Jorge Quintero

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A Gaming System Starring... Microbes

Pac-Man, but with microbes<p>Videogames may seem like the last place for fruitful work in biotechnology, but Stanford University bioengineer Ingmar Riedel-Kruse has reinvented 1980s classics to enlist living microbes. His custom electronics and augmented-reality software coax microorganisms to play …

Out Today: The First Catalog Of All The Proteins In The Human Body

Say hi to the proteome.<p>Two teams of scientists are publishing today first drafts of the human proteome. The proteome is a catalog of all of the different proteins the human body makes. This is a big accomplishment. How big? Let’s look at some numbers from just one team:<p>The scientists in this team …

The Five Biggest Threats To Human Existence

The big and bad crises that could wipe out humanity<p>In the daily hubbub of current “crises” facing humanity, we forget about the many generations we hope are yet to come. Not those who will live 200 years from now, but 1,000 or 10,000 years from now. I use the word “hope” because we face risks, …

A New Idea For Colonizing Space: Send Our DNA, Assemble Ourselves Once We Get There

I mean, it’s just too hard to send actual humans, right?<p>It’s difficult to send people far into space. Why not send bacteria instead? That’s the simple foundation behind one decidedly out-there idea for sending humans to live on other planets in the future.<p>“Our best bet for space exploration could …

A Tiny Rabbit Pacemaker That Charges Wirelessly

The technique could soon power implants in humans.<p>Scientists have implanted a tiny pacemaker in a rabbit and wirelessly powered it to regulate the animal's heart beat. It's the first time such a device has been powered this way in a living animal, suggesting that the same technique could run …

Bats Use Mini Muscles to Tweak Their Wings In Flight, And Drones Could Too

When a bird or a bat takes flight, there's much more going on than a simple flapping motion. This is part of the reason why it took humans such an incredibly long time to fly like one of them (you can read more about that here). The physical motion is incredibly complex, with a slight curvature at …

What Does It Take To Make Meat From Stem Cells?

More than you might realize<p>Made with some breadcrumbs, egg, and 20,000 lab-grown cow muscle cells, the world's first lab-grown burger made its debut last year. It was a proof of concept, evidence that you can make meat in lab. The technology is too difficult and expensive to show up grocery stores …

We May One Day Go Viral For That Perfect Smile

A healthy mouth is obsession in America and people are willing to spend to get it. In a 2009 report on oral health suggested close to 11 billion dollars will be spent on keeping those pearly whites bright. Yet there may be a less expensive route to help maintain dental hygiene across the globe …

New Air Pollution Rules Tie Public Health To Major Carbon Cuts

Under a new EPA plan, states must curb CO2 pollution from the energy sector.<p>Power plants nationwide must cut their carbon dioxide pollution by up to 30 percent in less than two decades, under the “clean power plan” released today by the Obama administration.<p>It is the most sweeping CO2 reduction in …

A New Peptide Tackles Infections, Biofilms, & Antibiotic Resistance

The mechanisms behind bacterial infectious disease used to be simple. The invader would enter the body, a fight would ensue with the immune system, an antibiotic would be prescribed and the patient would heal. But the threat of antibiotic resistance changed all that. Researchers have since learned …

Immune System

'Milestone' Easy-To-Make Stem Cells Never Existed, Investigation Suggests

Maybe it’s not so easy to create stem cells after all.<p>The stem cells that scientists announced they’d created in January may never have existed, Nature News reports.<p>The stem cell discovery, at first hailed as a milestone, has come under fire over the past few months. First, independent research …

Meet the Mekong Eyeless Spider, Zorro Snake and The Hunch-Bat of Vietnam

Giant flying frogs, a fish that mates face-to-face, a parachute gecko, and a blind cave spider are among the hundreds of species recently discovered in the Mekong region of southeast Asia. There’s a Zorro-masked water snake, a skydiving gecko, a “fishzilla” walking snakehead fish, and, of course, …

Ask Anything: Will We Ever Run Out Of Potable Water?

Short answer: Not if we get creative.<p>“There’s a lot of hype around this issue,” says Upmanu Lall, professor of earth and environmental engineering at Columbia University and director of its Water Center. But, he says, we’re in little danger of running out of water overall. One could conceive of a …

Is DEET Safe To Use?

Yet another review of the science answers: Yes.<p>DEET is a popular insect repellent—an estimated 30 percent of Americans use it every year—yet it sounds like a good number of people are wary of it, too. A Google search of "DEET dangers" found a Mercola article saying DEET kills mosquitoes, although …

Public Health

DNA Sequencing Diagnoses Boy's Mysterious Bacterial Disease

This is the first time doctors have used DNA sequencing for emergency diagnosis and treatment.<p>For the first time, doctors have used DNA-sequencing technology to diagnose and treat a boy in an emergency. It's a big step for DNA sequencing—that the technology is able to work so quickly, and to help a …

The Engineer Who Proposed Powering The World With A Solar Satellite

Plus, a look at Popular Science's predictions for the future of solar energy in 1972, just as solar-cell research was picking up.<p>The conceiver of one of mankind's coolest ideas for boundless clean energy died last week. He was 90 and first published his ideas in 1968, a year before NASA put a man …

FYI: Can Anything Move Faster Than Light?

Yes, the universe itself will eventually outpace the speed of light. Just how this will happen is a bit complicated, so let's begin at the very beginning: the big bang. Around 14 billion years ago, all matter in the universe was thrown in every direction. That first explosion is still pushing …

What’s The World To Do About Water?

The world's water problem, and how to solve it<p>In 2007, when my daughter was seven years old, we would brush our teeth together every night as part of our daily ritual. To conserve water, we would turn off the faucet after wetting our brushes and turn it back on only to rinse. One night, I didn’t …

The Fish That Could Save Antarctica

As long as we save it first<p>A primeval predator patrols the dark, icy waters of Antarctica’s Ross Sea, antifreeze proteins coursing through its blood. An icon of the Southern Ocean, the Antarctic toothfish is a crucial link in the rich food web of the planet’s most pristine marine ecosystem. Since …

Better Know a Plague: Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is in the news again, in part because you’re more likely to get the illness in the summertime. But what is it?<p>Lyme disease is caused by the bacterial spirochete <i>Borrelia burgdorferi</i>, which is related to the <i>Treponema pallidum</i> bacterium that causes syphilis. Most <i>B. burgdorferi</i> are …

Teasing Out Fact From Hype In The War On Fructose

The nitty-gritty on sugar<p>If you're feeling confused about sugar, join the club.<p>Nutrition professionals continue to say that processed, or added, sugar--as distinct from the sugars consumed while eating whole fruits and vegetables--should be a small part of a person's regular diet. But beyond that, …

In The Future, Your Car Interior Could Be Made Of Tomatoes

And no, it's not just ketchup stains.<p>Ford Motor Company said this morning that it plans to develop a recycled material using the waste of another U.S.-based giant: the H.J. Heinz company. If the project is successful, you may some day see the stems, skin, and otherwise unused tomato parts from …

The Threat Down Under: The Rise of Zika Virus

Back in 1947, in the wilds of the Zika Forest of Uganda, an international team of researchers were on a virus hunt. They were looking for mosquitoes with the capability of harboring a variety of pathogens including the well-known yellow fever and dengue viruses as well as other novel viruses which …

Rugby Player Study Suggests Exercise Diversifies Gut Bacteria

Alternate headline: The Irish Rugby Team Has Exceptional Guts<p>It's World Cup season, so as our planet's eyeballs turn to soccer pitches, consider that flourishing communities of microbes in the players' guts. If you will. A new study found that elite athletes--in this case, professional Irish Rugby …

Real-Time Wastewater Analysis Shows What Drugs Are Being Used Where

Drugs have been found in wastewater around the world.<p>When people take drugs, they end up in the water, either unchanged or broken down into specific metabolites. Increasingly, water can be tested to gauge how much drug use is going on in an area, and a new study shows that the level of illegal …

Removing Salt To Relieve The World’s Thirst

97 percent of water on Earth is salt water. What if we could drink it?<p>The Challenge<p>Seventy percent of the Earth’s surface is liquid—yet water scarcity affects more than a billion people each year. Since the 1970s, the gold standard for desalination has been reverse osmosis, in which big pumps push …

How To Make A New Planet Home

Three simple steps for an intergalactic exit plan<p>The recipe for creating a habitable planet turns out to be surprisingly simple: Just add water—and atmospheric gases. Mars has both, relics from four billion years ago when the planet was warm and wet. “When it comes to Mars, and only Mars, the …

Where Will The World's Water Conflicts Erupt? [Infographic]

A heatmap of war over water<p><i>Click here to see a larger version of this infographic.</i><p>As the climate shifts, rivers will both flood and dry up more often, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Shortages are especially likely in parts of the world already …

The Great Arctic Melt Opens Up A Lot Of Questions

Can we answer them before it's too late?<p><i>The Great Melt: This animation of images taken over time by NASA satellites shows Arctic sea ice declining for the past 30 years. The year to year rate of decline 11.5 percent per decade. Via The Bridge. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization</i> …