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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
If you've ever seen a bat in flight, then you'll know how quickly and
precisely they can maneuver. Scientists from Johns Hopkins University,
Columbia University and the University of Maryland have now uncovered
one of the key factors that allows them to do so – and it could have
applications in the design of aircraft.
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.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have built a cheap 3D-printed attachment able to turn smartphones into sophisticated microscopes. Armed with the new device, a smartphone would be able to detect single DNA strands and analyze them to diagnose diseases including cancer and Alzheimer’s without bulky and expensive equipment.