Scientists are launching human trials for a cancer ‘vaccine’ that cured 97% of tumors in mice

March 29, 2018 by  
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Scientists at Stanford University are currently preparing the first human test of a cancer “vaccine,” a treatment that eliminated up to 97 percent of tumors during trials with mice. Appropriately 35 people with lymphoma will begin the trials before the end of 2018. Not technically a vaccine, the new cancer treatment is a kind of immunotherapy that involves an injection of two agents directly into a tumor. These agents stimulate the production of T cells, which then fight the cancer. As promising as the treatment may be, it is still a long way from being ready for and available to the public. In mice trials, the cancer vaccine eliminated tumors in 87 out of 90 mice, all of which suffered from various kinds of cancer, including lymphoma, breast cancer, and colon cancer. The vaccine proved effective even in instances when cancer had spread to other parts of the body. As exciting as this development may be, it is too early to properly evaluate. “We’ve been able to cure a lot of cancers in mice for a long time,” Dr. Alice Police, the regional director of breast surgery at Northwell Health Cancer Institute, told Live Science . Related: Scientists discover a huge new human organ hiding in plain sight Police also pointed out that since the human test only includes lymphoma patients, it will take more time and research before it can be determined whether or not the cancer vaccine is effective against other kinds of cancer in humans. Nonetheless, the cancer vaccine is a promising alternative to existing immunotherapies. “When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body,” said Stanford oncology professor Ronald Levy, MD  in a statement. “This approach bypasses the need to identify tumor-specific immune targets and doesn’t require wholesale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient’s immune cells.” Via Live Science Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Scientists are launching human trials for a cancer ‘vaccine’ that cured 97% of tumors in mice

World’s largest solar energy project will be 100 times bigger than any other on the planet

March 29, 2018 by  
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200 gigawatts of solar power . $200 billion. 100,000 jobs. Those are the numbers attached to the SoftBank Solar Project, which is set to become the biggest solar farm in the world thanks to a deal signed by Saudi Arabia and Japanese conglomerate company SoftBank ‘s Vision Fund . The move could help Saudi Arabia, the largest oil exporter in the world, progress from fossil fuels to renewable energy . The Saudis and SoftBank, signing a memorandum of understanding, are moving forward on a massive solar development that could see hundreds of gigawatts installed by 2030. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman unveiled the plan earlier this week; the crown prince said, “It’s a huge step in human history. It’s bold, risky, and we hope we succeed doing that.” Related: Saudi Arabia announces plan for $500B megacity powered by renewables The project is planned for the Saudi desert, Bloomberg said. According to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, it could be around 100 times bigger than the next largest proposed development, and could “more than double what the global photovoltaic industry supplied last year.” The $200 billion investment will go towards solar panels , battery storage , and a Saudi Arabia solar panel manufacturing facility, according to Reuters. The project’s initial phase will be 7.2 gigawatts and cost $5 billion. The SoftBank Solar Project could mark a huge step away from oil and towards clean energy for Saudi Arabia; Bloomberg said the country only has small-scale solar projects operating at the moment and Reuters said they obtain a bulk of their electricity via oil-fired plants even though they’re one of the sunniest countries in the world. Economist Intelligence Unit lead energy analyst Peter Kiernan told Reuters, “Saudi Arabia is clearly preparing for a post-fossil fuel dependent economy in terms of domestic energy consumption, and this huge bet on renewables would free up a lot of domestic output of oil for exports, while probably saving domestic gas resources as well.” Via Bloomberg and Reuters Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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World’s largest solar energy project will be 100 times bigger than any other on the planet

New technology could slow down biological time to save injured soldiers’ lives

March 5, 2018 by  
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Sometimes the difference between life and death is a matter of time. For injured soldiers in the field, the minutes that pass before a medic can treat them can make all the difference. That’s why DARPA is looking into ways to slow biological time in order to give medics an extra advantage in the battle to save lives. We can learn a lot from life around us. For instance, some organisms like tardigrades can essentially suspend animation when conditions are hostile to life. DARPA wants to tap into that ability to do something similar for soldiers. The trick is to figure out how to slow down every cellular process concurrently, and how to return everything back to normal without doing any damage. Related: US govt developing brain implants that give humans the ability to never forget According to DARPA, “When a Service member suffers a traumatic injury or acute infection, the time from event to first medical treatment is usually the single most significant factor in determining the outcome between saving a life or not.” To tackle that problem, DARPA just launched a 5-year Biostasis program that is developing biochemicals that can help slow down cellular activity so that medics can provide help before vital systems start shutting down. It’s still in the early stages, but if they can develop a viable technology, it could not only save soldiers’ lives, but it could have massive implications for medical science as a whole. “Nature is a source of inspiration,” program manager Dr. Tristan McClure-Begley said. “If we can figure out the best ways to bolster other biological systems and make them less likely to enter a runaway downward spiral after being damaged, then we will have made a significant addition to the biology toolbox.” Via Engadget Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

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New technology could slow down biological time to save injured soldiers’ lives

This tiny device can scan for skin cancer at a fraction of the current cost

November 9, 2017 by  
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sKan is an inexpensive device that can detect skin cancer at its early stages. The device creates heat maps to identify abnormalities in the skin often associated with melanoma, treatment for which has a higher success rate if detected early. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer worldwide, accounting for roughly 1 in 3 cancer diagnoses, and results in tens of thousands of deaths each year. sKan won this year’s international James Dyson award, bringing with it new funding and attention that could help save countless lives. To achieve its goal, the sKan device exploits the relatively higher metabolic rate of cancer cells. After a period of cooling, skin affected by cancer cells will more rapidly warm up, due to cancer’s high metabolism, than non-cancerous skin cells. sKan uses inexpensive yet accurate temperature sensors to locate rapidly heating areas of skin, shining a spotlight on potentially cancerous cells. These results are then displayed on a heat map, which can be used by a medical professional to determine whether a patient may require additional care. Early detection may mean life or death for those with skin cancer; the estimated 5-year survival rate for skin cancer patients whose illness is detected early is 98 percent. Related: Stanford’s new ‘accelerator on a chip’ could revolutionize medical care “By using widely available and inexpensive components, the sKan allows for melanoma skin cancer detection to be readily accessible to the many,” said James Dyson, British inventor and industrial designer . “It’s a very clever device with the potential to save lives around the world. This is why I have selected it at this year’s international winner.” In addition to the honor of winning the James Dyson award, the sKan team will receive $40,000, which it plans to use to refine the device’s design to meet US Food and Drug Administration standards . “We are truly humbled and excited to be given this remarkable opportunity,” said the sKan team on its win. Via New Atlas Images via James Dyson Awards

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This tiny device can scan for skin cancer at a fraction of the current cost

Nanoleaf’s new Rhythm module turns any Aurora array into a dazzling music visualizer

November 9, 2017 by  
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Last year Nanoleaf unveiled Aurora – a stunning lighting array made of modular, energy-efficient LED panels . They’re continuing to develop the system, and they just unveiled the Rhythm – a new module that transforms any Aurora array into a glimmering music visualizer. Simply plug the Rhythm into an Aurora panel and fire up your stereo – it’ll listen to your tunes and light up to the beat of your favorite songs. Inhabitat has followed Nanoleaf for years – and they’ve come a long way from making LED light bulbs . The Aurora is a sophisticated lighting system that can display over 16 million colors – and it’s getting smarter by the day. When they reached out to us with their latest innovation, we knew we had to try it out for ourselves. The Rhythm is a clever device that transforms music and ambient sounds into shimmering bursts of LED light. Setting it up is a snap – simply construct an Aurora array and then plug the Rhythm module into one of the triangular panels. The device uses a built-in microphone to listen to sound – so you don’t need to plug it into your stereo – and all of the processing is conducted on-board in real-time. Nanoleaf has created an impressive smartphone app that makes it easy to control your Aurora array. The app automatically senses the configuration of the panels and it provides options for different color palettes and Rhythm patterns – with the option to download many more. We generally found that the patterns respond quite well to a wide range of music – although your mileage will vary based on how many panels you own and how your array is set up. Songs with strong beats and well-isolated elements tend to produce better results than music with complex rhythms and overlapping textures. Certain patterns like “Meteor Shower” and “Streaking Notes” tend to benefit from large, densely packed arrays, while the “Sound Bar” pattern works best with more linear arrays. The obvious application for Aurora panels is adding colorful mood lighting to a room – but the Rhythm module expands their appeal to DJs and musicians, audiovisual artists, and anyone who wants to bring home a bit of ‘Blade Runner’ futurism. We’re also excited to see the applications that makers come up with – the panels support Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Amazon Alexa, so your Aurora array can interface with other smart devices in your house. Our only gripe is that an Aurora array can be a bit tricky to install – it takes some planning and a lot of adhesive strips, and the chips connecting the panels don’t lock in place. If I were to install an array in my home, I’d consider mounting it to a board, trimming the excess material, and then hanging it as a single unit. Overall, we’re very impressed by the vibrancy and brightness of Nanoleaf’s Aurora panels, and the Rhythm module brings a fun new dimension to the system. A single array is enough to wash an an entire room in color, and the panels are capable of subtle, pulsing hue changes as well as dazzling firework-style effects. The Nanoleaf Rhythm is currently available as a module for $49.99 or bundled along with an Aurora kit for $229.99. + Nanoleaf

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Nanoleaf’s new Rhythm module turns any Aurora array into a dazzling music visualizer

Nantucket to be powered by a 48 MWh Tesla Powerpack system

November 9, 2017 by  
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Over 10,000 people live on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts . To deal with electricity demand and replace old diesel generators, National Grid is turning to Tesla . They plan to install a 48 megawatt-hour (MWh) battery energy storage system (BESS) provided by Elon Musk’s company. Two submarine cables currently power the small island, with two six megawatt (MW) diesel generators as backups should a cable fail. But National Grid said the diesel generators are old and have to be replaced. They’re solving the problem with the BESS and a new diesel generator. Electrek said a 48 MWh system will require more than 200 of Tesla’s Powerpacks , so it will be one of the largest energy storage projects Tesla has tackled so far. Related: New Tesla Powerpack system to offer energy savings of 40-50% With the demand for electricity, and considering the growth forecast, National Grid said Nantucket’s backup systems had to be expanded, and they had originally expected a third submarine cable would be necessary in around 12 years. But thanks to the BESS, they think they can delay the third cable for 15 to 20 years past the 12-year forecast. President of National Grid’s FERC Regulated Businesses and New Energy Solutions Rudy Wynter described the BESS as an effective and efficient solution. The town of Nantucket’s energy coordinator Lauren Sinatra said in a statement, “We are confident that the proposed project, combined with targeted energy-savings programs and other planned electric infrastructure upgrades, will play a transformational role in meeting Nantucket’s near- and long-term energy needs.” Tesla has been busy moving the clean power revolution forward. They’ve made progress on the biggest battery installation in the world : the 100 MW/129 MWh battery system in Australia. They’ve also been among the companies responding to Puerto Rico’s electricity crisis following Hurricane Maria, with Powerwalls and solar power at a children’s hospital . Via National Grid and Electrek Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Nantucket to be powered by a 48 MWh Tesla Powerpack system

This 20-cent, hand-powered centrifuge is set to revolutionize off-grid healthcare

September 7, 2017 by  
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Centrifuges separate blood components to make pathogens easier to detect – and they’re essential to diagnosing and treating diseases like Malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis . However centrifuges need electricity to work – therefore, in remote areas without electricity, a common centrifuge is worthless. Enter the Paperfuge – an ingenious human-powered centrifuge made from 20 cents of paper, twine and plastic. The low-cost device can separate plasma from a blood sample in 990 seconds without electricity – and it could save millions of lives around the world every year. Manu Prakash is an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford who specializes in low-cost diagnostic tools for underserved regions. He was inspired to create the Paperfuge after a trip to Uganda where he saw a very expensive centrifuge being used as a doorstop because there was no electricity to power it. The moment inspired Prakash to find a way to convert human energy into spinning force using the low-tech spinning toys of yesteryear such as yo-yos, tops, and whirligigs. Related: 5 brilliant designs that will change the world in 2017 “There are more than a billion people around the world who have no infrastructure, no roads, no electricity. I realized that if we wanted to solve a critical problem like malaria diagnosis, we needed to design a human-powered centrifuge that costs less than a cup of coffee,” said Prakash. Working with a team of Stanford bioengineers and undergraduate engineering students from MIT, Prakash created the Paperfuge out of 20 cents of paper, twine, and plastic. Don’t be fooled by its simple appearance: the human-powered centrifuge can spin at 125,000 rpm, exerting centrifugal forces of 30,000 Gs, “To the best of my knowledge, it’s the fastest spinning object driven by human power,” said Prakash. The device aids in rapid, precise diagnoses, which result in more effective treatments for people living in areas where infectious diseases are common. The Paperfuge was recently honored with the world’s biggest design prize – the 2017 INDEX: Award . + Paperfuge + INDEX: AWARD 2017

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This 20-cent, hand-powered centrifuge is set to revolutionize off-grid healthcare

These vegan "Star Wars" sneakers are made with discarded pineapple leaves

September 7, 2017 by  
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The pineapple is strong with these sneakers—literally. A collaboration between Star Wars and London-based shoemaker Po-Zu , the limited-edition “Silver Resistance” high-top combines silver woven linen and Piñatex , a leather alternative engineered from the fibers of discarded pineapple leaves. The sneaker, which is handcrafted in Portugal, also features a rubberized Rebel Alliance badge, a quilted rear panel, a removable memory foam insole, and a grippy natural-latex outsole. The result is a shoe that is as visually striking as it is environmentally friendly. “We go the extra mile to make our shoes ethically and sustainably so you can wear them with clear conscience from dawn till dusk,” Sven Segal, fouder of Po-Zu, said in a statement. “We want them to be comfortable, collectable, and wearable. This sneaker has all of that and more. I love that it is vegan, too.” Related: Aspiring Jedis can pilot the Millennium Falcon at Disney’s upcoming ‘Star Wars’ hotel Available for preorder, the “Silver Resistance” is expected to ship in October, “just in time for Christmas and the launch of Star Wars: The Last Jedi ,” according to Po-Zu. If you miss out on one of the 1,000 pairs, you can still catch a glimpse of the sneaker, along with rest of Po-Zu’s co-branded Star Wars collection, at the Museum of Brands during London Design Week . + Star Wars Silver Resistance High-Top £150 + Po-Zu

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These vegan "Star Wars" sneakers are made with discarded pineapple leaves

New North African solar farms could send 4.5 gigawatts of energy to Europe

September 7, 2017 by  
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The age-old plan to power Europe with solar farms in North Africa and the Middle East may finally become a reality. This past June, Tunisia-based TuNur filed a request to export 4.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy to Europe. That’s enough to power 5 million homes or 7 million electric cars! If the joint venture between UK-based solar specialist Nur Energie and Tunisian and Maltese investors proves successful, the energy landscape in Europe will be forever changed. Said Daniel Rich, the chief operating officer at TuNur: “Today you have a market in need of low carbon dispatchable power, which has the mechanisms to import power from other countries. Next door is a region with extreme solar resource and in need for investment and development. Finally, there are technologies that can satisfy the demand at very competitive pricing and have a very high local impact.” The National reports that project is making fast progress. By 2020, the TuNur solar plant in Tunisia will be linked with Malta, a feat which will cost approximately €1.6 billion. (The island is already linked to the European mainland via an undersea power line that connects to Sicily.) A second cable link will connect Tunisia to central Italy at a point north of Rome. A third cable, which would link Tunisia to the south of France, is presently under review. Related: European firms eye artificial island for North Sea wind and solar farm The project will do more than provide Europe with clean energy – it will stimulate over $5 billion of investment in Tunisia . Approximately 20,000 direct and indirect jobs — specifically in the interior regions which are least developed — will also be generated. + TuNur Via The National Images via TuNur , Pixabay

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New North African solar farms could send 4.5 gigawatts of energy to Europe

Plastic fibers found in over 80% of tap water samples from five continents

September 7, 2017 by  
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If you had a glass of water from the tap today, you likely ingested plastic. Orb Media conducted an investigation of plastic in our tap water over 10 months, and their results were shocking: over 80 percent of samples they collected – in places like the United States Capitol building or the shores of Uganda’s Lake Victoria – contained plastic fibers. The authors of the study say we’re living in the Plastic Age – and the contamination probably is not limited to our water. Orb Media and a researcher from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health scrutinized plastic fibers in our tap water for the report, titled Invisibles, for what Orb Media described as the “first public scientific study of its kind.” Microplastics contaminating our water come from a variety of sources, from synthetic clothes to tire dust to microbeads to plastic utensils. According to Orb Media, “We have produced more plastic in the last 10 years than in the entirety of the last century.” They said experts said plastics are probably in your food too – like baby formula, sauces, or craft beer. Related: Plankton Pundit video shows exact moment plastic enters the food chain The research authors tested tap water in the United States, Europe, Indonesia, India, Lebanon, Uganda, and Ecuador. The United States had the greatest amount of plastics in their water at 94 percent of samples; the researchers detected the fibers at the Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, Congress buildings, and Trump Tower in New York. Lebanon and India had the next greatest amounts of contamination. Europe had the least – but plastics were still found in 72 percent of samples there. It’s easy to blame waste management or sewage treatment systems. But one marine biology professor said designers have a role to play too. Associate Dean of Research at Plymouth University Richard Thompson told Orb Media, “Plastics are inherently recyclable . What’s preventing us from recycling I’d argue, is inadequate, inappropriate, or…lack of proper consideration on the design stage for what’s going to happen at the end of life.” Senior Research Associate at the University of New South Wales Mark Browne said, “It’s all of our fault.” + Invisibles Via Orb Media and The Guardian Lead image via Depositphotos , others via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Plastic fibers found in over 80% of tap water samples from five continents

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