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Fish that produce their own sunscreen could inspire improved UV protection

By - May 13, 2015 1 Picture

If you happen to be frolicking around in some tropical waters at some point in the future, you may have the marine life circling your feet to thank for keeping your shoulders from roasting. Scientists have uncovered a technique used by zebrafish and various other animals to create their own sunscreen and recreated it in the lab. They say the method could one day be used to produce sunscreen and other pharmaceuticals for humans.

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Scientists create beef that's high in fatty acids found in fish

By - May 12, 2015 1 Picture

We frequently hear that eating fish is a healthy thing to do, because it's full of beneficial long chain fatty acids. Unfortunately, the Western diet tends to be short on fish and bigger on beef, which contains short chain fatty acids that aren't quite so good for us. Chinese scientists are creating a work-around, however – genetically-engineered beef that's high in the "good" fatty acids.

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Secrets of Bombardier beetle's superheated defensive spray revealed

By - May 12, 2015 1 Picture

The bombardier beetle has a unique defensive mechanism. It induces a chemical explosion inside its shell to create a boiling, toxic liquid which it sprays at its aggressor. Now researchers in the US have discovered how it does this, and they hope that further study of the conditions inside the beetle that allow it to produce the jet without harming itself may inform real world technologies.

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New technique allows for production of drug-delivering silicone microspheres

By - May 8, 2015 1 Picture

Scientists are increasingly looking at using medication-filled microspheres for targeted drug delivery within the human body. Silicone would be a particularly good building material for such spheres, as it's biocompatible, waterproof, and chemically stable. Unfortunately, using traditional methods, it can't be made into small enough spheres. Now, however, a new process has allowed for the creation of silicone microspheres that are about one one-hundredth the size of any previously produced.

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Onion cells used to create artificial muscles

By - May 7, 2015 2 Pictures

Artificial muscles could one day revolutionize fields such as robotics, prosthetics and nanotechnology. So far, we've seen examples made from materials like electroactive elastomers, crumpled graphene, and vanadium dioxide. The problem is, most artificial muscles can only expand in one direction, or contract in the other. Now, however, scientists from National Taiwan University have gotten around that limitation using gold-plated onion cells.

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Clingfish could inspire safer surgeries and better whale-tracking

By - May 6, 2015 3 Pictures

Mussels have an incredible ability to cling to wet surfaces. It's an ability that scientists are trying to replicate for use in man-made adhesives. That adhesion can't be turned on and off as needed, however, limiting its potential applications. That's where the Northern clingfish comes in. It can suck onto rough, slimy surfaces, supporting up to 150 times its own body weight when lifted. That said, it can also just let go and swim away whenever it wants. Scientists from the University of Washington now understand how it's able to do so, and are looking at applying the principle to fields such as surgery and whale-tracking.

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Large Hadron Collider limbers up after two-year overhaul

By - May 5, 2015 9 Pictures

Restarting the world's largest particle accelerator after a two-year overhaul isn't just a matter of throwing a switch and making sure the lights go on. It's an eight-week process of baby steps – one's that involve billions of electron volts. But the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) took a major step forward this week as the CERN team fired up two counter-rotating proton beams that were injected into the LHC using the Super Proton Synchrotron, then accelerated to an energy of 450 GeV each.

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Historical scientific treats up for auction at Bonhams

By - May 4, 2015 34 Pictures

In science, things can move quickly and once-vaunted instruments are often left by the wayside. Bonhams auction houses around the world regularly scoop 'em up and dust 'em off, inviting the technologically curious to take a little stroll through the history of scientific achievement and invest in what we've previously argued is one of the most undervalued collectibles marketplaces. Bonhams' upcoming Scientific, Technological and Mechanical Musical Instrument auction in London will showcase a range of rare and unique collectibles, with amputating saws and hand-cranked mechanical calculators all part of the mix.

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