Stories tagged research


Mouth of the Columbia River
Mouth of the Columbia RiverCourtesy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library
Have you ever wondered what happens when a river ends and the ocean begins? Well, the scientists at the Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction (CMOP) do. Based out of Oregon, the center conducts their research on the Columbia River. Their goal is to understand and predict how humans and the climate affect the costal margins. The research has three themes, to test and advance the way research is done, to understand the human and natural variables that affect the margin, and to integrate the two previous themes to create a functional research station.

So, are you still contemplating the question, what is going on in this unique area where fresh water that has travel the country meets the salty water of the ocean? Well, the center has opportunities for K-12 students and teachers and undergrad and graduate students to become involved. Everything from summer camps and programs for middle and high school students to internships for the undergrad and grad students. Not interested in traveling? Data is also available on their website for the free-lance researcher.

Before the next time you jump into the big blue, quench your thirst for knowledge and see what CMOP is doing to research and preserve the coastal margins of the Columbia.

The clean-up crew at the British university probably didn't enjoy this part of their job, and the guy's office they cleaned didn't need or want this type of dirtiness taken away. Read all about it here.

Some of Liza's RSS feeds
Some of Liza's RSS feedsCourtesy Liza Pryor

"Stanford creates 100 million dollar energy research center"
"Stanford University is creating a 100-million-dollar research institute that will focus on energy issues, including the search for ways to reduce global warming, officials said."

"Home turbines fail to deliver as promised, warns British study"
"Home wind turbines are only generating a fraction of electricity promised by the manufacturers while some even fail to yield enough energy to run the turbine's electronics, a British study warned on Tuesday."

"'V-wing' turbine gets study cash"
"An unusual design of wind turbine with a pair of giant vertical wings could one day be generating electricity for the UK Grid."

"China's BYD to bring plug-in hybrid, electric cars to US in 2011"
"China's BYD Auto announced plans Monday to enter the US market in 2011 with a range of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. It would likely be the first Chinese automaker to enter the highly-competitive US market and beat many established automakers in offering an extended-range electric vehicle to US consumers."

"A bicycle evangelist with the wind now at his back"
"For years, Earl Blumenauer has been on a mission, and now his work is paying off. He can tell by the way some things are deteriorating around here."

Although antihistamines can alleviate cough, possible side effects outweigh their benefits, say authors of a new review of studies from Australia.

Read more at Center for the Advancement of Health: Children Should Not Take Antihistamines for Chronic Cough, Reviewers Say


Biological research resource

A great biology teaching resource can be found at Both the Biology Browser home page and their search engine are subdivided into:

  • organism (animals, plants, viruses)
  • subjects (biodiversity, botany, genetics)
  • geography (Africa, Asia, North America)

To experiment, I entered the term "turtle" in the search box which resulted in 369 hits (the MN DNR web page entry, Turtles of Minnesota was #6).

Biological database gains several hundred links per day

A fourth column lists the latest additions to the BiologyBrowser database gleaned from the Biology News Net site. This week averaged about 300 new additions per day!

Access top papers and interviews with top scientists

Biology Browser
Biology BrowserCourtesy Art Oglesby
Another feature is the "Hot Topics" box inserted top and center of the page. Todays hot topic was "stem cells". The link took me to an Essential Science Indicators page listing the top 20 papers, authors, institutions, and journals.
An editorial section features, interviews, first-person essays, profiles, and other features about people in the stem cell field. Three scientists are featured, the first being Dr. Outi Hovatta discussing her highly cited paper, "A culture system using human foreskin fibroblasts as feeder cells allows production of human embryonic stem cells"
Check it out
If you wish to keep up with advances in the biological sciences, I recommend exploring BiologyBrowser and learn to use the tools they provide.


Stem cell research milestone

Cut spinal cords, destroyed brain tissue, or damaged heart muscle can be repaired by injecting stem cells into the damaged area. Embryonic stem (ES) cells are like blank cells that give rise to every type of cell and tissue in the body. Using human embryos or unfertilized human eggs as a source of stem cells raised show-stopping opposition. Now stem cells have been produced from skin.

Human stem cells from skin

Two separate teams of researchers announced on Tuesday they had transformed ordinary skin cells into batches of cells that look and act like embryonic stem cells -- but without using cloning technology and without making embryos.

Both teams call the new cells induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and say they look and act like embryonic stem cells.

The research was published online Tuesday by two journals, Cell and Science. The Cell paper is from a team led by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University; the team published by Science was led by Junying Yu, working in the lab of stem-cell pioneer James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Thompson said the technique is so simple that "thousands of labs in the United States can do this, basically tomorrow." In contrast, the cloning approach is so complex and expensive that many scientists say it couldn't be used routinely to supply stem cells for therapy.

Learn more

While commuting to the Science Museum of Minnesota last week I heard paleontologist, Kristi Rogers talking about her dinosaur research on the Minnesota Public Radio Midmorning program. I appreciate that MPR has an audio link allowing me to listen to the remainder of Kristi Rogers talk on MPR when I got home.


Professional Guinea Pigs
Tuesday, December 19, 6:30p.m. (Doors at 5:30 p.m.)
Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater, Minneapolis
Admission $5

Dr. Carl Elliott, author and professor at the U of MN's Center for
Bioethics, discusses the use of healthy humans in medical research. As drug companies offer higher payments to test subjects, will people be tempted to undergo frequent and dangerous trials? For those who make most or all of their living as paid research subjects, what protections are in place to safeguard against their exploitation?

Some suggested pre-Cafe reading:
Guinea Pig Zero: A Journal for Human Research Subjects

Cafe Scientifique is a happy hour forum for science and culture presented by the University of Minnesota's Bell Museum of Natural History. Each month, experts from a variety of fields present cutting-edge research on diverse scientific topics-- from the politics of genetic testing, to the possibility of a new flu pandemic. Host John Erik Troyer, Ph.D., keeps the discussion moving in unexpected directions and audiences are encouraged to join in. The Bell Museum's Cafe Scientifique puts current science and popular culture on the table and up for debate!

For more information or a list of scheduled Cafe Scientifique programs, visit the Bell Museum's website or call (612) 624-7083.

For directions or to purchase tickets online, visit the Bryant-Lake Bowl's website.

How do you get started on the internet looking for science information? I jump on Google and get searching. But this can cause you to miss a ton of great science resources that are invisible to the search engine. Too dig a little deeper check out the Online Educational Database's Research Beyond Google -- science resources for some stuff you won't see on Google.


Clean, affordable energy needed: Taken by Chris Howells via Wikipedia
Clean, affordable energy needed: Taken by Chris Howells via Wikipedia

We need clean, affordable energy

MIT has created an Energy Research Council which has been likened to the Manhattan Project.

"The urgent challenge for our time (is) clean, affordable enery to power the world," said MIT President Susan Hockfield.

Like ending WWII or going to the moon, research and development can provide solutions for many of the world's problems.

Some examples of the MIT research projects the Energy Research Council will be sponsoring and developing include:

    Spinach solar power: Tapping the secrets of photosynthesis -- engineering proteins from spinach -- to make organic solar cells whose efficiency could outstrip the best silicon photovoltaic arrays today.
    Silicon superstrings: A novel approach to manufacturing conventional silicon photovoltaic arrays by pulling the chips in stringy ribbons out of a molten stew like taffy rather than slicing them from silicon ingots.
    Laptop-powered hybrids: Using a new generation of lithium-based batteries (which power most portable electronics today) to cut the price and charge-time of hybrid and electric car batteries.
    Tubular battery tech: Using "supercapacitors" made from carbon nanotubes to store charge -- rather than the chemical reactions that power most batteries -- resulting in a lightweight, high-capacity battery that could someday give even the laptop battery a run for its money.
    Hold the A/C: Optimizing air and heat flow on a new computer-aided design system, before a building's construction begins, allowing for the building's air conditioning costs to be cut by as much as 50 percent.
    Hybrid without the hybrid: Turbocharging an automobile engine with plasma from a small ethanol tank (which would need to be refilled about as often as the oil needs changing), reportedly increasing fuel efficiency almost to the level of a hybrid -- but only adding $500-$1,000 to the car's sticker price.
    More light than heat: Generating a car's electricity photoelectrically (using a gas-powered light and a small, specially designed solar panel) rather than mechanically (using an alternator), substantially increasing fuel efficiency.
    Coal-powered biofuels: Bubbling exhaust from a coal-fired power plant through a tank of algae that's been bred to siphon off much of the exhaust's carbon dioxide -- in the process, fattening the algae that can then be harvested as biodiesel.
    Source; Wired news

Stay tuned to Buzz Blog. We will feature some of these projects soon.