Ashley Jessen

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White Roofs Keep Cities Cooler Than 'Green' Ones, Study Finds

Both are better than traditional black roofs, which drive up summertime temperatures and energy use in cities.<p>What's the greenest roof? A white one. White-painted roofs are three times more efficient than "green roofs"—rooftops that are planted over with grass or other greenery—at countering global …

Clean Energy

Antioxidant Supplements Worsen Lung Tumors, Study Finds

Doctors have long known that taking antioxidant supplements may actually increase the risk for cancer in some people. One new mouse study offers an explanation why.<p>You see them advertised everywhere, blasted from vitamin-pill packaging and wrinkle cream jars. In theory, antioxidants are supposed to …

Cancer

Potential Cure For Peanut Allergy Successful In Test

88 percent of kids in this study were able to eat 5 peanuts after the treatment.<p>A peanut allergy is not just annoying; it can be deadly. But there may be some hope for this affliction, the most common severe food allergy.<p>In a new study, researchers gave 85 kids a tiny amount of peanut protein, and …

Biomedicine

90-Minute DNA Screening Available Soon For Law Enforcement

The rapid test is being evaluated by the Pentagon.<p>Current human DNA tests take two to three weeks to be completed, and must be sent into an accredited laboratory. But a new rapid test, which could analyze human DNA in 90 minutes in the field, is nearly complete, Pentagon and industry officials told …

Homeland Security

This Leech Can Survive A 24-Hour Submersion in Liquid Nitrogen

100 percent of the leeches also survived extreme cold (-130°F) for nine months!<p>At first glance there is nothing overly special about <i>Ozobranchus jantseanus</i>, a small parasitic leech of freshwater turtles in East Asia. But throw them into a vat of liquid nitrogen, and they can survive for 24 hours. …

Asia

Q&A: The Engineer Who Wants To Power The World With Carbs

Visions of a sweet future<p>You might like carbs, but probably not in the way Percival Zhang does. Zhang, a chemical engineer at Virginia Tech, runs a lab that's dedicated to converting carbohydrates into electricity. The lab's inventions include proofs of concepts showing that carbohydrates are able …

Clean Energy

Easy New Ways To Make Stem Cells, With A Squeeze Or A Dip

Just shy of 10 years after scientists first made embryonic-like stem cells from adult cells, another team finds a totally different way to do it.<p>Yeah, sometimes when I'm stressed out, it makes me wish I were a kid again, too.<p>A team of scientists has discovered a way to transform adult cells into …

Stem Cells

Scientists Make Hair-Growing Cells From Ordinary Skin Cells

It's a step toward curing baldness with stem cells made from a person's own skin.<p>Bald? A team of stem cell scientists has made an advance that's a step toward being able to regrow your own natural hair, using samples of your skin.<p>The scientists took adult human skin cells and transformed them into …

University of Pennsylvania

Crystallography: So Metal

Popular Science Blogs<p>Boxplot<p>Exploring the world of science through graphic narrative. By Maki Naro<p>If you'll forgive just one crystal pun, I'll tell you about how the seed for this series started last May when I posted a comic about beards in science. While doing the research, I began to hear rumors …

Chemistry

See HIV Infecting Gut Tissue

The virus collects in deep pockets in the intestine, and spreads from cell to cell in part by touch.<p>Highlighted in blue and purple in this electron microscope image are HIV-1 virions. As you can kind of tell from their surroundings, they're embedded in living tissue—this is HIV in the middle of …

Immunotherapy

Birth Of Memory: Why Kids Forget What Happened Before Age 7

Recently, my nearly-4-year-old niece suffered the kind of childhood accident every parent dreads: she fell off her bike and broke a front tooth high above the gum line. The resulting pain and eventual extraction were a harrowing experience for her parents, but fortunately the little girl emerged …

Parenting

Building Design Influences Bacterial Growth

The human microbiome has been in the news for several years now, as researchers have begun to unravel the importance of microbes living in and on our bodies. These bacteria and other microbial critters influence human health, and the composition and combination of various species have been linked …

Biology

After Genetic Tweaks, Fruit Flies Glow When They Sense Cancer

The genetically engineered _Drosophila melanogaster _can even signal for different types of breast cancer cells.<p>Fruit flies are able to distinguish breast cancer cells from healthy mammary tissue, according to a new study. The humble fly joins dogs and honeybees as members of the animal kingdom …

Biology

The Month In Plagues: Pigeon Poop In NYC Water Towers, Livestock Antibiotics Are Bad News, And More

Here are some links on infestations, contagions, and controls from around the web this past month. Have more? Add them in the comments.<p><b>In outbreak news</b><p>Infectious diseases aren’t just a problem somewhere far away—any outbreak can impact us all. Helen Branswell at The Canadian Press explains how …

New York Times

Your Body Can Kill Cancer. It Just Needs Better Instructions.

Researchers have been programming peoples' immune systems to recognize and destory cancer.<p>Part of what makes cancers so insidious is that they’re not invaders: They’re our own cells turned against us. That means the body usually doesn’t see them as a threat. But over the last few years, teams at …

Immunotherapy

Ants Playing Chess Find New Solutions To Old Problem

Step aside, Bobby Fischer.<p>Remove all the pieces from a chess board except for one knight. Then try to move the knight across all 64 squares of the board, touching each once. (As a reminder, knights move in a L-shape, two spaces in one direction, and then one space left or right, or up or down, at a …

Mathematics

How A Simple New Invention Seals A Gunshot Wound In 15 Seconds

An Oregon startup has developed a pocket-size device that uses tiny sponges to stop bleeding fast.<p>When a soldier is shot on the battlefield, the emergency treatment can seem as brutal as the injury itself. A medic must pack gauze directly into the wound cavity, sometimes as deep as 5 inches into …

Laser Walkers Could Help Parkinson's Disease Sufferers

Laser beams make a bright 1960s idea portable for those with Parkinson's disease and parkinsonism.<p>Parkinson's disease and related disorders can make it difficult for people to walk, as their steps become shorter and stiffer. As early as the 1960s, however, doctors noticed that visual cues could …

Mayo Clinic

Possible Link Found Between Bacterium And Multiple Sclerosis

A new study found MS-like brain damage in a mouse infected with this bacterium.<p>Nobody knows exactly what causes multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, though a combination of environmental and genetic factors plays a part. But new research suggests that, …

Multiple Sclerosis