With 18 million tonnes, a remote island turns into plastic junkyard

The beaches of Henderson Island, an uninhabited island in the South Pacific Ocean about 5,000 km away from the nearest population centre, are heavily littered with plastic waste. The beaches have an estimated 38 million plastic debris items weighing 17.6 tonnes. The largest of the four islands of the Pitcairn Island group, Henderson Island is... Continue Reading →

Bengaluru researchers mimic nature to produce richer colours

In a novel approach that mimics nature, Bengaluru-based researchers have designed crystalline materials that selectively scatter specific colours of light. Dyes and pigments produce colour predominantly through selective absorption of light. But scattering of light by particles which are arranged in an ordered, periodic pattern produces structural colour, which gives butterfly wings their colour and... Continue Reading →

Thanks to air pollution, magnetic particles found in the brain

The effects of air pollution on human health has gone up by a few notches with the discovery of large number of rounded magnetite nanoparticles of about 18 nanometres in diameter (and maximum of 150 nm) in the frontal cortex tissue of the brain of 37 people. The people studied were 3-92 years old and... Continue Reading →

Less risk of skin cancer if exposed to UV radiation in the morning: Nobel Laureate Aziz Sancar

“If you really must go to a tanning booth, do it in the morning,” Aziz Sancar, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, U.S., who shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with two others — Tomas Lindahl of Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory, Hertfordshire, U.K. and Paul Modrich of Howard Hughes Medical... Continue Reading →

Fixed nitrogen: Mars was once habitable

The Mars rover Curiosity has for the first time found evidence of indigenous nitrogen in the form of nitrate in aeolian deposits and in two mudstone deposits on the red planet. This discovery has great implications for habitability and, “specifically for the potential evolution of a nitrogen cycle at some point in Martian history.” The... Continue Reading →

Mangroves in Florida expanding poleward

Adding to the growing evidence of climate change-induced poleward migration and/or expansion of many fish and terrestrial plant species, a paper published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal has found a massive expansion of mangroves in Florida. The expansion has been to an extent of more than 3,000 acres... Continue Reading →

“Functional” blood vessels made from stem cells

A team of scientists has been able to engineer “stable and functional” blood vessels in mice using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells taken from humans. The blood vessels lasted for 280 days in the brain of the mice. The scientists are from Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and Harvard Stem Institute, Harvard University. The skin cells... Continue Reading →

Editorial: When commerce rules the roost

Awareness about genetic testing to know if a woman with a family history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer carries certain deleterious mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes has surely increased following Angelina Jolie’s recent revelation of her bilateral mastectomy. In the process, she has turned the spotlight on a high-voltage patent case in... Continue Reading →

IIT Madras: Affordable water purification using silver nanoparticles

A team led by an IIT-Madras professor has devised a cheap and effective method to produce clean drinking water. It will soon be possible to produce 10 litres of water — free of bacteria and virus — at just Rs. 10-12 per month, for the daily consumption of a family of five. Prof. T. Pradeep... Continue Reading →

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