terça-feira, 28 de julho de 2015




Fri, 04/03/2015 - 6:47pm

CRAIC Technologies

Craic Technologies' 20/30 XL is designed to work with large-scale samples, such as 300-mm wafers, to measure thin film thickness as well as the Raman spectra of microscopic sampling areas. The 20/30 XL also offers UV microscopy, a full spectroscopy suite as well as either manual or automated operation. Because of the flexible instrument design, the is no upper limit to the sample size which makes this instrument perfect for everything from quality control of the largest flat panel displays to film thickness of 300-mm wafers.

Ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy or ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry (UV-Vis or UV/Vis) refers to absorption spectroscopy or reflectance spectroscopy in the ultraviolet-visible spectral region. This means it uses light in the visible and adjacent (near-UV and near-infrared [NIR]) ranges. The absorption or reflectance in the visible range directly affects the perceived color of the chemicals involved. In this region of the electromagnetic spectrum, molecules undergo electronic transitions. This technique is complementary to fluorescence spectroscopy, in that fluorescence deals with transitions from the excited state to the ground state, while absorption measures transitions from the ground state to the excited state.


Craic Technologies, www.microspectra.com


Spiritual Mandalas Made with Wool


Posted: 27 Jul 2015 01:00 PM PDT

Tissés en laine, les mandalas portant le nom de Ojos de Dios (The Eyes of God), est un art populaire et spirituel tirant son origine des peuples d’Amérique du Sud. Traditionnellement ils sont utilisés pour prier, célébrer la religion ou offerts en cadeau pour protéger les maisons. Jay Mohler crée les siens depuis une quarantaine d’années et les vendait, à l’époque aux touristes dans la région d’Albuquerque, au Nouveau Mexique. Aujourd’hui ils sont disponibles sur sa boutique Etsy.










Round of Testing Completed on Webb Telescope Flight Mirrors


Webb Space Telescope

This July 11, 2015 photograph captures one of the final, if not the final, James Webb Space Telescope flight primary mirror segments to be processed through NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Calibration, Integration and Alignment Facility (CIAF).

The mirror is seen here on the Configuration Measurement Machine (CMM), which is used for precision measurements of the backs of the mirrors. These precision measurements must be accurate to 0.1 microns or 1/400th the thickness of a human hair.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. It will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Last Updated: July 28, 2015

Editor: Sarah Loff

Abundant tiger population shrinks to just 100 in Bangladesh



by Cat DiStasio, 07/28/15

tigers, endangered species, endangered animals, poaching, commercial development, threatened habitat, bangladesh, tiger population survey, tiger hidden camera census, tiger population Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, a new census shows that tiger populations in the Sundarbans mangrove forest are more endangered than ever. The study, which used hidden cameras to track and record tigers, provides a more accurate update than previous surveys that used other methods. The year-long census, which ended this April, revealed only around 100 of the big cats remain in what was once home to the largest population of tigers on earth.

tigers, endangered species, endangered animals, poaching, commercial development, threatened habitat, bangladesh, tiger population survey, tiger hidden camera census, tiger population Bangladesh

The Sundarbans mangrove forest is the world’s largest of its kind, spanning 3,900 square miles of which 60 percent lies inside the Bangladeshi border (the rest is in India). The mangrove forest has long been known as the home of the largest populations of the endangered cats on earth, but that may no longer be true as numbers dwindle. In 2004, the forest was believed to be home to 440 tigers, although researchers now suspect that figure was too high due to errors in methodology. The results of the most recent hidden camera census estimate as few as 100 of the majestic big cats remain in the wilds of the mangrove forest and, sadly, government wildlife experts say this new count is likely to be accurate.

Related: Indian tiger population climbs by 30 percent thanks to conservation efforts

Although tiger populations elsewhere have seen encouraging increases, Bangladesh does not have the same legal protections in place for the big cats. Wildlife conservationists are calling for the government to put an end to illegal poaching, which they attribute in part to the decline in population. Commercial development projects also pose a threat to the tigers’ habitat, and advocates believe those should be restricted. Without intervention, the number of tigers living in the mangrove forest will continue to drop.

Via The Guardian

Images via Wikipedia (1, 2)

China Will Soon Leapfrog Traditional Leaders in Nuclear Power



China generates only about 2 percent of its total electricity using nuclear power, but it is adding new reactors much faster than any other country.

By Mike Orcutt on July 27, 2015


Why It Matters

Nuclear power will likely have to play a big contributing role toward helping countries reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.

China is rapidly moving up the global nuclear power leaderboard. Since 2012, as the traditional leaders in nuclear energy production have remained stagnant or backed off of their reliance on nuclear in the wake of Fukushima, China has added 11 new reactors and over 11 gigawatts of nuclear generating capacity.

By the end of this year, China is expected to pass Russia and South Korea and boast the fourth-largest nuclear generating capacity in the world, behind the United States, France, and Japan. By 2020 it will likely replace Japan in third place.

This trend shows no signs of slowing, because China has huge ambitions for adding new reactors, including advanced reactor designs, in the coming decades (see “Nuclear Options”). The country plans to increase its capacity from 23 gigawatts currently to 58 gigawatts by 2020, at which point it is also aiming to have 30 additional gigawatts under construction, according to the World Nuclear Association. Right now, of the 64 reactors being built around the world, 24 are in China—15 more than in second-place Russia.

The Chinese government is banking on nuclear playing a significant role in helping it achieve its goals of having 15 percent of overall energy consumption come from non-fossil fuel sources by 2020, and 20 percent by 2030 (in 2012, 91 percent came from fossil fuels, according to the Energy Information Administration).

Nuclear will also be very important, in addition to wind, solar, and hydropower, if China is to deliver on its promise that its annual emissions will level off no later than 2030 (See: “China Could Deliver on Its Carbon Promise Earlier than Expected”).

source : MIT Technology Review.


segunda-feira, 27 de julho de 2015

"Compound 14" mimics the effects of exercise without setting foot in the gym



A newly developed molecule has been found to mimic the effects of exercise, including weight loss and improved glucose tolerance in mice

A newly developed molecule has been found to mimic the effects of exercise, including weight loss and improved glucose tolerance in mice (Credit: Shutterstock)

Enjoying the health benefits of a back-breaking workout without actually working out sure is a tantalizing prospect. This goes a long way to explaining the torrent of exercise equipment that promises to do more for our figures with less of our sweat and tears, and recently, the development of drugs that could imitate the beneficial effects of exercise. The latest advance in this area is the development of a molecule that mimics the effects of exercise by influencing the metabolic process, giving it the potential to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The scientists at the University of Southampton who developed the molecule initially set out to target the central energy sensor in cells called AMPK. Pointing to previous research, the team believed that if a small molecule could be used to selectively activate AMPK, it could boost the uptake of glucose and oxygen in the cells by mimicking the effects of exercise.

The small molecule, dubbed "compound 14", works by inhibiting the function of a cellular enzyme involved in metabolism called ATIC. This causes an accumulation of another molecule in the cells called ZMP, which tricks the cells into acting as if they are running out of energy, kicking AMPK into action to trigger the cells to increase glucose uptake and metabolism.

Compound 14 was given to two sets of mice, with one group fed a regular diet and the other fed high-fat foods so as to make them obese and intolerant to glucose, a symptom of pre-diabetes. The weight of the healthy mice remained the same after treatment with compound 14, as did their blood glucose levels. Meanwhile, the heightened blood glucose levels in the obese mice was reduced to near-normal levels after just a single dose of compound 14.

Taking things a step further, the team treated the obese mice with compound 14 for seven days and found that it improved their glucose tolerance and also shaved 1.5 g (0.05 oz), or around five percent, off their body weight. Subjecting the healthy mice to the same treatment brought about no changes in weight.

Compound 14 joins a host of other potential drugs that could be used to tackle bad health. In 2013, a drug under development at The Scripps Institute was found to increase the metabolic activity in skeletal muscles of mice, improving their muscle mass and fitness. We've also seen exercise-mimicking drugs that promise to better transform white fat into brown and ones that promise to reverse age-dependent diabetes.

The University of Southampton researchers will now continue to develop compound 14 and study the effects of long-term treatment. If it proves safe, the researchers say a drug could be developed aimed at those suffering diabetes and obesity.

The research was published in the journal Chemistry and Biology.

Source: University of Southampton

World Hepatitis Day — July 28th




Preventing Perinatal Hepatitis B Transmission

Hepatitis B is a significant global health threat and common in many parts of the world, with approximately 240 million worldwide infected, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Chronic hepatitis B infection causes an estimated 780,000 deaths worldwide each year. Many people with chronic hepatitis B were infected at birth or during early childhood, which increases the chance of a chronic, or lifelong, illness. Over time, chronic hepatitis B can cause serious health problems including liver cancer and liver failure.


Preventing Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is spread when blood or other body fluids from an infected person enters the body of another person. A pregnant woman who has hepatitis B can pass the virus to her infant at birth without timely intervention. In fact, 90% of infected infants develop a lifelong infection, and an estimated one-fourth of them will die prematurely. To address this public health concern, all pregnant women in the United States and many other countries are now routinely screened for hepatitis B. If a pregnant woman has hepatitis B, health care providers take extra effort to make sure her newborn gets timely vaccination to prevent this deadly disease. Completing the vaccine series can prevent transmission of the virus in over 90% of infants born to infected women. To protect every infant from potential infection, CDC recommends all babies get the first shot in the hepatitis B vaccine series before leaving the hospital, and completing the vaccine series as recommended. 


Vaccination is Saving Lives

In the United States and many parts of the world, widespread infant vaccination programs have led to dramatic declines of new hepatitis B cases.  As of 2013, the World Health Organization reported that 183 Member States vaccinated infants against hepatitis B as part of their vaccination schedules, resulting in an average of 81% of children in these countries receiving the hepatitis B vaccine.  This is a tremendous increase from the 31 countries who did in 1992, the year that the World Health Assembly passed a resolution to recommend global vaccination against hepatitis B. WHO estimates that since the introduction of routine infant vaccination in 1982, millions of premature deaths due to liver disease have been prevented.


More Information

  • World Hepatitis Day resource page
  • Frequently Asked Questions about perinatal Hepatitis B
  • Technical information on Perinatal Hepatitis B
  • New nicotine vaccine may succeed at treating smoking addiction, where others have failed



    A vaccine currently in development may be more effective at keeping nicotine molecules fro...

    A vaccine currently in development may be more effective at keeping nicotine molecules from acting on the brain (Photo: Shutterstock)

    If you're a smoker who's trying to quit, you may recall hearing about vaccines designed to cause the body's immune system to treat nicotine like a foreign invader, producing antibodies that trap and remove it before it's able to reach receptors in the brain. It's a fascinating idea, but according to scientists at California's Scripps Research Institute, a recent high-profile attempt had a major flaw. They claim to have overcome that problem, and are now developing a vaccine of their own that they believe should be more effective.

    There are actually two forms of nicotine, and they're like molecular mirror images of one another. These are known as the left-handed and right-handed versions. Although about 99 percent of the nicotine found in tobacco is the left-handed version, a previous vaccine created by a biopharmaceutical company caused the body to create antibodies against both types.

    According to lead scientist Prof. Kim Janda, this was a partial waste of the immune response, causing the vaccine to not be as effective as it could have been. As a result, it only worked on 30 percent of test subjects in clinical trials.

    Instead, his team has created a vaccine which causes the body to only produce antibodies that target left-handed nicotine molecules – none of the immune response goes towards making antibodies that won't be needed. In lab tests on rats, the vaccine was found to be 60 percent more effective at producing left-handed-nicotine-targeting antibodies than an alternate version, which was made from a 50-50 mix of both left- and right-handed nicotine derivatives known as haptens.

    The scientists are now trying to establish how consistently such a vaccine would work across large populations of users, given the variations in individuals' immune systems. They also note that even if it does work to remove the physiological reward system for smoking, users would still have to deal with smoking-withdrawal symptoms.

    A paper on the research was recently published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Another nicotine vaccine, utilizing some of Janda's materials, is currently being developed at Weill Cornell Medical College.

    Sources: Scripps Research Institute, American Chemical Society

    Allergies and asthma: Double trouble



    Allergies and asthma: They often occur together

    Allergies and asthma: A Mayo Clinic specialist explains the connection, and what you can do to prevent attacks and manage symptoms.

    By Mayo Clinic Staff

    You may wonder what allergies and asthma have in common besides making you miserable. A lot, as it turns out. Allergies and asthma often occur together.

    The same substances that trigger your hay fever symptoms may also cause asthma signs and symptoms, such as shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. This is called allergic asthma or allergy-induced asthma. Certain substances, such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander, are common triggers. In some people, skin or food allergies can cause asthma symptoms.

    James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic allergy specialist, answers questions about the link between allergies and asthma.

    How does an allergic reaction cause asthma symptoms?

    An allergic response occurs when immune system proteins (antibodies) mistakenly identify a harmless substance, such as tree pollen, as an invader. In an attempt to protect your body from the substance, antibodies bind to the allergen. The chemicals released by your immune system lead to allergy signs and symptoms, such as nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes or skin reactions. For some people, this same reaction also affects the lungs and airways, leading to asthma symptoms.

    Are allergies and asthma treated differently?

    Most treatments are designed to treat either asthma or allergies. But a few treatments help with both conditions, for example:

    • Leukotriene modifier. Montelukast (Singulair) is a medication that eases both allergy and asthma symptoms. Called a leukotriene modifier, this taken-daily pill helps control immune system chemicals released during an allergic reaction. In rare cases, this and other leukotriene modifiers have been linked to psychological reactions, including suicidal thinking. Seek medical advice right away for any unusual psychological reaction to one of these medications.
    • Allergy shots (immunotherapy). Allergy shots can help treat asthma by gradually reducing your immune system response to certain allergy triggers. Immunotherapy involves getting regular injections of a tiny amount of the allergens that trigger your symptoms. Your immune system builds up a tolerance to the allergens over time, and your allergic reactions diminish. In turn, asthma symptoms decrease as well. This treatment generally requires regular injections over a period of three to five years.
    • Anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) therapy. When you have an allergy, your immune system mistakenly identifies a specific substance as something harmful and releases antibodies, known as IgE, against the culprit allergen. The next time you encounter that allergen, the IgE antibodies sense it and signal your immune system to release a chemical called histamine, as well as other chemicals, into your bloodstream. The medication omalizumab (Xolair) interferes with IgE in the body and helps prevent the allergic reaction that triggers asthma symptoms.

    You may need other medications to treat allergies or asthma, especially if your symptoms become severe at times. However, recognizing and avoiding the allergic substances that trigger your symptoms is the most important step you can take.

    Feb. 27, 2013

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    Simone Sofa by Sputnik


    Posted: 26 Jul 2015 06:30 AM PDT

    La marque espagnole Missana a demandé au studio de design multidisciplinaire Sputnik d’imaginer dans le cadre de leur nouvelle collection appelée“The Novelties” un sofa élégant et féminin. Le résultat, appelé « Simone Sofa » allie design et confort, nous invitant ainsi à s’asseoir et profiter d’un agréable moment, un livre à la main, tout en dégustant un bon café. A découvrir dans la suite.