Buckminster fullerene molecules, the naturally occurring spheres made up of 60 carbon atoms, have long been suspected to have biological benefits. Now, a study that set out to establish if they were toxic when administered orally has proven quite the opposite—they almost doubled the lifespan…
The most accurate study so far of the motions of stars in the Milky Way has found no evidence for dark matter in a large volume around the Sun.
According to widely accepted theories, the solar neighborhood was expected to be filled with dark matter, a mysterious invisible substance that can only be detected indirectly by the gravitational force it exerts. But a new study by a team of astronomers in Chile has found that these theories just do not fit the observational facts. This may mean that attempts to directly detect dark matter particles on Earth are unlikely to be successful.
A team using the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, along with other telescopes, has mapped the motions of more than 400 stars up to 13 000 light-years from the Sun. From this new data they have calculated the mass of material in the vicinity of the Sun, in a volume four times larger than ever considered before.
“The amount of mass that we derive matches very well with what we see — stars, dust and gas — in the region around the Sun,” says team leader Christian Moni Bidin (Departamento de Astronomía, Universidad de Concepción, Chile).
“But this leaves no room for the extra material — dark matter — that we were expecting. Our calculations show that it should have shown up very clearly in our measurements. But it was just not there!”’
A new 3D printing process developed at the Univ. of Glasgow could revolutionize the way scientists, doctors and even the general public create chemical products. Prof. Lee Cronin believes his research could lead to the development of home chemical fabricators which consumers could use to design…
The wild success of the badly-written BDSM sexcapade Fifty Shades of Grey proves that what women really want is to be smacked around a bit more in bed—at least, so say certain members of the chattering class. This has (of course) prompted professional contrarian Katie Roipheto shriek in glee over how mad all the feminists must be about this. Which has (of course) prompted all the feminists to roar in anger over how wrong Roiphe gets it, and how much they just adore rape play. It’s all fairly typical—of Roiphe, of bloggers, of how women’s sexuality gets covered, of our insipid online media cycle—and also fairly interesting, if you’re into this sort of thing. Which I am. Which is why I’d like to introduce something into the conversation that’s been largely ignored this time around: Science. Neuroscience, to be more specific—and how the brains of both men and women are wired for bothsexual dominance and sexual submission.
Researchers at Rice University and Penn State University have discovered that adding a dash of boron to carbon while creating nanotubes turns them into solid, spongy, reusable blocks that have an astounding ability to absorb oil spilled in water.
That’s one of a range of potential innovations for the material created in a single step. The team found for the first time that boron puts kinks and elbows into the nanotubes as they grow and promotes the formation of covalent bonds, which give the sponges their robust qualities.
For many space advocates, their ultimate goals go beyond reducing the cost of space access, opening new markets, and creating new uses for space. For decades, their long-term goal has been to enable humans to live in space permanently: space colonization or, more recently, space settlement (avoiding the negative historical connotations of “colonization”). It sounds fanciful and far-fetched to many, but has the endorsement—albeit a rhetorically inelegant one—from President Obama, who spoke at the Kennedy Space Center two years ago this month of a long-term goal “for people to work and learn and operate and live safely beyond the Earth for extended periods of time, ultimately in ways that are more sustainable and even indefinite.”
Before humans can live and work in space for those “indefinite” periods, researchers need to tackle a variety of issues, from affordable and reliable transportation to the economics of space settlement. A new initiative announced last week by a venerable space organization seeks to address those issues, starting with a biomedical topic of literally some gravity.
The puzzle of consciousness is so devilish that scientists and philosophers are still struggling with how to talk about it, let alone figure out what it is and where it comes from.
One problem is that the word has more than one meaning. Trying to plumb the nature of self-awareness or self-consciousness leads down one infamous rabbit hole. But what if the subject is simply the difference in brain activity between being conscious and being unconscious?
Census data from the past is really hot. When the National Archives posted details from 72 years ago — the 1940 census — online recently, millions of Americans stampeded the website to try to learn more about their past.
But imagine how cool it would be if, by some twist of time, the National Archives were to make available detailed census information from nearly 70 years in the future — the 2080 census.
Scientists at the Allen Institute for Brain Science have identified similarities and differences among regions of the human brain, among the brains of human individuals, and between humans and mice by analyzing the expression of approximately 1,000 genes in the brain. The study, published online April 12 in the journal Cell, sheds light on the human brain in general and also serves as an introduction to what the associated publicly available dataset can offer the scientific community.