5 comments on “This Week in Science: October 4th, 2015

  • Researchers Make Artificial Cells That Can Replicate Themselves

    I like this story because the creationists will have to be uber creative to try and explain this one away. Micelles surrounding genetic material and replicating themselves!

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  • I think this item needs adding to this week’s list: –

    The Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine has been split two ways for groundbreaking work on parasitic diseases.

    William C Campbell and Satoshi Omura developed a new drug against infections caused by roundworm parasites.

    Youyou Tu shares the prize for her discovery of a therapy against malaria.

    The Nobel committee said the work had changed the lives of the hundreds of millions of people affected by these diseases.

    The mosquito-borne disease malaria kills more than 450,000 people each year around the world, with billions more at risk of catching the infection.

    Parasitic worms affect a third of the world’s population and cause a number of illnesses, including River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis.

    After decades of limited progress, the discovery of the two new drugs – Avermectin for River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis, and Artemisinin for malaria – was a game changer.

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  • Parasitic worms affect a third of the world’s population and cause a number of illnesses, including River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis…

    Ahh… One of god’s little creations.

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  • Only artificial photosynthesis hits 10 or 11 percent efficiency. In plants it never exceeds 2% and the bulk of crop plants are rarely over 1%.

    The most efficient theoretical solar pv cells are InGaN multijunctions. These, using materials that are starting to fall in cost because of LED lighting take up, promise, if they can be reliably made, a theoretical 70% conversion efficiency, at an astonishing 100 to 120 Celsius. This temperature is key as Silicon PV falls terribly in efficiency if it gets hot (over 40 C). Cheap metal reflectors (heliostats) cannot be used to concentrate the sun as the panels will overheat quickly. InGaN however can use small cells with big cheap reflectors. Their temperature can be stabilised accurately where needed by generating steam. Out of a theoretical 30% waste energy maybe a theoretical 15% (half) may be recouped also. At 85% theoretical we may one day see 50% actual efficiency be achievable cost effectively.

    Plant efficiencies can be increased if the right colours are directed at them. Green light is wasted. If green houses could employ a photonic film that turned green wavelengths into red (energetically feasible) then daylight could become more photosynthetically useful.

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