Saturday, November 22, 2008

Online Time Benefits Teens

Contrary to popular belief, spending time online benefits teens. A report, sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation, contradicts the notion that Internet surfing is a waste of time. Playing games and interacting with peers through social networks aids the development of technology usage and communication skills. 

The three-year study followed 800 teens and their parents to explore how teenagers use social media to learn and grow. Researcher observed participants for 5,000 hours and found that hanging out on the Internet servers similar social purposes as in-person social contact. Online time also allows teenager to develop their identity and creativity.  The report is good news considering all the time we spend online.

Originally reported by the BBC

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More Lost Treasure Found in the UK This Year

Lost treasure is something to get excited about. This year marks a significant rise in treasure found by amateur treasure hunters in the UK. The British Museum reported a 12.6 percent rise in treasures containing gold and silver.

Among the treasure discovered this year, you'll find 3,500 Roman coins, which are on display at the British Museum. The most valuable piece found this year is an Iron Age gold necklace worth 350,000 pounds. 

Originally reported by the BBC and picture from Getty Images. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Calm Winds Aid SoCal Firefighters

Since Thursday, wildfires have consumed 34 square miles of  Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and Santa Barbara Counties. Over 800 homes have been destroyed. The air quality is so poor that the Pasadena marathon had be canceled. Yet, this weekend's calm winds have allowed firefighters to make major progress against the blaze. Additionally, no deaths have been reported in this latest episode of fires - the silver lining in the smoke. 

Originally reported by the Associated Press in the San Francisco Chronicle

Friday, November 14, 2008

HPV Vaccine Protects Men Too

The Gardasil vaccine that prevents HPV, or the sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer in women, may also protect men against the wart virus. The maker Merck and Co found the vaccine was 90 percent effective in preventing warts caused by the virus in men. It was also 45 percent effective in preventing infection with the four stains of HPV the vaccine targets. 

This is exciting news when you consider that HPV (human papilloma virus) is the world's most common sexually transmitted disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate there are 20 million Americans currently infected with the disease. The virus is the main cause of cervical cancer and also causes anal, penis, mouth and neck cancer. 

Going forward, Merck and Co plan to study whether vaccinating men protects their female sexual partners. If the vaccine does prevent the spread of the HPV, a major preventative milestone will be met. 

Originally reported by Reuters

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Diamonds Are Forever; So Is Tequila

Diamonds and tequila didn't have much in common until physicists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico discovered a method of creating synthetic diamonds from tequila. Although the diamonds created through this process aren't large enough to be used for jewelry, they can be used for industrial purposes like computer chips and ultra-fine cutting instruments. 

This discovery is curious, but also amazing considering the process is cheap. Even the most inexpensive tequila - we're talking a 3 dollar bottle - can be used to create diamonds. Using lots of heat, liquid tequila it turned into vapor. These tequila gas molecules are then broken up into particles by heating the vapor to about 800 degrees Celsius. Once the the molecules are broken, you get carbon atoms that can be arranged in the shape of a very thin diamond film. 

Going forward, Mexico could produce super-cheap industrial diamond products that benefit multiple industries.  Let's drink to that. 

Originally reported by the BBC

Monday, November 10, 2008

Super Immune Cells Fight AIDS

Researchers have found a new way to fight AIDS: genetically engineered immune cells. Scientists have created genetically engineered immune cells that can identify the AIDS virus, even when it disguices itself in the body. 

The new killer T-cells, or "assassin" cells, could form a new treatment for AIDS. The modified cells were able to recognize other cells infected by HIV and kill the cells, slowing the spread of the virus. If the process can be used in human it means a revolution for fighting AIDS. 

Originally reported by Reuters

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Saving Pygmy Hippos

Pygmy hippos are rare. There are estimated 200 pygmy hippos in the world, making them an endangered species - a really cute one at that. Recently, a pygmy hippo, named Monifa, was born at the zoo in Sydney, Australia.  Her birth is incredibility important to the servile of the spices

Check out the video below (originally posted by the Assoicated Press). 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Genetic Insights into Cancer

A Washington University team of scientists decoded the entire DNA of a woman suffering acute myeloid leukaemia. Although the woman died from the disease, the researchers were able to identify 10 key generic mutations related to her cancer. Only two of these mutations had been recognized before.  

By mapping DNA of other cancer patients, scientists could understand the mutation related to other forms of cancer and develop better targeted drugs. The ability to understand what causes cancer is a landmark discover and will make fighting and defeating the disease more possible. 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Netflix Releases "Watch Instantly" Mac Beta

Up until recently Mac users couldn't run the "watch instantly" Netflix feature. That's about to change: Mac users everywhere can rejoice because Netflix has released a public beta version of the feature for Macs. Netflix subscribers can sign up to test the public beta before the official roll-out.  

The Mac media player has been long-awaited and would allow those who prefer Apple to access thousands of movies and television shows at the click of a button. The player hadn't been available to Mac user in the past because the media player relied on Microsoft Silverlight, Microsoft's multimedia delivery system. 

The future holds more media for Mac users. 

Originally reported by Macworld.