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18 Mar

The discovery could provide an eco-friendly method for supplying residential customers with affordable electricity.

Bioscience engineers from KU Leuven recently came up with a solar panel they placed on a lawn in front of the Center for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis. While the device appeared to be a typical solar panel, it also was attached to a flask of water that indicated when hydrogen bubbles were escaping. It only took a couple of seconds for the first bubbles to show up on the surface.

The panel wound up using moisture in the atmosphere to create hydrogen gas. Following 10 years of development, the panel was capable of making 250 liters every day. 20 such panels could produce enough electricity to provide heat for a whole family for the length of one winter.

16 Mar

Does it seem a waste of valuable time to spend a third of life sleeping? If humans are so much more advanced than other animals, why do we require such a sizable period of downtime every day? Haven't we, by now, come up with an efficient way to substitute for the benefits of sleep without actually having to spend all those hours in the Land of Nod?

Researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel recently published a study in the journal Nature Communications that indicates new and interesting ways in which sleep and sleep disturbances may impact aging, brain performance, and a variety of brain disorders.

By looking at 3D time-lapse images in live zebrafish, the researchers narrowed down sleep to a single chromosome view and also came up with the ground-breaking discovery that each individual neuron needs sleep in order to conduct "nuclear maintenance".

14 Mar

While hollow needles and syringes have been delivering medication for more than 100 years, their precise placement and operation depends upon the skills of the person using them. Even when those are top-notch, it can be something of a challenge to successfully deliver medicine to highly sensitive areas such as the back of the human eye.

Recently, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital came up with a sophisticated injecting device for tissue-targeting (called an i2T2) that picks up on modulations in resistance so as to safely and properly deliver medicine in preclinical trials.

12 Mar

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently announced that they had built and flown the first-ever airplane without any moving parts. Rather than relying on turbines or propellers, the light craft receives its power from something termed an "ionic wind", described as a silent but powerful stream of ions that's made onboard the airplane, and which produces enough thrust to keep the plane flying over a steady, sustained trip.

The MIT craft also does not need fossil fuels to fly.

In a press release, Steven Barrett, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, said, “This has potentially opened new and unexplored possibilities for aircraft which are quieter, mechanically simpler, and do not emit combustion emissions.”

10 Mar

Each year, beekeepers lose a percentage of their population, with up to 15-percent loss being sustainable. Unfortunately, in recent years, those annual losses have topped 28 percent, making it a serious problem. One cause of colony loss is something called “colony collapse,” which happens when disease impacts some members of a honeybee colony, causing it to spread to other bees. Even though the rate of collapse has dropped in recent years, dwindling colonies remain a serious issue.

One way to protect the bee population is to for beekeepers to find a way to reduce the spread of disease within their colonies. Researchers believe they may have found the key to that. It starts with identifying those bees that have a higher level of cleanliness in their colonies, then breeding those bees to increase their population.

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