Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Catalyst Could Jump-Start E-Cars

Los Alamos researchers and scientists recently have designed a new type of nanostructured-carbon-based catalyst, which could be a start towards reliable, economical next-generation batteries and alkaline fuel cells, providing for practical use of wind and solar-powered electricity, as well as enhanced hybrid electric vehicles. Without using precious metals like platinum, which is more expensive per ounce than gold, it performs under certain conditions as effectively as many well-know and prohibitively expensive precious-metal catalysts developed for battery and fuel-cell use. Scientists have also demonstrated that the synthesis method can be scaled up to larger volumes and could also be used to prepare other carbon-nanotube-based materials.

NOS themes:
Science is based on evidence
Science is collaborative
The role of curiosity

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Scientist discover way to make bio fuel cheaper

                                               Scientist discover way to make bio fuel cheaper
Scientist have discovered a way to make fungi digest sawdust and various other material easier. This is a major step as the procedure cost a lot of money and contributes a lot to the cost of bio fuels.  The reason the procedure is so expensive is due to the fact that the substance need to make the fungi digest the wood  easier. The substance needed is called dissaccharide sophorose and it is 60 times more expesnive than gold. The scientist have managed to change the DNA of the fungus so that it always digest wood.

NOS themes
1.Science is based on evidence(the scientist had to make sure that the fungus disgested wood and that the genes were correct.)
2.Role of motivation and curiosity( the scientist had to be motivated to carry out this experiment)

Bio fuel made from elephant dung!


Emotional Apes

We, as humans, get emotional when it comes to decision making. If we make a bad decision, we get upset and occasioanlly throw a temper tantrum, and if we make a good decision we're ecstatic. Apes, when given the choice to gamble for the better food but faced with a not-so-yummy treat if they lost the gamble, acted the same way that humans do.

Both chimpanzees and bonobos, upon making the worse decision, threw tantrums and tried to change their decision. Some of the emotional responses were specific to the certain species, and some were specific to the individual animal.

Themes of Nature and Science:

1.Science is based off of evidence
2.A person's view can infuence data
3. Role of motivation and curiosity

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Step Closer to Artificial Livers

The human liver has some amazing regenerative properties. As much as a third of it can be removed, and it can regenerate to perfect function. Scientists have tried to make use of this for the growth of livers outside of the body for a long time, but for some reason, they liver cells would no longer reproduce outside of the body. Recently (yesterday), scientists published an article saying that they have now identified 12 different chemicals that make the liver cells continue to regenerate and grow outside of the body. This is a major step in the progress toward not only externally grown livers, but all externally grown organs.

Nature of science themes:
- Science is collaborative: Dr. Bhatia as well as a team of scientists from MIT discovered this, but their work was built on the work of the many scientists before them who were all trying to solve the same problem.
-Science is based on evidence: The liver cells in the new substances when put in a pitri dish were shown to start regenerating, unlike those in any other solutions or in no solution at all.
-Roll of motivation and curiosity: The students wouldn't have gone to MIT for medicinal research if they weren't interested. They also know that this will help a lot of people. Just to give an example, I heard that someone at EPHS recently had a liver transplant, and were very lucky to have gotten one. If this technology becomes successful in the future, getting a liver will never be a problem.
-Importance of repeatability: Obviously if this can't be repeated, then the experiment is useless, as the end goal is the have a reliable way to generate organs for people who need transplants.

Cameron Kurisko

Cicadas are loud!

Cicadas are loud!

Cicadas are a type of bug that live almost their whole life under the ground, they grow underground and after 17 years they come out and produce a very loud mating call that reaches up to 100 decibels, they mate and then they die leaving cicada larvae underground, who wait for 17 more years until they come out again and the cycle restarts.
The US navy has been investigating the sounds that Cicadas make to find out how they can use the way in which the cicadas make this high sound in their own advantage.
The cicadas make that sound with a very small part of their throat, so the navy wants to find out how they can created so  much noise with a very small device to use it for their own advantage 
It is still not fully understood how cicada make that noise but it is also thought they make it with air sacks they blow. 
It is important to find out how different animals do things because this way we can apply it to our own lives and technology, and that way advance more as 
humans. We might find very helpful things in finding examples from what nature shows us.
NOS themes.
the role of motivation and curiosity

New One-Step Process for Designer Bacteria

Researchers at the University of Adelaide have discovered a new one-step process for DNA replication. The call this process "Clonetegration." As we all know, you can use bacteria to produce several substances that are hard to get otherwise by inserting the required gene(s) into its chromosome. The bacteria will then start producing the substance as if it was made to do it all along. The current process, however, is very inefficient and could take several days to complete the process, and is also a bit more expensive. The new method could complete the process overnight, and can be put into the organism multiple times allowing for increased production. Due to the fact that this is still in development, the researchers have yet to release the process out to the public, which is rather unfortunate.

NOS themes

-Motivation and Curiosity for advancement
-Scientific Collaboration

Forgetting is Harder for Older Brains

brain, head, cluttered mind, aging mind

It may sound weird at first, but older people actually retain memories for much longer. This is due to an abundance of a protein that resists the breaking of synapses between nervous cells. A study on mice supported this because they found a large amount of the protein NR2A on the neurons of the older mice and this has been known to increase in abundance with age. The study also showed that when something "slips your mind," it was actually intentional because there is also a protein that dissolves synapses.

NOS themes

-supported by evidence
-several scientists working together