lunes, 28 de febrero de 2011

Nano-sheets to expand the capacity of batteries

Community funding gifted scientists have invented a new technique to create nano-sheets with a thickness of an atom that can pave the way for the next generation of electronic technologies and energy storage needed to feed, for example, electric cars.

This research was funded in part by the Cucumber ("Processing and electron probe inorganic nanostructures applied to emerging technologies"), which was granted a Marie Curie grant worth 168,256 euros through the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) the EU. In the journal Science recently published an article on this work.

The researchers, who belong to CRANN ('Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices) at Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland) and University of Oxford (UK) have discovered how to separate sheets laminated materials for nanometer one atom thick. With these films have created a series of two-dimensional nanomaterials that possess novel chemical and electronic properties that could lead to new electronic technologies and energy storage.

For decades, attempts to create sheets from nanosized layered materials formed to take advantage of their unique electronic and electronic thermal properties. Unfortunately, the methods used previously were slow, laborious and unproductive, so were unsuitable for most applications. In this study, the authors explain that they have developed nano-sized sheets from various materials using common solvents and ultrasonic devices similar to those used to clean jewelry. They assert that the new method is "simple, fast and cheap and can be scaled up to apply in industrial environments.

Obesity and cancer

Few people know that the obese are far more cancer than the rest of the population. Culturally, we have associated to obesity, especially among children, happiness and health. By contrast, the cancer epidemic we have associated with various scenarios lodges blaming pharmaceutical compositions modified plastic or evil technologies beyond our comprehension.

But the reason is not unreasonable that we have a hinge evolution. Thus, we must remember that human beings almost never had unlimited access to food. Evolutionarily we've adapted to store fat in most of what we ate to survive in times of famine. Today, that small part of the world's population do not have to fight for feed have the same genetic profile that women and men of 15,000 years ago, and we keep our tendency to store all the fat you can.

If we add a sedentary lifestyle and consumption of snuff legalized, the combination causes millions of deaths before its corresponding biological limit: increased risk of heart disease and cerebral circulation, diabetes and cancer. That is, we have not yet evolved genetically to adapt to the new situation of access to food.

Therefore, we only have the ability to adapt socially to the stage in which we live. Since the sport, we have data from long-distance runners, cyclists or marathon, whose survival has surprised most observers but which parallel the observations in the laboratory can easily explain this fact. This suggests that it is possible to adapt as we await the next evolutionary event, reducing the risk of disease and increasing longevity.

I do not know if there are industrial plots associated with the epidemic of cancer and strokes, but lack of political ambition in the implementation of regulation on our ability to harm us with food, and sedentary lifestyles snuff may cost us many thousands of deaths .

domingo, 27 de febrero de 2011

The Earth's core rotates much more slowly than previously thought

The world is moving at two speeds, and not just on economic issues. New research from Cambridge University confirms that the core of the Earth, located about 5,000 kilometers below the surface, rotates much more slowly than previously thought. Their rotation is still faster than the rest of the planet, something that scientists had thought, but not as expected.

The discovery, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, sheds light on the innards of our planet and how they affect the magnetic fields that protect us, such as solar radiation.

The study provides the first accurate estimate of how much faster you rotate the Earth's core compared to the rest of the planet. Previous research had shown that the heart of the planet has its own pace. So far, it was believed that this variation was a grade each year. However, scientists at the University of Cambridge have discovered that these earlier estimates were inaccurate and that the core is actually moving much more slowly than previously thought, about one degree every million years.

The Earth's inner core, a central area consisting mainly of iron and nickel and has a diameter larger than the planet Mars, grows very slowly as the fluid outer core material, the layer immediately above-ground hardens in surface. During this process, the difference in speed east-west hemispheric this process remains frozen in the structure of the inner core.

For research, scientists use seismic waves that passed through the inner core 5200 kilometers beneath the surface of the Earth, and travel time compared with that of the reflected waves on the surface of the nucleus. Subsequently, the differences observed in the rotation of the eastern and western hemispheres.

Although the inner core is so far from our feet, the effect of their presence is especially important in the Earth's surface. In particular, the heat produced during the solidification and growth of the inner core plays an important role. These heat fluxes generate magnetic fields that protect the Earth's surface from solar radiation. Without them, life on Earth could not exist.

Cancer seen by physicists and mathematicians

Four decades after the United States declared war on cancer "(in the words of President Nixon) and researchers from around the world have left their brains trying to find a solution to this group of diseases, the truth is that it follows being one of the medical and health problems most serious facing our society.

There has been significant progress, many of them in terms of prevention, but mortality rates have not fallen dramatically, contrary to what has happened with many other illnesses in recent times.

At this point, many experts think it is time to seek new approaches to the problem. In this spirit, the National Cancer Institute, the largest U.S. government agency dedicated to this issue, has decided to attract specialists from other areas such as physics and mathematics, to help find solutions from different points of view. To this end, the agency has distributed since 2009 and forward five years, some 45 million euros from 12 multidisciplinary groups distributed throughout the country, first-rate institutions such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Princeton University .

"Mortality rates for many cancers are stable or increasing, "said Robert Austin, professor of physics and leader of the joint center for cancer of the University. "It is true that people live longer, but in the end, the cancer is winning. Our current approach of 'shock and awe' [shock and awe, referring to the indiscriminate attack on tumor cells] may not be the most appropriate" , argues researcher.

Advocates of these programs argue that the cells, the biological units in which cancer occurs, not just chemical or genetic, but also complex physical systems in which mechanical processes take place amazing, and whose behavior might try to predict by mathematical models.

"Sure, mathematicians and physicists have to make, there will be significant progress, "predicts Fernando Peláez, director of the National Center for Biotechnology Research (CNIO). But "finding a formula or a law of physics or mathematics is not curing cancer, " he qualifies. "I do not think that these theoretical tools we will provide the solution. Now, sure you can help, "he summarizes.

sábado, 26 de febrero de 2011

The world's smallest PC

Computers have reduced in size dramatically in recent years to such an extent that today it is entirely possible to have the processing power of an average computer in one of our pockets. However, according to researchers at the University of Michigan, has developed a computer with a volume exceeding narrowly cubic millimeter. Does your role? Be implemented as a measure of ocular pressure in patients suffering from glaucoma.

Glaucoma is an eye disorder regarded as the second most frequent charge that causes blindness worldwide. Technically, glaucoma has no cure, but there are different methods to control or minimize the effects of intraocular pressure. The possibility of an implant to measure directly the pressure may have seemed impossible to achieve a few years ago, but now, thanks to the dramatic miniaturization processes known in the computer, and the efforts of a group of researchers from the University of Michigan, and it is a fact. As a result, have developed the world's smallest computer.

The computer can store data about a week, which is transmitted to an external device (near the eye) for use by the patient. Although still several years away from being able to assess a commercial solution, the potential is great. At that scale, you could make thousands of systems each silicon wafer, and their applications could go far beyond medicine. Monitors structural integrity, air quality, and many other factors come into consideration. However, it is very significant that this kind of micro-computers come first to the world of medicine. Are many ills to cure, and technology must do everything possible to combat them.