New research challenges aging consensus by reversing mitochondrial anomalies in 97-year-old cells

A team led by Professor Jun-Ichi Hayashi from the University of Tsukuba in Japan, known as the white lion to his students given his white hair and powerful voice, challenges the current consensus surrounding the mitochondrial theory of aging, proposing epigenetic regulation, and not genetic mutation, may be responsible for the age-related effects seen in mitochondria. When Hayashi and colleagues tested their theory, they reversed the age defects in cell lines collected from 97-year-old Japanese participants. They then singled out two genes involved in glycine production which they believed are responsible for the mitochondria reversal. The findings thus suggest that a glycine supplementation could help curb aging or age-related diseases.

Global warming has never looked so beautiful: Glowing plankton in Tasmania

Tasmania’s Derwent River has put on a garb of surreal blue these past few nights as blooms of bioluminescent plankton light up the dark waters. But while photographers scramble to catch breathtaking pictures, scientists point to the more dire implications of the invasion of these tiny organisms so far south.

UN: fewer hungry people worldwide, but still a long way to go

The number of hungry people worldwide has dropped to 800 million, down from a billion more than a quarter century ago. Progress in Latin America and East Asia accounts for the massive reduction in the number of undernourished people, but the UN warns there are still many challenges that need to be overcome if world hunger is to end by 2030. The report proposes rich countries divert more of their resources to poorer environments, while vulnerable countries need to invest more in social protection schemes, incentives for rural areas and promote peace in conflict ridden countries like those in Africa.  Sub-Saharan Africa still has the highest level of undernourishment in the world – almost one in four people there do not have access to enough food.

Robo-roach and robo-bird team up to conduct recon mission

It’s almost like a Disney movie: a roach helps a bird take off from its back in order to save their friends – except both the roach and the bird are robotic, and the recon mission was just a test conducted in a lab from the University of California, Berkeley. But this technology could save lives for real, researchers explain. “While

Some influential studies are “sleeping beauties”, going unnoticed for decades after publishing

A study which combed through millions of research papers published over the span of a century measured their citations and found many obscure studies surfaced much later into attention and were recognized for their true worth. Typically, if a study hasn’t received any citations within the first couple of years since it got published, it will likely stay as it is – forgotten and uninteresting. But this is no rule. The exception are those works of science that were ahead of their time. For instance, the statistical model the researchers employed cites one paper published by Albert Einstein and others which didn’t became influential until 1994. This insight into the “science of science” will prove useful in assessing citation dynamics in general.

Last ditch effort gives endangered turtles another chance

A female Yangtze giant softshell turtle (quite possibly the last female of her species) has been given another chance to breed. She has been artificially inseminated at the Suzhou Zoo in China, in a last ditch effort to attempt to preserve her species.

Scientists 3D print eggs, trick birds into thinking they’re real

It’s more than just a nasty trick – scientists have actually 3D printed eggs to help them better understand bird behaviour. They were especially interested in bird perception and what particular characteristics make them identify real eggs from fake ones.

NASA presents toolkit to search for life on Jupiter’s Moon Europa

Sending a probe to look for alien life is just half of the work – it’s the tools you send there that will actually do the job, and NASA has decided which tools it wants to send to Jupiter’s moon Europa, a place considered by many the likeliest to hold alien life.

Sturdy virus might help us treat infectious diseases

Scientists are studying a virus that survives in extremely hot environments in the hope that it will give us better ways of fighting infectious diseases.

Tinder usage caused STD spike, officials say

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.

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

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.

First Hyperloop ever will be built in California

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Wearable FES-robot hybrid eases stroke recovery

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

Panther chameleon is a biological ninja

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.

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

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

Galapagos islands’ Wolf volcano erupts, threatening unique pink iguanas

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.

UAE moves to space: new space agency, academic programs and Mars mission in 2020

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced on Monday its strategic framework for a newly established space agency, and also the first academic space program in the federation. The Space Research Center will be the first of its kind in the Middle East, as will be a graduate degree program in Advanced Space Science at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Orbital ATK Inc. What’s the federation’s end game, though? Last year, UAE announced it will launch an orbiting probe around Mars in 2020. Is it all about scientific missions or, like Dubai’s towering skyscrapers, merely a show of force, of grandeur? Apparently, it’s part science, part showoff, part money. It’s hard to tell at this point which weighed more when UAE first considered its new space agency and subsequent missions.

Millions of public domain photos turned into beautiful time lapse videos by Google

There are millions and millions of photos under the public domain, and no doubt for some these can be nothing short of a gold mine. For instance, some scientists could find them most useful to compare things like glacial retreat or deforestation with what we’re seeing today or with results generated by models. Shifting through such a catalog is no easy feat, though.

Almost mockingly, Google not only shows that this isn’t half as challenging as it may seem, but also manages to turn image processing and sorting code into spectacular works of art. Using millions of photos scrapped from social networks like Flickr or Picasa, Goggle engineers made an algorithm that stitches them together to make 10,000 timelapse videos. Some are so accurate that you wouldn’t think for a moment each frame is actually a photo taken by some random, different person. Quite amazing, and a nice demonstration of what can be achieved in the future using other, much older data sets.