Culture

17-year-old builds protein decoder tool to help cure cancer

Publication: NBC News   Date: March 13, 2013   View Article

A new class of drugs may soon be developed to treat everything from breast and ovarian cancer to tuberculosis, thanks to a 17-year-old’s system for declassifying the interactions between two types of proteins.

Johah Kallenbach, a high school senior at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa., won second place and a $75,000 scholarship Tuesday at the Intel Science Talent Search, an elite science fair, for his development of the computer program.

Whiz kid grows algae under her bed, wins Intel science fair

Publication: NBC News   Date: March 13, 2013   View Article

Sara Volz, 17, from Colorado Springs, Colo., joined the quest for practical alternatives to petroleum-based fuels in the seventh grade. Now a high school senior, she may have found an answer in the oily pond scum growing under her bed.

“I was trying to use guided evolution, so artificial selection, to isolate populations of algae cells with abnormally high oil content,” she told NBC News.

The result is a population of algae that produces so much oil, so efficiently, that it bagged the grand prize Tuesday night in the Intel Science Talent Search, an elite science fair. The prize comes with a $100,000 scholarship.

Botch-free puncturing device among prize-winning inventions

Publication: NBC News   Date: March 6, 2013   View Article

From botch-free punctures on the operating table to dramatically more energy-efficient lighting and well-watered kitchen gardens, the inventions of three $30,000-prize-winning students aim to make life better for people around the world.

The road to success in innovation, according to the recipients of the annual Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, begins with a profound respect for the power of learning.

“I refuse to stop being curious,” Nikolai Begg, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and winner of the school’s check, told NBC News. “Every single experience you have and every single time you can ask a question … you learn something new.”

High-school senior invents life-saving water filter

Publication: NBC News   Date: March 14, 2013   View Article

A high-school senior has built a simple water filter using a common tree seed that can effectively remove bacteria such as E. coli and other pollutants. Distributing the easy-to-follow instructions on how to build the filter to developing countries could potentially save lives, she said.

“For people who are currently drinking contaminated water and don’t have access to another (filtration) method, I think this is really a step in the right direction,” Meghan Shea, an 18-year-old student at Unionville High School from West Chester, Penn., told NBC News.

Seriously? Dress becomes transparent when wearer is aroused

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 8, 2013   View Article

For those who need a visual cue on their partner’s readiness to get it on, there’s a new high-tech garment in the offing that turns increasingly transparent as the wearer’s state of arousal heightens.

“We call it techno poetry when this relationship between technology and the human body get immersed,” Daan Roosegaarde, who heads up the Netherlands-based design firm that created the garments, told NBC News.

Energy use plummets on Super Bowl Sunday, study finds

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 28, 2013   View Article

As millions of Americans huddle around TVs with friends and family this Sunday to watch the Super Bowl, they’ll neglect their laundry, skip vacuuming the carpet and abandon just about anything else that requires electricity, according to a new study. As a result, energy usage will plummet.

During the 2012 Super Bowl, which ranked as the most watched television broadcast in U.S. history with 111.3 million viewers, energy usage dropped 5 percent in the Western U.S. and 3.8 percent in the East, energy software company Opower reported.

Flushing Nemo? Pet fish pose ocean threat

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 10, 2013   View Article

Exotic and colorful aquarium fish, such as those made famous by the Disney film “Finding Nemo,” are escaping to the open ocean in real life and disrupting marine ecosystems, according to a new report on the spread of invasive species.

More than 11 million non-native aquarium fish and plants — from tropical fish to seaweed and snails, representing 102 species — are imported annually through the California ports of Los Angeles and San Francisco, the report found.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach