STEM

By Girish Arabale | Science | Technology | Engineering | Mathematics

'Micromotors' alter your gut's chemistry to safely deliver medicine

There's a reason diabetics can't take their insulin orally (for the time being): stomach acid is super effective at dissolving it and similar large proteins, like antibiotics. But rather than force patients to pound pints of Maalox or chew a tub of Tums before taking their medicine, a team of …

Medicine

Watch the sky for Perseid Meteor Showers

This paper battery is powered by bacteria in your spit

Sometimes a Duracell just won’t do.<p>You can make a battery out of a lemon, a tomato, an orange or a stack of pennies. And now, thanks to a miracle of modern science, you can make a battery using spit.<p>Researchers at Binghamton University have created a paper-based bacteria-powered battery. One drop …

Batteries

These Scientists Took Over a Computer by Encoding Malware in DNA

There’s no immediate threat, but as sequencing becomes more commonplace, researchers face security risks.<p>DNA is fundamentally a way of storing information. Usually, it encodes instructions for making living things—but it can be conscripted for other purposes. Scientists have used DNA to store …

DNA

Nanochip could heal injuries or regrow organs with one touch, say researchers

A tiny device that sits on the skin and uses an electric field to reprogramme cells could be a breakthrough in the way we treat injured or ageing tissue<p>A novel device that reprogrammes skin cells could represent a breakthrough in repairing injured or ageing tissue, researchers say.<p>The new …

Biotechnology

Controversial New Theory Suggests Life Wasn't a Fluke of Biology—It Was Physics

The biophysicist Jeremy England made waves in 2013 with a new theory that cast the origin of life as an inevitable outcome of thermodynamics. His …

Biology

17 'facts' about space and Earth that you thought were true — but have been debunked by science

Whenever someone asks me about outer space, I get animated.<p>No surprise there. I've made a living speaking to experts and writing about it for more than a decade, and I've read obsessively on the topic for much longer than that.<p>I've heard a lot of peculiar "facts" over the years — and even believed …

Earth Science

Sunscreen made from DNA would last forever

Earth's yellow sun is the source of its power.<p>A DNA-based sunscreen that not only stops harmful ultraviolet (UV) light, but also becomes more protective the longer you expose it to UV rays? That’s the dazzling premise behind a recent study published in the journal <i>Science Reports</i>.<p>While sunscreen …

DNA

This musician strummed a guitar during his own brain surgery

<b>(CNN) —</b> Guitar players can strum almost anywhere, from a beach to a park bench to an operating room -- while undergoing brain surgery.<p>That's where Abhishek Prasad peddled his musical wares during a four-hour surgery in India that aimed to correct cramping in his fingers, his surgeon said.<p>For 20 …

Genetically modified yeast mops up heavy metal pollution

Environmental scientists dream of eliminating pollution with natural resources, but that's tricky when it comes to heavy metals. Plants won't work for cleaning polluted water, and only some of them grow large enough to absorb those toxic materials. Researchers may have a relatively simple answer to …

Biology

This Rare Medical Condition Makes You Love Everyone

Williams syndrome, which affects 30,000 people in the U.S., is often called the opposite of autism.<p>A child that can’t stop hugging people, has no fear of strangers, and loves everyone equally—sounds beautiful, right?<p>Not always. People with Williams syndrome, a rare genetic condition, face problems …

This Quantum Theory Predicts That The Future Might Be Influencing The Past

No, seriously.<p>One of the weirder aspects of quantum mechanics could be explained by an equally weird idea – that causation can run backwards in time …

Quantum Mechanics

Ancient Romans were way better at making concrete

The ocean didn't break it down— it only made it stronger.<p>What have the Romans ever done for us? Yeah, yeah, they gave us sanitation, roads, aqueducts, public order, wine, and education. But then they couldn’t be bothered to write down the recipe for their <i>insanely</i> durable concrete.<p>So here we …

Roman Empire

Arthritis is the price for our ancestors surviving the Ice Age, say scientists

For the 10 million Britons suffering from arthritis, it may be cold comfort to know that they might not be alive today at all, were it not for their aching limbs.<p>Researchers in the US have discovered that a gene mutation which increases the risk of arthritis evolved in the Ice Age to help protect …

Evolution

Researchers create temperature sensor that runs on almost no power

Researchers at UC San Diego have developed a temperature sensor that runs on tiny amounts of power -- just 113 picowatts, around 10 billion times less power than a watt. The sensor was described in a study recently published in <i>Scientific Reports</i>. "We're building systems that have such low power …

Engineering

The whole universe fits in one image with a special trick of math

The universe is enormous — so vast that it's almost impossible to picture what it might look like in one image.<p>But musician Pablo Carlos Budassi managed to do it by combining logarithmic maps of the universe from Princeton and images from NASA.<p>He created the image below that shows the observable …

Space Science

Can Microbes Encourage Altruism?

If gut bacteria can sway their hosts to be selfless, it could answer a riddle that goes back to Darwin.

Biology

How Black Holes Can Kill You Even On Earth

I came across a scary idea — even when it’s super-far away, a black hole might actually kill us. OK, in case you know your cosmic neighborhood a bit …

Watch a tiny virus take a constitutional under a laser-powered 3D microscope

If you’re anything like me, you spend a significant portion of the day wondering about the paths viruses take when they’re cruising around your internals. Luckily for us, a newly developed microscope from Duke researchers can show the exact path taken by the little critters (?), down to the …

IBM-powered DNA sequencing could find bacteria in raw milk

Babies love milk. Adults love milk-based products. You know what else loves milk? Good <i>and</i> bad bacteria. It's the ideal medium for bacteria growth and could cause various food-borne illnesses, especially if consumed in raw, unpasteurized form. Researchers typically just test the milk supply in the …

Scientists may have solved a key barrier to fusion power

We've been working towards nuclear fusion, a near-limitless source of clean energy, for the past six decades, and now scientists have made a major breakthrough. A new article published in <i>Physical Review Letters</i> details how to solve a dangerous issue with runaway electrons that has, until now, posed …

Researchers can now desalinate seawater with the power of the Sun

One of the oldest means of extracting potable liquid from seawater involves distillation, basically boiling the water into steam and then cooling the purified vapor in condensation tubes. Problem is, this method is incredibly power intensive with nearly half of the input energy going towards just …

‘Solar paint’ breakthrough can provide endless energy source

It harnesses sun and the moisture in the air to harvest hydrogen<p>There’s big business in disguising energy-generating tech like solar panels as innocuous building elements like roof tiles, window blinds, and even stained glass. But researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne may have created the …

Clean Energy

What If (Almost) Every Gene Affects (Almost) Everything?

Three Stanford scientists have proposed a provocative new way of thinking about genetic variants, and how they affect people’s bodies and health.<p>In 1999, a group of scientists scoured the genomes of around 150 pairs of siblings in an attempt to find genes that are involved in autism. They came up …

Research

Diarrhea Is Evolution's Immune System Drain-O

It turns out your body is pretty good at flushing out bacteria.<p>Diarrhea sucks. It can create unpleasant bathroom emergencies, and — all jokes aside — …

From crushed bugs to cow urine: the history of colours – in pictures

A new exhibition in Melbourne curated by paint-maker David Coles tracks the history of over 200 pigments – some deadly, some revolting, and some so rare and expensive they are no longer in circulation. The exhibition also features the strange world of modern colours – those that can only be seen …

Astronomers prove Einstein right: Stars can warp light

In a new study published today in <i>Science</i>, researchers achieved a rare event -- simultaneously proving Albert Einstein both right and wrong. The scientists were able to confirm one of Einstein's theories, something even he wasn't sure would be possible.<p>The study centers around an effect called …

Researchers create hydrogen fuel with artificial photosynthesis

Scientists all over the world have been attempting to recreate photosynthesis in the lab in hopes of being able to mimic the process to create fuel. Now a team of researchers from the Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Virginia Tech have figured out the secret behind a …

Artists May Have Different Brains (More Grey Matter) Than the Rest of Us, According to a Recent Scientific Study

Sometimes—as in the case of neuroscience—scientists and researchers seem to be saying several contradictory things at once. Yes, opposing claims can …