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clipped from www.sciencedaily.com
Researchers have shown that the juice of reject watermelons can be efficiently fermented into ethanol.

Wayne Fish worked with a team of researchers at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory in Lane, Oklahoma, US, to evaluate the biofuel potential of juice from ‘cull’ watermelons – those not sold due to cosmetic imperfections, and currently ploughed back into the field. He said, “About 20% of each annual watermelon crop is left in the field because of surface blemishes or because they are misshapen. We’ve shown that the juice of these melons is a source of readily fermentable sugars, representing a heretofore untapped feedstock for ethanol biofuel production”.

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clipped from www.sciencedaily.com

ScienceDaily (Aug. 25, 2009) — Solar cells could soon be produced more cheaply using nanoparticle “inks” that allow them to be printed like newspaper or painted onto the sides of buildings or rooftops to absorb electricity-producing sunlight.

Brian Korgel, a University of Texas at Austin chemical engineer, is hoping to cut costs to one-tenth of their current price by replacing the standard manufacturing process for solar cells – gas-phase deposition in a vacuum chamber, which requires high temperatures and is relatively expensive.

light-absorbing nanomaterials, which are 10,000 times thinner than a strand of hair

His team has developed solar-cell prototypes with efficiencies at one percent; however, they need to be about 10 percent.

He also said that the inks, which are semi-transparent, could help realize the prospect of having windows that double as solar cells.
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clipped from wellness.blogs.time.com

A new study from researchers at Beth Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School suggests that tone-deafness may be the result of a missing neural connection. By using a brain imaging technique that allows them to examine the links between the right temporal and frontal lobes, the scientists compared the neural connectivity of 10 tone-deaf subjects against 10 control participants. They found that, in the tone-deaf subjects, there was less connectivity of the arcuate fasciculus (AF), a white matter tract of fiber that serves as a “highway” between the temporal and front brain regions, and is known to be involved in linking language, music and vocal production.

this stretch of fiber was both smaller and less dense in people who are tone-deaf, and that one branch of the neural pathway was in fact undetectable on the scans.
may have similarities to other speech disorders in which there is also an interrupted link between what people hear and what they are able to produce.
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I can’t help but think of Hank McCoy (Beast) from the X-Men.
clipped from news.nationalgeographic.com

PHOTOS: Blue Rats Move Again After Food-Dye Injection

July 27, 2009–Fifteen minutes after researchers intentionally paralyzed this rat by dropping a weight on its back, they injected the rodent with Brilliant Blue G dye, a derivative of common food coloring Blue Number One. The dye reduced inflammation of the spinal cord, which allowed the rats to take clumsy steps—but not walk—within weeks, a new study says.

In both rats and people, secondary inflammation following spinal cord trauma causes more lasting damage than the initial injury: Swelling sparks a small “stroke,” which stops blood flow and eventually kills off the surrounding tissue.

Other than blue skin and eyes, “we can find no clinical effect on the rat,” said Maiken Nedergaard, a neuroscientist at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York.
lack of side effects may also help make the blue dye a boon to paralyzed humans
unlike previous compounds used to treat spinal cord injuries, which had toxic effects.
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clipped from www.reuters.com

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese researchers have managed to create powerful stem cells from mouse skin and used these to generate fertile live mouse pups.

They used induced pluripotent skin cells, or iPS cells — cells that have been reprogrammed to look and act like embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells, taken from days-old embryos, have the power to morph into any cell type and, in mice, can be implanted into a mother’s womb to create living mouse pups.

Their experiment, published in Nature, means that it is theoretically possible to clone someone using ordinary connective tissue cells found on the person’s skin, but the experts were quick to distance themselves from such controversy.

“It has generated now more than 100 of second-generation (mice) and more than 100 third-generation (mice). It really demonstrates how fertile and strong the system is.”

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clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

Discovered 13 years ago, and officially added to the periodic table just weeks ago, element 112 finally has a name.

It will be called “copernicium”, with the symbol Cp, in honour of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.

Copernicus deduced that the planets revolved around the Sun, and finally refuted the belief that the Earth was the centre of the Universe.

The team of scientists who discovered the element chose the name to honour the man who “changed our world view”.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) will officially endorse the new element’s name in six month’s time in order to give the scientific community “time to discuss the suggestion”.

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clipped from news.bbc.co.uk
Hannah Clark’s own heart is now in perfect working order three-and-a-half years after her “piggy-back” donor heart was removed.
The original operation in 1995 saved Hannah’s life because she had cardiomyopathy – a condition which made her heart double in size and risk giving out within a year.
The donor heart was able to take over most of the role of pumping blood around Hannah’s body, effectively allowing her own beating heart to rest.
I am really excited about starting a job working with animals. I couldn’t do that before because the fur could have affected my chest.

experts were working to perfect a mechanical heart, called a ventricular assist device, that can be used in children temporarily to take over the work of a weak heart while it recovers.

A similar device already exists for adults with heart failure awaiting a donor transplant.

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clipped from www.timesonline.co.uk
Hundreds of wallets were planted on the streets of Edinburgh by psychologists
last year.
nearly half of the 240 wallets were posted
Richard Wiseman, a psychologist, and his team inserted one of four photographs
behind a clear plastic window inside, showing either a smiling baby, a cute
puppy, a happy family or a contented elderly couple. Some wallets had no
image and some had charity papers inside.
When faced with the photograph of the baby people were far more likely to send
the wallet back, the study found. In fact, only one in ten were hard-hearted
enough not to do so. With no picture to tug at the emotions, just one in
seven were sent back.
The baby photograph wallets had the highest return rate, with 88 per cent of
the 40 being sent back. Next came the puppy, the family and the elderly
couple, with 53 per cent, 48 and 28 respectively. At 20 per cent and 15, the
charity card and control wallets had the lowest return rates.
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Nature can be cruel in a high school kind of way.
clipped from dsc.discovery.com
New research found that males can adjust the speed and effectiveness of their sperm by allocating more or less seminal fluid to copulations. The determining factor is whether the male finds the female attractive.
growing body of evidence that males throughout many promiscuous species in the animal kingdom, including humans, can mate with many females, but chances of fertilization are greater when the female is deemed to be attractive
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The article’s a year old, but it’s still cool.
clipped from www.mailonsunday.co.uk

Carved out in a barley field, this 150ft wide pattern is said to be a pictorial representation of the first ten digits of Pi, one of the most fundamental symbols in mathematics.

Crop circle

But whatever its origins, the experts say it is the most complex crop circle ever seen in Britain.

Then retired astrophysicist Mike Reed saw a photograph of it and made the mathematical link.

Banbury Castle Crop Circle
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