Category Archives: Science

The Fantastical World Of Hormones

Dr John Wass, one of Britain’s leading hormone experts, tells the fascinating story of those well-known but little-understood chemicals that govern our bodies and shape who we are. From our weight and appetite to how we grow and reproduce, hormones are a crucial part of what makes us human, even affecting how we behave and feel. John’s story is the bizarre and intriguing tale of the discovery of what hormones are and how they work. It’s a rollercoaster ride that touches … Continue reading

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New laser technology could divert lightning strikes

Optical scientists at the University of Arizona and the University of Central Florida have developed a technology capable of sending high-intensity laser beams through the atmosphere much farther than was possible before. The research is still in the laboratory phase, but could one day guide electrical discharges, such as lightning, away from buildings. Currently, high-intensity lasers, produced with modern technology essentially disappear over distances greater than a few inches or several feet at best when focused tightly, due to diffraction … Continue reading

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Stem cell scientist ‘guilty of misconduct’

As a rule we only bring you enlightening information here on Deskarati, but occasionally we find something that is so important we break our own guidelines. This story is important, it shows the negative side of science. It is imperative that we are aware that the pressures on scientists to produce ground breaking work can and does sometimes do the opposite. The good news is that due to the rigours of the science community most of this ‘bad science’ it … Continue reading

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Major breakthrough in stem cell manufacturing technology

Scientists at The University of Nottingham have developed a new substance which could simplify the manufacture of cell therapy in the pioneering world of regenerative medicine. Cell therapy is an exciting and rapidly developing area of medicine in which stem cells have the potential to repair human tissue and maintain organ function in chronic disease and age-related illnesses. But a major problem with translating current successful research into actual products and treatments is how to mass-produce such a complex living … Continue reading

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The Artificial Leaf

Dan Nocera has a simple formula to save the planet: sunlight + water = energy for the world.

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Strong link between obesity and ‘carb breakdown’ gene

Researchers at King’s College London and Imperial College London have discovered that people with fewer copies of a gene coding for a carb-digesting enzyme may be at higher risk of obesity. The findings, published in Nature Genetics, suggest that dietary advice may need to be more tailored to an individual’s digestive system, based on whether they have the genetic predisposition and necessary enzymes to digest different foods. Salivary amylase plays a significant role in breaking down carbohydrates in the mouth … Continue reading

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Biologists Have Built An Artificial Chromosome From Scratch

In a breakthrough seven years in the making, an international team of scientists have reconstructed a synthetic and fully functional yeast chromosome. It’s a remarkable advance that could eventually lead to custom-built organisms — humans included. We are clearly in the midst of the biotechnology revolution. Twelve years ago scientists created the first artificial virus, and it was only four years ago that Craig Venter introduced the world to the first synthetic genome for bacteria. Then, in 2012, scientists created … Continue reading

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Behold the Majesty of a Supernova’s Triple Halo Explosion

This artist’s impression of the material around a recently exploded star, known as Supernova 1987A (or SN 1987A), is based on observations which have for the first time revealed a three dimensional view of the distribution of the expelled material … The original blast was not only powerful, according to the new results. It was also more concentrated in one particular direction.This is a strong indication that the supernova must have been very turbulent, supporting the most recent computer models. … Continue reading

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The opposition of Mars

By the time you finish reading this story, you’ll be about 1,000 km closer to the planet Mars. Earth and Mars are converging for a close encounter. As March gives way to April, the distance between the two planets is shrinking by about 300 km every minute. When the convergence ends in mid-April, the gulf between Earth and Mars will have narrowed to only 92 million km—a small number on the vast scale of the solar system. Astronomers call this … Continue reading

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The Great Alaskan Earthquake

On Good Friday, March 27 1964 at 5:32 p.m. local time, something snapped beneath the southern coastline of Alaska. The ground began to churn and lurch from side to side, tossing around anything that could be moved. It took over four minutes for the shaking to stop, and that was just the beginning of the tragedy. Aftershocks continued for weeks afterwards, and then there were the tsunami waves and liquefaction. Today is the 50th anniversary of the Great Alaskan Earthquake … Continue reading

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Plugging the Hole in Hawking’s Black Hole Theory

MSU Professor Chris Adami has found the solution to a long-standing problem with Stephen Hawking’s black hole theory. In a groundbreaking study recently published in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, Adami found that various types of information, as specific as matter or particles, or as obscure as the contacts in your mobile phone or the contents of a secret diary, never disappear in the black hole to begin with, effectively solving the black hole information paradox of Hawking’s theory.

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Exploding stars prove Newton’s law of gravity unchanged over cosmic time

Australian astronomers have combined all observations of supernovae ever made to determine that the strength of gravity has remained unchanged over the last nine billion years. Newton’s gravitational constant, known as G, describes the attractive force between two objects, together with the separation between them and their masses. It has been previously suggested that G could have been slowly changing over the 13.8 billion years since the Big Bang. If G has been decreasing over time, for example, this would mean … Continue reading

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Famous paintings help study the Earth’s past atmosphere

A team of Greek and German researchers has shown that the colours of sunsets painted by famous artists can be used to estimate pollution levels in the Earth’s past atmosphere. In particular, the paintings reveal that ash and gas released during major volcanic eruptions scatter the different colours of sunlight, making sunsets appear more red. The results are published today in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). When the Tambora volcano in … Continue reading

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Mammatus clouds

We have posted about Mammatus clouds before, but recently found this amazing photo post by Andrew Robb on Facebook and thought it would be good time to give you a bit more information on these interesting formations. – Deskarati Mammatus, also known as mammatocumulus (meaning “mammary cloud” or “breast cloud”), is a meteorological term applied to a cellular pattern of pouches hanging underneath the base of a cloud. The name mammatus is derived from the Latin mamma (meaning “udder” or … Continue reading

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Goldilocks principle: Earth’s continued habitability due to geologic cycles that act as climate control

Researchers from USC and Nanjing University in China have documented evidence suggesting that part of the reason that Earth has become neither sweltering like Venus nor frigid like Mars lies with a built-in atmospheric carbon dioxide regulator — the geologic cycles that churn up the planet’s rocky surface. Scientists have long known that “fresh” rock pushed to the surface via mountain formation effectively acts as a kind of sponge, soaking up the greenhouse gas CO2. Left unchecked, however, that process … Continue reading

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Lava fossilised this Jurassic fern down to its cells

One hundred and eighty million years ago, this Jurassic fern was minding its own business when it was suddenly engulfed by a lava flow. The plant was almost instantly fossilised, preserving it in incredible detail – right down to its individual chromosomes in various stages of cell division. This image shows a cross section through the stem of the fossil fern, revealing the central cylinder that connects the roots with the rest of the plant. The photo to the right … Continue reading

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Small molecule makes brain cancer cells collapse and die

Damaged cells that cause the most aggressive type of brain cancer collapse and die when exposed to the molecule Vacquinol-1.The molecule makes the glioblastoma tumor cells draw in material from outside its walls into bags called vacoules. Bringing in a lot of these bags causes the cells’ outer walls to collapse, which kills the cells. In mice with this type of brain tumor, Vacquinol-1 forced the collapse of only the tumor cells. Brain cells, neurons and other types of cancer cells … Continue reading

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A Polarizing Discovery About the Big Bang!

A Polarizing Discovery About the Big Bang!

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A Massive Solar Superstorm Nearly Blasted The Earth In 2012

Back on July 23, 2012 a furious solar magnetic storm just grazed our planet. Had it erupted just nine days earlier, it would have hit us, causing extensive damage to our technological infrastructure. It would have been a geomagnetic catastrophe the likes of which we’ve never seen. Scientists say the close shave should serve as an important wake-up call. We actually have a precedent for such an event, but it happened back in the mid 19th Century. It was called … Continue reading

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Study of complete RNA collection of fruit fly uncovers unprecedented complexity

Scientists from Indiana University are part of a consortium that has described the transcriptome of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster in unprecedented detail, identifying thousands of new genes, transcripts and proteins. In the new work, published Sunday in the journal Nature, scientists studied the transcriptome—the complete collection of RNAs produced by a genome—at different stages of development, in diverse tissues, in cells growing in culture, and in flies stressed by environmental contaminants. To do so, they used contemporary sequencing technology … Continue reading

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