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128 posts · 178,304 views

A science blog from award-winning science writer David Bradley covering everything from astronomy to zoology by way of bio, chemistry, nano and physics

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  • May 27, 2009
  • 12:00 PM

Fear of Flying

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Personally, I’ve never had a problem with a fear of flying, a lot of people suffer from this often debilitating phobia though despite reassurances about road death statistics being much worse than air crashes. That said perhaps there is one aspect of flying that should be of concern - exposure to radiation from outer space, [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

S. Zaichkina, O. Rozanova, G. Aptikaeva, A. Akhmadieva, H. Smirnova, S. Romanchenko, O. Vakhrusheva, S. Sorokina, A. Dyukina, & V. Peleshko. (2009) Adaptive response and genetic instability induced in mice in vivo by low dose-rate radiation simulating high-altitude flight conditions. Int. J. Low Radiation, 6(1), 28-36.

  • May 22, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Pathogen Insecurity and Bio WMD

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Marc Ostfield is the Senior Advisor for Bioterrorism, Biodefense, and Health Security, US Department of State, Office of International Health and Biodefense in Washington DC and believes that the concept of biosecurity as a primary strategy to combat terrorism is nothing more than an illusion.

As a concept biosecurity, also known as pathogen security, suggests that [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

Marc L. Ostfield. (2009) Pathogen security: the illusion of security in foreign policy and biodefence. Int. J. Risk Assessment and Management, 12(2/3/4), 204-221.

  • May 15, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Heavy Metal Packaging

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Researchers in Argentina have developed a new approach to testing food packaging for trace amounts of the toxic heavy metal cadmium.

Cadmium is one of several additives used extensively in the manufacture of plastics. Regulations limit the concentration of cadmium allowable, of course. In the European Union that limit is 100 milligrams per kilogram. But, the [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

  • May 11, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Slumdog Engineer

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Having discussed the possible environmental risks of charitable aid in the form of obsolete electronic goods to the developing world, it seemed to timely to mention other research looking into strong solutions to some of the critical problems facing people in many parts of the world.

Researchers, Priti Parikh and Allan McRobie, in Cambridge, England, suggest [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

Parikh, P., & McRobie, A. (2009) Engineering as a tool for improving human habitat. International Journal of Management and Decision Making, 10(3/4), 270. DOI: 10.1504/IJMDM.2009.024993  

  • May 8, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Charity Computers and Environmental Waste

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Charitable schemes to send unwanted electronic equipment, including mobile phones and computers to the developing world could be creating more environmental problems than they solve if the equipment becomes entirely obsolete in a short time. Researchers in India have carried out an evaluation of the trade-offs between cost and environmental risks to prove the point.

There [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

  • May 6, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Swine Flu Update

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Swine flu (H1N1) information leaflets are being delivered to households across the UK today. I suspect they do nothing but increase fear and confuse people, especially as the WHO/UN are about to lower the swine flu alert level.

In the UK, 27 people now have the virus, with 23 in England and four in Scotland and [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

  • April 15, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

The Developing Digital Divide

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Are digital inclusion projects in the developing world booming or are they doomed to failure? That’s the question asked by legal expert Dinusha Mendis of the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.

Mendis has investigated the digital divide in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nigeria, and how laws such as those governing intellectual property rights and copyright [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

  • April 8, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Flatus Impudicus, Plume-seeking Insectibot

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

It’s a crude schoolroom axiom around which many an adult pub debate might also revolve: He who smelt it, dealt it.

However, there is a serious side to quickly locating the source of noxious odours in an indoor environment of varying airflow, as Zhenzhang Liu and Tien-Fu Lu of The University of Adelaide, Australia, will attest. [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

Zhenzhang Liu, & Tien-Fu Lu. (2009) Odour source localisation in a wind-varying indoor environment. Int. J. Mechatronics and Manufacturing Systems, 2(1/2), 168-186.

  • March 25, 2009
  • 10:07 AM

Very Personal Data Rights

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Across the globe privacy laws and property rights are confused. Having usually been established in centuries past it is unlikely that any established legal system can cope easily with the requirements of the digital age. Nowhere is this more likely to hold true than when discussing the use of peoples’ biometric information, which are very [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

Yue Liu. (2009) Property rights for biometric information – a protection measure?. International Journal of Private Law, 2(3), 244-259.

  • March 23, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

Disease Mongering or Medicalization

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

The medicalization of many social facets of our lives, multitasking pharmaceuticals and disease mongering are problems we should face head one.

The overlap between business ethics and medical ethics represent a moral minefield. Nowhere more so than in the domain of newly recognised and previously untreated disorders, syndromes and diseases, among them social anxiety disorder, non-physiological [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

Poitras, G. (2009) Business ethics, medical ethics and economic medicalization. International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, 4(4), 372. DOI: 10.1504/IJBGE.2009.023789  

  • March 13, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

Staying in with Friends on a Wireless Mesh

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

The difference between staying in with friends and going out? Obvious, really. But, translate that idea to networks and you have the basis of self-organized virtual communities, according to Panayotis Antoniadis of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, in Paris France.

Writing in the IJWBC (reference below), Antoniadis and Benedicte Le Grand discuss the bootstrapping problem [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

Panayotis Antoniadis, & Benedicte Le Grand. (2009) Self-organised virtual communities: bridging the gap between web-based communities and P2P systems. Int. J. Web Based Communities, 5(2), 179.

  • March 11, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

Converting Carbon Dioxide

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

“Nothing beats finding vast lakes of oil for the pumping, or vast deposits of coal for the digging; thanks mother nature!” proclaimed Craig Grimes of Penn State University in an emailed response to my skeptical question regarding his work on catalysts that can convert the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into a fuel, methane.

I report on [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

  • March 9, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

Baffling Fluid Dynamics

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

During my student days, one of the most obviously complicated and beyond-comprehension modules was that on fluid dynamics. It’s not surprising that it was complicated and beyond comprehension, the way fluids (gases and liquids by definition) move is not simple.

There is no single, straightforward equation that can describe the flow of water cascading down waterfall. [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

M. Toumi, M. Bouazara, & M.J. Richard. (2008) Analytical and numerical analysis of the liquid longitudinal sloshing impact on a partially filled tank-vehicle with and without baffles. International Journal of Vehicle Systems Modelling and Testing, 3(3), 229-249.

  • February 25, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Developing Health

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Compulsory licensing is one of those euphemisms that hide a whole raft of issues. By definition - it is “authorisation to a government or company to make and sell a pharmaceutical drug without the permission of the patent holder”, which makes the intent clear.

In its most obvious form, compulsory licensing is what occurs when a [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

Sagarika Chakraborty, & Angira Singhvi. (2009) Compulsory licensing for access to medicines in the developing world. Int J IIntellectual Property Management, 3(2), 110-126.

  • February 20, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Whatever Happened to SARS?

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

In 2004, I did some reportage for the Royal Society from their meeting on emerging viral infections. The meeting was held just after the worldwide SARS outbreak that threw nations into chaos and had the more susceptible parts of the media hyping the end of the world. Of course, SARS, an emerging pathogen, was lethal [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

Yi-Chun Lin. (2009) Impact of the spread of infectious disease on economic development: a study in risk management. Int. J. Risk Assess. Manage., 11(3/4), 209-218.

  • February 13, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

R&D People Matter

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

In the long-gone days of my Catalyst column on the original, I wrote about how R&D was becoming a distributed endeavour. It was going the way of large-scale data problems that are best solved using a distributed computing environment, or Grid. Now, roughly a decade later, it seems the management of globally dispersed R&D [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

Hans J. Thamhain. (2009) Managing globally dispersed R. International Journal of Information Technology and Management, 8(1), 107. DOI: 10.1504/IJITM.2009.022273  

  • February 6, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Online Health in the Developing World

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Following on from Monday’s post about health information on twitter, it seemed a nice coincidence that I came across a research paper focusing on healthcare information available in the developing world.

The web is still relatively young and yet many people can barely remember a time when they could not simply click a mouse and gain [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

Mahinda Kommalage, & Anoj Thabrew. (2008) The use of websites for disseminating health information in developing countries: an experience from Sri Lanka. Int. J. Electronic Healthcare, 4(3/4), 327-338.

  • January 30, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Green Mercury Light Bulbs

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

With regulations set to ban incandescent light bulbs, the illuminating invention we’ve used since the nineteenth century, a replacement is needed. LEDs hold promise but are dim compared with the bulbs they seek to replace. Compact fluorescent tubes, are a bright idea. They are essentially a miniaturised version of the strip lighting by which shoppers [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

Iman A. Al-Saleh. (2009) Health implications of mercury exposure in children. International Journal of Environment and Health, 3(1), 22-57.

  • January 28, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Autism Saliva Test

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

I recently reported on the spit test being developed for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It’s in the very early stages of development (this is not an antenatal test), but the details were certainly of interest to the target audience on the SpecNOW site.

Of course, the mainstream media picked up on the news of the possibility [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

Massimo Castagnola, Irene Messana, Rosanna Inzitari, Chiara Fanali, Tiziana Cabras, Alessandra Morelli, Anna Maria Pecoraro, Giovanni Neri, Maria Giulia Torrioli, & Fiorella Gurrieri. (2008) Hypo-Phosphorylation of Salivary Peptidome as a Clue to the Molecular Pathogenesis of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Proteome Research, 7(12), 5327-5332. DOI: 10.1021/pr8004088  

  • January 26, 2009
  • 04:03 AM

Catching Obesity

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Research suggests that a highly infectious virus might be behind some cases of obesity. There is constant talk of an epidemic of overweight in the developed world. Overindulgence, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyles are usually blamed. Occasionally, the words genetics or glands are mentioned, but rarely is the obesity epidemic thought of as a disease [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

Miloni A. Rathod, Pamela M. Rogers, Sharada D. Vangipuram, Emily J. McAllister, & Nikhil V. Dhurandhar. (2009) Adipogenic Cascade Can Be Induced Without Adipogenic Media by a Human Adenovirus. Obesity. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2008.630  

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