Heptastic science news

  • The full list: The Twitter 100 – Its 200 million users share 110 million messages a day – and if you don't know who rules the twittersphere, you don't understand the 21st-century world. This guide is a definitive who's who of the UK's tweet elite. Although for some reason they included me on the list (at #47, same as Armando Ianucci).
  • Why haven’t we cured cancer yet? – How many times have you been asked this question, how many times have you asked this question yourself? The answer boils down to the fact that cancer is not a single disease, it's hundreds of different diseases. Asking that question is like asking, "why haven't we cured viral infection?" or "why haven't we cured car accidents?". Even if we can cure one type effectively, there are hundreds of other types to deal with. Even the umbrella term "breast cancer" belies the fact that there are many different types of disease that lead to malignancy in breast tissue.
  • Recycling carbon – Technologies that can use carbon dioxide as a chemical feedstock are high on the agenda in the face of rising atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas. A novel iron-based catalytic process studied using inductively coupled plasma (ICP) atomic emission spectrometry shows how carbon dioxide can be converted into the industrially useful formic acid at an 80% yield. Formic acid might also be used as a fuel cell fuel. The metal oxide by-product is readily reduced using glycerin derived from renewable sources releasing lactic acid, which could be used for biopolymer production.
  • Feverish research – There is neither vaccine nor cure for the Ebola and Marburg viruses, which cause fatal haemorrhagic fever in humans. However, a new NMR spectroscopic study by US researchers scientists has led to the discovery of a family of small molecules that apparently bind to the outer protein coat of the virus and halt its entry into human cells, so offering the possibility of an antiviral medication against the disease.
  • Structural biologists catch the pulse – Researchers have discovered that ultra-short X-ray pulses can produce exquisite measurements at the molecular level of biological objects by grabbing a "snapshot" just before the sample succumbs to radiation damage.
  • Enzymes against cocaine – The interaction of novel substrates for the enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) and mutants have been investigated using computational and correlation studies. The insights revealed could improve our understanding of how this enzyme, which metabolizes cocaine, might be modulated in drug therapy and the development of anti-addiction drugs.
  • Spectroscopy & Separation Science – We need the page to get 25 members so that we can switch to a nice short URL…please "like" the page.

From David Bradley Science Writer – seven science selections

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