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Posts by Erin Podolak

  1. Study: Benedict Arnold Bacteria Betray Their Brethren, Go On Killing Spree

    In what seems to be a bacterial death match, researchers at Nanyang Technological University have genetically altered Escherichia coli to attack and kill Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is responsible for many infections in hospital patients whose immune systems are weakened. Led by Nazanin Saeidi and Choon Kit Wong, the researchers created E.coli that produces the protein LasR, which can recognize molecules that P.aeruginoa uses to communicate. According to the researchers, they are basically using P. aeurginosa's own defenses against it. When the E.coli's LasR detects the chemical signals that P.aeurginosa uses to communicate with other cells, it switches on two genes. This first gene creates a lethal (to P.aeeruginosa) toxin called pyocin. The toxin breaks through the outer cell wall of the bacteria, causing its insides to leak out. The second gene causes the E.coli to break apart, killing itself and releasing even more pyocin.

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  2. British Racing Team To Test On-The-Track Electric Car Chargers

    Drayson Racing Technologies and HaloIPT have teamed up to develop a new on-the-go charging system for electric cars. HaloIPT had previously announced that they were working on the technology and have now brought Drayson Racing Technologies into the project. The technology will be tested on race cars with the technology built into the track to wirelessly provide power so drivers don't have to stop to charge the vehicle. According to the companies, the technology deals with misalignment over the transmitter pads, which is a common problem with on-the-go charging. Primarily developed by HaloIPT (IPT standing for inductive power transfer), the technology got its start from UniServices a University of Auckland commercial subsidiary.

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  3. Breaking News: Kansas Actually Flatter Than A Pancake

    As the old saying goes Kansas, like many midwestern states, is as flat as a pancake. Somehow, pancakes became the golden standard for flatness, but do they really deserve such a title? A team of researchers from Texas State University and Arizona State University decided to find out. The researchers scientifically tested whether or not the state of Kansas was as flat as a pancake, and were surprised at what they found. Pancakes might be flat, but they are by no means the golden standard. The state of Kansas is actually flatter than a pancake. Who would have thought that was possible? The researchers figured this out by gathering data from the US Geological Survey about the topography of Kansas. They then obtained sample pancakes from none other than that breakfast staple, The International House of Pancakes. Armed with science and breakfast, the researchers headed into the lab.

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  4. The Best Hostel Advertisement Ever Made Is Also The Cheapest [Video]

    A redditor claiming to be an employee of the hostel 790 On George in Australia says he or she was "told to make an ad with no money." With a budget like that, it is no surprise that the video's amazing special effects (the explosions, oh, the explosions) steal the show. Really though, for an advertisement with no budget, this hostel is certainly going to get a lot of free publicity, just for the fact that the ad is so delightfully horrible. Thumbs up for the brilliant marketing mastermind at 790 On George. (via Reddit)

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  5. This is What the Perseid Meteor Shower Sounds Like

    Ever wanted to know what a meteor sounds like? Well, wonder no more. The recent 2011 Perseid Meteor Shower was recorded by the U.S. Air Force Space Surveillance Radar in Texas. The sound the meteors made as they filled the sky could make for a good horror movie soundtrack, or maybe just something to play at a high volume and annoy a roommate. The radar station that made the recording is located in Lake Kickapoo, Tx, and is part of the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). The purpose of the USSTRATCOM is to detect, track, catalog, and identify artificial objects orbiting Earth. If there were aliens approaching, these guys would be some of the first to know about it, but most of their time is spent watching active and inactive satellites, rocket bodies, or fragments of space debris. Listen to the sound of space with the recording after the jump.

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  6. Researchers Combat Tumors from Stem Cell Therapy

    Pluripotent stem cells are cells that can grow into any tissue. The ability to turn into any type of cell makes pluripotent stem cells a promising treatment for any number of disorders. However, this ability to differentiate into anything also comes with a dangerous side effect: The cells that don't turn into the desired tissue can instead form dangerous tumors called teratomas. However, researchers have now demonstrated a method to weed out the dangerous teratoma forming cells from the beneficial stem cells. Led by Micha Drukker, a team of researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine developed a new antibody that can identify the cells that don't differentiate into the needed tissue before they are transplanted into a patient. The researchers accomplished this by targeting pluripotency surface markers (PSMs,) which are changes within a cell that signify which type of cell it will become. The researchers targeted these specific cellular landmarks by developing antibodies that could seek out cells that did not differentiate.

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  7. Singing Robot Head Is Entertaining, Yet Horrifying

    Sometimes technology just gets a little too creepy for its own good. This robotic singing head, created by researchers at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology in Taipei, is the perfect example. The researchers created a head that can read music and sing a song in a synthesized voice. The research was published in the journal Robotics and Autonomous Systems.

    Led by Chyi-Yeu Lin, the researchers designed the robot to take a picture of the music that is annotated with numbers and words, using cameras that are built into its eyes. An algorithm then determines the right pitch, rhythm, and lyrics from the image and relays the data to a voice synthesizer. The synthesizer matches the sounds in the Mandarin language with the Roman spelling of the lyrics. Once the head knows what to do, it will burst out into song.

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  8. Netflix, You Know, for Kids!

    Netflix has started testing a new user interface of programs for kids. The separate children's content section is being designed for kids to use themselves. Select Netflix users have been given access to the new section for testing. On the main Netflix site, users who have the trial section will see a tab labelled "Just for Kids" that allows children to select a program based on the character from that show. By clicking on one of the characters, kids will be taken to a new page that lists the television shows and episodes starring that character, each episode is previewed by looking at a screenshot. This is so kids don't necessarily have to be able to read to find what they are looking for. If all they know is they want to watch Blue's Clues, they'll be able to make that choice by recognizing the puppy's picture.

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  9. What Are Websites Made Of? [Infographic]

    The Internet is a mysterious thing. We all use it, but what makes a website, really? Obviously, some of us know more about this than others. Still, this is the question asked and answered by the company Broadband Choices, in this infographic. The graphic provides statistics like how much data is on the Internet, from less than half a trillion gigabytes in 2005, to more than one trillion gigabytes in 2010, and a projected leap to nearly eight trillion gigabytes by 2015. So, if you've ever wondered what exactly is that Internet thing anyway, here is your answer.

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  10. New Hip Dislocation Treatment Inspired By Captain Morgan

    Yes, that Captain Morgan. The pirate representing the rum brand has led doctors to develop a new way to "reduce" (put back in place) a hip dislocation. When a hip is dislocated the head of the femur (aka. thigh bone) comes out of its proper alignment in the acetabelum, which is the socket part of the hip. This is usually treated by a doctor pushing the bone back into the socket, which is a delicate task that should only be attempted by a physician. Writing in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, several physicians report that there may be a better way to correct hip dislocations. It is the rum brand's mascot, Captain Morgan, who inspired the new technique. Captain Morgan always appears with one leg up resting on a barrel, in a pose that has become iconic. That pose is actually useful for doctors to reduce a hip by putting force on the joint.

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