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Fri, 28 Apr 2017
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Science & Technology


Researchers modify naturally occurring proteins to kill cancer

© AP Photo/ Wong Maye-E, File
A new study from Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Israel has demonstrated that natural proteins can be modified to kill cancerous cells without harming healthy cells.

The study, published in the journal Oncotarget, involves the modification of three proteins that the body naturally produces. The proteins attack cancer cells when they begin to divide, causing them to self-destruct.

However, as the cancerous cells are the only ones that undergo such intense reproduction, the proteins leave healthy cells alone.

"The discovery of an exclusive mechanism that kills cancer cells without impairing healthy cells, and the fact that this mechanism works on a variety of rapidly proliferating human cancer cells, is very exciting," said Professor Malka Cohen-Armon of TAU's Sackler School of Medicine, who led the research.

Comment: Whilst waiting for yet another miracle cure we can content ourselves with researching cancer treatments we already have at our disposal:


Researchers identify brain cells that spy on your breath

© Thomas Schmidt
Breathing deeply reverse engineers your mood by tricking your brain cells into thinking you are calm
Taking a deep breath really does calm you down by triggering neurons in your brain which tell the body it is time to relax, a new study has found.

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California have identified 175 brain cells which spy on the breath and alter state of mind accordingly.

For thousands of years yoga students have been taught that controlling their breathing can bring a sense of calm, while it is a well known truism that taking a few deep breaths can lower rage. But until now nobody knew why it worked.

The new study suggests that it is indeed possible to reverse engineer your mood simply by altering breathing.

Comment: Five reasons to boost the power of your brain and body with breathing

Learn more about the benefits of breathing exercises. Visit the Éiriú Eolas website and try out the Éiriú Eolas Stress Control, Healing and Rejuvenation Program.


Asteroid discovered March 25th came closer to the Earth than the moon last night

An asteroid as big as a bus came closer to Earth than the moon last night. The object, dubbed 2017 FJ101, zoomed passed within 202,000 miles (325,087 km) of our planet
An asteroid as big as a bus came closer to Earth than the moon last night. The object, dubbed 2017 FJ101, zoomed passed within 202,000 miles (325,087 km) of our planet. But the near-Earth asteroid posed no threat to our planet or the moon, scientists said.

The asteroid, which is 26ft (eight metres) wide, was first spotted by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope located on the summit of the Haleakalā volcano on Maui, Hawaii on March 25.

On average, the moon orbits around 238,855 miles (384,400km) away from our planet. But the bus-sized object came around 36,8555 miles closer to the Earth than the moon last night.


New ground-breaking study puts climate models to the test - yields unexpected result of steps and pauses in the climate signal

© Skepticalscience.com
A ground-breaking new paper has recently been published in Earth System Dynamics that really turns the idea of direct linear warming of the atmosphere on it's ear, suggesting a "store and release mechanism" by the oceans, which explains why there seemed to be a shift in global temperature during the 1997/98 super El Nino followed by a "pause" in global temperatures.

Remember the "escalator" graph from wrongly named "Skeptical Science" designed to shame climate skeptics? Looks like that may have been an accidentally prescient backfire on their part based on the findings of this new paper.

The paper is: "Reconciling the signal and noise of atmospheric warming on decadal timescales", Roger N. Jones and James H. Ricketts, Earth System Dynamics, 8 (1), 2017.


Unexplained explosion coming from a galaxy 10.7 billion light-years away

Scientists have taken the deepest X-ray image of our Universe to date - and within it, they've found evidence of a huge, unexplained explosion coming from a galaxy around 10.7 billion light-years away.

The galaxy itself appears to be fairly faint and unremarkable, but in October 2014, it suddenly became at least 1,000 times brighter over a few hours, before fading into oblivion again. No astronomical phenomenon that scientists currently know of can explain the behaviour.

"We may have observed a completely new type of cataclysmic event," said one of the researchers Kevin Schawinski, from ETH Zurich in Switzerland.


Amateur astronomers create stunning photographs of Jupiter from Juno probe's latest images

© missionjuno.swri.edu
NASA has released images of Jupiter taken from the Juno probe during its fifth orbit of the planet. Amateur astronomers have processed the raw images into stunning full-color photographs.

Juno completed its latest orbit on March 27, and sent new images back to Earth using the JunoCam.

The $1 billion spacecraft launched in 2011 and took five years to reach Jupiter and begin orbiting the planet.

Ice Cube

Fat-like molecules induced by cold help to turn on calorie-burning fat and improve metabolism in mice

© Martha Sexton/public domain
Activated by cold, the small amounts of brown fat scattered around your body can burn calories to warm you up. They also can help to lower insulin resistance and other conditions implicated in type 2 diabetes and obesity. Since the discovery in 2009 that brown fat can be active in adult humans, researchers around the world have worked to unveil ways to switch on this fat. Scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center now have identified a new route to throw the switch.

The investigators have shown that a lipid (a fat-like substance) called 12,13-diHOME that circulates in the blood signals brown fat cells in mice to fuel up with other lipids, says Matthew Lynes, a Joslin postdoctoral researcher and lead author on a paper describing the work in the journal Nature Medicine. In one experiment, obese mice given low levels of the molecule produced reduced levels of blood triglycerides—other forms of lipids that can increase risks for heart disease and diabetes in humans.

Comment: The Health & Wellness Show: The benefits of cold adaptation


Former editor British Medical Journal: Peer review process is a "sacred cow" that should be slaughtered

© AFP / Getty
Richard Smith said reviews are slow, expensive and may not actually work.
The peer review process - long considered the gold standard of quality scientific research - is a "sacred cow" that should be slaughtered, the former editor of one of the country's leading medical journals has said.

Richard Smith, who edited the British Medical Journal for more than a decade, said there was no evidence that peer review was a good method of detecting errors and claimed that "most of what is published in journals is just plain wrong or nonsense".

Research papers considered for scientific and medical journals undergo a process of scrutiny by experts before they can be published. Hundreds of thousands of new studies are published around the world every year, and the peer review process exists to ensure that readers can have confidence that published findings are scientifically sound.



German scientists power up the world's largest artificial sun

Synlight is the largest collection of film projector spotlights ever assembled in one room, and scientists in Germany are turning them all on at once in the pursuit of efficient and renewable energy.

This experiment involving the world's "largest artificial sun" is taking place in Jülich, a town located 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Cologne, and it was designed by scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The device features 149 industrial-grade film projector spotlights, and each one boasts roughly 4,000 times the wattage of the average light bulb.

When this artificial sun is turned on, it generates light that's 10,000 times as intense as natural sunlight on Earth. Swiveling the lamps and concentrating them on one spot can produce temperatures of around 3,500 degrees Celsius (6,332 degrees Fahrenheit), which is three times as hot as the heat generated by a blast furnace.

Cell Phone

IFace 3.0 Mobile: Tech company develops selfie logins

Many times we come across tech press releases that are little more than grabs for funding within a climate of ripe pickings for anyone involved with security development. Often outlandish and impractical, a good deal of them can be dismissed quickly. However, the trend toward more pervasive biometrics cannot be denied. It is showing up at banks, in police work, border control, travel of all kinds, and even on your home computer.

This press release posted at One World Identity from Innovatrics - a company that boasts "900 million people having been biometrically processed using Innovatrics software" - appears to be a serious player in the field. Utilizing a cute tagline of "popularizing the 'selfie login'" this press release shows that it is far more than a personal security choice. We are already seeing that federal biometric databases have been established in secret, yet the technology continues to expand even as the ethical boundaries remain unestablished.

My emphasis added.

Press Release: Innovatrics Continues to Push Boundaries with Mobile Facial Biometric Platform

By Cameron D'Ambrosi March 23, 2017

Popularizing the 'selfie login'

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - (March 23, 2017) - Innovatrics, a leading provider of biometric identity management technology, has released a mobile version of its unique facial recognition technology, IFace 3.0 Mobile.

Responding to the needs of financial institutions, commercial organizations and mobile application integrators, IFace 3.0 Mobile is designed to be seamlessly integrated into mobile applications to include facial biometrics, or 'selfie login', as a second factor authentication feature.