could Be Key to Curing Alzheimer’s

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

An experimental treatment completely reversed Alzheimer’s disease in mice by reducing the levels of a single enzyme in the animals’ brains. The results further bolster the theory that amyloid plaques are at the root of this mysterious brain disease, and that addressing these plaques could lead to an eventual cure for Alzheimer’s. The study, published February 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, found that slowly reducing levels of the enzyme BACE1 in mice as they aged either prevented or reversed the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain, a hallmark sign of Alzheimer’s disease…

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Feb 15, 2018

New form of light: Newly observed optical state could enable quantum computing with photons

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics, quantum physics, weapons

Try a quick experiment: Take two flashlights into a dark room and shine them so that their light beams cross. Notice anything peculiar? The rather anticlimactic answer is, probably not. That’s because the individual photons that make up light do not interact. Instead, they simply pass each other by, like indifferent spirits in the night.

But what if could be made to interact, attracting and repelling each other like atoms in ordinary matter? One tantalizing, albeit sci-fi possibility: sabers — beams of light that can pull and push on each other, making for dazzling, epic confrontations. Or, in a more likely scenario, two beams of light could meet and merge into one single, luminous stream.

It may seem like such optical behavior would require bending the rules of physics, but in fact, scientists at MIT, Harvard University, and elsewhere have now demonstrated that photons can indeed be made to interact — an accomplishment that could open a path toward using photons in quantum computing, if not in lightsabers.

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Feb 15, 2018

These Perfectly Imperfect Diamonds Are Built for Quantum Physics

Posted by in category: quantum physics

De Beers diamond company has a whole division to synthesize quantum-grade diamonds.

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Feb 15, 2018

Laser scanning reveals ‘lost’ ancient Mexican city had as many buildings as Manhattan

Posted by in category: futurism

Groundbreaking lidar scanning reveals the true scale of Angamuco, built by the Purépecha from about 900AD.

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Feb 15, 2018

A solar storm is headed for the U.S.

Posted by in category: futurism

Here’s how to see it.

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