Altered virus spins gold into beads

They’re not calling this synthetic biology but I’ m pretty sure that altering a virus gene so the virus can spin gold (Rumpelstiltskin anyone?) qualifies. From an August 24, 2018 news item on ScienceDaily, The race is on to find manufacturing techniques capable of arranging molecular and nanoscale objects with precision. Engineers at the University of California, Riverside, have altered a virus to arrange gold atoms into spheroids measuring a few nanometers in diameter. The…

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Quick introduction: the algorithmic lens

Computers are a ubiquitous tool in modern research. We use them for everything from running simulation experiments and controlling physical experiments to analyzing and visualizing data. For almost any field ‘X’ there is probably a subfield of ‘computational X’ that uses and refines these computational tools to further research in X. This is very important work and I think it should be an integral part of all modern research. But this is not the algorithmic…

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A Café Scientifique Vancouver (Canada) March 26, 2019 talk on Shifting the plastic landscape: bio-plastics, circular economy and sustainable material management and Superorganism ciy and Evolution in Toronto

I recently received three email announcements that might be of interest to people looking for science and/or art/science events.Of course, they are taking place thousands of kilometers apart. March 26, 2019 Café Scientifique event in Vancouver Café Scientifique sent out a March 7, 2019 email announcement about, Our next café will happen on TUESDAY, MARCH 26TH at 7:30PM in the back room at YAGGER’S DOWNTOWN (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be…

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Science and the 2019 Canadian federal government budget

There’s been a lot of noise about how the 2019 Canadian federal government budget is designed to please the various constituencies that helped bring the Liberal party back into power in 2015 and which the Liberals are hoping will help re-elect them later in 2019. I don’t care about that, for me, it’s all about the science. In general, it seems the budget excitement is a bit milder than usual and some of that possibly…

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Canada’s Chief Science Advisor: the first annual report

Dr. Mona Nemer, Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, and her office have issued their 2018 annual report. It is also the office’s first annual report. (Brief bit of history: There was a similar position, National Science Advisor (Canada) from 2004-2008. Dr. Arthur Carty, the advisor, was dumped and the position eliminated when a new government by what was previously the opposition party won the federal election.) The report can be found in html format here which…

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Canada’s Chief Science Advisor: the first annual report

Dr. Mona Nemer, Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, and her office have issued their 2018 annual report. It is also the office’s first annual report. (Brief bit of history: There was a similar position, National Science Advisor (Canada) from 2004-2008. Dr. Arthur Carty, the advisor, was dumped and the position eliminated when a new government by what was previously the opposition party won the federal election.) The report can be found in html format here which…

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Why Water Testing in an Accredited Lab Plays a Vital Role in Reliable Results

Water testing is a hugely complex process involving multiple types of complex scientific instruments that require a significant technical understanding to operate. These complexities sometimes give rise to uncertainty in water test results, and this is where it's important that testing is done through an accredited lab. Learn why.

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Change the shape of water with nanotubes

An August 24, 2018 news item on ScienceDaily describes a ‘shapeshifting’ water technique, First, according to Rice University engineers, get a nanotube hole. Then insert water. If the nanotube is just the right width, the water molecules will align into a square rod. Rice materials scientist Rouzbeh Shahsavari and his team used molecular models to demonstrate their theory that weak van der Waals forces between the inner surface of the nanotube and the water molecules…

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Danger of motivatiogenesis in interdisciplinary work

Randall Munroe has a nice old xkcd on citogenesis: the way factoids get created from bad checking of sources. You can see the comic at right. But let me summarize the process without direct reference to Wikipedia: 1. Somebody makes up a factoid and writes it somewhere without citation. 2. Another person then uses the factoid in passing in a more authoritative work, maybe sighting the point in 1 or not. 3. Further work inherits…

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Researchers, manufacturers, and administrators need to consider shared quality control challenges to advance the nanoparticle manufacturing industry ‘

Manufacturing remains a bit of an issue where nanotechnology is concerned due to the difficulties of producing nanoparticles of a consistent size and type, Electron micrograph showing gallium arsenide nanoparticles of varying shapes and sizes. Such heterogeneity [variation]  can increase costs and limit profits when making nanoparticles into products. A new NIST study recommends that researchers, manufacturers and administrators work together to solve this, and other common problems, in nanoparticle manufacturing. Credit: A. Demotiere, E.…

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