Friday, October 1, 2010

U.N. To Establish Protocols For When We Make Contact With Aliens

The United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) has announced that it will consider drafting protocols for what to do when we finally make contact with extra-terrestrial civilizations in space. What's prompting the UN to consider this possibility is the fact that astronomers are expected to announce, perhaps later this year or next year, that our satellites (such as Kepler and Corot) have identified earth-like planets in space. So far, almost 500 large Jupiter-sized planets have been discovered.

Random Numbers Created Out Of Nothing

It's something from nothing. A random number generator that harnesses the quantum fluctuations in empty space could soon sit inside your computer.
A device that creates truly random numbers is vital for a number of applications, including cryptography.
Algorithms can generate numbers that pass statistical tests for randomness, but they're useless for secure cryptography if the algorithm falls into the wrong hands. Other methods using entangled ions to generate random numbers are more reliable, but tend to be slower and more expensive.
Now Christian Gabriel's team at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen, Germany, has built a prototype that draws on a vacuum's random quantum fluctuations. These impart random noise to laser beams in the device, which converts it into numbers.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Undersea cauldrons replicated life's ingredients - life - 27 May 2010 - New Scientist

The precursor of life may have learned how to copy itself thanks to simple convection at the bottom of the ocean.
Lab experiments reveal how DNA replication could have occurred in tiny pores around undersea vents.

The work shows that DNA can be both concentrated and replicated under a very simple set of conditions.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Novel Nanoparticle Vaccine Cures Type1 Diabetes In Mice

An innovative nanotech "vaccine" has been proven to cure type 1 diabetes in mice, and paves the way to do the same for humans. A dose of therapeutic nanoparticles given to diabetic mice restored healthy sugar levels in the rodents.

The nanoparticles making up the vaccine, thousands of times smaller than the cells they act on, are coated with protein fragments that suppress the autoimmune response that's characteristic of diabetes. Most importantly, unlike existing treatments for autoimmune disorders, the particles do all this without compromising the rest of the immune system.

In autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, the body basically wages war on itself. The nanovaccine helps to suppress the immune attacks by blocking the stimulus that causes the aggressive T-cells to attack.

The technology behind the nanovaccine, following further research, may prove widely applicable to treat other autoimmune diseases, like arthritis and multiple sclerosis, as well.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

NANO : "giving a new life to BIO"

A NANOMETER – suddenly it seems to have grown immensely. A radical revolution has been brought about by nanotechnology and a lot more expected to come.
What actually is Nanotechnology? - It is a technology for doing things on a very small scale.
What is that scale? - Definition includes anything smaller than 100 nanometers, where 1 nanometer (nm) is equal to one billionth of a meter.
Nanotechnology works by exploiting the unique properties of particles at the nano – scale and applying it at the desired place, using basically a bottom-up approach. This is really a vast domain. It can be either for physics, for chemistry, for biology, for materials, for medicine and so forth. The size dependent properties of nanomaterials make them unique and of great use in many areas of human activities. As a tool, nanotechnology has got an immense perceived potential for diverse fields of science. When we say science, let’s give our first consideration to, biology – ‘the study of life and living organisms’ because it is this ‘life’ that really distinguishes us from the dead, leaving philosophy apart. The most necessary requirement to prove one living is to possess an inherent ability to replicate. This property starts at the level of DNA. Hence, life starts with DNA coming into existence. What else, even the groundwork for nanotechnology was laid 50 years ago, when Nobel-prize winner physicist Richard Feynman talked about "the problem of manipulating and controlling things on a small scale". He said he was inspired by biology, which showed that nature had mastered the art of compressing massive amounts of information in tiny molecules called DNA.
It has now been very well known by X ray diffraction methods and other analysis by scientists that a DNA chain is approximately 2.2 to 2.6 nm wide and its one nucleotide unit is 0.33 nm long. Even most of the proteins are of the order of 5 nm. In simpler terms, this size comparison indicates the ‘confluence of nano and bio’ where nano provides the tools and bio offers the inspiring model and also nanoparticles can very easily used as probes in monitoring the processes of living organisms without much interference. Just considering the simplest example here, the fact that nanoparticles share the size domain with proteins, makes them possible to be used in bio-labeling. Even nanoparticles are replacing the organic dyes in application that require high photo-stability. Now the major trend in further development of nanomaterials to apply in biological systems is to make them multifunctional and controllable by external signals or by local environment thus turning them into nano-devices. In medicine nanoparticles applications are highly concentrated on drug delivery and now nanotech strategy may help in creating new artificial organs for human bodies. Many such applications based on the property of nanoparticles are leading to the commercialization of the newly but rapidly emerging field of Nanobiotechnology. The applications of nanotechnology to biology will prove to be very crucial with advancements in this particular area of research, which is reflecting clearly in recent science policies around the globe. In the recent years there has been witnessed an increase in interest towards nanoparticles and their biological effects and applications. Other than cancer therapy and tissue engineering these now include bottom-up and molecular self-assembly, biological effects of naked nanoparticles and nano-safety, drug encapsulation and nanotherapeutics, and novel nanoparticles for use in microscopy, imaging and diagnostics. Hence, for this beneficial and demanding convergence, it becomes quite necessary to bring together the biologists and the nanotechnologists for better comprehension of nature, sustainable development and improving human performance.
It holds a great promise !
- Kirti Bhatotia