Friday, November 16, 2018

Objectively Measuring Pain

Researchers have developed a new test to objectively measure pain and test medications. The old test involves looking at how fast an animal withdraws its paw when it's poked. This electroencephalography-based test shows that at low doses animals would behave as if the pain was less when it actually wasn't. This means that it would appear that the medication was actually working at the low dose when, in fact, it wasn't. The new test could improve patient pain assessments and reduce the over-prescription of opioids, the researchers say.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Five-minute neck scan can spot dementia

Imagine determining the risk of dementia with a simple ultrasound scan to the neck. It can detect how will the carotid artery is cushioning the pulses from the heart. When cushioning is lost, the pulse begin to damage the brain's vascular system.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Graphene takes a step towards renewable fuel

Researchers are working to develop a method to convert water and carbon dioxide to the renewable energy of the future, using the energy from the sun and graphene applied to the surface of cubic silicon carbide. They have now taken an important step towards this goal, and developed a method that makes it possible to produce graphene with several layers in a tightly controlled process.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

New parts of the brain become active after students learn physics

An fMRI study of brain activity before and  after physics instruction finds that unexpected areas of the brain light up as students learn. This probably is true of other disciplines but I think physics was a good test case because of the way it formalizes the study of force and motion into mathematical expressions not encountered in everyday life.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Woman survives metastatic breast cancer thanks to new treatment

A woman with advanced breast cancer has made a dramatic recovery after receiving a personalised therapy using her own immune cells. It’s the first time this type of therapy has worked in breast cancer, suggesting that it may be able to help many more people with common types of cancer, even after they’ve spread to other parts of the body.
The future is coming.

The U.S. Has Lost the Nuclear Race

We are no longer the leaders in nuclear technology. Instead, Russia, China, France and South Korea are in the driver's seat. We can still hope to lead in the small modular reactor category.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Researchers developing renewable energy approach for producing ammonia

If ammonia could be produced on a small scale with catalysts, renewable energy can be the more easily utilized for this process that is essential to so much of our agriculture.

Human Cost of Fossil Fuels

In case you aren't aware, part of the price for our fossil fuel energy economy is human lives. Natural gas death rate was 4,000 per trillion deaths over the last 40 years. Nuclear power had 90 per trillion worldwide with 0.1 deaths per trillion in the U.S.

New, climate-friendly use for local basalt

In the Northwest, there's lot's of both basalt and low-CO2 energy available to crush it. And there are lots of fields on which it could be spread.

Vaccination apathy fueled by decades of misinformation

In short, vaccines work and are safe.  If we fail to avail ourselves of them, the consequences could be serious.

Mysterious sunstones in medieval Viking texts could really have worked

Calcite crystals polarize light. Using these crystals, the Vikings could determine the position of the sun with precision even in cloudy weather. These would make latitude navigation quite possible. Even in the last days of wooden ships in the 19th century, bad weather made the use of sextants for latitude positioning iffy.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Republican Sadism

There can only be one explanation for why Republicans are so intent on tearing up the safety net. It can be nothing but cruelty and the desire to hurt the unfortunate. If I were a Republican, I would be so ashamed. But then, I would be a Republican and basic morality would be an alien concept to me.

Negative Power Prices

Sometimes you can get paid for using power. This has happened in Germany because high wind generation combined with low demand produces power that has no where to go. So power users are paid for the power they use rather than the other way around. Fossil and nuclear generators can not be ramped down fast enough to reduce the surplus.

Bogus Patents

Sometimes our patent system is a real mess. The three main causes have been identified, bad incentives, abusive filers, and excessive workloads.
  • The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is funded by fees—and the agency gets more fees if it approves an application.
  • Unlimited opportunities to refile rejected applications means sometimes granting a patent is the only way to get rid of a persistent applicant.
  • Patent examiners are given less time to review patent applications as they gain seniority, leading to less thorough reviews.
It doesn't help true innovation when there's so much wrong with the system that's supposed to help it.