Archive for January, 2011

Magnetic soap made for oil spills

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 25, 2012   View Article

Scientists have created the world’s first soap that can be controlled by magnets.

That’s right: magnetic suds.

The breakthrough may revolutionize industrial cleaning products and the response to environmental disasters such as oil spills, reports the research team from Bristol University in England.

Get ready for invisible war machines

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 14, 2011   View Article

Within a few years the Brits may deploy invisible armored tanks onto the battlefield, a breakthrough in stealth technology that Harry Potter would certainly applaud.

Defense contractor BAE Systems is working on the technology, which uses a “display system within the structure of the vehicle” to display images captured by cameras on one side of the vehicle on the opposite side so that the vehicle “blends in with the background scenery,” company spokesman Mike Sweeney explained to me today.

Froggy finds raise hope for Haiti

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 12, 2011   View Article

Conservationists have rediscovered six species of frogs in Haiti, offering a ray of hope for the country on the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that left it in shambles.

“I am very wary of highlighting frogs at this time in Haiti. Obviously the country has very pressing needs, but I think ultimately they are a symbol of something more hopeful,” said Robin Moore, an amphibian expert with Conservation International who helped lead the expedition that found the frogs.

Play a game and engineer real RNA

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 11, 2011   View Article

A new online game allows non-scientists to design molecules of RNA and then see how well the best of their virtual creations perform in a real-life lab.

The game, called EteRNA, breaks down a barrier that has long kept the virtual reality of video games separate from the real world and in the process may help scientists build ever more sophisticated RNA machines, according to the game’s creators.

Will ‘hobbit’ tooth yield ancient DNA?

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 11, 2011   View Article

Scientists are gearing up to use a new drilling technique to extract ancient DNA from an 18,000-year-old tooth that belonged to a “hobbit,” the mysterious, diminutive creatures that once lived on the Indonesian island of Flores.

If successful, a comparison of the DNA with other species could help resolve disputes surrounding who the hobbits were and where they originated.

How tweets reveal where you’re from

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 7, 2011   View Article

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog, but on Twitter, your tweets likely reveal where you are. Computer scientists report that the microblogging service reflects regional dialects and slang.

Birds in trouble? Yes … here’s why

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 7, 2011   View Article

Birds are indeed in trouble. But this trouble has nothing to do with freakish events such as the thousands of blackbirds that fell from the sky in Arkansas on New Year’s Eve. Rather, experts say birds are falling prey to a laundry list of long-term threats ranging from pollution and habitat loss to climate change.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach