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Sequence your microbiome

Sequence your microbiome

Studies with financial conflicts of interest are 5x more likely to find no link between sugary drinks and weight gain. : science Carbon bubble will plunge the world into another financial crisis – report | Environment Global stock markets are betting on countries failing to adhere to legally binding carbon emission targets. Photograph: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images The world could be heading for a major economic crisis as stock markets inflate an investment bubble in fossil fuels to the tune of trillions of dollars, according to leading economists. "The financial crisis has shown what happens when risks accumulate unnoticed," said Lord (Nicholas) Stern, a professor at the London School of Economics. He said the risk was "very big indeed" and that almost all investors and regulators were failing to address it. The so-called "carbon bubble" is the result of an over-valuation of oil, coal and gas reserves held by fossil fuel companies. The stark report is by Stern and the thinktank Carbon Tracker. The world's governments have agreed to restrict the global temperature rise to 2C, beyond which the impacts become severe and unpredictable. Pension funds are also concerned.

Vitamin D supplements could fight Crohn's disease A new study has found that Vitamin D, readily available in supplements or cod liver oil, can counter the effects of Crohn's disease. John White, an endocrinologist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, led a team of scientists from McGill University and the Université de Montréal who present their findings about the inflammatory bowel disease in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. "Our data suggests, for the first time, that Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to Crohn's disease," says Dr. Vitamin D, in its active form (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D), is a hormone that binds to receptors in the body's cells. What Vitamin D does Dr. What's most promising about this genetic discovery, says Dr. "This discovery is exciting, since it shows how an over-the-counter supplement such as Vitamin D could help people defend themselves against Crohn's disease," says Marc J. This study was funded by a grant from McGill University.

Through a glass, clearly One of the most instantly recognizable features of glass is the way it reflects light. But a new way of creating surface textures on glass, developed by researchers at MIT, virtually eliminates reflections, producing glass that is almost unrecognizable because of its absence of glare — and whose surface causes water droplets to bounce right off, like tiny rubber balls. The new “multifunctional” glass, based on surface nanotextures that produce an array of conical features, is self-cleaning and resists fogging and glare, the researchers say. Ultimately, they hope it can be made using an inexpensive manufacturing process that could be applied to optical devices, the screens of smartphones and televisions, solar panels, car windshields and even windows in buildings. Photovoltaic panels, Park explains, can lose as much as 40 percent of their efficiency within six months as dust and dirt accumulate on their surfaces.

Hamburg Unveils World's First Algae-Powered Building | Wired Design The BIQ building’s algae panels generate power. Photo credit: Arup The world’s first building powered by algae has been unveiled at the International Building Exhibition in Hamburg by engineering firm Arup. [partner id="wireduk"]The “bioreactor façade” has been mounted as a kind of “second skin” onto the sun-facing sides of the BIQ building. The algae feeds on carbon dioxide and nutrients that are supplied via a water pump, and further energy is also harvested by solar panels, with energy stored for later use in 80m deep boreholes filled with brine. The whole building is intended to be completely self-sufficient. The building was completed on March 22, but won’t be put into full operation until April 25. “Using bio-chemical processes in the façade of a building to create shade and energy is a really innovative concept.” says Arup’s research lead for Europe, Jan Wurm. The BIQ building itself contains 15 apartments, of which two apparently don’t have rigid interior layouts.

New Probiotic Combats Inflammatory Bowel Disease You know the probiotics in your peach yogurt are healthful, but now it appears they may also be a powerful treatment for disease. A genetically tweaked version of a common probiotic found in yogurt and cheese appears to be an effective therapy for inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. It may also prove to be useful in colon cancer, another disease triggered by inflammation. Northwestern Medicine researchers deleted a gene in the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus and fed the new form to mice with two different models of colitis. "This opens brand new avenues to treat various autoimmune diseases of the gut, including inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer, all which can be triggered by imbalanced inflammatory immune responses," said Mansour Mohamadzadeh, PhD, associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and lead investigator of the study.

5 Animals That Are Terrifyingly Hard to Kill The lungfish is one of the oldest species living today. Its lineage traces directly to a species alive right after the breakup of Pangaea--which Wikipedia tells us was the original super-continent and not, as we have for years assumed, some sort of tragically disbanded Dinosaur Speedmetal group. Nor is there a hipster version. Great! So How Do I Kill It? The lungfish--as you may have cleverly guessed by the inclusion of the "fish" descriptor--is an aquatic creature. Just like the Cracked staff. A science lab in East Africa witnessed this phenomena firsthand when a lungfish, while being transported in an air-tight metal cylinder full of mud (a method of travel a lungfish could easily survive for a brief time), became lost during the trip. "Shit, we didn't really think this through." Which was totally cool with the lungfish; after the team added a little water, it popped right back to life -- perfectly fine in every respect. Was it? Sorry. "Get out of my way, you young punks!"

Printed sensor can sense cracks in bridges New technology using low-cost wireless sensors could make it easier to monitor highway bridges and other structures for strain, stress, and early formation of cracks. “For many engineering structures, one of the most dangerous problems is the initiation of stress concentration and cracking, which is caused by overloading or inadequate design and can lead to collapse—as in the case of the I-35W bridge failure in Minneapolis in 2007,” says Yang Wang, assistant professor at Georgia Institute of Technology. The new sensor designs can be inkjet-printed on various substrates, using methods that optimize them for operation at radio frequency. The result would be low-cost, weather-resistant devices that could be affixed by the thousands to various kinds of structures. Full story at Futurity. More research news from top universities. Photo credit: Gary Meek/Georgia Tech

Mike's Story September 10th, 1945 finds a strapping (but tender) young rooster pecking through the dust of Fruita, Colorado. The unsuspecting bird had never looked so delicious as he did that, now famous, day. Clara Olsen was planning on featuring the plump chicken in the evening meal. Husband Lloyd Olsen was sent out, on a very routine mission, to prepare the designated fryer for the pan. Then the determined bird shook off the traumatic event and never looked back. When Olsen found Mike the next morning, sleeping with his "head" under his wing, he decided that if Mike had that much will to live, he would figure out a way to feed and water him. In the 18 MONTHS that Mike lived as "The Headless Wonder Chicken" he grew from a mere 2 1/2 lbs. to nearly 8 lbs. Now, Mike's spirit is celebrated every year at the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival the third weekend in May.