Nanogirl news~

Gina Miller (
Wed, 8 Sep 1999 14:57:52 -0700

Nanogirl news~ Sept 8,99

*Mini-Motor Models Nature, Advances Miniaturization Technology. For the
first time, researchers have designed from scratch a working, chemically powered, molecular motor. The device will advance atomic-level understanding of natural molecular motors that power muscle contraction, sperm swimming, and a myriad other biological processes. It is also an extraordinary example of miniaturization of technology. (NIH/National Institute of General Medical Science)

*Entropy Systems New technology converts atmospheric heat to electricity.
Produces zero emissions and uses no fossil or nuclear fuels.

*Scenario for high-temperature, cuprate superconductivity proposed. A
University of Illinois theorist has proposed a "midinfrared" scenario that may help explain the mechanism behind high-temperature, cuprate (copper-containing) superconductors.

*Time Magazine articles:

Racing To Map Our DNA. Competition from private labs has forced the Human Genome Project into a frantic rush to finish first.,3266,17688,00.html The Biotech Century:,3266,17687,00.html All for the Good, Why genetic engineering must soldier on (article),3266,17679,00.html Was Einstein's Brain Built for Brilliance?Quite possibly, say Canadian researchers--and they may have pinpointed the source of his genius.,3266,27180,00.html

*Snapshot of new drug marks a major advance by Memorial Sloan-Kettering
MSKCC scientists have achieved a major milestone in a line of research that has spanned a quarter-century: the first-ever molecular "snapshot" of a new drug interacting with its cellular target.

*Hematopoietic Stem Cell Marker Finally Found. Hematopoietic stem cells,
created by bone marrow, have two unique abilities: they can develop into any kind of blood cell, and they can self-renew by generating new daughter stem cells. Yet they are very rare, making up only 1 in 100,000 marrow cells, and they have been notoriously difficult to distinguish from the blood's other progenitor cells.

*"The Planet That Hums" (New Scientist Planet Science) The earth we live on
create's a hum (that we are unable to hear) at pitches that range between 2 and 7 millihertz. Musically speaking, that's about sixteen octaves below middle C. Speeded up and amplified so you could hear it, the result would be a Stockhausenesque cacophony.

*In September, readers of BBC News Online can vote for the greatest thinker
of the millennium. Two experts, philosopher and writer Roger Scruton and lateral thinker Edward de Bono, have nominated their top 10 lists. But you may have other ideas.

*John Maeda, artist and MIT professor, marries conceptual design and digital
technology in new ways. (front page)

*W. Richard Steven noted technology author and teacher died last Wednesday.
Stevens was best known for his UNIX Network Programing series and and TCP/IP Illustrated book. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Richard's name to Habitat for Humanity, 2950 E. 22nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85713. He is survived by his wife and three children. The cause of death was not reported. (See his Funeral Notice): 002&wPubdate=

*CSpan site was cracked.
See the original site at: See the cracked site at: (brought to you by HN See the story at CNN

*Plasma, Plasma, Everywhere - A NASA scientist has created a new model of
the plasmasphere surrounding our world, building on the work of previous models. Earth's complicated plasma environment directly affects our life on Earth - from radio transmissions and power grids to satellite safety.

*Scottish Hackers Replace Government A group of Scottish hackers called the
"Hardcore Highland Haxxors," apparently isn't satisfied with the country's leadership, and yesterday took matters into its own hands. The group hacked into a government Web site.,1145,81,00.html

*(Wired) Scientists said on Tuesday they have pinpointed the first gene for
dyslexia, a common learning disorder that affects spelling and writing.

*Since the emergence of machine vision in the 1960s, debate has raged over
whether a parallel or serial architecture is best. Researchers modeling visual processes in the brain observed parallelism in neural structures, but didn't know enough about how visual information was being represented to resolve the issue. Now University of Iowa researchers say they've solved this vision research question: Does the brain operate in parallel or serially?

*Gadget Master

Jacob Rabinow was the government's gadget guru for 50 years. At 88, he's still tinkering away.

*Group Seeks DNA Test On Ancient Human Skeleton.
Hoping to prove that white people lived in North America 9,000 years ago, a small California religious group asked a U.S. federal court Tuesday to force the government to allow DNA testing of a prehistoric human skeleton found in Washington state in 1996.

*Gene tests set to allay couples' concern
The Scotsman

ROUTINE testing for would-be parents to give them the genetic all- clear is only a few years away, according to a leading expert in chromosomes. Dr Pat Ellis, the head of the South East Scotland Cytogenetics Service, which was officially opened yesterday, said couples would soon have the chance to be tested for chromosome abnormalities even before they considered trying to conceive. Dr Ellis emphasised that testing would not be compulsory and said that in the majority of cases it would be putting parents' minds at rest. If it turned out that parents were carrying abnormal chromosomes, then they could be counselled about the risks to any potential children they might have. "We expect progress to be rapid in the next few years. The human genome project {to map all known genes} is due to finish next year and we expect to be able to test for a wider range of disorders. Already we can screen for cystic fibrosis, spina bifida and Down's syndrome and we could test parents to see if there is a likelihood that they might pass the genes on to their children.
"If we reach that stage, people would not be forced to be screened - that would be like 1984 and would be totally unacceptable. But in the majority of cases it would mean putting people's minds at rest." Pregnant women are already offered testing to find out whether there is a likelihood that the baby they are carrying will have a genetic illness. Parents of children who have disorders as a result of damaged chromosomes are also tested to find out if it is an inherited condition or if the cells became damaged in another way - a discovery which has implications for the whole family who can then decide whether they want to be tested for the faulty gene. The new centre, based at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, brings together experts in all aspects of genetics, as well as some of the most up-to-date equipment for testing for genetic disorders. Cytogenetics is the study of chromosomes, the collection of genes which determine the characteristics of a human being. The cytogenetic service will analyse genetic samples from patients with a range of disorders which could have an underlying genetic cause, including infertility and physical or mental handicap. The unit will carry out about 3,000 tests a year on blood, bone marrow and tissue samples, including 1,000 tests on antenatal patients to identify potential abnormalities in unborn babies. About 500 tests will involve patients with leukaemia, as examining chromosomes can show the exact type of illness, how far it has progressed and give pointers about the best course of treatment. The GBP 400,000 centre includes advanced technology such as the FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridisation) laboratory and image capture room which allows the scientists to see chromosomal abnormalities more precisely. Dr Ellis said: "This move is the culmination of many years of planning, matched by as many disappointments, as relocation proved unsuitable for many reasons. The opportunities which it affords for closer collaboration with our colleagues in clinical and molecular genetics, backed by modern, state-of-the-art equipment for studying chromosomes, can only improve the overall service offered to patients in this area with possible genetic disorders." The unit was opened by Barry Sealey, the chairman of the Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust, who said: "There is a growing interest in conditions which are transmitted genetically and our unit plays a key role in identifying such conditions, particularly before and immediately after birth."

*Britain may lose top GM technology

The Independent - London

A WORLD-BEATING British technology to make vaccines in genetically modified plants may be lost to the United States, because British investors are scared of the "GM" tag.
Iain Cubitt, chief executive of Cambridge-based Axis Genetics, yesterday criticised a "failure of confidence" among City investors, who shied away from providing pounds 10m to fund the expansion of clinical trials of its products. Six weeks ago, an American university began human trials of a vaccine against hepatitis B, which kills one million people every year, made from GM potatoes produced by Axis Genetics. The company, which grew its crops in sealed greenhouses, was also working on GM plants including bananas to produce vaccines against diarrhoea and even cancer. If any of the products proves itself in trials it could be a massive moneyspinner. But when the funding fell short, the business last week laid off 25 of its 50 staff and has gone into administration, one step away from bankruptcy. With no obvious British buyer, a US biotechnology company - such as Monsanto - may be keen to acquire the technology. Dr Cubitt said: "I think it's a tremendous loss for us, as we have gone far enough already to show that there's a chance of succeeding." But he declined to say whether he had been approached by potential buyers. The company's problems make it one of the most visible casualties of the European backlash against genetically modified products, which was sparked in 1996 by American farmers' refusal to separate GM soya - which has no benefit to the consumer - from conventional strains. Opposition to the technology has snowballed in both Britain and continental Europe, forcing supermarkets and manufacturers to declare their foods GM-free. Last week, consumer pressure finally forced one of the biggest American soya processors to tell farmers to separate GM and conventional strains after harvest. Peter Melchett, executive director of Greenpeace UK, blamed the situation on pharmaceutical companies' decision to ally themselves with GM food techniques. "We told the Prime Minister earlier this year that if they didn't distinguish between medicines, and crops and food which involved releases to the environment, they would suffer in the backwash of the public's rejection of GM food." Dr Cubitt said: "Because we are genetically modifying plants, that can be confused in the public mind with all the other issues about GM food. Basically it's a lack of confidence among investors."

*Gina "Nanogirl" Miller

Nanotechnology Industries
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