Feature Post, Green Living

A soapy affair – The science of homemade soap making

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For most people soap is just a tool used to get rid of the bacteria on your skin, while for others it is a way of expressing their artistic views. But whatever your reasons are, I bet you wondered at least once how it’s made, or if you can make your own. Soap making is one of those science experiments you can

Health & Medicine, News

Tinder usage caused STD spike, officials say

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It’s taking the world by storm, and allowing millions of people world wide to meet friends… and hook up. But for all the joy that is bringing to the world, Tinder also has its downsides – a new study reports the app has actually led to an increase of STD incidence.

Health & Medicine, News

Key protein that prevents Ebola outbreak found. Preventive vaccine now in works

Nowa Paye, 9, is taken to an ambulance after showing signs of the ebola. Image: Telegraph

A breakthrough study confirmed what scientists have long suspected: Ebola attaches itself to a singular, “gateway” protein to infect hosts. When mice were genetically engineered to lack the protein, these failed to become infected. Though extremely early, these promising results suggest Ebola outbreaks could be contained using vaccines that inhibit the protein either to stop the spread or prevent infection altogether. Nine out of ten infected Ebola patients die, and last year was the worst outbreak in history killing more than 11,000 people in Africa in official numbers, and likely twice as much in reality.

News, Technology

First Hyperloop ever will be built in California

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With the Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc. signing a deal to build the first test track in California, Elon Musk’s “fifth mode of transport”, the Hyperloop, took its first big step from the realm of geeky to the concrete. Work on building the track is set to begin next year.

News, Science

Bad Science – Study on Gay Marriage Was Fake, Gets Retracted

Donald P. Green, left, a co-author of a challenged study by Michael LaCour, right, from Mr. LaCour’s Facebook page.

The scientific community is in shock after one of the largest scientific publishers, Science, was forced to retract a study on gay marriage; the reason? The data on which it was based was almost certainly fake.

Health & Medicine, News

Ecstasy might be used to relieve Anxiety in Autistic adults in new clinical trial

MDMA and autism reserach

Some researchers are considering a pilot treatment that involves MDMA, the active psychoactive ingredient in ecstasy pills, to help adults diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) ooze out anxiety. ASD adults typically report difficulties in bonding with other people and often feel nervous in a social setting. Though illegal in the United States, MDMA has been recently explored for psychotherapeutic purposes with promising results reported in battling addiction or post traumatic stress disorder. If it receives approval – and there’s a great deal of paperwork that needs to be filled before they get the green light – this would make it the first MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of social anxiety in autistic adults.

Health & Medicine, News, Technology

Wearable FES-robot hybrid eases stroke recovery

Credit: Hong Kong PolyU

Hong Kong PolyU has designed a new FES (functional electrical stimulation)-robot hybrid that promises to ease recovery of mobility in stroke victims.

Biology, News

Panther chameleon is a biological ninja

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Scientists have discovered what they thought to a different species of chameleon – but DNA analysis revealed that they were in fact dealing with 11 different species, hiding in plain sight.

News, Physics, Science

Scientists make single-molecule diode: the farthest we can go with electronic minituarization

Diodes are a fundamental building block in any electronic circuit. Pictured is an artist's rendering of the molecule used to make a molecule-sized diode. Image: Latha Venkataraman, Columbia Engineering

A team at Columbia University School of Engineering designed a new kind of diode comprised of a single molecule capable of halting or releasing current (a diode is basically a valve) that is 50 times better than previous molecular diode attempts. The breakthrough was its novel design: a clever tweaking of the tiny diode’s environment, and not the molecule’s structure itself as previously described. Though the currents involved are genuinely tiny, it might be enough to make this the first molecule-sized diode worthy of real world applications. Other universities and labs around the world also demonstrated working molecular resistors, switches or transistors. Together, all of these form the basis of a new kind of nano-circuitry that’s as miniaturized as it can get. Already, these sort of circuits are plagued by the uncertainties and challenges that follow at the quantum scale. But can we build electronics even smaller than this? it’s unfathomable at this point, but imagination must not succumb. Somewhere, there’s a common ground between fantasy and reality, and who knows what we’ll get

Geology, News

Galapagos islands’ Wolf volcano erupts, threatening unique pink iguanas

Ping iguala. Photo: Gabriele Gentile

This Monday morning, a volcano perched on one of Ecuador’s Galapagos islands erupted spewing lava on its side and dark plume overhead. The Wolf shiled volcano is the highest peak in the Galapagos Islands, reaching 1,707 m. Wolf is situated at the northern end of Isabela Island in the Galapagos, which is barely populated. The authorities have indeed confirmed that the population isn’t at risk, however the local, richly diverse fauna is another thing. The tiny island is the only place in the world that the pink iguana calls home.