other interesting things
SpaceX, the upstart start-up rocket company founded by famous techwealth kingpin Elon Musk, is to build and test-fly a "Grasshopper" hover rocket based on the massive first-stage fuel tank of the company's Falcon 9 vehicle, capable of carrying ten tonnes of cargo or seven people into orbit. As yet SpaceX is not discussing the Grasshopper publicly, but we learn some interesting details of the new craft from an environmental impact statement covering planned test flights filed with the Federal Aviation Administration ( 65-page PDF/1.4MB ). According to the filing, the Grasshopper is seen as a "Reusable Launch Vehicle" (RLV). It will be 106ft tall, and built around the first-stage fuel tank of the existing Falcon 9 rocket stack:
New research has found that the incidence of a tissue damaging bacterial infection – necrotising fascitits – is rising in New Zealand. National media have been quick to report on the increases in cases of ‘flesh-eating’ bacteria. The research , published in the Journal of Infection , shows that necrotising fascitits has risen from fewer than 10 cases a year in 1990 to more than 70 cases a year in 2006.
Researchers at the Spanish Superior Scientific Research Council (CSIC) have successfully completed Phase I human clinical trials of a HIV vaccine that came out with top marks after 90% of volunteers developed an immunological response against the virus. The MVA-B vaccine draws on the natural capabilities of the human immune system and "has proven to be as powerful as any other vaccine currently being studied, or even more", says Mariano Esteban, head researcher from CSIC's National Biotech Centre. The MVA-B vaccine first showed promising signs back in 2008 when clinical trials involving mice and macaque monkeys demonstrated a very high efficiency against Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). The recent human trials involved 30 healthy volunteers, where 24 were treated with MVA-B, while the other 6 were treated with a placebo, carried out over a 48 week period.
Sep. 28, 2011 — As anyone familiar with the phrase 'man-flu' will know women consider themselves to be the more robust side of the species when it comes to health and illness. Now new research, published in BioEssays, seems to support the idea. The research focuses on the role of MicroRNAs encoded on the X chromosome to explain why women have stronger immune systems to men and are less likely to develop cancer. The research, led by Dr Claude Libert from Ghent University in Belgium, focused on MicroRNA, tiny strains of ribonucleic acid which alongside DNA and proteins, make up the three major macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life. "Statistics show that in humans, as with other mammals, females live longer than males and are more able to fight off shock episodes from sepsis, infection or trauma," said Libert.
As an echolocating bat closes in on a flying insect, it increases call emission to rates beyond 160 calls per second. This high call rate phase, dubbed the terminal buzz, has proven enigmatic because it is unknown how bats are able to produce calls so quickly. We found that previously More As an echolocating bat closes in on a flying insect, it increases call emission to rates beyond 160 calls per second. This high call rate phase, dubbed the terminal buzz, has proven enigmatic because it is unknown how bats are able to produce calls so quickly. We found that previously unknown and highly specialized superfast muscles power rapid call rates in the terminal buzz.
The heat is on, too Neutrinos that go beyond light speed? Not so fast, say two theoretical physicists.
as a physicist, i'm rather surprised at the reaction this particular news received. i know that Einstein's purported speed limit has been the holiest of holies for the last century, but i've also sat around for the last few decades wondering when we'd start doing the /real/ science which disproved certain aspects of how we thought relativity worked. and let us not forget one of Einstein's actual lessons: there are no privileged frames of reference. the argument behind relativity to remember is that you cannot judge any state as being the absolute and inviolable truth. perhaps light has a limit, but change the frame of reference (view it from a different dimension perhaps) and you may find that it looks completely different. God may not play dice with the universe, but when Einstein said that, the idea of a 20-sided die hadn't even come up anywhere on Earth. would Dungeons and Dragons been enough to change his frame of reference?
Republished with scant edits from the previous iteration of Culturing Science on July 20, 2010. A great blog post about fiction inspiring science by Uta Frith reminded me of this old friend. Hat tip to Princess Ojiaku . Planet Comics #4 (1940), in the public domain
When you own a domain you're a first class citizen of the web. A householder and landowner. What you can do on your own website is only very broadly constrained by law and convention. You can post the content you like. You can run the software you want, including software you've written or customised yourself. And you can design it to look the way you want.
Previously I posted on an article on making biodiesel using the fungus Gliocladium roseum . Here is a new study reporting conversion of lipids to biodiesel using the basidiomycete Cryptococcus curvatus . There has been also other progress in this area where Mucor circinelloides can also be used to produce oils suitable for biodiesel production as reported in the paper and the press release - though it is a pathogenic fungus with interesting spore size dimorphism .
We identified individual-level diurnal and seasonal mood rhythms in cultures across the globe, using data from millions of public Twitter messages. We found that individuals awaken in a good mood that deteriorates as the day progresses—which is consistent with the effects of sleep and circadian rhythm—and that seasonal change in More We identified individual-level diurnal and seasonal mood rhythms in cultures across the globe, using data from millions of public Twitter messages. We found that individuals awaken in a good mood that deteriorates as the day progresses—which is consistent with the effects of sleep and circadian rhythm—and that seasonal change in baseline positive affect varies with change in daylength. People are happier on weekends, but the morning peak in positive affect is delayed by 2 hours, which suggests that people awaken later on weekends. <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>