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  • October 30, 2014
  • 03:45 PM
  • 25 views

Zombies: Science Fiction vs. Fact

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Well in the spirit of Halloween I thought I would make a nice little zombie post. Zombies, those brain loving little guys, [and girls] are everywhere. From shows like The Walking […]... Read more »

Lafferty KD. (2006) Can the common brain parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, influence human culture?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 273(1602), 2749-55. PMID: 17015323  

Vyas A, Kim SK, Giacomini N, Boothroyd JC, & Sapolsky RM. (2007) Behavioral changes induced by Toxoplasma infection of rodents are highly specific to aversion of cat odors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(15), 6442-7. PMID: 17404235  

Thomas, F., Schmidt-Rhaesa, A., Martin, G., Manu, C., Durand, P., & Renaud, F. (2002) Do hairworms (Nematomorpha) manipulate the water seeking behaviour of their terrestrial hosts?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 15(3), 356-361. DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2002.00410.x  

W. Wesołowska T. Wesołowski. (2014) Do Leucochloridium sporocysts manipulate the behaviour of their snail hosts?. Journal of Zoology , 292(3), 151-155. info:/10.1111/jzo.12094

  • October 29, 2014
  • 05:40 PM
  • 36 views

Electron Paramagnetic Resonance of hair!

by mrsitandspin in Sit and Spin

I wanted to switch gears a bit and do a paper on Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR), also know as Electron Spin Resonance (ESR). The paper for this weeks is

Electron spin resonance (ESR/EPR) of free radicals observed in human red hair: a new, simple empirical method of determination of pheomelanin/eumelanin ratio in hair.

by

Chikvaidze EN, Partskhaladze TM and Gogoladze TV... Read more »

  • October 19, 2014
  • 01:43 PM
  • 89 views

DNA Nanotech: The First Large DNA Crystals

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

DNA is the stuff of life as we know it, but it is the potential as a programmable material platform that could spawn entire new and revolutionary nanodevices in computer science, microscopy, biology, and more. Researchers have been working to master the ability to coax DNA molecules to self assemble into the precise shapes and sizes needed in order to fully realize these nanotechnology dreams. A dream that been going on for 20 years now and was just realized.... Read more »

Ke, Y., Ong, L., Sun, W., Song, J., Dong, M., Shih, W., & Yin, P. (2014) DNA brick crystals with prescribed depths. Nature Chemistry. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2083  

  • October 17, 2014
  • 04:02 PM
  • 105 views

A look at Air Pollution and Your Body

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

We have all probably seen stories from China on the horrid air pollution there. Accompanying those reports of course are the statistics for air pollution that deaths have caused. For the record, the World Health Organization estimated that ambient air pollution caused 3.7 million premature deaths (worldwide) in 2012 alone – yet what exactly happens to your body when it encounters pollutants?... Read more »

  • October 13, 2014
  • 11:22 PM
  • 37 views

You don't need that big expensive magnet to do NMR!!!

by mrsitandspin in Sit and Spin

This post to discusses two papers that explore NMR without a big and expensive magnet!... Read more »

Ganssle, P., Shin, H., Seltzer, S., Bajaj, V., Ledbetter, M., Budker, D., Knappe, S., Kitching, J., & Pines, A. (2014) Ultra-Low-Field NMR Relaxation and Diffusion Measurements Using an Optical Magnetometer. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 53(37), 9766-9770. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201403416  

Ha, D., Paulsen, J., Sun, N., Song, Y., & Ham, D. (2014) Scalable NMR spectroscopy with semiconductor chips. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(33), 11955-11960. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1402015111  

  • October 12, 2014
  • 09:56 AM
  • 107 views

Largest methane hotspot in the US found in the Four Corners: fracking not to blame!

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

New space-based observation has found a methane hotspot in the Four Corners due to coalbed methane from coal mines!... Read more »

Kort, E., Frankenberg, C., Costigan, K., Lindenmaier, R., Dubey, M., & Wunch, D. (2014) Four corners: The largest US methane anomaly viewed from space. Geophysical Research Letters. DOI: 10.1002/2014GL061503  

  • October 10, 2014
  • 10:00 AM
  • 118 views

Ebola Virus VP40 -A protein straight out of “transformers”

by Clay Clark in Biochem Blogs

  Ebola. Just the word is enough to make people panic. Well “Ebola” is actually just a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Of course when they hear the word, most people think about the deadly virus discovered near this river in 1976. To clarify the terminology, “Ebola” is the river; “Ebolavirus” is […]... Read more »

Bornholdt Zachary A., Dafna M. Abelson, Peter Halfmann, Malcolm R. Wood, Yoshihiro Kawaoka, & Erica Ollmann Saphire. (2013) Structural Rearrangement of Ebola Virus VP40 Begets Multiple Functions in the Virus Life Cycle. Cell, 154(4), 763-774. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2013.07.015  

Feldmann Heinz. (2011) Ebola haemorrhagic fever. The Lancet, 377(9768), 849-862. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(10)60667-8  

  • October 9, 2014
  • 04:10 PM
  • 136 views

Solar Panel Hybrid is Cheap and Super Efficient

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Solar cells are inefficient, it’s a sad fact. With todays technology they boast about a 10-15% efficiency, compare that to todays gas engine at roughly 20-25% and you can see it’s not quite up to par. Well that could all change very soon thanks to a new method for transferring energy from organic to inorganic semiconductors. This could boost the efficiency of widely used inorganic solar cells to as close as 100% efficiency as they can get.... Read more »

Tabachnyk M, Ehrler B, Gélinas S, Böhm ML, Walker BJ, Musselman KP, Greenham NC, Friend RH, & Rao A. (2014) Resonant energy transfer of triplet excitons from pentacene to PbSe nanocrystals. Nature materials. PMID: 25282509  

  • October 7, 2014
  • 07:45 PM
  • 117 views

Climate change roundup: underestimated ocean heat content and emissions from the peatlands!

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

A quick review of two new climate change-related articles. One finds we have underestimated the heat content in upper oceans, suggesting possibly higher future warming rates. The other discusses a new model to look at methane emissions in the peatlands... Read more »

  • October 5, 2014
  • 01:43 PM
  • 132 views

Using “Programmable” Antibiotics to Attack Drug-Resistant Microbes

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

The body is pretty great at self regulation, that is up until it isn't. The antibiotic era was one that improved human health hundreds of times over. Unfortunately health is a joint effort, a multitude of microbes scientists have found populating the human body have good, bad and mostly mysterious implications for our health. But when something goes wrong, we defend ourselves with the undiscriminating brute force of traditional antibiotics, which wipe out everything at once like a wild fire, reg........ Read more »

Luciano Marraffini et al. (2014) Exploiting CRISPR-Cas nucleases to produce sequence-specific antimicrobials. Nature Biotechnology. info:/10.1038/nbt.3043

  • October 2, 2014
  • 06:16 PM
  • 148 views

Living on the edge: graphene quantum dots perform as well as platinum in fuel cell electrodes

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Down with platinum! New research out of Rice University shows that graphene quantum dots attached to graphene oxide sheets perform as well as platinum in fuel cell electrodes. And they're much cheaper!... Read more »

  • October 2, 2014
  • 02:01 PM
  • 55 views

Survivin: You wouldn’t be alive without it

by Clay Clark in Biochem Blogs

  Enzymes perform numerous tasks in order to contribute to the global goal of organism survival. One such enzyme is Survivin. Survivin wears many “hats” within the cell and is a vital part of cellular homeostasis. Here I will introduce you to two of the main processes Survivin regulates. Survivin is a multifunctional protein involved […]... Read more »

  • October 2, 2014
  • 04:57 AM
  • 110 views

Volatile organic compounds and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

As harsh as the phrase volatile organic compounds (VOCs) might appear at first glance, all this refers to is a class of compounds containing carbon which have a tendency to evaporate at room temperature assuming normal air pressure. VOCs have been associated with pollutants as per their inclusion in various literature on the topic of things like indoor air pollution (see here) and the fact that just about everything around us in the modern home or office is likely to release VOCs. Whilst not try........ Read more »

  • September 29, 2014
  • 08:52 PM
  • 159 views

There's nothing quite like renewables: Modeling indicates natural gas production will not reduce future greenhouse gas emissions as hoped

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Not so fast natural gas! New modeling using 'commitment' accounting to represent social inertia indicates that natural gas may not reduce emissions as hoped.... Read more »

Steven J Davis and Robert H Socolow. (2014) Commitment accounting of CO2 emissions. Environmental Research Letters, 9(084018). info:/

  • September 29, 2014
  • 06:07 PM
  • 160 views

Cat and Dogs: seeking solutions with sniffing canines and science

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Mia and Julie,  First of all, I LOVE your blog! After meeting at SPARCS this past summer (summer for us in North America.. I take it summer is just beginning in Australia!), I’ve followed it closely.  You do amazing things for the promotion of  canine science. Serious love. A bit of background for the readers: I’m currently doing my PhD at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Simon Gadbois. Dr. Gadbois........ Read more »

  • September 26, 2014
  • 02:15 PM
  • 206 views

“GMO” Foods (Once Again) Proven Safe

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

GMO, I shudder every time I hear someone talk about the “dangers”. It’s one of the new buzzwords that doesn’t actually mean anything, but still manages to scare people. Well a new scientific review reports that the performance and health of food-producing animals consuming genetically engineered feed, first introduced 18 years ago, has been comparable to that of animals consuming non-GE feed. Not that this will stop people from spreading fear, but it’s a start.... Read more »

  • September 25, 2014
  • 10:37 AM
  • 191 views

A New Discovery in the Treatment of Autoimmunity and Chronic Inflammation

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Lupus, Type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis are all diseases brought on by autoimmunity — the bodies inability to tell itself apart from foreign invaders. Finding a cure, or even a suitable treatment has been to put it gently a long, painful road, with little to show for it. On the forefront of the war against the body betrayal is immunosuppressants, which with them carry their own set of side effects and in most cases only off mild to moderate relief of symptoms. But that is all changing a........ Read more »

Dubiella C, Cui H, Gersch M, Brouwer AJ, Sieber SA, Krüger A, Liskamp RM, & Groll M. (2014) Selective Inhibition of the Immunoproteasome by Ligand-Induced Crosslinking of the Active Site. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English). PMID: 25244435  

  • September 23, 2014
  • 06:41 PM
  • 138 views

A shale's life: first life cycle assessment of shale gas production in Great Britain

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

A paper has just come out looking at the life cycle impact of shale gas production in Great Britain. At the same time, the author is speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester. A great opportunity for science and policy to unite!... Read more »

  • September 22, 2014
  • 02:17 PM
  • 154 views

Autism and the Low Iron Connection

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

The topic of autism is a charged one. Maybe it’s because it isn’t a simple diagnosis; there are many roads to autism. Most of them are probably genetic, some of them are likely environmental, and none of them are related to vaccination (sorry to burst your bubble anti vax people, it’s called science). Some new research shows another possible (environmental) cause. The new study shows that mothers of children with autism are significantly less likely to report taking iron supplements before........ Read more »

Rebecca J. Schmidt et al. (2014) Maternal intake of supplemental iron and risk for autism spectrum disorders. American Journal of Epidemiology. info:/

  • September 21, 2014
  • 02:33 PM
  • 160 views

Move over Carbon nanotubes introducing Diamond nanothreads

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Carbon nanotubes, the wave of the future. Our hopes and dreams for the future have been firmly placed in using the unique material for everything from electronics to engineering. Unfortunately the production of carbon nanotubes has been hampered by setbacks, which as it turns out might not be a bad thing. This is because for the first time, scientists have discovered how to produce ultra-thin “diamond nanothreads” that promise extraordinary properties, including strength and stiffness greate........ Read more »

Fitzgibbons, T., Guthrie, M., Xu, E., Crespi, V., Davidowski, S., Cody, G., Alem, N., & Badding, J. (2014) Benzene-derived carbon nanothreads. Nature Materials. DOI: 10.1038/nmat4088  

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