Science News – Medieval Bishop’s Theory Eeriely Similar to Parallel Universes


Medieval bishop’s theory resembles modern concept of multiple universes

A 13th century bishop’s theory about the formation of the universe has intriguing parallels with the theory of multiple universes. This was uncovered by the the Ordered Universe project at Durham University, which has brought together researchers from humanities and the sciences in a radically collaborative way. The project explores the conceptual world of Robert Grosseteste, one of the most dazzling minds of his generation (1170 to 1253): sometime bishop of Lincoln, church reformer, theologian, poet, politician, and one of the first to absorb, teach and debate new texts on natural phenomena that were becoming available to western scholars. These texts, principally the natural science of the greek scholar Aristotle, were translated from Arabic into Latin during the course of the 12th and 13th centuries, along with a wonderful array of material from Islamic and Jewish commentators. They revolutionised the intellectual resources of western scholars, posing challenges to established ways of thinking. We now recognise that the thinking they stimulated prepared the way for the scientific advances of the 16th and 17th centuries, too. Nearly 800 years later the example of Grosseteste’s works provides the basis for doing great interdisciplinary work, offering unexpected challenges to both modern scientists and humanities experts alike, especially in working closely together. (via Medieval bishop’s theory resembles modern concept of multiple universes)

First transfusions of “manufactured” blood planned for 2016


See on Scoop.itThe future of medicine and health

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 107 million blood donations are collected globally every year. Nonetheless, blood is often in short supply – particularly in developing nations. Despite new safeguards, there’s…

First transfusions of “manufactured” blood planned for 2016

Manufactured Blood – from The Telegraph


Artificial blood ‘will be manufactured in factories’

It is the stuff of gothic science fiction: men in white coats in factories of blood and bones.

But the production of blood on an industrial scale could become a reality once a trial is conducted in which artificial blood made from human stem cells is tested in patients for the first time.

It is the latest breakthrough in scientists’ efforts to re-engineer the body, which have already resulted in the likes of 3d-printed bones and bionic limbs.

Marc Turner, the principal researcher in the £5 million programme funded by the Wellcome Trust, told The Telegraph that his team had made red blood cells fit for clinical transfusion.

Prof Turner has devised a technique to culture red blood cells from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells – cells that have been taken from humans and ‘rewound’ into stem cells. Biochemical conditions similar to those in the human body are then recreated to induce the iPS cells to mature into red blood cells – of the rare universal blood type O.

“Although similar research has been conducted elsewhere, this is the first time anybody has manufactured blood to the appropriate quality and safety standards for transfusion into a human being,” said Prof Turner.

There are plans in place for the trial to be concluded by late 2016 or early 2017, he said. It will most likely involve the treatment of three patients with Thalassaemia, a blood disorder requiring regular transfusions. The behaviour of the manufactured blood cells will then be monitored.

“The cells will be safe,” he said, adding that there are processes whereby cells can be removed.

The technique highlights the prospect of a limitless supply of manufactured type-O blood, free of disease and compatible with all patients.

“Although blood banks are well-stocked in the UK and transfusion has been largely safe since the Hepatitis B and HIV infections of the 1970s and 1980s, many parts of the world still have problems with transfusing blood,” said Prof Turner.

However, scaling up the process to meet demand will be a challenge, as Prof Turner’s laboratory conditions are not replicable on an industrial scale. “A single unit of blood contains a trillion red blood cells. There are 2 million units of blood transfused in the UK each year,” he said.

Currently, it costs approximately £120 to transfuse a single unit of blood. If Prof Turner’s technique is scaled up efficiently, it could substantially reduce costs.

Dr Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust, said: “One should not underestimate the challenge of translating the science into routine procedures for the clinic. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the challenge Professor Turner and colleagues have set out to address, which is to replace the human blood donor as the source of supply for life-saving transfusions.”

For the moment, factories of blood remain the stuff of fiction.


Orbital Trash a Problem With No Immediate Solution, Growing Exponentially


See on Scoop.itThe Future of Water & Waste

Our technology can get us to space, but once there, we still aren’t too flexible. Earth orbit is clogged with debris because we simply don’t have an easy way to clean it up.
Wildcat2030’s insight:

waste is a problem even in space..

See on

Remember “Max Headroom:  20 Minutes into the Future”?  It’s time for the annual sky clearance!

Using Roads to Generate Heat and Electricity


Harnessing Heat from City Roads | ThisBigCity

The black asphalt roads of urban centres are notorious for soaking up the sun, often helping make cities uncomfortably hot during the summer. Special piping technology from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, however, is offering a way to trap this heat and use it elsewhere, potentially transforming urban streets into giant solar collectors.

The idea is simple: the sun-warmed asphalt can be used to heat up water, which is pumped through tubes embedded a few centimetres below the road surface. This has the dual effect of cooling the asphalt, prolonging the lifespan of the road, and heating water which can be used either as is, or to produce electricity.

Wow – using hot roads to generate steam for electricity and heating.  This is brilliant!

Science – Dark Matter


The dark side of the universe is whispering, but scientists are still not sure what it is saying.

Samuel Ting, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Nobel laureate particle physicist, said Wednesday that his $1.6 billion cosmic ray experiment on the International Space Station had found evidence of “new physical phenomena” that could represent dark matter, the mysterious stuff that serves as the gravitational foundation for galaxies and whose identification would rewrite some of the laws of physics.

The results, he said, confirmed previous reports that local interstellar space is crackling with an unexplained abundance of high energy particles, especially positrons, the antimatter version of the familiar electrons that comprise electricity and chemistry. They could be colliding particles of dark matter. Or they could be could be coming from previously undiscovered pulsars or other astronomical monsters, throwing off wild winds of radiation.

The tantalizing news is that even with the new data, physicists cannot tell yet which is the right answer, but they are encouraged that they soon might be able to. (via Tantalizing New Clues Into the Mysteries of Dark Matter –

Ancient, Greek, Clockwork Computer


In 1900, a worn bronze machine was hauled from an ancient Greek shipwreck. With dozens of crumbling gears, the machine puzzled experts for more than a century. This documentary follows researchers who have come to suspect the machine, known as the Antikythera mechanism, is a miniature planetarium that tracked the Sun and the Moon and could predict eclipses. They have created working models, down to the pin-and-slot mechanism that gives a slight wobble to the lunar orbit, and have used a custom X-ray machine to probe layers of corroded clockwork. The Greeks “managed to cram nearly all their knowledge of astronomy into this small-geared device,” the mathematician Tony Freeth says on-screen. The maker of this “analog computer” — perhaps a thousand years ahead of its time — is still unknown, but some believe it might have been inspired by the work of Archimedes. (via Ancient Clockwork and a New ‘Eco-Drama’ –

Is this cool or what?  Sounds like a Doctor Who plot!

Transistor-like Biological Device


Scientists create transistor-like biological device

Stanford researchers demonstrate ‘transcriptors’ inside E coli bacteria, in advance in synthetic biology

Scientists have used biological tissue to recreate one of the main components of a modern computer inside living cells.

The biological device behaves like a transistor, one of the tiny switches that are etched on to microchips in the billions to perform computer calculations.

The researchers demonstrated the device inside E coli bacteria, one of the most common bugs used in genetic engineering. The work marks one of the latest advances in the growing field of synthetic biology, which recasts biology as a toolset for engineers.

Writing in the journal Science, researchers at Stanford University explain how their biological transistors could be connected together inside living cells to perform computing jobs such as controlling how genes are expressed in an organism.

Led by Drew Endy, a pioneer in the field, the team showed that different arrangements of biological transistors worked like logic gates, which take input signals and process them into different outputs. In keeping with their heritage, Endy calls these arrangements Boolean Integrase Logic (BIL) gates.

Normal transistors control the flow of electrons along metal wires. In the biological device, dubbed a “transcriptor”, the wire is a strand of DNA and the electrons are replaced by an enzyme. A modern computer chip holds several billion transistors that are wired together to carry out calculations. The same can be achieved with transcriptors, each of which is built from about 150 letters of the genetic code. (via Scientists create transistor-like biological device | Science | The Guardian)

There are several fascinating things about this article.  First, I misread “transistors” as “translators” so my first thought was “Cool, Farscape‘s translator microbes could be real!”

But organic computers are equally if not more fascinating!  I can think of lots of applications, especially in medicine.

But I also noticed they’re using E.coli which, if I’m not mistaken, is a deadly organism that causes food poisoning.  Be careful out there guys!

Quadruple Helix – Four-Strand DNA


Cambridge University scientists say they have seen four-stranded DNA at work in human cells for the first time. The famous “molecule of life”, which carries our genetic code, is more familiar to us as a double helix. But researchers tell the journal Nature Chemistry that the “quadruple helix” is also present in our cells, and in ways that might possibly relate to cancer. They suggest that control of the structures could provide novel ways to fight the disease. “The existence of these structures may be loaded when the cell has a certain genotype or a certain dysfunctional state,” said Prof Shankar Balasubramanian from Cambridge’s department of chemistry. “We need to prove that; but if that is the case, targeting them with synthetic molecules could be an interesting way of selectively targeting those cells that have this dysfunction,” he told BBC News. (via BBC News – ‘Quadruple helix’ DNA seen in human cells)

Very neat!