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Helen Clark

A treatment process developed by engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder promises a simpler and more economical way to clean up the wastewater produced by oil and gas operations that is heavily salinated and full of organic contaminants. The technique, which involves the use of a microbe-powered battery, also produces rather than consumes energy. Read More
Many people assume e-cigarettes are a healthier – or less unhealthy, at least – option than regular cigarettes, resulting in a rapid uptake in recent years. While the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are still unknown, research out of Johns Hopkins University has found that e-cigs may deliver a false sense of security along with their nicotine hit. Read More
Building on methods used by farmers to produce silage for feeding livestock, Japanese researchers have developed a technology for simultaneous biofuel and animal feed production which doesn't require off-site processing. The solid-state fermentation (SSF) system captures ethanol produced as a result of fermentation resulting from wrapping rice plants grown to feed livestock in a plastic-covered bale containing yeast, enzymes and bacteria. Read More
The skin is the body's first line of defense against infection, with an extensive network of skin-based immune cells responsible for detecting the presence of foreign invaders. However, in addition to pathogens, an immune response can be triggered by allergens or even our own cells, resulting in unwanted inflammation and allergies. Researchers have now shed new light on the way the immune system in our skin works, paving the way for future improvements in tackling infections, allergies and autoimmune diseases. Read More
Roundworms, or nemotodes, can be found in practically every ecosystem on Earth and are thought to account for 80 percent of all individual animals on the planet. Making up some of these numbers is Toxocara canis, a roundworm that, although more commonly found in dogs, can infect humans. An international team of scientists has now sequenced the genetic code of T. canis, opening the door for new drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tests applicable to a wide range of roundworms to be developed. Read More
The intersection between transparency and privacy can be tricky. Crypto currency bitcoin is a good example of this as its purported anonymity can present problems in transactions and potentially lead to various kinds of fraud. In an effort to make the digital currency more attractive to a wider range of legitimate businesses, students at Trinity College Dublin are looking for ways to increase transparency in transactions without ditching the anonymity altogether and believe a "credit-check" database could be one answer. Read More

For many people, jellyfish are just an unwelcome addition to a day at the beach. But the gelatinous creatures can seriously affect commercial fishing ventures and even cause the shutdown of power stations when they form into giant "blooms" in the ocean. Researchers at Deakin University in Australia, might be on the way to a solution. Read More

It's now over a century (101 years, to be exact) since ground was first struck to build the London Post Office Railway, an underground tunnel system that transported the bulk of the city’s letters and parcels between sorting and delivery stations. When it opened in 1927 it was the world's first driverless, electrified railway, and operated up until 2003, when it closed due to financial reasons. There are now plans to turn it into a museum and part of the train line into a ride. Read More
How do you boost the chances of crowdfunding success for science projects? As it turns out success may not be down solely to the vagaries of its viral nature or the "sexiness" of the project. According to researchers at the University of Santa Barbara, who studied crowdfunding of science projects, more workaday things like consistent communication and simple enthusiasm are more important factors. Read More
Many who have tried to kick the sweet white crystals will tell you that "sugar addiction" is very real, and there are indeed neurological underpinnings that back them up. MIT researchers have now discovered that the pathways of the brain responsible for sugar addiction may differ from those which govern drug addiction and healthy eating, which could be a boon for studies and treatment of compulsive eating and obesity. Read More
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