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Silk structure is secret to regenerating salivary cells

July 27, 2015 12:20 pm | by Rosanne Fohn, Univ. of Texas Health Science Center at San Antionio | News | Comments

The silkworm, which produces the essential ingredient for fine silk fabric, also plays a critical role in a new process designed to provide relief for millions of individuals with dry mouth, a devastating oral and systemic health issue. A research team led by The Univ. of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, is the first to use silk fibers as a framework to grow stem cells into salivary gland cells.

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Smart hydrogel coating creates “stick-slip” control of capillary action

July 27, 2015 11:40 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Coating the inside of glass microtubes with a polymer hydrogel material dramatically alters the way capillary forces draw water into the tiny structures, researchers have found. The discovery could provide a new way to control microfluidic systems, including popular lab-on-a-chip devices.

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Warming Temps Led to Mammoth’s Downfall

July 27, 2015 9:26 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Mammoths were formidable creatures. According to the Univ. of California Museum of Paleontology, most mammoths were larger than modern day elephants. Elephants consume between 130 and 660 lbs of food per day, and drink between 16 and 40 gallons of water per. That being said, think of the potential numbers a mammoth might consume and produce.

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Stalagmites pinpoint drying of American West

July 27, 2015 7:50 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

All around the deserts of Utah, Nevada, southern Oregon and eastern California, ancient shorelines line the hillsides above dry valley floors, like bathtub rings—remnants of the lakes once found throughout the region. Even as the ice sheets retreated at the end of the last ice age, the region remained much wetter than it is today. The earliest settlers of the region encountered a verdant landscape of springs and wetlands.

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Unlocking the rice immune system

July 27, 2015 7:42 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team of researchers led by scientists with the Joint BioEnergy Institute and the Univ. of California Davis. The research team discovered that a tyrosine-sulfated bacterial protein called “RaxX,” activates the rice immune receptor protein called “XA21."

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Study measures global population/energy relationship

July 27, 2015 7:34 am | by Scott Schrage, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln Communications | News | Comments

If you’ve lived between the year 1560 and the present day, more power to you. Literally. That’s one of several conclusions reached by Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln ecologist John DeLong, who has co-authored the first study to quantify the relationship between human population growth and energy use on an international scale.

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Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record

July 27, 2015 7:29 am | by Ken Kingery, Duke Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing. At its most basic level, your smart phone's battery is powering billions of transistors using electrons to flip on and off billions of times per second. But if microchips could use photons instead of electrons to process and transmit data, computers could operate even faster.

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Ice Flows and the Dark Side of Pluto

July 26, 2015 6:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Even at Pluto’s estimated surface temperature of around -380 F, nitrogen ice can creep across the surface of the planet’s icy plain, which has been informally named “Sputnik Planum,” located in Pluto’s heart, the “Tombaugh Regio."

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First 3-D Printed Aircraft Marks Successful Launch

July 26, 2015 11:30 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

The British Royal Navy’s HMS Mersey floats in the English Channel, a gray mass against a blue backdrop. Suddenly, a white winged object appears, darting for the sky. It’s small and could be misperceived as a gull. It carries on upwards.

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Shallow Fracking Requires Safeguards

July 25, 2015 6:15 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Robert Jackson, an environmental scientist at Stanford Univ., has been immersed in the hydraulic fracturing issue for close to seven years now. His interests lie in how to make the process safe, something he believes can be done. However, what can be done and what is done are often quite different.

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Farming, 11,000 Years Older than Previously Thought

July 25, 2015 12:45 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Off the southwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, a Paleolithic discovery was made in 1989. Following several years of drought and intensive water pumping, the lake’s water level plummeted, revealing the remains of six brush huts and several hearths. The site was named Ohalo II.

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Fungus Responsible for Hair Ice Identified

July 24, 2015 5:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Hair ice is a whimsical thing. It grows on the rotting branches of certain trees, with grouped strands of silk-like hair protruding from the wood. Conditions must be ripe for formation, usually humid winter nights when air temperatures dip below the freezing level. Researchers call it a “somewhat rare and fleeting phenomenon."

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Scientists set sights on glaucoma medication to treat TB

July 24, 2015 2:45 pm | by Sarina Gleason, Michigan State Univ. | News | Comments

A new discovery by Michigan State Univ. scientists suggests that a common medication used to treat glaucoma could also be used to treat tuberculosis, even the drug-resistant kind. The team discovered that ethoxzolamide, a sulfa-based compound found in many prescription glaucoma drugs, actually turns off the bacterium’s ability to invade the immune system.

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The Spoils of 3-D Printing

July 24, 2015 2:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

From low-cost prosthetic limbs and food to medical tools and figurines, 3-D printing has changed the way people think about manufacturing. Websites, such as Thingverse.com, offer designs for a myriad of printable objects at no cost to the user. All one has to do is own a 3-D printer, which one can purchase for as little as a few hundred dollars.

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Cages offer new direction in sustainable catalyst design

July 24, 2015 1:15 pm | by Scott Gordon, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison engineers have developed a new approach to structuring the catalysts used in essential reactions in the chemical and energy fields. The advance offers a pathway for industries to wean themselves off of platinum, one of the scarcest metals in the Earth's crust.

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