Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why a broken heart 'hurts more' than physical pain??

For centuries poets and songwriters have tried to describe the pain of a broken heart. However, it has taken scientists to prove that the agony of unrequited love is more than a simple emotional response.

Experiments show that being dumped by a lover activates brain regions more usually associated with processing physical pain, such as the searing sensation of being burnt. In other words, a broken heart really does hurt.

The finding could help explain why being given the heave-ho can be so painful for so long. The intriguing idea comes from an American study of 40 men and women whose relationships had ended against their wishes. All said the experience left them deeply hurt.

Their brains were scanned as they looked at various pictures. They rated looking at the picture of an ex and being touched with a hot probe as more painful than thinking about a friend or being touched with a cooler probe. More interestingly, they said that break-up thoughts hurt as much as the hot probe.

Analysis of the scans revealed that the same brain regions lit up when processing the two types of pain, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports. Pugh University of Michigan researcher Ethan Kross said: 'These results give new meaning to the idea that social rejection "hurts".'

'On the surface, spilling a hot cup of coffee on yourself and thinking about how rejected you feel when you look at the picture of a person that you recently experienced an unwanted break up with may seem to elicit very different types of pain.

'But this research shows that they may be even more similar than initially thought.' Other research has shed light on why we often yearn to get back together with a lost love Brain scans of men and women pining for a past partner revealed that a broken heart triggers the same feeling in the brain as kicking a drug addiction.

But there is hope for the lovelorn. The study showed that the greater than number of days since the rejection, the less activity there was in the parts of the brain behind emotional attachment.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spice can be a cheap sensor for explosives

Turmeric, one of the most popular spices, contains a chemical that could be the basis for cheap explosives detectors, a new study has claimed.

A team led by an Indian scientist found that the curcumin molecule, which is known for its anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties, could replace more complex solutions to spot explosives like TNT, the BBC News reported.

Dr Abhishek Kumar of the University of Massachusetts and his colleagues, who presented their findings at the American Physical Society meeting, said the light-emitting properties of the curry ingredient changes when it gathers molecules of explosive material in air. This "fluorescence apectroscopy" is already employed in a wide array of sensing and analysis techniques.

Illuminating some chemicals causes them to re-emit light of a different color, sometimes for extended periods. The intensity of this re-emitted light can change if different molecules bind to the fluoorescent ones, and that is how sensing techniques can exploit the effect, Kumar said.

"If you have a gram of TNT and you sample a billion air molecules from anywhere in the room, you'll find four or five molecules of TNT - that's the reason they're so hard to detect," Kumar told the conference. "And, the US State Department estimates there are about 60 to 70 million land mines througout the the world; we need a very portable, field-deployable sensing device which is cheap, very sensitive,and easy to handle."

A curcumin-based mine detector could outperform the animal version, he claimed.

Kumar and his team were investigating the use of curcumin for biological applications, trying to make it easily dissolve in water, when they hit on the idea of making use of its optical properties. The team's first trick was to use a chemical reaction to attach "side groups" to the curcumin that preferentially bind to explosive molecules.

The researchers then hit on the idea of using a polymer called polydimethylsiloxane, spinning the mixture on glass plates to make extremely thin films. The idea would be to use an inexpensive light source - the team uses LEDs - shone on to the thin films, detecting the light they then put off. In the presence of explosives, the light would dim.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Waves are getting bigger as per new research

Ocean wind speeds and wave heights around the world have increased significantly over the past quarter of a century, according to Australian research that has given scientists their first global glimpse of the world's rising winds and waves.

Published in the journal Science today, the research – the most comprehensive of  its kind ever undertaken – used satellite data collected from 1985 to 2008.

It shows the extreme wave height off the coast of south-west Australia today is six metres on average, more than a metre higher than in 1985.

Advertisement: Story continues below "That has all sorts of implications for coastal engineering, navigation and erosion processes," said Alex Babanin, an oceanographer at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, and co-author of the paper.

However, there are greater uses for the data compiled by Professor Babanin, his Swinburne colleague Stefan Zieger and the Australian National University vice-chancellor, Ian Young.

To date scientists have largely focused on temperature as an indicator of  climate change. But climate is about much more than temperature, as winds and waves control the flux of energy from the atmosphere to the ocean.

"Scientifically, this is another set of environmental properties which can be used as indicators of what is happening to the climate," Professor Babanin said.

"Temperature changes the global patterns of the pressure, pressure defines the winds, winds define the waves. It's all connected."

The trio established that between 1985 and 2008, global increases in wave height were most significant for extreme waves – large spontaneous waves. They increased in height by an average of 7 per cent in the past 20 years. In equatorial regions the rise was 0.25 per cent a year, while in higher latitudes the rise was up to 1 per cent a year. The mean wave height also increased, but to a lesser degree.

When analysing extreme wind speed data over the world's oceans, the researchers found they increased by 10 per cent in the past two decades, or by 0.5 per cent a year.

Professor Babanin said waves were generated by wind. However, the data show the lift in wind speed was greater than wave height increase.

He said he doubted the 23 years of data could be immediately used to forecast future wind and wave conditions.

"These are the environmental properties which can be used as indicators for the climate behavior along with the other properties, such as temperature and precipitation, and extrapolations have to be made with caution," he said.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Turn back the clock with cosmetic surgery

Facelifts are surging in popularity among American men as the country digs out of recession and the older set aims to compete with a younger, tech-savvy generation, a survey shows.

Data released on Monday by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons showed cosmetic surgery procedures in men rose two per cent last year, over 2009, including a 14 per cent rise in face-lifts and a seven per cent hike in liposuction.

Those figures still lag behind the all-time peak in plastic surgery reached in 2007 just before the financial downturn. But they do point to a new trend among men age 40-54, who had the majority of work done, for 48 per cent of the total procedures in the entire year, followed by people age 55 and over.

"More than ever, this generation of men are pretty nervous about the younger guys they are competing with," said Phillip Haeck, president of the ASPS. "I have never seen this before - men who are out of work and looking for a job and really feeling like they need to do something to make themselves look younger to compete," he said.

The most popular surgery for men was nose reshaping, or rhinoplasty, with 63,585 such operations performed in 2010, said the ASPS. Next was eyelid surgery (31,476), followed by liposuction (23,899).

Breast reduction (18,280) and hair transplants (13,217) ranked fourth and fifth. Haeck, who is based in Seattle, Washington, said he also sees lots of men who are gainfully employed at major internet firms but fearful of losing their edge in a youth-driven field.

"A lot of my business is with people in the tech industry, from Microsoft to Google and everything else that is located here," he said.

"When you are the only 50-year-old working in a cubicle-sea full of  20-somethings who are tech-savvy and you had to learn it all ... I see some guys with almost a chip on their shoulder about being the old guy in the office."

Other trends that boost the male desire for a nip and a tuck include the trend toward more casual dress, Haeck said. "If you have a pudgy figure, you used to me able to cover it with a sport-coat or a suit," Haeck said.

"With this fashion trend toward business-casual, you have got to look nice in a dress shirt that is tucked in at the belt. "Guys come in and say 'I have got to look good in these shirts and I go to the gym all the time but I can't lose this muffin top. These love handles drive me crazy.'"

The open-necked dress shirt is also a danger zone for some older men, he said."They have a neck waddle or a neck gobbler. Their face still looks somewhat youthful, maybe a little rugged, but they hate this wad of skin that hangs from their chin down to their chest," he said.

In addition to the 14 per cent rise in facelifts among men, who had 10,902 such procedures last year, some other unusual procedures saw big increases, such as a 62 per cent rise in calf augmentation and an 11 per cent rise in ear surgery.

"If you're a male and you have short hair and your ears really stick out, that (surgery) is getting them to be more aesthetically pleasing, almost like pinning back your ears," explained ASPS spokeswoman Lisa Arledge Powell.

Male procedures still hardly made a dent in the overall pool, with women making up 91 per cent of all cosmetic surgery procedures: men had 1.1 million cosmetic procedures, while women had 11.5 million last year.

The most popular cosmetic surgery procedure among women was breast augmentation (296,203 procedures in 2010).

Geographically, the youth-clinging desires of an aging population were most prominent in the western part of the United States, including image-conscious California.

The next biggest consumers of cosmetic procedures were found in the southern central part of the US, including Texas, and the southeast region including Florida.

"The generation of baby boomers are coming along and they are way more open to having a face-lift than their dads ever were," said Haeck.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Britain's smallest twin who weighed just 13oz at birth wins eight-month fight for life

Liz and Jeff Barrett were devastated when they lost their daughter Mollie just two days after Liz went into premature labour at 23 weeks. But they were thrilled and amazed when her smaller twin Freya-Grace refused to give up the battle for survival despite only weighing 13oz at birth.

Over eight months she had nine blood transfusions, a plasma transfusion, and a delicate heart valve operation.
The feisty youngster was allowed home from hospital today to Deri in South Wales with an oxygen supply to help strengthen her lungs.

Many hospitals leave babies born before 24 weeks to die because they only have a two per cent chance of survival and often have severe disabilities. However, doctors are hopeful that Freya-Grace will go on to live a normal life. Mrs Barrett said: 'We are so proud of her. It's just fantastic Freya-Grace is home and putting on weight every day.

'She already brings us so much joy and her fighting spirit has got her through.' Liz and her self-employed builder husband Jeff, 33, kept a cotside vigil - taking it turns to be with their little girl.

When their daughter was born she fitted easily into Liz's hand and her skin was so translucent some of her veins were visible.

Customer service adviser Liz said: 'At first, we were shocked that Freya had survived - she was the smallest of the two girls.

'We thought the doctors had made a mistake - we thought Mollie was going to live. 'When I saw Freya, she reminded me of cooked chicken. She was so small. Her skin was shiny, you could almost see straight through her.

'She didn't look like a normal baby should. It was horrible to see her hooked up to all these wires. I wanted to hold her but she was too fragile to touch.' But she said her brave little girl is living proof that babies are viable at 23 weeks.

She is furious after a leading consultant questioned whether babies should be resuscitated when born at 23 weeks. Dr Daphne Austin, of the West Midlands Specialized Commissioning Team, told a BBC documentary that resuscitating '23-weekers' was doing more harm than good.

Liz, who became pregnant through IVF treatment, said: 'I was infuriated by her comments. 'I would like to meet Mrs Austin, ask her to look into Freya-Grace's eyes then ask whether she thinks treating 23-week babies is a waste of money.'

Liz and Jeff say they will always be grateful to the doctors and staff at the specialist neo-natal unit at Singleton Hospital, in Swansea, where Freya-Grace spent her first eight months.

Freya-Grace weighs in at 9lbs now - still less than the birth weight of many babies. Liz said: 'She's a determined little girl. She's already pulling herself up and arching her back. She's so strong. 'Every milestone that Freya reaches is that little bit happier, I'm just so grateful she's still here.'

The previous smallest surviving twin born in Britain was in July 2010 to Amanda Staplehurst in Portsmouth to a boy weighing 1lb 4oz. His sister, weighing 1lb 20z also survived.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Apple sues Amazon for using the words App Store

Apple is suing Amazon in a bid to stop the online retailer using the name App Store. In the lawsuit filed in a California federal court, Apple asked for an injunction and damages.

Amazon has been using the name for its mobile software development program and is selling mobile apps for Android handsets from today. In its complaint, Apple said: 'Customers of mobile software downloads are likely to be confused as to whether Amazon’s service is sponsored or approved by Apple.'

According to the lawsuit, Amazon is unlawfully using the trademark with what it calls the 'Amazon Appstore Developer Portal,' along with other instances like adverts for a version of Angry Birds, the popular mobile game.

Apple spokesman Kristin Huguet said: 'We've asked Amazon not to copy the name because it will confuse and mislead customers.' Apple has applied to register the App Store trademark in the U.S. which Bill Gates'
Microsoft opposes. The case is currently before a trademark trial and appeals board, according to the lawsuit.

Since Amazon's App Store is for Android, it will be a major source of contention with its rival, given how much market share Android is taking from Apple's devices.

The store has free and paid apps from Android software developers and includes the note-taking programme Evernote and the game PacMan. It also offers users the chance to test out many apps before buying them and giving visitors a paid app for free each day.

The first freebie will be Angry Birds Rio, a new version of the game that ties in with the animated movie. It normally costs $1. Apple has been using the name since July, 2008, when it began supplying apps for iPhone
and iPod touch. 

The two companies have been competing more directly over the last few years. Like the
Seattle-based Amazon, Apple now sells e-books and has been selling digital music and films through iTunes for several years.

An Amazon spokeswoman said the company does not comment on pending legislation.

Blood test can alert about diabetes a decade before symptoms appear

A blood test that reveals if someone is at risk of diabetes at least a decade before symptoms appear has been developed. By measuring levels of five markers in the blood, doctors are able to predict the onset of type 2 diabetes.

It could act as an early warning for those most at risk – giving them time to improve their diet or change their lifestyles. Dr Thomas Wang, who developed the test, said: ‘These findings could provide insight into metabolic pathways that are altered very early in the process leading to diabetes.

‘They also raise the possibility that, in selected individuals, these measurements could identify those at greatest risk of developing diabetes so that early preventative measures could be instituted.’

Diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin – the hormone that controls blood sugar – or when its insulin does not work properly.Dr Wang and colleagues from the Massachusetts General Hospital looked at historic blood samples taken from 189 diabetics before they developed symptoms of the disease and compared them to blood from 189 healthy people.

After measuring levels of 61 metabolites – by-products of metabolism – they discovered five amino acids that were higher in the people who developed diabetes.Some of these markers had previously been shown to be higher in people with obesity or insulin resistance.

When the researchers looked at people most likely to develop type 2 diabetes – such as those who are overweight or who have a family history – they found that those with the highest levels of the markers were up to five times more likely to get the disease than those with the lowest levels. The results are published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Victoria King, head of research at Diabetes UK, said early diagnosis and effective management was crucial to reduce the risk of complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and blindness.

‘This research could lead to ways to help us identify those at risk, as well as giving us new insights into how and why type 2 diabetes develops,’ she said.

Around two million Britons have type 2 diabetes, the kind linked to being overweight in middle age. Another 700,000 are thought to suffer without realising it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Prediction of Earthquake possible now

Underground quartz deposits worldwide may be behind earthquakes, mountain building and other continental tectonics, a discovery that may aid in predicting tremblers, according to a study released.

The findings by Utah State University geophysicist Anthony Lowry and a colleague at the University of London, published on Thursday in the journal Nature, may solve a riddle of the ages about the formation and location of earthquake faults, mountains, valleys and plains. "Certainly the question of why mountains occur where they do has been around since the dawn of time," Lowry said.

He and research partner Marta Perez-Gussinye examined temperature and gravity across the western United States from a movable network of seismic instruments to describe the geological properties of the earth's crust. The scientists discovered that quartz crystal deposits are found wherever mountains or fault lines occur in states like California, Idaho, Nevada and Utah.

The geo scientist said the breakthrough came after repeated testing revealed a correlation between quartz deposits and geologic events that was "completely eye-popping".

Using newly developed remote sensing technology known as Earth scope, Lowry and Perez-Gussinye found that quartz indicates a weakness in the earth's crust likely to spawn a geologic event such as an earthquake or a volcano. Quartz also may account for the movements of continents known as continent drift or plate tectonics.

For example, the massive earthquake last week in Japan pushed the island nation 8ft closer to the continent United States as the Asiatic tectonic plate slid under the North American plate.

The team linked rock properties to movements of the earth, explaining how quartz contains trapped  water that is released when heated under stress, allowing rocks to slide and flow in what Lowry termed a "viscous cycle". The theory could aid scientists in assessing the likelihood and strength of earthquakes areas deemed geologically inactive. The research also may provide clues to everything from safe siting of nuclear power plants to the structural demands of large dams.

Friday, March 18, 2011

How to avoid chances of cancer

Excessive swimming or taking long baths in chlorinated water may increase the risk of developing bladder cancer, a new study has claimed.

A team of Spanish scientists found that cancer-causing chemicals called trihalomethanes (THM), which are created as a byproduct of chlorinating water, can be absorbed through the skin. And people who regularly swim in chlorinated pools or take lots of showers or long baths are actually absorbing too much THM, putting themselves at risk of developing cancer, the Daily Mail reported.

For their study, the researchers examined 1270 people and found those, who drank more bottled water to avoid the health risks posed by drinking tap water, actually lose the beneficial effects by swimming more and taking more showers. "People with more money are more education may think that they're reducing their risk of exposure to water contaminants by drinking bottled water," said Gemma CastaqoVinyals from the Centre for Research in Environment Epidemiology (CREAL) in Castilla LaMancha Spain.

"However, despite being apparently cleaner and taking more exercise, a result of taking frequent and longer baths, and using swimming pools more often - they are actually increasing their risk of THM exposure."

However Castaqo-Vinyals added that the additional risk of developing bladder cancer through the water contaminants was "small". The new findings were reported in the online journal BioMed Central.

While it is true that Chlorine water can be used to make water safe because it kills bacteria, it can also be dangerous. Water treatment plants use chlorine to kill bacteria, as well as algae that can clog up the pipes. However, it is used not because it is the most effective solution, but because it is the cheapest. It is also widely used by industry as a bleaching agent, which means that there is bleach in the water that comes out of the tap to be drunk or used in swimming pools. And chlorinated water does not have to be drunk in order to enter the body. It can be readily absorbed by the skin while swimming. Although chlorine is great for killing bacteria, it can not differentiate between good bacteria and bad ones.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Important Breakthrough In Heart Disease

Researchers have discovered that a protein known to regulate cholesterol is also linked to the formation of the type of blood clot known as thrombosis that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

They believe that by developing drugs that can control the important protein, called LXR, they will be able to prevent thrombosis and also control cholesterol levels.

It could help the fight against heart and circulatory diseases, which kill 191,000 people a year in Britain – accounting for one in three deaths in the country.

Professor Jon Gibbins, Director of Reading University’s Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, who led the research, said: “While blood clotting is essential to prevent bleeding, inappropriate clotting within the circulation, known as thrombosis, is the trigger for heart attacks and strokes – which kill more people in the UK each year than any other disease.

“This ground-breaking study paves the way for new and more effective medicines to prevent thrombosis.”

The new paper, published in the journal Blood, details how scientists discovered the “double life” of the protein LXR in cardiovascular disease.

It was already known that the protein regulates levels of blood cholesterol, which can narrow blood vessels and increase the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

But it now appears that LXR also inhibits the function of blood cells called platelets, which can cause blood clots when they accumulate and so also trigger heart attacks.
In the study, funded by the British Heart Foundation and Heart Research UK, the researchers targeted the protein in mice with experimental drugs.

They found that the treatment allowed small clots to form but acted quickly to inhibit their formation by about 40 per cent, preventing them from blocking blood vessels and so potentially triggering a heart attack.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Both anti-clotting and cholesterol-lowering drugs are vital in reducing the chance of a heart attack or stroke in high-risk patients, but are not always effective and don't suit all patients because of the risk of side-effects.

“This exciting discovery by Professor Gibbin's team shows that drugs which lower cholesterol through targeting LXR protein can also reduce harmful blood clotting – potentially opening up paths towards new, more effective treatments.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

If you're old then don't walk and talk at same time

Older people find multi-tasking more difficult than younger ones, researchers have found, so those who "walk and talk" across a road could be putting themselves at greater risk.

Psychologists at the University of Illinois's Beckman Institute in the US found it took people aged 59 to 81 "significantly longer than college students to cross a simulated street while talking on a mobile".

In a series of tests which looked at a range of distractions while crossing the road, including listening to music and talking on a mobile phone using a hands-free kit, the older volunteers were "significantly impaired" when it came to getting across a busy road safely.

By comparison, the student "showed no impairment on dual-task performance", the researchers said.

Mark Neider, a postdoctoral researcher who conducted the study with Prof Art Kramer of the institute, said: "Combined with our previous work, the current findings suggest that while all pedestrians should exercise caution when attempting to cross a street while conversing on a cell phone, older adults should be particularly careful."

However, he added that young people were not immune from the dangers of listening to music or talking on the phone while crossing the road.

"It should be noted that we have previously found that younger adults show similar performance decrements, but under much more challenging crossing conditions," he said.

The results of the study are published in the journal Psychology and Aging.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Your child is a athlete, Gene tests can reveal

Was your kid born to be an elite athlete? Marketers of genetic test claim the answer is in mail-order kits costing less than $200.

Some customers say the test results help them steer their children to appropriate sports. But skeptical doctors and ethicist say the tests are putting profit before science.

Scientists have identified several genes that may play a role in determining strength, speed and other aspects of athletics performance. But there are likely hundreds more, plus many other traits and experiences that help determine athletic ability, said Dr. Alison Brooks, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin.

A handful of companies are selling these tests online. In some cases, the tests screen for genes that are common even among non-athletes.

Bradley Marston of Bountiful, Utah, bought a test online a year ago for his daughter Elizabeth, then 9. She's "a very talented soccer player," and Marston wanted to know if she had a variation of a gene called ACTN3, which influences production of a protein involved in certain muscle activity. The $169 kit consists of two swabs to scrape cells from the inside of the cheek.

Elizabeth Marston's test showed she has a sprinting-related gene form - results her father hopes will help her get into elite sports programs or win a sports scholarship to college. Elizabeth has loved soccer since age 4 and said she's happy with the results. But even at age 10, she knows it will take more than genes to reach her goal of playing in the Olympics. "I think I would have to train hard," she said.

University of Maryland researcher Stephen Roth, a specialist in exercise physiology and genetics who has studied the ACTN3 gene, said the science of how genes influence athletic ability "is in its infancy" and that marketers claim are based on "gross assumptions."

Dr. Lainie Friedman Ross, a medical ethicist and pediatrician at the University of Chicago, said the tests raise ethical questions when used in children because they're too young to understand the possible ramifications and to give adequate consent.

Monday, March 14, 2011

City lost in "Tsunami" finally located after 2,600 years

A US-led research team may have finally located the lost city of Atlantis, the legendary metropolis believed swamped by a tsunami thousands of years ago, in mud flats in southern Spain.

"This is the power of tsunamis," head researcher Richard Freund said. "It is just so hard to understand that it can wipe out 60 miles inland, and that's pretty much what we're talking about," said Freund, a University of Hartford, Connecticut, professor who lead an international team searching for the true site of Atlantis.

To solve the age-old mystery, the team used a satellite photo of a suspended submerged city to find the site just north of Cadiz, Spain. There, buried in the vast marshlands of the Dona Ana Park, they believe that they pinpointed the ancient, multi-ringed domination known as Atlantis.

The team of archaeologists and geologists in 2009 and 2010 used a combination of deep ground radar, digital mapping, and underwater technology to survey the site. Freund's discovery in central Spain of a strange series of "memorial cities", built in Atlantis' image by its refugees after the city's likely destruction by a tsunami, gave researchers added proof and confidence, he said.

Atlantis residents who did not perish in the tsunami fled inland and built new cities there, he added. The team's findings will be unveiled on Sunday in "Finding Atlantis", a new National Geographic Channel special.

While it is hard to know with certainty that the site in Spain is Atlantis, Freund said the "twist" of finding the memorial cities makes him confident Atlantis was buried in the mud flats on Spain's southern coast. "We found something that no one else has ever seen before, which gives it a layer of credibility, especially for archaeology, that makes a lot more sense," Freund said.

Greek philosopher Plato wrote about Atlantis some 2,600 years ago, describing it as "an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Hercules", as the Straits of Gibraltar were known in antiquity. Using Plato's detailed account of Atlantis as a map, searches have focused on the Mediterranean and Atlantis as the best possible sites for the city.

Tsunamis in the region have been documented for centuries, Freund says. Plato's "dialogues" from around 360 BC are the only known historical sources of information about the iconic city. Plato said the island he called Atlantis "in a single day and night... disappeared into the depths of the sea".

Experts plan further excavations at the site where they believe Atlantis is located and at the mysterious "cities" in central Spain 150 miles away to more  closely study geological formations and to date artifacts.

Credit Card will talk to you

Imagine you credit card talking to you and displaying your balance, while doubling as a reward card. Well, your imagination will soon turn into a reality.

Dynamics Inc is developing such cards - due to be introduced in the US later this year - which will have wafer-thin microprocessors and would run on batteries that can last up to three years. However, the credit cards will only display personal information after a security code is entered.

Citibank has released the new 2G card, which has a programmable magnetic strip and buttons on the front for users to choose to use it as a credit card or just to spend reward point, the Daily Mail reported. A trial is currently ongoing and, if successful, it could roll out across the country.

Even MasterCard has just released a card that has a small LCD screen which displays a one-time code which the customer can use to make an online purchase. It means even if someone's credit card details are stolen, they will be useless to buy anything without the one-off code.

Banks, phone providers, Google and Apple, are also working on mobile payment systems which rely on short-range wireless technology that allows electronic devices to transmit encrypted data.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

No need to know blood group before "Transfusions", Soon

Scientists have taken an 'important step' toward the development of a universal blood product that would eliminate the need to 'type' blood to match donor and recipient before transfusions.

"Immunocamouflage" technique hides the blood cells from antibodies that could trigger a potentially fatal immune reaction that occurs when blood types do not match.

Maryam Tabrizian and her colleagues note that the blood transfusions require a correct match between a donor and the recipient's blood.

This can be a tricky proposition given that there are some 29 different red blood cells types, which include the familiar ABO and Rh types.

The wrong blood type can provoke serious immune reactions that result in organ failure or death, so scientists have long sought a way to create an all-purpose red blood cell for transfusions that doesn't rely on costly blood typing or donations of a specific blood type.

To develop this "universal" red blood cell, the scientists discovered a way to encase living, individual red blood cells within a multi-layered polymer shell.

The shell serves as a cloaking device, they found, making the cell invisible to a person's immune system and able to evade detection and rejection.

Oxygen can still penetrate the polymer shell, however, so the red blood cells can carry on their main business of supplying oxygen to the body.

"The results of this study mark an important step toward the production of universal RBCs," the authors of the study said in a statement. The report appears in the ACS journal, Bio macromolecules.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Where did humans originated? Do you know?

Southern Africa is the place where modern humans may have originate, say researchers. This is clear challenge to the age-old view that humans came from eastern part of the Africa.

An extensive genetic study has showed that hunter gatherer populations in the region had greatest degree of genetic diversity, which is an indicator of longevity. According to the study's co-author Brenna Henn of Standford University, the study reached two main conclusions.

"One is that there is an enormous amount of diversity in African hunter-gatherer populations, even more diversity than there is in agriculturalist populations."

"These hunter/gatherer groups are highly structured and are fairly isolated from one another and probably retain a great deal of different genetic variations - we found this very exciting," the BBC quoted her as saying.

"The other main conclusion was that we looked at patterns of genetic diversity among 27 (present day) African populations, and we saw a decline of diversity that really starts in southern Africa and progresses as you move to northern Africa." Henn added.

She explained that the study's modeling was consistent with the serial founder effect. This refers to a loss of genetic variation when a new population is established by a very small number of individuals from the original, larger population.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Check sound and detect cheating partner

Your voice could provide an insight into perceived adulterous behavior, for a study has suggested that people with "attractive" voices are more likely to be love cheats.

Researchers from McMaster University in Canada found that women think men, who have deep voices are more likely to be love cheats. And if a woman has a high-pitched voice, men feel she is more likely to be unfaithful, found the study.

"In terms of sexual strategy, we found that men and women will use voice pitch as a warning sign of future betrayal," lead author Jillian O'Conner said. "So the more attractive the voice - a higher pitch for women and lower pitch for men - the more likely the chances he or she will cheat," O'Conner was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.

David Feiberg, who advised on the study, said, "The reason voice pitch influences perceptions of cheating is likely due to the relationship between pitch, hormones and infidelity." He said men with higher testosterone levels have lower pitched voices, and women with higher estrogen levels have higher pitched voices.

"High levels of these hormones are associated with adulterous behavior and our findings indicate individuals are somewhat aware of the link and may use this in their search for a romantic partner," Feiberg said.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Talking Car - Car can talk too

Imagine if your car could talk to you about the best route to take avoid rush-hour traffic or tell you where's the next petrol pump.

Your imagination could soon become a reality, thanks to scientists who claim to be developing such a "talking car" with the world's most advanced in-vehicle voice communication system, the Daily Mail reported. In fact, the "talking car" will hit British roads next year and the system would be available in one of the country's biggest-selling cars, the Ford Focus.

The makers of the system, called Sync, claim drivers will be able to use it to ask such age old questions like - "Where's the nearest petrol station?" or "Can I go to the toilet?" or "Are we nearly there yet?"

In all, Ford says its voice-operated technology will be able to master 10,000 commands in 19 languages, allowing motorists to control audio, telephone and satnav systems as well as accessing information about the surrounding area.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Future Jets - Faster, Quieter & Effecient

Move over, jumbo jets. Sleek jets could soon become the new travel option for fliers, thanks to US space agency Nasa which plans to introduce the futuristic aircraft latest by 2025.

Nasa has revealed designs for quiet-running, energy efficient planes which owe their existence to the Northrop YB-49 "flying wing" aircraft designed for the US Air Force in the 1950s but never entered service, the Daily Express said.

Aerospace companies Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Boeing came up with drawing towards the end of the last year. All three secured contracts from Nasa to develop and test their designs, meaning the aircraft could be taking to the skies in the next 10 years.

Nasa is, in fact, aiming to create planes that are faster, bigger, more efficient and quieter than at present. The sleek jets need to have a range of 7,000 miles at 85% of the speed of sound while carrying between 50,000 pounds and 100,000 pounds of cargo or passengers.

The Northrop YB-49 "flying wing" aircraft was developed by Northrop for the US Air Force shortly after World War II. The jet-powered Flying Wing never entered production, being passed over in favor of the Convair B-36 Peacemaker piston engine-driven design.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Signs of early life found

Some 11,500 years ago one of America's earliest families laid the remains of a three-year-old child to rest in their home in what is now Alaska. The discovery of that burial is shedding new light on the life and times of the early settlers who crossed from Asia to the New World, researchers report in the journal Science. The bones represent the earliest human remains discovered in the Arctic of North America, a "pretty significant find," said Ben A. Potter of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The site of the discovery, Upper Sun River, is in the forest of the Tanana lowlands in central Alaska, Potter and his colleagues report. He said the find, which included evidence of what appeared to be a seasonal house and the cremated remains of the child, "is truly spectacular in all senses of the word. Before this find, we knew people were hunting large game with sophisticated weapons, but most of the sites we had to study were hunting camps."

Based on its teeth, the child was about three years old, according to archaeologist Joel Irish, also of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The researchers were not able to determine the sex of the child from the bones, Potter said.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Star Trek-type "teleportation" to be reality soon


The "teleportation" of 'Star Trek' could become a reality soon. Researchers are using a special laser called Bessel which could potentially draw small items towards a target.

Tractor beams in 'Star Trek' have long used a subspace or graviton interference pattern created by two beams to pull in their targets although, being sci-fi, the precise technology has never been clear. The real life breakthrough came after scientists realized that a tractor beam could be possible using a Bessel laser, which has a specific wavelength pattern that seems to work, the Daily Mall reports.

They found that when the target is hit by the beam, some of the incoming light bounces back off in the form of radiation and creates a 'push' towards the source. "Light can indeed pull a particle and this may open up new avenues for optical micro-manipulation.... typical examples include transporting a particle backward over a long distance and particle sorting," scientists from China wrote.

Previous attempts at creating a tractor beam had involved heating the air around the target to get it to move. Another approach was so-called 'optical tweezers' when the target would be trapped in laser beam and moved around. By using a Bessel, however, tractor beam would have one long gradual pull with no interruptions.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hold your pee for a clear mind

Considering an expensive purchase? Drink a bottle of water first, for a study claims that people with full bladders make better decisions.

Researchers have found that the brain's self-control mechanism provides restraint in all areas at once, and people with a full bladder are able to better control and "hold off" making important, or expensive, decisions, leading to better judgment, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The researchers from the University of Twente in the Netherlands have linked bladder control control to the same parts of the brain that activates feelings of desire and reward. The study, published in the Psychological Science journal, also concluded that just thinking about words related to urination triggered the same effect. Mirjam Tuk, who led the study, said that the brain's "control signals" were not task specific but result in an "unintentional increase" in control over other tasks.

People are more able to control their impulses for short term pleasures and choose more often an option which is more beneficial in the long run. The brain area sending this signal, is activated not only for bladder control, but for all sorts of control.

"Controlling our impulsive desires for an immediate reward, in favor of a larger reward at a later date, is a similar type of response, originating from this same neurological area," she said.