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Feb 2, 2017

Viral protein transforms as it measures out DNA

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, particle physics

To generate swarms of new viral particles, a virus hijacks a cell into producing masses of self-assembling cages that are then loaded with the genetic blueprint for the next infection. But the picture of how that DNA is loaded into those viral cages, or capsids, was blurry, especially for two of the most common types of DNA virus on earth, bacterial viruses and human herpesvirus. Jefferson researchers pieced together the three-dimensional atomic structure of a doughnut-shaped protein that acts like a door or ‘portal’ for the DNA to get in and out of the capsid, and have now discovered that this protein begins to transform its structure when it comes into contact with DNA. Their work published in Nature Communications.

“Researchers thought that the portal protein acts as an inert passageway for DNA,” says senior author Gino Cingolani, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Thomas Jefferson University and researcher at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. “We have shown that the portal is much more like a sensor that essentially helps measure out an appropriate length of DNA for each capsid particle, ensuring faithful production of new viral particles.”

The finding solves a longstanding puzzle in the field, and reveals a potential drug target for one of the most common human viral pathogens, herpesviruses, which is responsible for diseases such as chicken pox, mononucleosis, lymphomas and Kaposi sarcoma.

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Feb 2, 2017

Researchers identified 83 new DNA changes for human height

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

An international team of researchers has identified 83 new DNA changes that strongly determine human height as well as also help predict a person’s risk of developing certain growth disorders.

Height is mostly determined by the information encoded in the human DNA — children from tall parents tend to be taller and those from short parents are shorter.

“Of these 83 genetic variations, some influence adult height by more than 2 cm, which is enormous,” said Guillaume Lettre, Professor at Montreal Heart Institute in Canada.

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Feb 2, 2017

Stunning scientific breakthrough allows DNA “rebirth” of animals from long-dead, partially decomposed tissue samples

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, Ray Kurzweil

Bring to life those old biology and museum specimens back to life. Sort of.

Let’s see Ray Kurzweils prediction of bringing people back from the dead may not be that too far off with this recent discovery. BTW — he may be interested in this one.


(Natural News) Rare animals have been sitting in glass jars on museum shelves across the world for decades, but very little is often known about these specimens. And many people would say that is exactly where they belong: on a shelf, as an object of the past simply to be remembered and admired from afar.

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Feb 2, 2017

The next step in nanotechnology

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology

Nearly every other year the transistors that power silicon computer chip shrink in size by half and double in performance, enabling our devices to become more mobile and accessible. But what happens when these components can’t get any smaller? George Tulevski researches the unseen and untapped world of nanomaterials. His current work: developing chemical processes to compel billions of carbon nanotubes to assemble themselves into the patterns needed to build circuits, much the same way natural organisms build intricate, diverse and elegant structures. Could they hold the secret to the next generation of computing?

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at http://www.ted.com/translate

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Feb 2, 2017

Cleaning up quantum devices

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

Latest update on the NPL Research on how to have cleaner Quantum Devices.


A paper, based on NPL collaborative research, has been published in the journal Physical Review Letters The work paves the way for the identification and elimination of small amounts of surface defects whose presence on the surfaces of solid state quantum devices is detrimental to their performance.

The research was the result of a fruitful collaboration between NPL’s Quantum Detection Group, the Quantum Device Physics Laboratory at Chalmers University of Technology and the Institute of Chemical Physics at the University of Latvia.

Artistic impression of noise in quantum circuits

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Feb 2, 2017

Researchers Use Crystal Sensor to Study Crucial Cell Behavior

Posted by in categories: health, quantum physics

I had to take a second review of this since I posted it, and right away I see something quite interesting that folks have overlooked for a while. Will keep you posted.


Scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health have built a new tool to monitor the way cells attach to an adjoining substrate under a microscope.

Analyzing adhesion events can help researchers to understand the way diseases spread, tissues grow, and stem cells differentiate into many specific cell types. The technique provides high-resolution images that can monitor the interactions of cells across longer time periods than previously possible.

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Feb 2, 2017

Solar Power Has Officially Become the Cheapest Source for New Energy

Posted by in categories: finance, solar power, sustainability

When it comes to obtaining new energy, solar energy now costs less than fossil fuels, according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) also show decreased prices, with the mean price of solar power in about 60 countries dropping to $1.65 million per megawatt, closely followed by wind at $1.66 million per megawatt.

Michael Drexler, Head of Long Term Investing, Infrastructure and Development at the World Economic Forum, found the downturn in prices to be an encouraging sign.

“Renewable energy has reached a tipping point—it now constitutes the best chance to reverse global warming. Solar and wind have just become very competitive, and costs continue to fall. It is not only a commercially viable option, but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.”

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Feb 2, 2017

Quantum Encryption Just Took One More Step Toward Beating Hackers

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, encryption, quantum physics

Nice read on QC cryptography.


Between Russian hackers and insecure email servers, this past election has proved that cyber security is going to be extremely important moving forward. But with the advent of quantum computers, it’s only going to become harder to keep data safe from those with the motive and the right tools. Fortunately, scientists believe they may have found a solution within the same principles that guide quantum computing: quantum encryption.

To fully understand the scope of what quantum computers can do, it’s important to realize that it might take current, non-quantum computers longer than the total age of the universe to crack certain encryptions. But, as grad student Chris Pugh explained in a recent interview with Wired, quantum computers might be able to crack the same codes in “a matter of hours or days”.

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Feb 2, 2017

Superdense-coded logo of an oak leaf sets new record for transfer rate over optic cable

Posted by in category: futurism

Nice job ORNL and DoE.


Downloading…

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Feb 2, 2017

What Quantum Gravity Needs Is More Experiments

Posted by in categories: mathematics, particle physics, quantum physics

Agree; math is a must. However, experimentation is when the rubber meets the road.


In the mid-1990s, I studied mathematics. I wasn’t really sure just what I wanted to do with my life, but I was awed by the power of mathematics to describe the natural world. After classes on differential geometry and Lie algebras, I attended a seminar series offered by the math department about the greatest problem in fundamental physics: how to quantize gravity and thereby bring all the forces of nature under one theoretical umbrella. The seminars focused on a new approach pioneered by Abhay Ashtekhar at Penn State University. It wasn’t research I had previously encountered, and I came away with the impression that the problem had been solved; the news just hadn’t yet spread.

It seemed a clear victory for pure thought. The requirement of mathematical consistency also led, for example, to the discovery of the Higgs boson. Without the Higgs, the Standard Model of particle physics would stop working for particles that are collided at energies above 1 teraelectron-volts, well within the range of the Large Hadron Collider. Probabilities would no longer add to 100 percent and would cease to make mathematical sense. Something new thus had to turn up once that energy was crossed. The Higgs was the simplest possibility that physicists could think of—and, sure enough, they found it.

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