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Targeting Tumors With Electricity

by Karin Heineman, Inside Science

The days of summer vacation and fun in the sun may be over for the season, but the hours spent in the sun over the last several months can take a toll on your skin. More than 120,000 new cases of melanoma, a very serious form of skin cancer, are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and if not treated early, can spread through the body.

Now, doctors are using electricity to help kill late-stage melanoma tumors.

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The Deep Dive: The Man Who Grew Eyes

by Moheb Costandi, Mosaic Science

The train line from mainland Kobe is a marvel of urban transportation. Opened in 1981, Japan’s first driverless, fully automated train pulls out of Sannomiya station, guided smoothly along elevated tracks that stand precariously over the bustling city streets below, across the bay to the Port Island.

The island, and much of the city, was razed to the ground in the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995 – which killed more than 5,000 people and destroyed more than 100,000 of Kobe’s buildings – and built anew in subsequent years. As the train proceeds, the landscape fills with skyscrapers. The Rokkō mountains come into view, looming menacingly over the city, peppered with smoke billowing from the dozens of narrow chimneys of the electronics, steel and shipbuilding factories.

Today, as well as housing the Port of Kobe, the man-made island contains hotels, medical centres, universities, a large convention centre and an Ikea store. There are also three government-funded RIKEN research institutions: the Advanced Institute of Computational Science (which is home to what was, until 2011, the world’s fastest supercomputer), the Center for Life Science Technologies, and the Centre for Developmental Biology (CDB).

At the entrance to one of the labs, a faded poster in a thin plastic frame shows the crew of the Starship Enterprise, a young Captain Kirk sitting proudly at the helm. Underneath is the famous Star Trek slogan: “To boldly go where no man has gone before.”

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Txch This Week: Cancer-Detecting Nanotech And Produce Section Power Production

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by Jared Kershner

This week on Txchnologist, NASA tested experimental rocket engine injectors that were 3-D printed to enhance performance over traditionally manufactured components. This 3-D printing technique, called direct laser melting, consists of a machine that fires a laser at metal powder under the control of a computer design program, depositing layers of the metal on top of one another until the part is produced. The hope? To demonstrate that 3-D printed designs can truly revolutionize system performance along with production time and cost.

A team led by biophysicist Markus Sauer and chemist Jürgen Seibel have pioneered a new microscopy method, dSTORM, which stands for direct Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy. This allows for the visualization of objects in super resolution, revealing details of cells ten times better than ever before by stitching together multiple images to create a single, sharper one. By resolving objects by mere millionths of millimeters across, researchers will inevitably gain new insights into activity in infectious diseases and cancer in human cells.

Harvard roboticists are in the process of constructing a soft-bodied, untethered robot that can continue operating through fire, water, crushing force, and even freezing conditions. Its body is constructed from a composite of silicone, fabric, and hollow glass microspheres. The group’s gains are an important step forward: If robots such as these are to perform rescue missions and survive demanding weather conditions, they need to be able to roam and slither free from cumbersome power connections.

Now we’re bringing you the news and trends we’ve been following this week in the world of science, technology, and innovation.

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Virus Kills Food-Borne Bacteria

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by Karin Heineman, Inside Science

While the food we buy may look safe, it’s the bacteria that we can’t see that make it unsafe to eat.

This year, one in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning.

It can cause serious health problems.  Washing and cooking food properly helps to prevent the spread of food-borne illness, but bacteria can still lurk on and inside food.

“It has many routes to get into not only food animal products but also things like leafy greens, and even processed foods,” said Paul Ebner, a microbiologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

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