June 15, 2006

Scratch that One off The List

cuties making the news because she isn't dead, but scientist thought she was an 11 million year old goner...turns out she's been hiding out in Southeast Asia. One Rock Rat (so they are called) was refound last year in a Laos meat market, poor guy.

Scientist at first thought they had found a new kind of rodent, but, it later turned out to be a living relative from the Diatomyidae family. And that was all they had folks until Dr. David Redfield went on a Southeast Asian expedition and found this sweet and gentle creature in her favorite place to hang, the limestone outcroppings in Central Laos

Luckily Dr. Redfield came back with photos and videos of the Laotian rock rat which you can see here.

The creature, known to the Laotians as kha-nyou (ga-noo), really is adorable, and it seemed quite friendly. You all have to watch it walk!

Rock Rat plush animal anyone? I think the market will be good.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 28, 2005

We Are Living in a Sci-Fi World

Depressed people may now have another alternative to pills and talk; a small implant that stimulates the vagus nerve. So how does this device work?

Well, apparently this particular nerve, which wanders about the whole body, brings information to the various areas of the brain that control mood, sleep and various other functions. The device stimulates that particular nerve; it was originally used to treat epilepsy And I don't why it works.  But it also apparently helps to reduce depression in about 40 % of the patients treated. More on the testing data.

Why does it work? You got me! But here's an explanation.

Yeah, I got all the info from the articles; I'm not that smart on my lonesome!!!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 02:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 30, 2005

Inhabited by Lilliputians Maybe?

And all those Twillight Zone etc. shows just keep popping into my brain.

7:53 PM PST, November 29, 2005 latimes.com : Science Possible Miniature Solar System Discovered By Associated Press LOS ANGELES -- Astronomers have discovered what they believe is the birth of the smallest known solar system. Peering through ground- and space-based telescopes, scientists observed a brown dwarf -- or failed star -- less than one hundredth the mass of the sun surrounded by what appears to be a disk of dust and gas.

The brown dwarf -- located 500 light years away in the constellation Chamaeleon -- appears to be undergoing a planet-forming process that could one day yield a solar system, said Kevin Luhman of Pennsylvania State University, who led the discovery.

It's long been believed that our own solar system came into existence when a huge cloud of gas and dust collapsed to form the sun and planets about 4.5 billion years ago.

The new finding is the smallest brown dwarf to be discovered with planet-forming properties. If the disk forms planets, the resulting solar system will be about 100 times smaller than our own, scientists said.

Brown dwarfs, which are bigger than a planet but much smaller than a star, are thought to be balls of gas that failed to collect enough mass to start shining.

The discovery was made using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope as well as ground observatories. Results will be published in the Dec. 10 issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters. <

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But Do They Call it Soda or Pop?

Apparently monkeys, or at least Japanese Yakushima macaque have regional accents. Some scientit think that their accents may give us clues into the origins of human language.
via fark

Monkeys have accents too, experts say From: Agence France-Presse From correspondents in Tokyo

November 30, 2005

TO the untrained ear monkeys of a certain species may all sound the same, but Japanese researchers have found that, like human beings, they actually have an accent depending on where they live.
The finding, the first of its kind, will appear in the December edition of a German scientific journal Ethology to be published on December 5, the primate researchers said.

"Differences between chattering by monkeys are like dialects of human beings," said Nobuo Masataka, professor of ethology at Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute.

The research team analyzed voice tones of two groups of the same species of primates, the Japanese Yakushima macaque also known as Macaca fuscata yakui, between 1990 and 2000.

One group was formed by 23 monkeys living on the southern Japanese island of Yakushima, and the other group comprised 30 descendants from the same tribe moved from the island to Mount Ohira, central Japan, in 1956.

The result showed that the island group had a tone about 110 hertz higher on average than the one taken to central Japan.

Monkeys on Yakushima Island have an accent with a higher tone because tall trees on the island tend to block their voice, Masataka said.

"On the other hand, monkeys on Mount Ohira do not have to gibber with a high tone as trees there are low," he said. "Each group adopted their own accent depending upon their environment."

This suggests differences in voice tones are not caused by genes, Masataka said, adding the results "may lead to a clue to the origin of human language."

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 28, 2005

Is it Just Me or is it Hot?

Nope; it isn't me. At least according to Fox Science, it isn't me. the world is getting hotter; and who is to blame.
Us: homo sapiens.
Kind of puts into question that last part of our name doesn't it?

Isn't it time to stop debating the issue and start fixing the problem?

Study: Carbon Dioxide at Highest Level for 650,000 Years

Monday, November 28, 2005

WASHINGTON — Scientists are looking back to a time when "greenhouse gases" were not the problem they are today, and it is giving them a clearer picture of how people are making it worse.

A team of European researchers analyzed tiny air bubbles preserved in Antarctic ice for millennia and determined there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now than at any point during the last 650,000 years.

The study by the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica, published Friday in the journal Science, promises to spur "dramatically improved understanding" of climate change, said geosciences specialist Edward Brook of Oregon State University.

Today, scientists directly measure levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which accumulate in the atmosphere as a result of fuel-burning and other processes. Those gases help trap solar heat, like the greenhouses for which they are named, resulting in a gradual warming of the planet.

Those measurements are disturbing: Levels of carbon dioxide have climbed from 280 parts per million two centuries ago to 380 ppm today.

Earth's average temperature, meanwhile, increased about 1 degree Fahrenheit in recent decades, a relatively rapid rise. Many climate specialists warn that continued warming could have severe impacts, such as rising sea levels and changing rainfall patterns.

Skeptics sometimes dismiss the rise in greenhouse gases as part of a naturally fluctuating cycle. The new study provides ever-more definitive evidence countering that view, however.

Deep Antarctic ice encases tiny air bubbles formed when snowflakes fell over hundreds of thousands of years. Extracting the air allows a direct measurement of the atmosphere at past points in time, to determine the naturally fluctuating range.

A previous ice-core sample had traced greenhouse gases back about 440,000 years. This new sample, from East Antarctica, goes 210,000 years further back in time.

Today's still rising level of carbon dioxide already is 27 percent higher than its peak during all those millennia, said lead researcher Thomas Stocker of the University of Bern, Switzerland.

"We are out of that natural range today," he said.

Moreover, that rise is occurring at a speed that "is over a factor of a hundred faster than anything we are seeing in the natural cycles," Stocker added. "It puts the present changes in context."

The team, which included scientists from France and Germany, found similar results for methane, another greenhouse gas.

Researchers also compared the gas levels to the Antarctic temperature over that time period, covering eight cycles of alternating glacial or ice ages and warm periods. They found a stable pattern: Lower levels of gases during cold periods and higher levels during warm periods.

The bottom line: "There's no natural condition that we know about in a really long time where the greenhouse gas levels were anywhere near what they are now. And these studies tell us that there's a strong relationship between temperature and greenhouse gases," said Oregon State's Brook. "Which logically leads you to the conclusion that maybe we should worry about temperature change in the future."

A lengthening history of greenhouse gas concentrations should help climate specialists build better models about what the future might bring, Stocker said. It also may help answer additional questions such as how long ago humans started influencing greenhouse gas accumulations, and what impact other factors such as ocean currents play in the complexities of climate change.

Just a decade ago, scientists weren't sure it was possible to trace greenhouse gas concentrations back so far in ice. Now, Brook is part of another international research team preparing to hunt an ice-core sample dating back a million years or more, hoping to reach eras when Earth's temperature was significantly warmer.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 22, 2005

And This is Sad

Without science we are doomed to regress. And if you read my last post, and the article it linked to, you can see how it can be both fun and constructive.

Does anyone know about how science is shaping up in other parts of the world?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hail the Long Suffering Wife

I couldn't decide what to title this post after I finished reading this article in Popular Science.

It is a long article, and it is a fun read. And it shows how joy and science can go hand in hand.

This really is a big deal and it starts with the pursuit to happiness.

But his wife, his wife deserves a lot of praise. I hope he names the paint line after her.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 04, 2005

Loved To Death?

I wonder if they studied the Kama Sutra?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 03, 2005

So What Do you all Think About

Googles new "personal search history". Is this a cool tool or a scary "big brother's arrived" situation?

My history is boring for those that are curious. And there is a privacy issue, so google assures us. So how good is there word?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 29, 2005

Grab your Ice Skates!!!

And head off to Mars.

Another one of Rachel Ann's expensive vacation trips. hey, this one is within our solar system!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 14, 2005

Sun Lovers!

Have I got a vacation spot for you.

It is rather a lengthy journey, so in addition to all that sunscreen you'll need you might want to bring along some books and your favorite CDs.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 12, 2005

You Don't Want this Gold

Gold is nice to have around when it is the pretty metal kind that you can use to purchase such things as food and shelter. But watch out for gold bacteria(did you know that bacteria had color?) apparently it may glitter but it isn't good.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Gold-colored bacteria that cause more disease than colorless strains do so because they carry antioxidants to protect themselves against immune system attack, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

Their findings, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggest a potential new way to treat some serious infections, the researchers said.

Gold-colored strains of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which get their color from antioxidant compounds called carotenoids, tend to cause more disease than colorless strains.

Carotenoids also give carrots their color and include the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene.

Victor Nizet of the University of California San Diego and colleagues found that the carotenoids help defend Staph aureus bacteria from the toxic molecules made by immune system cells called neutrophils.

When they removed the carotenoids from the bacteria, they were easier to kill.

Drugs that interfere with the bacteria's ability to make carotenoids might help in fighting antibiotic-resistant staph infections, which are on the rise globally, Nizet said.

I think I'm going to go have a carrot. I figure what's good for the bacteria is good for my body as well.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 28, 2005

When They Invent One that will Clean House

then I'll applaud. But hey, this is pretty cool. Jetsons here we come!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 11:01 AM | Comments (2)

June 23, 2005

Look Mom No Tank!

My jaw dropped open when I read this one.

via Arutz 7 (isn't this just so cool? I want one!)

Israeli Invention Enables Diving Without Oxygen Tank 16:27 Jun 16, '05 / 9 Sivan 5765

Israeli inventor Alon Bodner has found a way to use the small amounts of air already in the water to provide oxygen to divers and even to submarines.

Bodner's device has the potential to overcome limitations imposed on divers by oxygen tanks. The tanks limit not only the amount of time a diver can remain under water, but also affect the diver's buoyancy and they empty out over the course of a dive. Divers carefully monitor their buoyancy - the tendency to either float up toward the surface or to sink - and actually wear weight belts to be able to keep it at zero. This enables them to concern themselves only with swimming in the direction they want, without having to fight against a potentially increasing tendency to float up or sink. In addition, of course, tanks must be brought to refueling facilities to be reused.

Nuclear submarines and the international space station have long used systems that generate oxygen from water by performing 'Electrolysis' – the separation of oxygen from hydrogen. However, these systems require too much energy for standard submarines, let alone divers, to use.

Bodner told IsraCast that he got the idea for his invention from fish, who do not perform chemical separation of oxygen from water. Instead, they use the dissolved air that exists in the water in order to breathe.

The system uses a physics principle known as "Henry's Law," which states that the amount of gas that can be dissolved in a liquid body is proportional to the pressure on the liquid body.

Using a rapidly rotating centrifuge to create increased pressure inside a small sealed chamber containing sea water, Bodner was able to extract enough oxygen from the water for a human being to breathe.

A laboratory model of the system has already been built and tested. It runs on rechargeable batteries, and can be worn in the form of a vest.

Bodner is now building a full-sized prototype, has already received a patent for the invention in Europe, and is expecting to receive one in the US as well.

Just don't forget to charge the batteries before you go down!!!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:26 AM | Comments (2)

June 20, 2005

Computer, if You Please!

Does everyone remember that scene from the Star Trek/save the whales movie when Scotty tries to talk to the computer?

That's the image that came to mind when I read this:

BGU researchers develop voice-activated web search Maestro integrates data recovery with speech recognition technology to execute Internet searches. Gadi Golan 30 May 05 14:51 A research team at Ben Gurion University of the Negev is developing a voice-activated Internet search interface.

Maestro integrates data recovery with speech recognition technology to execute Internet searches using a microphone and loudspeaker.

The project is intended to be part of a larger experiment about traffic accidents, headed by Dr. Meirav Taieb-Maimon.

Maestro, which was developed to Taieb-Maimon's specifications, in consultation with Dr. Bracha Shapira, is an application installed on an ordinary personal computer that enables spoken queries to taken as free-text dictation.

After the search has been executed, the results may be heard either as a list of websites, or by subject. Using voice commands, the user can navigate to the desired site, and listen to its content.

The project integrates various software components, including Microsoft's speech recognition module.

First read about it in the Jerusalem post, but I can't find the article there.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:48 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2005

Ah, Shut Up!

Most people know by now that our over reliance on anti-biotics have produced super-bacteria, which are harder and harder to kill. Well,bacteria may have met their match, and anti-biotics aren't part of the battle. Rather, a Hebrew University researcher, Adel Jabbour, has synthesized a chemical compound that interrupts the communication system between bacteria. Hey, I didn't even know that bacteria could communicate! But apparently they can and that is what leads to the proliferation of the bacteria.

From the article:

Most human and animal diseases are associated with bacteria that are assembled in "communities" called biofilms that attach themselves to many surfaces, such as live tissues, implants and teeth. Biofilm can also be found on non-biological surfaces such as water pipes or air-conditioning ducts.

Only recently has it been discovered that bacteria that accumulate in biofilms have a communications network between them called "quorum sensing," which controls their collective activity. These sensing signals control the physiology and pathogenicity of the bacteria in the biofilms. A boron-based molecule that is produced by these bacteria, called auto inducer-2, controls the signals in this quorum sensing process.

Jabbour has succeeded in synthesizing modified chemical compounds, resembling the structure of the natural auto inducer-2, that can disrupt the signaling. By altering the molecular structure in these compounds, Jabbour was able to show that one can control the quorum sensing responses and "trick" the bacteria.

The modified compounds distort the signaling that sets off the bacterial changes, making it possible to seriously hamper the bacterial action, or, if so desired, even enhance it (in those cases where the bacteria are beneficial).

Control over quorum sensing provides a promising avenue for future treatment of bacterial pathogenic activity without having to resort to antibiotic drugs and their accompanying disadvantages. On the other hand, enhancing quorum sensing could prove useful in agriculture, biotechnology and the food industry, where increasing bacterial activity could be beneficial.

Is this a case of the pen being mightier than the sword?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 02:15 PM | Comments (1)

June 10, 2005

Good News For Cancer Sufferers

Medications for the treatment of cancer, while life saving, can, as is so often true of medications, lead to their own problems, among them something called "chemobrain"; the loss of memory and concentration among other difficulties.

Scientist in Cincinnati (my home state) may have found a treatment; a drug called dexmethyphenidate.
Another interesting read via Science Daily

Kudos to Dr. Elyse Lower and her fellow researchers on the team.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 12:42 PM | Comments (3)

Bored To Death

According to this report on Science Daily: a dull job really could kill you.

Borings jobs a health hazard, study says

LONDON, June 9 (UPI) -- A study by University College of London says boring and repetitive jobs leave workers at a greater risk of heart attacks

The researchers say such jobs rarely provide workers with unexpected challenges and are among the most dangerous in the workplace, compared to a job that is both exciting and varied, reports the Daily Mail.

The study found that those trapped in dead-end jobs are much more susceptible to heart attacks because their hearts find it difficult to adapt when called on to work harder, during exercise or after a sudden shock.

The study's aim was to find out why the levels of heart disease among people with low-paying jobs and low educational achievements are higher than in the general population.

Dr. Harry Hemingway, who led the study, said the research could help reduce heart disease by prompting a change in workplace conditions.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

So now I have an excuse NOT to do housework, right? I mean, if you don't have your health, you don't have anything.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 12:32 PM | Comments (3)

October 25, 2004

The Ship Who Sang

via Dean of Dean's World.

The Ship Who Sang is a book by by Anne McCaffrey about a deformed child born into some futurist world where such children were condemned to die unless their brain proved useful for manipulating various equipment; the heroine in the book comes to "reside" in a spaceship. It is one of dh's favorite books.

Well, fiction meet fact, sort of; scientist in Florida have taken a cells from a rats brain, grown it, and taught it to fly a simulated plane.

It is a strange new world we live in.

In other brain news:

Starvation diets might help you catch better, but aren't likely to help you remember where you left your glasses.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 10:46 PM | Comments (1)

October 24, 2004

Memory Prothesis

via Carlos' Realm:

Dementia is one of the most devastating possibilities that face the aging. The slow loss of the person while they remain before you, the pain and confusion of the patient, is a heartache that awaits many. The cost, financial and emotional is enormous.

But science holds out a hope for us; a prosthesis for the brain. Professor Theodore W. Berger and his team are working on a silicon chip that can function as the hippocampus, the memory creating area in the brain.

They are currently working on rats; they hope to have a usable variety for humans in as little as 15 years.

15 years, and perhaps, in at least some cases, one of the most demoralizing aspects of getting old will no longer haunt us. To me, that is amazing.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2004

What's on Your Microchip?

The FDA has just this past Wednesday, approved the use of microchips in humans for medical purposes. The chip would keep all medical data on a patient allowing a doctor to check illnesses, allergies and similar information. It would obviously be of great service to emergency personnel and doctors in cases of accidents or sudden illness when the patient has been rendered unconscious, or cannot communicate for whatever reason..

The chip has been used in other countries for security purposes and the chip has been employed to find lost pets and keep track of cattle.

Right now the only approved purpose for humans in the USA is medical data. In the future? It only takes a bit of imagination to conceive of BRAVE NEW WORLD scenarios.

This could be a great boon to society in general; keeping track of patients with dementia, locating a lost child, monitoring criminals, locate someone in a burning building, or buried in an earthquake.

In Spain they are using it to track purchases in bars; imagine walking into any store and not needing cash or a credit card or anything that is easily stolen for the transaction? With the added security of retinal scanning mugging would become something nearly in heard of.

But still there is a little voice, with a lot of volume, that screams "BIG BROTHER", and that scares me. We could become open books to anyone with a scanner. Stole a pack of cigarettes as a teen; we got you. Purchase porn? We know all about it. Even if it didn't involve anything negative, for instance how much one spends on groceries, or favorite places to vacation, do we want this information available to anyone who can scan?

Is it something to be feared? How is it best regulated so that it can provide help and not lead us to a world where we are all numbered? Would there be a way to control what data any particular person was able to access? Or would detective work become as easy as purchasing a scanner? Are these legitimate worries or are these groundless fears, based more on hysteria than fact? I'd really be interested in knowing what you think.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:36 PM | Comments (2)

September 28, 2004

Your Best Friend Could Save Your Life

Dogs are proving more and more invaluable to human lives; they are protectors. help the lost find their way, companions for the lonely and the ill,they guide the blind, , and help the deaf, they can detect an
epileptic seizure, and now, apparently, they can detect cancer.

I don't know if they would ever be used in treatement, but maybe we all need to start learning to talk dog. There could be a whole slew of things they are trying to tell us, if only we could understand them.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2004

Saving Fertility

On Thursday of last week, September 23, a woman who had her ovaries removed and then transplanted back into her body following cancer treatment, successfully gave birth to a baby girl. She conceived the child naturally.

This is quite a development and offers great hope to women who are going through medical treatment that could affect the ovaries and render them infertile.

May Tamara ring her family lots of nachas (pleasure), and may she live till 120 years, all in good health of body, mind, heart and soul.

Via ThymeWise.(one of the great blogs found via What She Said)

I love science!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2004

Measles and Hodgkins Lymphoma

This is interesting and important; via Israel 21c.

Israeli scientists from Ben Gurion University have found a link between Hogkins disease and measles. Apparently getting measles at an early age is protection aginst Hodgkins, getting measles as a teen or adult is a risk factor. There is also an inverse relationship to the rate of measles vacinations and the rate of measles, indicating that vacinations are good policy.

A brief snippet from the article:

"In our research, we decided to look into the tissue of Hodgkin's patients to check for the presence of measles virus. And we found the presence of measles proteins in 54% of the patients," Benharroch told ISRAEL21c.

He also assures everyone that having had measles isn't a guarantee that one will get Hodgkins. As my summation is most likely poor at best, please read the full article here.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2004

Helping the Blind to See

This is fascinating.

There is a new type of surgery available for those who are suffering from corneal blindness. The process is two part, and involvees using the tissue from the patients cheek and a tooth along with some of the jawbone. The procedure is rather complicated, so go read about it here.

This givea a whole new meaning to the word "eye-teeth".

Other articles dealing with this new surgery can be found here and here.

via Dean's world. Thanks for blogging about this Dean.

I love science!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2004

What I won't do for friends (benefits of chocolate and beef)

Well, I'm going to make Jim a happy camper!

Here's an abstract from the science blog no less (so you know you can trust it)
On the health benefits of beef.:

In her report, Hasler also stated that conjugated linoleic acid in beef may protect against a variety of cancers. This fatty acid increases in beef when it is cooked or otherwise processed.

full article (which focuses more on other foods) here.

and here's on chocolate.

"Cocoa contains the same nutrients found in other plant foods, including minerals and specific antioxidants that help ward off diseases such as heart disease," says registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson Althea Zanecosky. "In addition, oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil, makes up one-third of the fat in chocolate and has been shown to be beneficial for heart health.

full article here.

I'm good! ;-)

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:33 PM | Comments (1)

Drink up!

Got this in an e-mail, and thought I would pass on the good news:

It is news guaranteed to raise a cheer among those who enjoy a glass or two: drinking half a bottle of wine a day can make your brain work better, especially if you are a woman.

Here's the rest of the article; what more needs to be said? Bring on the vino! It's a matter of health.

Finally, something we can drink!

And don't forget the good news about coffee either!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:55 AM | Comments (4)