While some viruses attack the lungs, and others the blood, HIV attacks the only system that could put up a fight: the immune system itself. The immune system mounts some defense, but after HIV launches its surprise attack, the body simply can't produce enough killer T blood cells to take out the virus.
Now, thanks to researchers at UCLA, it's payback time for the blood cells. A team of scientists have plucked T-cells out of someone infected with HIV, and used them as a template for creating an army of HIV-fighting immune cells out of stem cells. Essentially a genetic vaccine, this technique could be used to copy T-cells designed to fight any virus, opening up the possibility of universal vaccination via stem cell implantation.
Generating biofuels from bacteria would be easier and potentially more efficient than producing it from plant matter -- if it weren't for the energy-intensive chemical reactions needed to extract the fuel from the bacteria after they've manufactured it. But the most promising sources of bacterial fuel, like cyanobacteria, are wrapped in multiple layers of protective membranes that make it difficult to get at the fatty material.
For the past six years, the CDMS, the world's most sensitive dark matter detector, sat deep beneath the Minnesotan countryside, watching super-cooled Germanium crystals for evidence of material abundant in the Universe, but almost non-existent on Earth. Today, rumors are flying on the Web that the team has finally found the weakly interacting particles (WIMPs) that physicists have long searched for, which could be the key to understanding the fundamental makeup of the universe.
Reading the electronic-media narrative as it plays out in many popular tech and news blogs, one would think we are hurtling toward a future where paper is all but unnecessary. But a new development in battery technology could bring paper right back around to its former place of prominence, using it to power the very digital devices -- smartphones, Kindles, laptops, etc. -- that are increasingly replacing print.
Today's symbolic but politically crucial move by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes greenhouse gases as a danger for humans and Earth alike. That would open the doors for new regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, power plants and factories, according to the New York Times.
Size doesn't always matter when it comes to NASA's pretty pictures, but it may certainly make an impression upon visitors at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. The planetarium has revealed a gigantic Milky Way panorama that stretches 120 feet long and 3 feet wide at the sides. The center of the picture bulges out to 6 feet wide to accommodate the center of the galaxy.
Zoe Donaldson, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, via Science Daily
Man, those scientists just love their glowing lab subjects. First came mice, and then recently the first primates got some jellyfish genes implanted into their DNA. Now, scientists at Emory University have implanted the gene for jellyfish fluorescent protein in prairie voles.
An array of microelectrodes connects with the brain, potentially allowing paralyzed patients to control computer interfaces with their minds.
Courtesy Kelly Johnson/University of Utah Department of Neurosurgery
Each issue of Popular Science opens with Megapixels--two of the most amazing images from the world of science and technology that month. Here, we've compiled them all from 2009 for your viewing pleasure, with some additional images from years past and present added to the mix.
President Obama lifted the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell lines last spring, but hundreds of cell lines have remained locked away undergoing review. Now the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has finally deemed 13 embryonic lines ready for use, and could make a decision on 20 or more by Friday, the Associated Press reports.