Scientist seeks deposits for elephant sperm bank

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Small deposit. Big return.

Elephants in captivity are becoming too inbred, so a German researcher has amassed a sperm bank of wild elephant semen for zoos to draw on. There’s just one small problem – sperm is not a commodity bull elephants give up lightly. Zoos across the world are facing a growing crisis – the dwindling gene pool of their elephants. In fact, one rather drained male called Jackson has sired many of the captive calves born in the United States in the last ten years. That’s why, every couple of years, Thomas Hildebrandt of Berlin’s Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) takes to the South African skies in a helicopter over the savannah, searching for bulls. Once a potentially fertile specimen has been identified, the helicopter swoops down and Hildebrandt fires a narcotic dart to stun the animal.

There then follows a simple five-minute procedure, known as electro-ejaculation…

Continue reading… “Scientist seeks deposits for elephant sperm bank”


Top 50 Science Blogs That Can Help You Find a Career in Science


Impact Lab is listed as #45 for being a great look at research, and information and resources for scientists.

Any science student knows how exciting a career in one of the sciences can be. Indeed, there are always interesting discoveries being made and technological advances moving forward. Breakthroughs occur regularly, making for an interesting job — if you can find one.

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In Early Tests, $99 Wii Balance Board Outperforms $17,885 Medical Rig

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We love Wii!
Another day, another story about some cheap, plastic Wii motion control accessory finding an application outside of gaming. In this case, it’s the balance board, and not only is this device helping stroke victims recover, it’s saving them money, too.In fact, doctors at the University of Melbourne found that the balance board, normally used for pseudo Yoga or navigating Mii’s down a virtual ski slope, was so sensitive it could very well replace traditional laboratory-grade “force platforms” doctors use to assess a patient’s balance.

Continue reading… “In Early Tests, $99 Wii Balance Board Outperforms $17,885 Medical Rig”


Gene Map of Anti-Malaria Plant Could Save Millions

malaria plant
Plants of hope.

British scientists have unlocked the genetic map of a plant used to cure malaria.

It brings hope to the millions of people suffering from the disease, which is especially prevalent in India and sub Saharan Africa.

Scientists from the University of York said their research paves the way for high-yielding anti-malaria crops in developing countries within two years.

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Scientists Create World’s First Molecular Transistor

Hey look ma, only one molecule!
A group of scientists has succeeded in creating the world’s first transistor made from a single molecule.

The group included researchers from Yale University and the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea.

The team, including Mark Reed, the Harold Hodgkinson Professor of Engineering and Applied Science at Yale, showed that a benzene molecule attached to gold contacts could behave just like a silicon transistor.

The researchers were able to manipulate the molecule’s different energy states depending on the voltage they applied to it through the contacts.

By manipulating the energy states, they were able to control the current passing through the molecule.


Scientists Researching Possible Health Benefits of LSD and Ecstacy

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LSD and ecstacy shown to be more effective against anxiety
disorders than Prozac, Zoloft and other “legal” drugs

A growing number of people are taking LSD and other psychedelic drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy to help them cope with a variety of conditions including anorexia nervosa, cluster headaches and chronic anxiety attacks.
The emergence of a community that passes the drugs between users on the basis of friendship, support and need – with money rarely involved – comes amid a resurgence of research into the possible therapeutic benefits of psychedelics. This is leading to a growing optimism among those using the drugs that soon they may be able to obtain medicines based on psychedelics from their doctor, rather than risk jail for taking illicit drugs.
Among those in Britain already using the drugs and hoping for a change in the way they are viewed is Anna Jones (not her real name), a 35-year-old university lecturer, who takes LSD once or twice a year. She fears that without an occasional dose she will go back to the drinking problem she left behind 14 years ago with the help of the banned drug.
LSD, the drug synonymous with the 1960s counter-culture, changed her life, she says. “For me it was the catalyst to give up destructive behaviour – heavy drinking and smoking. As a student I used to drink two or three bottles of wine, two or three days a week, because I didn’t have many friends and didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.
“Then I took a hit of LSD one day and didn’t feel alone any more. It helped me to see myself differently, increase my self-confidence, lose my desire to drink or smoke and just feel at one with the world. I haven’t touched alcohol or cigarettes since that day in 1995 and am much happier than before.”
Many others are using the drugs to deal with chronic anxiety attacks brought on by terminal illness such as cancer.
Research was carried out in the 1950s and 1960s into psychedelics. In some places they were even used as a treatment for anxiety, depression and addiction. But a backlash against LSD – owing to concerns that the powerful hallucinogen was becoming widespread as a recreational drug, and fear that excessive use could trigger mental health conditions such as schizophrenia – led to prohibition of research in the 1970s.
Under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act it is classified as a Class A, schedule 1 substance – which means not only is LSD considered highly dangerous, but it is deemed to have no medical research value.
Now, though, distinguished academics and highly respected institutions are looking again at whether LSD and other psychedelics might help patients. Psychiatrist Dr John Halpern, of Harvard medical school in the US, found that almost all of 53 people with cluster headaches who illegally took LSD or psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms, obtained relief from the searing pain. He and an international team have also begun investigating whether 2-Bromo-LSD, a non-psychedelic version of LSD known as BOL, can help ease the same condition.
Studies into how the drug may be helping such people are also being carried out in the UK. Amanda Feilding is the director of the Oxford-based Beckley Foundation, a charitable trust that investigates consciousness, its altered states and the effects of psychedelics and meditation. She is a key figure in the revival of scientific interest in psychedelics and expresses her excitement about the initial findings of two overseas studies with which her foundation is heavily involved.
“One, at the University of California in Berkeley, was the first research into LSD to get approval from regulators and ethics bodies since the 1970s,” she said. Those in the study are the first to be allowed to take LSD legally in decades as part of research into whether it aids creativity. “LSD is a potentially very valuable substance for human health and happiness.”
The other is a Swiss trial in which the drug is give alongside psychotherapy to people who have a terminal condition to help them cope with the profound anxiety brought on by impending death. “If you handle LSD with care, it isn’t any more dangerous than other therapies,” said Dr Peter Gasser, the psychiatrist leading the trial.
At Johns Hopkins University in Washington, another trial is examining whether psilocybin can aid psychotherapy for those with chronic substance addiction who have not been helped by more conventional treatment.
Professor Colin Blakemore, a former chief executive of the Medical Research Council, said the class-A status of psychedelics such as LSD should not stop them being explored as potential therapies. “No drug is completely safe, and that includes medical drugs as well as illegal substances,” he said. “But we have well-developed and universally respected methods of assessing the balance of benefit and harm for new medicines.
“If there are claims of benefits from substances that are not regulated medicines – even including illegal drugs – it is important that they should be tested as thoroughly for efficacy and safety as any new conventional drug.”
Past reputations may make it hard to get approval for psychedelic medicines, according to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
“The known adverse effect profiles of psychedelic drugs would have to be considered very carefully in the risk/benefit analysis before the drugs may be approved for medicinal use,” said a spokeswoman. “These products, if approved, are likely to be classified as a prescription-only medicine and also likely to remain on the dangerous drug list, which means that their supply would be strictly controlled.”

A growing number of people are taking LSD and other psychedelic drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy to help them cope with a variety of conditions including anorexia nervosa, cluster headaches and chronic anxiety attacks.

Continue reading… “Scientists Researching Possible Health Benefits of LSD and Ecstacy”


David Brin, NY Times Best Selling Author, Scientist, and Futurist to Speak at the Colorado Inventor Showcase

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Colorado Inventor Showcase 2009
Inventing the Economic Engines to Create a Better Tomorrow

The DaVinci Institute’s will mark it’s 5th annual Colorado Inventor Showcase on November 3, 2009.  The Colorado Inventor Showcase is one of the nation’s premier events focused on creating a link between inventors and world marketplace. By allowing inventors to take center stage and tell the world about their product, we are creating win-win situations for creators as well as the people. 


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Fashion That Includes Motion Sensing Abilities


Smarty Pants are not just an insult anymore

Good news for those who have always wanted to wear a pair of pants that detect your every move. According to scientists at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the smart technology will soon be integrated right into the fabric of fashion items. Continue reading… “Fashion That Includes Motion Sensing Abilities”


Neuroscientists Create “Body Swapping” Illusion

Nueroscientists Create “Body Swapping” Illusion 

From the outside, psychotherapy can look like an exercise in self-absorption. In fact, though, therapists often work to pull people out of themselves: to see their behavior from the perspective of a loved one, for example, or to observe their own thinking habits from a neutral distance.

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Scientists Clone Endangered Amami Rabbit

 Scientists Clone Endangered Amami Rabbit

Japan’s first endangered animal clone

The Amami rabbit — a threatened species found only in the Ryūkyū Islands — may become Japan’s first endangered animal clone. Scientists at Osaka’s Kinki University have cloned an embryo of the endangered rabbit and are awaiting its birth next month, it was announced earlier this week. (Pics)

Continue reading… “Scientists Clone Endangered Amami Rabbit”