Selfish traits not favoured by evolution, study shows 2 August 2013Last updated at 06:29 ET By Melissa Hogenboom Science reporter, BBC News Humans and animals could not evolve in a co-operative environment by being selfish, scientists say Evolution does not favour selfish people, according to new research. This challenges a previous theory which suggested it was preferable to put yourself first. Instead, it pays to be co-operative, shown in a model of "the prisoner's dilemma", a scenario of game theory - the study of strategic decision-making. Published in Nature Communications, the team says their work shows that exhibiting only selfish traits would have made us become extinct. Game theory involves devising "games" to simulate situations of conflict or co-operation. Continue reading the main story “Start Quote It's almost like what we had in the cold war, an arms race - but these arms races occur all the time in evolutionary biology” End QuoteDr Christoph Adami Michigan State University Freedom or prison Co-operating is key for evolution
Soybean Car World's first plastic car Plastic car frame patent 2,269,452 (February 13, 1942) Soybean car frame patent, Fig. 2 The Soybean car, more recently referred to as the Hemp body car, was a car build with agricultural plastic and was fueled with hemp combustible (oil or ethanol). Although the formula used to create the plasticized panels has been lost, it is conjectured that the first iteration of the body was made partially from soybeans and Hemp.[A] The body was lighter and therefore more fuel efficient than a normal metal body. It was made by Henry Ford's auto company in Dearborn, Michigan, and was introduced to public view on August 13, 1941. History Henry Ford first put Eugene Turenne Gregorie of his design department in charge of manufacturing. Because of World War II all US automobile production was curtailed considerably, and the plastic car experiment basically came to a halt. Reasoning for a plastic car Car ingredients Quotes 
Mosquito 'invisibility cloak' discovered 9 September 2013Last updated at 13:54 ET By Melissa Hogenboom Science reporter, BBC News Chemicals naturally found in humans could help produce better mosquito repellents A naturally occurring substance found in human skin could yield a viable alternative to existing mosquito repellent, scientists say. They say the chemical could help render people "invisible" to the insects. At the American Chemical Society meeting, they revealed a group of compounds that could block mosquitoes' ability to smell potential targets. When a hand with these chemicals was placed in a mosquito filled enclosure, it was completely ignored. The team says their work could help prevent the spread of deadly diseases. Mosquitoes are among the most deadly disease-carrying creatures. Ulrich Bernier of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) who presented the work, said his team was exploring other options to Deet - a repellent which some do not favour. Buzzing off 'Invisible hand'
Has Carl June Found a Key to Fighting Cancer? | Philadelphia magazine What’s your full name? Where are you? What month is it? What day of the week is it? Walter Keller tried to speak, but no words came out, only a dry rasp. Eventually the man left the room. Walt—tall and rawboned, with marbly green eyes and muscles hardened by a lifetime of physical labor—tried to elevate himself. The man was back: Walt had to get out of this room. Walt glanced to his side and saw his 19-year-old son, Dustin. “Dustin, get my shoes,” Walt croaked. Walt knew his boat was right outside the door of the room—the wakeboard boat he drove every year up and down Lake Mohave in Nevada, giving water-ski rides to his grandkids. Dustin shook his head: broad shoulders, soft voice, cherubic face, dark brown hair. “Dustin,” Walt said, eyes soaked with confusion, “you are infuriating me.” Walt wasn’t in California, as he thought. Over the past several years, a couple of hundred mice had received it, but Walt was only the seventh adult human. Scientists don’t talk about “curing” cancer.
Sci-Fi-Nano-Future-Blog By examining decades’ worth of stored bacteria samples, researchers have determined how a benign organism evolved into a deadly pathogen that causes necrotizing fasciitis, commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria disease. Using genetic sequences from more than 3,600 strains of bacteria, scientists were able to see that it took only four steps to create the unusual microbe that spreads rapidly and destroys the body’s soft tissue. Their report was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Necrotizing fasciitis is caused by several types of bacteria, most commonly group A Streptococcus. (See images of Streptococcus and other microbes in the “Small, Small World” photo gallery.) An international group of researchers sequenced the genomes of group A strep bacteria in samples that had been collected from as early as the 1920s. A Long Search for Answers Jacqueline Roemmele was one such unlucky person. The new discovery “is very exciting,” Roemmele said.
'Spider style' blood vessel building 22 August 2013Last updated at 20:14 ET By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News A way of building body parts similar to the way a spider spins its web has been demonstrated by researchers in the UK. The team at University College London used a constant stream of cells mixed with a polymer to weave the new tissues. They think the technique could produce better results than other ways of building body parts for transplant. The team of researchers tested the technique by constructing blood vessels in mice. There are many methods being used to grow organs in the laboratory. Some start with a synthetic scaffold which is then seeded with a patient's own cells and implanted. A "living scaffold" made by electrospinning Another technique has been to take a body part from a dead body, just like an organ transplant, and use a detergent to strip out the native cells leaving a protein scaffold behind. Spinning It starts with a broth of cells and polymer.
Anthracimycin: New Antibiotic Kills Anthrax, MRSA | Medicine Scientists have discovered a marine microbe-derived antibiotic that has the ability to kill the deadly Anthrax bacterium Bacillus anthracis and other pathogens such as the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Bacillus anthracis spores as viewed in scanning electron microscopy (© National Academy of Engineering) Prof William Fenical with colleagues from the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography first collected Streptomyces sp. - a marine microorganism that produces the compound – in 2012 from sediments close to shore off Santa Barbara, California. Using an analytical technique known as spectroscopy, they then deciphered the unusual structure of a molecule isolated from Streptomyces sp. Initial testing of the compound, which they named Anthracimycin, revealed its potency as a killer of anthrax and the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Structure of Anthracimycin from X-ray crystal structure analysis.
Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please Don't Fire Us? Smart machines probably won't kill us all—but they'll definitely take our jobs, and sooner than you think. Illustrations by Roberto Parada This is a story about the future. Not the unhappy future, the one where climate change turns the planet into a cinder or we all die in a global nuclear war. This is the happy version. The result is paradise. Maybe you think I'm pulling your leg here. But they're not. What do we do over the next few decades as robots become steadily more capable and steadily begin taking away all our jobs? Suppose it's 1940 and Lake Michigan has (somehow) been emptied. By 1950, you have added around a gallon of water. At this point it's been 30 years, and even though 16,000 gallons is a fair amount of water, it's nothing compared to the size of Lake Michigan. So let's skip all the way ahead to 2000. But wait. IF YOU HAVE ANY KIND OF BACKGROUND in computers, you've already figured out that I didn't pick these numbers out of a hat. And that's exactly where we are.
Twin DNA test: Why identical criminals may no longer be safe 14 January 2014Last updated at 20:57 ET By Alison Gee BBC World Service It's well known that identical twins are not totally identical - they can, usually, be told apart, after all. But up to now it has been almost impossible to distinguish their DNA. It's claimed that a new test can do it quickly and affordably, however - and this could help police solve a number of crimes. At the end of 2012, six women were raped in Marseille, in the south of France. Police are struggling to work out which one to prosecute. When the twins were arrested, media reports said tests to determine who to charge with the crimes would be prohibitively expensive, but that looks set to change. "The human genome consists of a three-billion-letter code," says Georg Gradl, their next-generation sequencing expert. "During this copying process in the body there are 'typos' happening," says Gradl, referring to slight mutations. Results from Eurofins, showing one of the mutations Continue reading the main story
New wonder drug matches and kills all kinds of cancer — human testing starts 2014 Stanford researchers are on track to begin human trials of a potentially potent new weapon against cancer, and would-be participants are flooding in following the Post’s initial report on the discovery. The progress comes just two months after the groundbreaking study by Dr Irv Weissman, who developed an antibody that breaks down a cancer’s defense mechanisms in the body. A protein called CD47 tells the body not to “eat” the cancer, but the antibody developed by Dr Weissman blocks CD47 and frees up immune cells called macrophages — which can then engulf the deadly cells. The new research shows the miraculous macrophages effectively act as intelligence gatherers for the body, pointing out cancerous cells to cancer-fighting “killer T” cells. The T cells then “learn” to hunt down and attack the cancer, the researchers claim. The clinical implications of the process could be profound in the war on cancer. This turns them into a personalized cancer vaccine.
A smart-object recognition algorithm that doesn’t need humans (Credit: BYU Photo) BYU engineer Dah-Jye Lee has created an algorithm that can accurately identify objects in images or video sequences — without human calibration. “In most cases, people are in charge of deciding what features to focus on and they then write the algorithm based off that,” said Lee, a professor of electrical and computer engineering. Humans need not apply Not only is Lee’s genetic algorithm able to set its own parameters, but it also doesn’t need to be reset each time a new object is to be recognized — it learns them on its own. Lee likens the idea to teaching a child the difference between dogs and cats. Comparison with other object-recognition algorithms In a study published in the December issue of academic journal Pattern Recognition, Lee and his students demonstrate both the independent ability and accuracy of their “ECO features” genetic algorithm. Example images from the Caltech image datasets after being scaled and having color removed (credit: BYU Photo)
Potential 'universal' blood test for cancer discovered | DoxCole The Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity (LGS) test looks at white blood cells and measures the damage caused to their DNA when subjected to different intensities of ultraviolet light (UVA), which is known to damage DNA. The results of the empirical study show a clear distinction between the damage to the white blood cells from patients with cancer, with pre-cancerous conditions and from healthy patients. (Stock image). Researchers from the University of Bradford have devised a simple blood test that can be used to diagnose whether people have cancer or not. The test will enable doctors to rule out cancer in patients presenting with certain symptoms, saving time and preventing costly and unnecessary invasive procedures such as colonoscopies and biopsies being carried out. Early results have shown the method gives a high degree of accuracy diagnosing cancer and pre-cancerous conditions from the blood of patients with melanoma, colon cancer and lung cancer. Story Source:
Testicle size 'link to father role' 9 September 2013Last updated at 20:28 ET A link between the size of a father's testicles and how active he is in bringing up his children has been suggested by scientists. Researchers at Emory University, US, said those with smaller testicles were more likely to be involved with nappy changing, feeding and bath time. They also found differences in brain scans of fathers looking at images of their child, linked to testicle size. But other factors, such as cultural expectations, also played a role. Levels of promiscuity and testicle size are strongly linked in animals, those with the largest pair tending to mate with more partners. The researchers were investigating an evolutionary theory about trade-offs between investing time and effort in mating or putting that energy into raising children. The study, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, looked at the relationship between testicle size and fatherhood in 70 men who had children between the ages of one and two.