Nanogirl News~ Weekend tidbits

Gina Miller (
Sat, 18 Sep 1999 23:10:57 -0700

                                      ~Nanogirl News-Weekend tidbits~
Sept.18, 99

*Biotech Breakthrough? 'Buckyball shards' show promise for chemical
separations, Science paper suggests. A new carbon material, resembling bits of buckminsterfullerene or 'buckyball' molecules, suggests a cheaper, lower-energy method for generating enriched oxygen and nitrogen, crucial ingredients for the production of steel and chemicals, and for the preservation of foods and medicines, DuPont and UD scientists report Sept. 17 in Science.

*Rebuilding the body.Biomaterials with built-in receptors that can interact
with human cells at the molecular level could be used as scaffolding to help construct new cartilage and skin, according to Dr Richard France speaking at the British Association’s Festival of Science in Sheffield, UK.

*Tracks in iron provide an insightful map of microbial world
Reading the narrow bands of iron found in some sedimentary rocks, scientists may have found a way to assess microbial populations across time and space, opening a window to the early history of life on Earth and possibly other planets. (Or at msnbc)

*Is the 2-in-1 burster a masquerade? A NASA scientist finds a peculiar,
rapidly rotating neutron star -- a pulsar -- is acting quite a bit differently than it did in 1995, and is trying to understand why.

*Male Courtship Pheromone Identified. University researchers have discovered
one of the first pheromones in a vertebrate animal species that is produced by the male and helps him when courting a female, in this case making her more calm, receptive to mating and less apt to run away.

*Bubonic plague kills by cutting off cellular communication. Yersinia
pestis, the deadly bacterium that causes bubonic plague, kills by cutting off a cell's ability to communicate with other immune system cells needed to fight off the bacterial invasion. In a study published in the Sept. 17 issue of Science, University of Michigan scientists identify one protein responsible for the plague's lethal effect and the molecular family it targets.

*The best of British science. Sheffield was the location for the 1999
British Association Festival of Science. It was a chance for the UK's leading researchers to showcase their work. The major events of the week are recorded on this page. (BBC) 0/444093.stm

*Flying machine may reduce gridlock. NASA teams up with Silicon Valley
engineer. - It almost sounds too futuristic to be true, but NASA and a Silicon Valley engineer are developing a one-person air scooter that can buzz far over gridlocked streets.

*Simple Concept May Advance Peacetime Fusion Energy. A simple theoretical
concept to solve the staggeringly difficult problem of maintaining intact electrical transmission lines to produce rapidly repeated thermonuclear explosions for peacetime purposes has been proposed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories. (see the video animation at this url)

*Blueberries help counter effects of aging. A secret of youth may be as
close as your nearby supermarket: blueberries. Elderly rats fed the human equivalent of at least half a cup of blueberries a day improved in balance, coordination and short-term memory, a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience said. A cup of blueberries is a normal serving.,1080,500035079-500056594-500 016635-0,00.html

*The increasingly ubiquitous digital camera has taken another step into the
future with the development of the first such camera that senses only ultraviolet light.,2107,500035088-500056613-500012571-0, 00.html

*Ultracool atoms caught acting strangely. IT MAY BE DEGENERATE, but
scientists are coaxing atoms into doing things that are most unnatural. Deborah Jin, a physicist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has made a gas of particles behave strangely as a first step towards forming an intriguing new "degenerate" state of matter.

*Boston University researchers have discovered a way to shape the noise
spectrum of analog signals for higher fidelity, achieving ear-rivaling dynamic range (DR) and virtually unbounded signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) by using a variable-sized neural network. They claim that their neural network's DR is proportional to the number of its neurons, and SNR goes up exponentially with each added neuron. Thus, those two important sound-quality factors can be indefinitely increased, simply by adding neurons.

*Homes for Orphan Genes. Scientists are making progress in decoding the
human blueprint, but the function of many genes remains a mystery. Using sophisticated techniques, researchers are solving some of the puzzles, and getting closer to new treatments for such ailments as high blood pressure.

*(Book) Virtually every cell in virtually every human being contains 23
pairs of chromosomes, each embodying the genetic material that helps make us who we are. What better way, then, to tell the story of what it means to be human than through the story of these 23 pairs of tiny molecules? That is the premise of Matt Ridley's Genome. 561&in_review_text_id=143241

*Inside the Sarcophagus. An intrepid robot named Pioneer is about to do
something no one has done in 13 years: It will creep into the most heavily contaminated areas of the infamous Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

*CryoCare Foundation Annual General Meeting . Saturday, November 20, 1999,
Ontario, California. This meeting will be concerned with the foundations of CryoCare's existence, since serious issues must be addressed concerning service providers, financing and organizational structure. There will be ample time for you to meet most of the principals of CryoCare and question them about any topics that concern you -- such as the current situation regarding service providers.

*Get your own robot:

*October 25 - 29, 1999

American Vacuum Society 46th International Symposium, Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, Washington. Nanometer-scale science and technology -

*November 1-2, 1999

Medical Engineering - A Field With Potential The Institute of Nanotechnology The Surgery Room of the 21st Century, November 1-2, 1999, The Moat House Hotel, Glasgow. The theme of the conference is taken from the Royal Academy of Engineering's publication - 'Medical Engineering - A Field With Potential'. Contact: Further information:

*Cellstasis® Culture Technology

Genespan Corporation has developed Cellstasis®, a 3-D culture technology used for the expansion, manipulation and harvesting of therapeutic cells. Cellstasis‚ emulates in vivo conditions. The patented designs of both the culture chamber and benchtop incubator address the engineering challenges associated with expanding hematopoietic stem cells. Interest the role of stem cells in cellular and tissue repair therapy extends to the field of hepatology, where research with academic collaborators is ongoing.

*(IEEE abstract) This paper discusses the creation and use of unique
identifiers for intellectual property. General concepts applicable to unique identifiers are defined and discussed [identifier, digital object, dumb and intelligent identifiers, readability, affordance or computability, multiple identification, resolution, metadata, persistence, granularity, derivatives (e.g., versions, formats, manifestations, and copies), check digits, and intermediate objects]. Requirements for unique identifiers are reviewed.

*(ZYVEX) Zybot Mark 1 is now working.. The picture above shows our new MEMS
micromanipulator, featuring an x/y/theta stage and 2 5DOF manipulators holding MEMS Precision Instruments tweezers. Zybot will be used to assemble more complex MEMS-based components, such as small high-degree of freedom manipulators for further SEM & TEM manipulation.

*Check out the new and enhanced ViaVoice Millennium
IBM announced the availability of ViaVoice Millennium, allowing consumers to more easily navigate the desktop and browse the Web by voice. This next-generation of IBM's award-winning ViaVoice speech recognition software contains improved recognition accuracy and enhanced editing, making it even easier to use speech to complete everyday computer tasks

*California governor Gray Davis on Thursday digitally signed into law a
bill that gives electronic signatures equal legal standing with traditional signatures produced with a pen. The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, makes electronic signatures legally binding in many types of legal documentation - including state or local laws, rental agreements, and leases. A number of documents will still require a signature, such as wills and real-estate transactions. The newstory: California adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, which it is hoped will reasonably soon be adopted by all or almost all of the states and therefore create a level of uniformity desirable for online commerce. For those who want to pursue this further, the text of the California statute is at ptered.html

*New law requires British restaurants to identify genetically modified food.
LONDON (September 17, 1999 7:49 p.m. EDT - British restaurants and caterers will have to tell customers which of their dishes contain genetically modified ingredients under a new law that goes into effect Sunday. The use of genetically modified, or GM, ingredients in foods is being hotly debated in Britain. Polls indicate many people strongly disapprove, while many want at least further research to be conducted. GM foods are made from plants whose genes are manipulated in order to produce characteristics such as resistance to pests. Britain has yet to approve raising GM crops, but some imported ingredients do contain GM plants. Food Minister Baroness Hayman said on Friday that the new labeling requirements, like those that have applied to food sold at retail since September 1998, "will ensure that consumers are entitled to the same information when eating out as they expect when buying their own food in shops." Failure to comply with the new law can be punished by fines of up to $8,000. "The government is committed to ensuring that consumers are able to make an informed choice about the food they eat," she said.

*POOLED GENES | Britain should soon have a centralised database containing
samples of DNA donated by its citizens. The database, being planned by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust, will help researchers discover important disease-causing genes. The scheme will be different from the one that has caused controversy in Iceland. There, DNA and medical records of the entire population have been included in a database held by a single company, DeCode Genetics of Reykjavik. In Britain, samples will only be included if their donors consent, and the database will be open to all researchers.

*Same-sex emu 'couple' leaves experts stumped.
Two Australian male emus have set up a nest together, confounding experts who said Friday they did not know if the birds were homosexual, confused or simply practical. The two adult males have shacked up to care for a clutch of seven chicks in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, south of Canberra. While wildlife officers are not yet convinced the males are homosexual, they can offer no explanation for the surprising move. "It's unusual for a male to adopt chicks that aren't their own, but the two males have paired up and are getting along very well," said wildlife officer and acting manager of Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Geoff Underwood. "One male is very accommodating - normally he would chase any other emu away from the chicks." Male emus normally take over rearing their young after female partners lay the eggs, protecting their babies from the outside world and especially other males. But Underwood said the pairing of two males was the first of its kind in the 25 years he had worked in the area. "It's a bit of a mystery," he said. "It is normally a sole male role, but it appears they are moving away from single-parent families. It is an ultra-modern family, but I don't think they are homosexual. The other male is just confused."

*(I thought this was kind of cool:)
YASARA is an interactive real-time molecular dynamics program, covering various topics in the
field of molecular modeling, protein fold calculation (based on NMR data), tertiary structure prediction, protein / DNA docking and parallel macromolecular dynamics.
The program has been developed during my thesis diploma at the Institute for Microbiology (University of Graz, Austria) and currently contains 60000 lines C- and Assembler-code as well as its own operating system (SOS - the Scientific Operating System).

Gina "Nanogirl" Miller
Nanotechnology Industries
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