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Scientist develops liquid spectacles for the poor

grinding.be -- Silver Glasses: liquid-injected lenses for a billion of the world’s poor

Professor Joshua Silver, to be specific — a retired physics teacher at Oxford University who has developed “Silver Glasses,” which are tunable spectacles that need no optometrist to adjust. That’s because the glasses have syringes filled with silicone liquid connected to each lens, and the wearer only has to inject or suck out the fluid until the view through the lenses looks right.

Do birds see with quantum eyes?

Do birds see with quantum eyes? - life - 03 May 2008 - New Scientist

A quantum trick might be behind birds' ability to navigate using Earth's magnetic field lines.

Some researchers think birds might be able to "see" the magnetic field via photosensitive proteins in their retinas. The theory is that when a photon strikes one of these proteins, it creates a pair of oppositely charged ions, which separate for a fleeting moment before recombining. Each of these ions contains electrons with a quantum property called spin. Initially, these spins point in opposite directions - but in a magnetic field, they tend to become aligned. When the ions recombine, this alignment triggers a specific biochemical reaction, which gives the bird information about the magnetic field.

The idea has a major flaw though. The ions seem to be pulled back together about 10 times faster than researchers think Earth's magnetic field could affect the electrons' spins.

Now Iannis Kominis of the University of Crete in Heraklion, Greece, suggests that a known quantum effect might be able to ramp up the impact of the magnetic field in enough time. "Quantum physics comes to the rescue," he says.

December 23, 2008

One sneeze, 150 colds for commuters

One sneeze, 150 colds for commuters - The Scotsman
TISSUES at the ready. A single sneeze in a busy area can end up infecting 150 people with a cold in just five minutes, new research suggests. An analysis of the germs unleashed from a single commuter's sneeze showed that within minutes they are being passed on via escalator handrails or seats on trains and underground carriages. At the busiest stations, one sneeze not smothered by a tissue or handkerchief will provide enough germs to infect another 150 commuters. A single sneeze expels 100,000 droplets of germs into the air at 90mph. Individual droplets get transferred to handles, rails and other areas frequently held or touched. Up to 10 per cent of all commuters will come into contact with an area infected by that one sneeze, Dr Henderson calculated.

December 22, 2008

Scientist: stem cells could end animal testing

Scientist: stem cells could end animal testing - CNN.com
LONDON, England (CNN) -- As well as their potential for creating effective therapies for debilitating diseases, embryonic stem cells could open the door to more effective pharmaceutical drug testing, according to a leading British stem cell researcher. Embryonic stem cells seen pictured through a microscope viewfinder in a laboratory. Embryonic stem cells seen pictured through a microscope viewfinder in a laboratory. Speaking at a recent meeting of the British Pharmacological Society in Brighton, UK, Christine Mummery described how using embryonic stem cells to create human heart cells could be a viable and scientifically exciting alternative to animal testing.

The writhing horror of the deep-sea siphonophore

Siphonophore: Deep-sea superorganism (video) ::: Pink Tentacle

Here is some terrific video of a bioluminescent deep-sea siphonophore — an eerily fantastic creature that appears to be a single, large organism, but which is actually a colony of numerous individual jellyfish-like animals that behave and function together as a single entity. The individual units, called zooids, all share the same genetic material and each perform a specialized role within the colony. The best-known siphonophore is the poisonous Portuguese Man o’ War (Physalia physalis), which lives at the surface of the ocean, unlike the one shown in this video (filmed at a depth of 770 meters). Some siphonophore species can grow up to 40 meters (130 ft) in length.

December 17, 2008

Scientists discover the G-spot

Ecstasy over G spot therapy - life - 17 December 2008 - New Scientist

Emmanuele Jannini at the University of L'Aquila in Italy discovered clear anatomical differences between women who claim to have vaginal orgasms - triggered by stimulation of the front vaginal wall without any simultaneous stimulation of the clitoris - and those that don't. Apparently, the key is that women who orgasm during penetrative sex have a thicker area of tissue in the region between the vagina and urethra, meaning a simple scan could separate out the lucky "haves" from the "have-nots".

Even better, Jannini now has evidence that women who have this thicker tissue can be "taught" to have vaginal orgasms. Ultrasound scans on 30 women uncovered G spots in just eight of them and when these women were asked if they had vaginal orgasms during sex, only five of them said yes. However, when the remaining three were shown their G spots on the scan and given advice on how to stimulate it, two of them subsequently "discovered" the joy of vaginal orgasms. "This demonstrated, although in a small sample, the use of [vaginal ultrasound] in teaching the vaginal orgasm," Jannini says.