Science Tidbits

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Monday is here one more time and the opportunity for science talk is here once again.  Time to brighten your day with selections from science sites across the globe.  New discoveries, new takes on old knowledge, and other bits of news are all available for the perusing in today's information world.  Today's tidbits include worm study shows nitrous oxide prolongs live, unlocking the mystery behind Saturn's moonlets, calcium is the initial trigger in our immune response to healing, and light emitting bioprobe fits in a single cell.

Pull up that comfy chair and grab a spot near the fire.  There is always plenty of room for everyone.  Another session of Dr. Possum's science education, entertainment, and potluck discussion is set to begin.

Featured Stories
As more functions of nitrous oxide are discovered in time one more benefit, prolongation of life, is now being reported.

In the new study, the average C. elegans lifespan increased by nearly 15 percent, to about two weeks, when researchers fed the worms nitric oxide-producing B. subtilis bacteria, compared to worms fed mutant B. subtilis with a deleted nitric oxide production gene. The research group also used fluorescent sensors to show that C. elegans does not make its own nitric oxide gas. When the worms were fed normal B. subtilis bacteria, however, the fluorescent signal appeared in their guts.

Fluorescent labeling and other tests also demonstrated that B. subtilis-derived nitric oxide penetrated the worms' tissues, where it activated a set of 65 genes. Some had been previously implicated in stress resistance, immune response, and increased lifespan, though others have unknown functions. Importantly, the researchers showed that two well-known regulatory proteins were essential for activating all of the genes.

For several yeas now CASSINI has offered images of Saturn and its moonlets.  Studying the moonlets offers clues to planetary formation.
Saturn's F ring has long been of interest to scientists as its features rapid change on timescales from hours to years, and it is probably the only location in the solar system where large scale collisions happen on a daily basis.

When CASSINI began imaging the Saturn system back in 2006 the discovery of a proliferation of moonlets – small natural satellites – in Saturn’s F ring was an unexpected find.  Powerful tidal forces were thought to minimize the clumping of particles necessary to create these moonlets and scientists were at a loss to explain the high population in Saturn’s rings.

As the processes at work in Saturn’s rings are comparable to those of a protoplanetary disk, understanding them could be key to unlocking the secrets of our own solar system

A flash of calcium is the body's initial cellular response to healing.
...the very first trigger in this process is a flash of calcium which spreads like a wave back from the wound edge through gap junctions that connect all the cells.

This flash of calcium signal goes on to activate an enzyme known as DUOX that synthesises hydrogen peroxide, which, in turn, attracts the first white blood cells to the wound. This white blood cell invasion, which is initiated during our inflammatory responses, is needed to kill off invading microbes and stop the onset of septicaemia following tissue damage.

The findings indicate that the wound-induced calcium flash represents the earliest identified signal following wounding and might therefore orchestrate the rapid recruitment of immune cells.

A new class of light-emitting bioprobes fit inside a single cell without damaging the cell.
The researchers call their device a “nanobeam,” because it resembles a steel I-beam with a series of round holes etched through the center. These beams, however, are not massive, but measure only a few microns in length and just a few hundred nanometers in width and thickness. It looks a bit like a piece from an erector set of old. The holes through the beams act like a nanoscale hall of mirrors, focusing and amplifying light at the center of the beam in what are known as photonic cavities. These are the building blocks for nanoscale lasers and LEDs.

...

At the cellular level, a nanobeam acts like a needle able to penetrate cell walls without injury. Once inserted, the beam emits light, yielding a remarkable array of research applications and implications. While other groups have shown that it is possible to insert simple nanotubes and electrical nanowires into cells, nobody had yet realized such complicated optical components inside biological cells.

Knucklehead's Photo of the Week
An Octopuses Garden

Green Polyps DSCN5423

©Knucklehead, all rights reserved, presented by permission.  (Click on the image to see more in the same series.)

Other Worthy Stories of the Week
Source of high energy cosmic rays found
Cosmic rays come from exploding stars
Comet dust seeding life to Jupiter's moons?
Toll from meteor strike is biggest ever
MRI for the nanoscale
Frog lessons: More diversity equals less disease
Marsh plants actively engineer their landscape
What green algae are up to in the dark
Sewage lagoons remove most but not all pharmaceuticals
New owl species discovered in Indonesia is unique to one island
Historic legacy of lead pollution persists despite regulatory efforts
Archeologists uncover ancient temple in Peru

For even more science news:
General Science Collectors:
Alpha-Galileo
BBC News Science and Environment
Eureka Science News
LiveScience
New Scientist
PhysOrg.com
SciDev.net
Science/AAAS
Science Alert
Science Centric
Science Daily
Scientific American
Space Daily

Blogs:
All-GeoGeology and Earth science
Cantauri Dreams space exploration
Coctail Party Physics Physics with a twist.
Deep Sea News marine biology
List of Geoscience Blogs
Science20.com
ScienceBlogs
Space Review
Science Insider
Scientific Blogging.
Space.com
Techonology Review
Tetrapod Zoology vertebrate paleontology
Wired News
Science RSS Feed: Medworm
The Skeptics Guide to the Universe--a combination of hard science and debunking crap

At Daily Kos:
This Week in Science by DarkSyde
Overnight News Digest:Science Saturday by Neon Vincent. OND tech Thursday by rfall.
All diaries with the DK GreenRoots Tag.
Astro Kos
SciTech at Dkos.

NASA picture of the day. For more see the NASA image gallery or the Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive
 photo W5_zps1b5b2dae.jpg
Star-forming region W5, NASA, public domain

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