Nanogirl News

Gina Miller (
Mon, 16 Aug 1999 19:14:12 -0700

*Images of enzyme suggest way to improve DNA sequencing
St. Louis, Aug. 16, 1999 -- Like a temperamental copy machine, the most commonly used enzyme in DNA sequencing has a few annoying quirks. It generates pages with blank spots, for example. But new X-ray images of the enzyme at work have suggested a way to fix these problems. The strategy works in the lab and is being tested by several companies in the United States.

*Quantum dots repel each other, researchers find (Sandia National lab)
Using novel probes developed at Sandia, they have found that quantum dots repel each other. Quantifying the repulsion may help in turning assemblages of quantum dots into future solid-state lasers.

*Rocket Fuels Researchers Suspend Frozen Hydrogen Particles In Helium
Rocket fuels researchers at NASA Glenn Research Center have made for the first time tiny particles of frozen hydrogen suspended in liquid helium. This is the first step toward new rocket fuels that can revolutionize rocket propulsion technology needed for getting off the Earth.

*Uses For Space-Age Carbon Foam Range From Laptop Computers To Automobile
Aerodynamics .Texas company adding ORNL material to portfolio Poco Graphite is expanding its product base with Grafoam, a material developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that could lead to more powerful laptop computers and better aerodynamics in automobiles.

*Bloated Stars Swallow Giant Planets

The phrase "big fish eat little fish" may hold true when it comes to planets and stars.
Perhaps as many as 100 million of the sun-like stars in our galaxy harbor close-orbiting gas giant planets like Jupiter, or stillborn stars known as brown dwarfs, which are doomed to be gobbled up by their parent stars.

*Microbes Work Magic On Hazardous Air Pollutants
An advanced air-treatment system that uses a mélange of microbes to treat hazardous air emissions is the direct consequence of ONR-sponsored research at a small New Jersey company. The emissions include odors from oily bilge holding tanks and pollutants from point sources such as paint spray booths.

*Digital Organisms Give Life to Questions of Evolution
Evolution is a pain for scientists to study. It just plain takes too long. Yet revolutionary work by scientists at Michigan State University, Caltech and UCLA has created an artificial world inside a computer, a world in which computer programs take the place of living organisms. They go forth and multiply, they mutate and they adapt by natural selection. Studying these digital organisms, as reported in the Aug. 12 edition of Nature, offers a chance to test generalizations about how life has evolved.

*Can 'hard' computer problems, like scheduling, be made easier? Cornell-led
research team believes it knows how.

*They aren't giving up. The Cyberspace Electronic Security Act is currently
being drafted by the Clinton administration. In this latest bill, the administration proposes that law enforcement agents have access to decryption keys held by recovery agents. The proposed law also allows the government to obtain search warrants to find decryption keys if they are not held by recovery agents. (Maybe the feeling is that if they keep submitting new bills, one of them, eventually, will get through. Unfortunately they are probably correct.)

*Stanford scientists use noise to sort proteins
Two Stanford scientists have invented a device that could simplify the study of cells by isolating the molecules that inhabit the cell walls. The device, which sorts molecules found in the cell membrane, is powered by an unconventional energy source, "thermal noise" -- the random variations in energy found in a population of molecules at a given temperature.

*Scientists have always suspected that life on Earth existed for much more
than 1.8 billion years - but that was the only figure that had been proven.Now that Australian researchers have confirmed that, in fact, there has been life for 2.7 billion years on the planet. (Boston Globe) ~hope this long URL works. greater_age+.shtml

*Superbatteries may leave bunny gasping/On the horizon is a new generation
of batteries that last 50 percent longer than today's batteries, thanks to a "superiron" component that promises to be easy and affordable to manufacture. (short article in Lincon Journal Star)

*Snip from the Australian Daily Telegraph
Why a flower needs Viagra?IT'S said to give lift to a limp love life. (can you believe this comment!) But now the virility wonder drug Viagra is taking the droop out of cut flowers, fruit and vegetables. A joint project between universities on the Central Coast and Israel has found Viagra can almost double the life of flowers and vegetables. Professor Ron Wills said the drug produced nitric oxide – the key ingredient. "It delays the ageing process," he said. "The potential is enormous." The research team has patented the use of nitric oxide to extend the life of flowers and edible plants.

*A FORMER Capetonian, Professor Michael Hayden, now living in Canada, has
stunned the world with the discovery that many people have a genetic time bomb which could result in unhealthy cholesterol levels and heart trouble. The implications of the discovery -- a problem gene called ABC1 that interferes with "good" cholesterol - are enormous. Hayden, who is director of the University of British Columbia's Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, believes that with this new knowledge there is a reasonable chance he will have a remedial treatment ready for testing in five years. The 47-year-old South African-born scientist was educated at the University of Cape Town and the Harvard Medical School in Boston. (from the Sunday Times)

*Battling aging (part 1): Genetic possibilities (A CNN interactive)
This is the first in a two-part series on staying young

Gina "Nanogirl" Miller
Nanotechnology Industries
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"Nanotechnology: solutions for the future."