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Submission + - Breakthrough - researchers convert ordinary heart cells into "pacemakers" (

ACXNew writes: Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute researchers have reprogrammed ordinary heart cells to become exact replicas of highly specialized pacemaker cells by injecting a single gene (Tbx18)–a major step forward in the decade-long search for a biological therapy to correct erratic and failing heartbeats.
Previous efforts to generate new pacemaker cells resulted in heart muscle cells that could beat on their own. Still, the modified cells were closer to ordinary muscle cells than to pacemaker cells. Other approaches employed embryonic stem cells to derive pacemaker cells. But, the risk of contaminating cancerous cells is a persistent hurdle to realizing a therapeutic potential with the embryonic stem cell-based approach. The new work, with astonishing simplicity, creates pacemaker cells that closely resemble the native ones free from the risk of cancer.


Submission + - How life began (

ACXNew writes: Describing how living organisms emerged from Earth's abiotic chemistry has remained a conundrum for scientists, in part because any credible explanation for such a complex process must draw from fields spanning the reaches of science.
Creating life from scratch requires two abilities: fixing carbon and making more of yourself. The first, essentially hitching carbon atoms together to make living matter, is a remarkably difficult feat. Carbon dioxide (CO2), of which Earth has plenty, is a stable molecule; the bonds are tough to break, and a chemical system can only turn carbon into biologically useful compounds by way of some wildly unstable in-between stages.
As hard as it is to do, fixing carbon is necessary for life. A carbon molecule's ability to bond stably with up to four atoms makes it phenomenally versatile, and its abundance makes it suitable as a backbone for trillions of compounds. Once an organized chemical system can harness and manipulate carbon, it can expand and innovate in countless ways...


Submission + - Albert Einstein's brain shows remarkable, uncommon features (

ACXNew writes: Portions of Albert Einstein’s brain have been found to be unlike those of most people and could be related to his extraordinary cognitive abilities, according to a new study led by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk.
The researchers compared Einstein’s brain to 85 “normal” human brains...

Submission + - Extending Einstein's theory beyond light speed

ACXNew writes: University of Adelaide applied mathematicians have extended Einstein’s theory of special relativity to work beyond the speed of light.
Professor Jim Hill and Dr Barry Cox in the University’s School of Mathematical Sciences have developed new formulas that allow for travel beyond this limit.

Submission + - UC study finds flirting can pay off for women

ACXNew writes: To determine whether women who flirt are more effective in negotiating than men who flirt, researchers asked 100 participants to evaluate to what extent they use social charm in negotiation on a one-to-seven scale. Women who said they used more social charm were rated more effective by their partners. However, men who said they used more social charm were not regarded as more effective.
Flirtation that generates positive results is not overt sexual advances but authentic, engaging behavior without serious intent. In fact, the study found female flirtation signals attractive qualities such as confidence, which is considered essential to successful negotiators.
Read about the study at

Submission + - Invisibility, once the subject of magic, is slowly becoming reality

ACXNew writes: A University of Washington mathematician is part of an international team working to understand invisibility and extend its possible applications. The group has now devised an amplifier that can boost light, sound or other waves while hiding them inside an invisible container. "You can isolate and magnify what you want to see, and make the rest invisible," said corresponding author Gunther Uhlmann, a UW mathematics professor. "You can amplify the waves tremendously. And although the wave has been magnified a lot, you still cannot see what is happening inside the container.”

Submission + - Shoppers use mobile devices and apps to look for best deals but not to buy stuff

ACXNew writes: Tech-savvy consumers are using their smart phones and apps to find the best bargains. Many shoppers, however, are still reluctant to make those purchases using their mobile devices, according to a new report by Ryerson University’s Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity. Two-thirds of the students surveyed use their mobile device to look up information about retailers or products, yet only one-third made purchases with their smart phone. The most common purchases made on mobile devices were music/video (32%), video games (24%), books (19%) and fashion (19%).
Key findings of the research include:
  Most students surveyed prefer to shop in physical store locations as opposed to online;
  Nearly 70 per cent of students prefer to view a product in-store before purchasing it online.
Read more on this...

Submission + - Honor for two cancer survivors

ACXNew writes: It's definitely an honor for the two having survived cancer free for 25 years.
House and Olsen, who are among the longest surviving bone marrow transplant patients, will be honored at 2 p.m. Sunday along with a handful of other 25-year survivors at Loyola University Medical Center's annual Bone Marrow Transplant Celebration of Survivorship at the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, 2160 S. First. Ave., Maywood.
"Velma and Mary were some of the early pioneers of bone marrow transplants," said Stiff, director of Loyola's Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center.

Submission + - Germ-killing copper

ACXNew writes: While disease-causing organisms can lurk on stainless steel surfaces for two weeks, according to a recent University of Arizona research study, 99.9 percent die within two hours on surfaces that contain at least 60 percent copper.
Surfaces at the Ronald McDonald House were swabbed and tested for bacteria for ten weeks before new copper alloy products were installed. Follow-up tests on the items converted to copper showed they carried 94 percent fewer bacteria. They are now trying to recreate the Charleston project at other Ronald McDonald Houses around the world to create a safer living and working environment for the children, families and staff. Before we started using stainless steel weren't we using copper vessels? The ancients knew this one better!

Submission + - Dinosaur extinction may have been caused by two major events

ACXNew writes: The most-studied mass extinction in Earth history happened 65 million years ago and is widely thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs. New University of Washington research indicates that a separate extinction came shortly before that, triggered by volcanic eruptions that warmed the planet and killed life on the ocean floor.
The well-known second event is believed to have been triggered by an asteroid at least 6 miles in diameter slamming into Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. But new evidence shows that by the time of the asteroid impact, life on the seafloor – mostly species of clams and snails – was already perishing because of the effects of huge volcanic eruptions on the Deccan Plateau in what is now India..

Submission + - SPAM: No pain brings plenty of gains

ACXNew writes: The oft heard quote " No Pain, No Gain" does not hold good here. People don't want to endure pain; look at the efforts people have taken to alleviate pain...nurses have taken it upon themselves to find innovative ways of avoiding pain for their patients. Kudos to them....
Link to Original Source
The Military

Submission + - US Army to Train Rats to Save Soldiers' Lives

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Department of Defense currently relies on dogs as the animal of choice for explosives detection but training dogs is expensive and takes a long time. Now the US Army is sponsoring a project to develop and test a rugged, automated and low-cost system for training rats to detect improvised explosive devices and mines. “The automated system we’re developing is designed to inexpensively train rats to detect buried explosives to solve an immediate Army need for safer and lower-cost mine removal,” says senior research engineer William Gressick. Trained rats would also create new opportunities to detect anything from mines to humans buried in earthquake rubble because rats can search smaller spaces than a dog can, and are easier to transport. Rats have already been trained by the National Police in Colombia to detect seven different kinds of explosives including ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, gunpowder and TNT but the Rugged Automated Training System (Rats) research sponsored by the US. Army Research Laboratory, plans to produce systems for worldwide use since mines are widespread throughout much of Africa, Asia, and Central America and demining operations are expected to continue for decades to restore mined land to civilian use. “Beyond this application, the system will facilitate the use of rats in other search tasks such as homeland security and search-and-rescue operations" adds Gressick. "In the long-term, the system is likely to benefit both official and humanitarian organizations.”"

Submission + - Glass shape influences how quickly we drink alcohol

An anonymous reader writes: In the category of science you can use, a recent paper in PLOS One reports on the affect of glass shape on the speed of consumption of alcoholic beverages. Drinkers consumed alcoholic beverage from a straight glass 60% more slowly than from a curved glass. This effect was only observed for a full glass and not a half-full glass, and it was not observed for a non-alcoholic beverage. Not surprisingly, there was a positive association between total drinking time and mis-estimation of the amount of alcohol consumption.

Submission + - Steve Jobs reincarnated as a warrior-philosopher, Thai group says (

Velcroman1 writes: When Apple founder Steve Jobs died after a long fight with cancer last year, software engineer Tony Tseung sent an email to a Buddhist group in Thailand to find out what happened to his old boss now that he’s no longer of this world. This month, Tseung received his answer. Jobs has been reincarnated as a celestial warrior-philosopher, the Dhammakaya group said in a special television broadcast, and he’s living in a mystical glass palace hovering above his old office at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters.

Submission + - Manipulating microbes to manage body weight is a new area of research

ACXNew writes: Vaccines and antibiotics may someday join caloric restriction or bariatric surgery as a way to regulate weight gain, according to a new study focused on the interactions between diet, the bacteria that live in the bowel, and the immune system.
Bacteria in the intestine play a crucial role in digestion. They provide enzymes necessary for the uptake of many nutrients, synthesize certain vitamins and boost absorption of energy from food. Fifty years ago, farmers learned that by tweaking the microbial mix in their livestock with low-dose oral antibiotics, they could accelerate weight gain. More recently, scientists found that mice raised in a germ-free environment, and thus lacking gut microbes, do not put on extra weight, even on a high-fat diet. A research team based at the University of Chicago was able to unravel some of the mechanisms that regulate this weight gain..

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