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    Scarcity, not abundance, enhances consumer creativity, study says
    Even in an age of affluence and abundance in which round-the-clock consumerism and overspending are the norm, limits and constraints can still serve a purpose. According to new research co-written by a University of Illinois expert in new product development and marketing, resource scarcity actually translates into enhanced consumer product-use creativity.–A general sense of scarcity activates a constraint mindset that manifests itself through increased novelty in subsequent product-usage contexts — that is, limits force consumers to think beyond the traditional functionality of a given product, thus enhancing product-use creativity, says published research from Ravi Mehta, a professor of business administration at Illinois.–“As the Western world becomes more affluent, I wanted to know how a sense of abundance affects creativity, because it’s creativity that moves society forward,” Mehta said. “New inventions and innovations — they all come from creativity. So how does an abundance mindset affect creativity? What we found is that abundant resources may have a negative effect on creativity. When you have fewer resources, you use them more creatively.”–Across six experiments that tested their hypotheses, Mehta and co-author Meng Zhu of Johns Hopkins Carey Business School consistently demonstrated that scarcity leads to more novel product usages “without compromising the appropriateness of the consumption solutions,” according to the paper.–It’s a phenomenon that can be observed anecdotally in many poor parts of the world, Mehta said.–“If you look at people who don’t have resources or only have limited resources, they actually end up being more creative with what they have,” he said. “If you go to a poor country and see how they solve problems by repurposing older products, it’s super-innovative. When times are tough, resource-poor people become more creative in their use of everyday products.”–The inverse also is true: When a general sense of abundance is prevalent, a constraint mindset will not be activated and individuals are less likely to move away from the traditional functionality of a given product, thereby resulting in lower levels of creativity.–“Everyday life here in the U.S. is so abundant that our control condition matched up with abundance, which makes sense,” Mehta said. “Abundance is our default setting here in the U.S.”–The implications for advertisers and marketers are, if you want to promote creativity, don’t feature abundance, Mehta said.–“Our research indicates that highlighting abundance — presenting abundant rather than scarce supply of the available items, for example — could backfire, leading the designers or consumers in a focus group to be less creative. That finding suggests that marketers should activate a general sense of scarcity rather than abundance.”–The long-term implications of favoring abundance over creativity are even more pronounced.–“Findings from other research indicate that as we become a more abundant society, our aggregate average creativity levels decrease,” Mehta said. -According to the paper, a prior analysis of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking performance data over the past five decades indicated that, in spite of the rise in IQ scores, creative thinking scores have significantly decreased since 1990, especially for kindergarteners through third-grade students.-“Once we become used to not being creative — to being merely passive consumers — it seems that the creativity muscle begins to atrophy, which does not bode well for future generations,” Mehta said. “It also doesn’t bode well for the present, because we need every ounce of creativity that we have to tackle our problems.”-Story Source-The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The original item was written by Phil Ciciora. -Journal Reference-Ravi Mehta, Meng Zhu. Creating When You Have Less: The Impact of Resource Scarcity on Product Use Creativity. Journal of Consumer Research, 2015; ucv051 DOI: 10.1093/jcr/ucv051 –University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Scarcity, not abundance, enhances consumer creativity, study says.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 November 2015. <>.
    MIT Chemists Create New Adaptable Metallic-Cage Gels
    By combining the flexibility of polymer gels with the rigid structure provided by metal-based clusters, chemists from MIT have created a new material that could be well-suited for a range of possible functions, including drug release, gas storage, or water filtration.
    These new gels, known as polyMOCs, are a hybrid of two materials called metallogels and metal organic cages. Metallogels, which consist of metals bound to polymer chains, are similar to regular polymer gels in that they are soft and viscoelastic. Metal organic cages (MOCs), on the other hand, have a rigid structure and tend to form crystalline materials.–“One can imagine a class of materials that borrows from both of those, and so has the well-defined, self-assembled structures of the MOCs, but also has the viscoelastic properties of a polymer gel. That’s what we’ve tried to make,” says Jeremiah Johnson, the Roger and Georges Firmenich Assistant Professor of Natural Product Chemistry and the senior author of a paper describing the gels in Nature Chemistry.–The paper’s lead author is Aleksandr Zhukhovitskiy, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Chemistry.
    Self-assembly—To create these gels, Johnson and colleagues built on a technique known as metallo-supramolecular assembly. This strategy allows chemists to generate three-dimensional shapes, such as spheres, paddlewheels, or pyramids, by mixing polymers that are attached to molecules called ligands. These ligands are organic compounds that can bind to a metal atom.–In this case, the researchers used a ligand containing two pyridine groups that each can bind to the metal palladium. Each atom of palladium can form bonds with four other ligand molecules, creating a rigid, cage-like structure with 12 palladium centers and 24 ligands. These centers then connect with other metallic cages by flexible polymer linkers, forming a large, self-assembled gel.—While each metal cage can have up to 24 polymer chains attached to it, only four or five of those connect to other metal cages. These extra, unattached chains loop back and attach to their own metal cage. These loops are commonly referred to as “defects,” but the MIT team saw them as an opportunity to enhance the material by replacing some of the ligands on those chains with new functional molecules.–“We can take the ligands that aren’t connected to another cage and swap those out, while keeping the same net number of chains connecting junctions,” Johnson says. “This allows us to make completely different materials in terms of their composition, but they can have the same mechanical properties.”–“By using these clusters of metallic organic cages, they’ve been able to increase the functionality, and this gives the materials very different properties and mechanical behavior,” says Stuart Rowan, a professor of macromolecular science and engineering at Case Western Reserve University who was not involved in the work. “It’s very elegant, fundamental science that opens the door to a whole range of directions.”-In this study, the researchers added a fluorescent molecule called pyrene in place of some of the looped ligands. “When we look at this material under a UV light it’s fluorescent, but mechanically it’s identical to a material without the pyrene ligand. The modulus is the same, the swelling behavior is the same, but now this gel is intensely fluorescent,” Johnson says.
    Many possible functions–This technique is general enough that the researchers should be able to add many other types of molecules with different functions, Johnson says. Such gels could be used for drug delivery by designing them to store drug molecules within the metal cages. They could also be used for storing gases such as hydrogen, which would be useful in cars that run on fuel cells. By adding ligands that can grab and isolate heavy metals, these gels could also be adapted for water purification.–“You could imagine attaching all kinds of things onto those extra ligands to adapt the material for applications of interest,” Johnson says. “Currently we’re working on making ligands that can not only put something outside of the cage, but also inside the cage, so we could do controlled uptake or release of molecules from the inside of these cages.”–The researchers are also experimenting with creating similar gels with different cage shapes, and developing materials that use metals other than palladium. These metals, including zinc, iron, and titanium, are cheaper and potentially less toxic than palladium.–Publication: Aleksandr V. Zhukhovitskiy, et al., “Highly branched and loop-rich gels via formation of metal–organic cages linked by polymers,” Nature Chemistry, 2015; doi:10.1038/nchem.2390
    Upgrading synthetic biology’s toolkit- New method could enable reprogramming of mammalian cells
    Through the assembly of genetic components into “circuits” that perform logical operations in living cells, synthetic biologists aim to artificially empower cells to solve critical problems in medicine, energy and the environment. To succeed, however, they’ll need far more reliable genetic components than the small number of “off-the-shelf” bacterial parts now available.–Now a new method developed by Assistant Professor Ahmad S. Khalil (BME), Professor James J. Collins (BME, MSE, SE) and collaborators at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and MIT could significantly increase the number of genetic components in synthetic biologists’ toolkit and, as a result, the size and complexity of the genetic circuits they can build. The development could dramatically enhance their efforts not only to understand how biological organisms behave and develop, but also to reprogram them for a variety of practical applications.–Described in the August 2 online edition of Cell, the method offers a new paradigm for constructing and analyzing genetic circuits in eukaryotes — or organisms whose cells contain nuclei, which include everything from yeasts to humans. Instead of constructing these circuits with off-the-shelf parts from bacteria and porting them into eukaryotes, as most synthetic biologists do, Khalil and his collaborators have engineered these circuits using modular, functional parts from the eukaryotes themselves.–With funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and other sources, the research team built their synthetic genetic circuit parts from a class of proteins, known as zinc fingers, which can be programmed to bind desired DNA sequences. The modularity of the new parts enables a wide range of functions to be engineered, the construction of much larger and more complex genetic circuits than what’s now possible with bacteria-based parts, and ultimately, the development of much more powerful applications.-“Our research may lead to therapeutic applications, such as the dynamic modification and control of genes and genetic networks that are important in human disease,” said Khalil. Potential medical applications include stem cell therapeutics for a wide variety of injuries and diseases and in-cell devices and circuits for diagnosing early stages of cancer and other diseases. The new method may also equip groups of cells to perform higher-order computational tasks for processing signals in the environment in sensing applications.”–Story Source-The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Boston University College of Engineering. The original item was written by Mark Dwortzan. -Journal Reference-Ahmad S. Khalil, Timothy K. Lu, Caleb J. Bashor, Cherie L. Ramirez, Nora C. Pyenson, J. Keith Joung, James J. Collins. A Synthetic Biology Framework for Programming Eukaryotic Transcription Functions. Cell, 2012; 150 (3): 647 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.05.045 -Boston University College of Engineering. “Upgrading synthetic biology’s toolkit: New method could enable reprogramming of mammalian cells.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2012. <>.
    Navy researchers recruit luminescent nanoparticles to image brain function
    Research biologists, chemists and theoreticians at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), are on pace to develop the next generation of functional materials that could enable the mapping of the complex neural connections in the brain. The ultimate goal is to better understand how the billions of neurons in the brain communicate with one another during normal brain function, or dysfunction, as result of injury or disease.–“There is tremendous interest in mapping all the neuron connections in the human brain,” said Dr. James Delehanty, research biologist, Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering. “To do that we need new tools or materials that allow us to see how large groups of neurons communicate with one another while, at the same time, being able to focus in on a single neuron’s activity. Our most recent work potentially opens the integration of voltage-sensitive nanomaterials into live cells and tissues in a variety of configurations to achieve real-time imaging capabilities not currently possible.”–The basis of neuron communication is the time-dependent modulation of the strength of the electric field that is maintained across the cell’s plasma membrane. This is called an action potential. Among the nanomaterials under consideration for application in neuronal action potential imaging are quantum dots (QDs) — crystalline semiconductor nanomaterials possessing a number of advantageous photophysical attributes.-“QDs are very bright and photostable so you can look at them for long times and they allow for tissue imaging configurations that are not compatible with current materials, for example, organic dyes,” Delehanty added. “Equally important, we’ve shown here that QD brightness tracks, with very high fidelity, the time-resolved electric field strength changes that occur when a neuron undergoes an action potential. Their nanoscale size make them ideal nanoscale voltage sensing materials for interfacing with neurons and other electrically active cells for voltage sensing.”–QDs are small, bright, photo-stable materials that possess nanosecond fluorescence lifetimes. They can be localized within or on cellular plasma membranes and have low cytotoxicity when interfaced with experimental brain systems. Additionally, QDs possess two-photon action cross-section orders of magnitude larger than organic dyes or fluorescent proteins. Two-photon imaging is the preferred imaging modality for imaging deep (millimeters) into the brain and other tissues of the body.–In their most recent work, the NRL researchers showed that an electric field typical of those found in neuronal membranes results in suppression of the QD photoluminescence (PL) and, for the first time, that QD PL is able to track the action potential profile of a firing neuron with millisecond time resolution. This effect is shown to be connected with electric-field-driven QD ionization and consequent QD PL quenching, in contradiction with conventional wisdom that suppression of the QD PL is attributable to the quantum confined Stark effect — the shifting and splitting of spectral lines of atoms and molecules due to presence of an external electric field.
    “The inherent superior photostability properties of QDs coupled with their voltage sensitivity could prove advantageous to long-term imaging capabilities that are not currently attainable using traditional organic voltage sensitive dyes,” Delehanty said. “We anticipate that continued research will facilitate the rational design and synthesis of voltage-sensitive QD probes that can be integrated in a variety of imaging configurations for the robust functional imaging and sensing of electrically active cells.”–Story Source-The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Naval Research Laboratory–Journal Reference-Clare E. Rowland, Kimihiro Susumu, Michael H. Stewart, Eunkeu Oh, Antti J. Mäkinen, Thomas J. O’Shaughnessy, Gary Kushto, Mason A. Wolak, Jeffrey S. Erickson, Alexander L. Efros, Alan L. Huston, James B. Delehanty. Electric Field Modulation of Semiconductor Quantum Dot Photoluminescence: Insights Into the Design of Robust Voltage-Sensitive Cellular Imaging Probes. Nano Letters, 2015; 15 (10): 6848 DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b02725 –Naval Research Laboratory. “Navy researchers recruit luminescent nanoparticles to image brain function.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 November 2015. <>.
    Study provides strongest evidence yet of a link between breakfast quality and educational outcomes
    New study of 5,000 9- to 11-year-olds demonstrates significant positive associations between breakfast consumption, educational outcomes–A direct and positive link between pupils’ breakfast quality and consumption, and their educational attainment, has for the first time been demonstrated in a ground-breaking new study carried out by public health experts at Cardiff University.– The study of 5000 9-11 year-olds from more than 100 primary schools sought to examine the link between breakfast consumption and quality and subsequent attainment in Key Stage 2 Teacher Assessments 6-18 months later. The study — thought to be the largest to date looking at longitudinal effects on standardised school performance — found that children who ate breakfast, and who ate a better quality breakfast, achieved higher academic outcomes.–The research found that the odds of achieving an above average educational performance were up to twice as high for pupils who ate breakfast, compared with those who did not.–Eating unhealthy items like sweets and crisps for breakfast, which was reported by 1 in 5 children, had no positive impact on educational attainment.–Pupils were asked to list all food and drink consumed over a period of just over 24 hours (including two breakfasts), noting what they consumed at specific times throughout the previous day and for breakfast on the day of reporting.-Alongside number of healthy breakfast items consumed for breakfast, other dietary behaviours — including number of sweets and crisps and fruit and vegetable portions consumed throughout the rest of the day — were all significantly and positively associated with educational performance.-Social scientists say the research, published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, offers the strongest evidence yet of a meaningful link between dietary behaviours and concrete measures of academic attainment.- Hannah Littlecott from Cardiff University’s Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPher), lead author of the study, said: “While breakfast consumption has been consistently associated with general health outcomes and acute measures of concentration and cognitive function, evidence regarding links to concrete educational outcomes has until now been unclear.-“This study therefore offers the strongest evidence yet of links between aspects of what pupils eat and how well they do at school, which has significant implications for education and public health policy — pertinent in light of rumours that free school meals may be scrapped following George Osborne’s November spending review. – For schools, dedicating time and resource towards improving child health can be seen as an unwelcome diversion from their core business of educating pupils, in part due to pressures that place the focus on solely driving up educational attainment.–“But this resistance to delivery of health improvement interventions overlooks the clear synergy between health and education. Clearly, embedding health improvements into the core business of the school might also deliver educational improvements as well.”–Professor Chris Bonell, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University College London Institute of Education, welcomed the study’s findings. He said: “This study adds to a growing body of international evidence indicating that investing resources in effective interventions to improve young people’s health is also likely to improve their educational performance. This further emphasises the need for schools to focus on the health and education of their pupils as complementary, rather than as competing priorities. Many schools throughout the UK now offer their pupils a breakfast. Ensuring that those young people most in need benefit from these schemes may represent an important mechanism for boosting the educational performance of young people throughout the UK.”- Dr Graham Moore, who also co-authored the report, added: “Most primary schools in Wales are now able to offer a free school breakfast, funded by Welsh Government. Our earlier papers from the trial of this scheme showed that it was effective in improving the quality of children’s breakfasts, although there is less clear evidence of its role in reducing breakfast skipping.–“Linking our data to real world educational performance data has allowed us to provide robust evidence of a link between eating breakfast and doing well at school. There is therefore good reason to believe that where schools are able to find ways of encouraging those young people who don’t eat breakfast at home to eat a school breakfast, they will reap significant educational benefits.”-Dr Julie Bishop, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health Wales also welcomed the findings. She said: “Public Health Wales welcomes this important work. It increases our understanding of the link between health, in this case what we eat, and educational outcomes. We need to understand more about how eating breakfast helps to improve educational outcomes but this work will certainly support the case for schools to consider measures to improve diet for children — to benefit not just their immediate health but also their achievement.”– Story Source-The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Cardiff University.Journal Reference-Hannah J Littlecott, Graham F Moore, Laurence Moore, Ronan A Lyons, Simon Murphy. Association between breakfast consumption and educational outcomes in 9–11-year-old children. Public Health Nutrition, 2015; 1 DOI: 10.1017/S1368980015002669 –Cardiff University. “Study provides strongest evidence yet of a link between breakfast quality and educational outcomes: New study of 5,000 9- to 11-year-olds demonstrates significant positive associations between breakfast consumption, educational outcomes.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 November 2015. <>.
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    Show of the Month November 28 2015
    Quantum Entanglement
    New catalyst improves efficiency of drug, pesticide production
    Tiny robots inspired by pine cones
    Kenya Doctors Find Anti-fertility Agent in UN Vaccines- Vaccine carrying anti fertility
    Electric fields remove nanoparticles from blood with ease
    List of Essential Oils and some Applications
    Quantum Entanglement
    A newly published study from the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory demonstrates how macroscopic entanglement can be generated at room temperature and in a small magnetic field.–Entanglement is one of the strangest phenomena predicted by quantum mechanics, the theory that underlies most of modern physics: It says that two particles can be so inextricably connected that the state of one particle can instantly influence the state of the other—no matter how far apart they are.–A century ago, entanglement was at the center of intense theoretical debate, leaving scientists like Albert Einstein baffled. Today, entanglement is accepted as a fact of nature and is actively being explored as a resource for future technologies including quantum computers, quantum communication networks and high-precision quantum sensors.– Entanglement is also one of nature’s most elusive phenomena. Producing entanglement between particles requires that they start out in a highly ordered state, which is disfavored by thermodynamics, the process that governs the interactions between heat and other forms of energy. This poses a particularly formidable challenge when trying to realize entanglement at the macroscopic scale, among huge numbers of particles.“The macroscopic world that we are used to seems very tidy, but it is completely disordered at the atomic scale. The laws of thermodynamics generally prevent us from observing quantum phenomena in macroscopic objects,” said Paul Klimov, a graduate student in the Institute for Molecular Engineering and lead author of new research on quantum entanglement. The institute is a partnership between UChicago and Argonne National Laboratory.—Previously, scientists have overcome the thermodynamic barrier and achieved macroscopic entanglement in solids and liquids by going to ultra-low temperatures (-270 degrees Celsius) and applying huge magnetic fields (1,000 times larger than that of a typical refrigerator magnet) or using chemical reactions. In the November 20 issue of Science Advances, Klimov and other researchers in Prof. David Awschalom’s group at the Institute for Molecular Engineering have demonstrated that macroscopic entanglement can be generated at room temperature and in a small magnetic field.–The researchers used infrared laser light to order (preferentially align) the magnetic states of thousands of electrons and nuclei and then electromagnetic pulses, similar to those used for conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to entangle them. This procedure caused pairs of electrons and nuclei in a macroscopic 40 micrometer-cubed volume (the volume of a red blood cell) of the semiconductor SiC to become entangled.–“We know that the spin states of atomic nuclei associated with semiconductor defects have excellent quantum properties at room temperature,” said Awschalom, the Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering and a senior scientist at Argonne. “They are coherent, long-lived and controllable with photonics and electronics. Given these quantum ‘pieces,’ creating entangled quantum states seemed like an attainable goal.”
    In addition to being of fundamental physical interest, “the ability to produce robust entangled states in an electronic-grade semiconductor at ambient conditions has important implications on future quantum devices,” Awschalom said.–In the short term, the techniques used here in combination with sophisticated devices enabled by advanced SiC device-fabrication protocols could enable quantum sensors that use entanglement as a resource for beating the sensitivity limit of traditional (non-quantum) sensors. Given that the entanglement works at ambient conditions and that SiC is bio-friendly, biological sensing inside a living organism is one particularly exciting application.–“We are excited about entanglement-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging probes, which could have important biomedical applications,” said Abram Falk of IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center and a co-author of the research findings.–In the long term, it might even be possible to go from entangled states on the same SiC chip to entangled states across distant SiC chips. Such efforts could be facilitated by physical phenomena that allow macroscopic quantum states, as opposed to single quantum states (in single atoms), to interact very strongly with one another, which is important for producing entanglement with a high success rate. Such long-distance entangled states have been proposed for synchronizing global positioning satellites and for communicating information in a manner that is fundamentally secured from eavesdroppers by the laws of physics.–Publication: Paul V. Klimov, et al., “Quantum entanglement at ambient conditions in a macroscopic solid-state spin ensemble,” Science Advances, 20 Nov 2015: Vol. 1, no. 10, e1501015; DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501015–Source: Steve Koppes, University of Chicago
    New catalyst improves efficiency of drug, pesticide production
    Scientists at the Universitat Politècnica de València (Polytechnic University of Valencia, UPV) and the University of Bucharest have developed a new catalyst material, graphene containing oriented metal nanoparticles, for organic reactions in the manufacture of drugs and pesticides. Aside from the material itself, the work’s main contribution lies in the single-step process by which it is obtained.–“Joining these two components [the graphene and the metal nanoparticles] while simultaneously getting the nanoparticles to orient themselves correctly is a big step, and has a direct impact on the efficiency and functionality of the resulting material as a catalyst. Compared to the soluble metal compounds currently in use, this new catalyst is between a hundred thousand and a million times more active,” explains Hermenegildo García, researcher at the Instituto de Tecnología Química (Chemical Technology Institute), a joint research centre run by UPV and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Science National Research Council, CSIC).–To understand the importance of the properties of this new material, Hermenegildo García offers an analogy for the single-step production process they have developed: it is like “being able to lay the streets and the buildings of a city in the correct layout all at the same time. The new material is conducive to the coupling reactions that give us the drug and pesticide compounds, allowing bonds to be made easily and efficiently.” The reason for this lies in the optimal arrangement of the nano-sized particles.–The process for obtaining the graphene film with oriented nanoparticles begins with the purification of the raw material: seaweeds and shrimp shells. The natural biopolymers are then impregnated with metal ions and arranged like a film on a quartz surface, and the system is heated to high temperatures of around 1200 degrees. Under these conditions, the biopolymers are turned into graphene, while the metals generate the nanoparticles that are deposited on the graphene film.–“Continuing with the analogy from before, the graphene would be the streets, which are laid first, and then the metal nanoparticles or buildings are arranged on top of them in a process which encourages their optimal orientation. This is what makes the resulting material more efficient,” concludes García. The full results can be found in the international team’s recent paper published in Nature Communications.-Story Source-The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Asociación RUVID. Journal Reference-Ana Primo, Ivan Esteve-Adell, Juan F. Blandez, Amarajothi Dhakshinamoorthy, Mercedes Álvaro, Natalia Candu, Simona M. Coman, Vasile I. Parvulescu, Hermenegildo García. High catalytic activity of oriented 2.0.0 copper(I) oxide grown on graphene film. Nature Communications, 2015; 8561 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9561
    Tiny robots inspired by pine cones
    Most efforts to develop bio-inspired robots center on mimicking the motions of animals: but plants move too — even if most of their motions are so slow they can’t be detected by the naked eye.–The mechanism involved in plant movement is much simpler than that of animals using muscles. To generate motion, plants and some seeds — such as mimosa leaves, Venus flytraps and pine cones — simply harness the supply or deprival of water from plant tissues.–The future of bio-inspired engineering or robotics will greatly benefit from lessons learned from plants, according to a group of Seoul National University researchers. During the American Physical Society’s 68th Annual Meeting of the Division of Fluid Dynamics, Nov. 22-24, 2015, in Boston, they will share details about how studying plants enabled them to create tiny robots powered exclusively by changes in humidity. The pure simplicity of the manner by which pine cones and seeds respond to changes in environmental humidity with motion is at the heart of the group’s work.–“Some seeds consist of a head that contains all its genetic information, along with a long appendage called an ‘awn’ that is responsible for locomotion — just like an animal’s sperm,” explained Ho-Young Kim, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Seoul National University. “Awns are composed of two tissue layers: one that swells with humidity (active), and another that’s insensitive to humidity change (inactive).”–If environmental humidity increases, the bilayer bends from changes in length-wise swelling. Periodic humidity changes cause the bilayer to bend and unbend repeatedly — meaning that changes in environmental humidity can be converted to mechanical work.– “We mimicked the bilayer structure to make an actuator that can generate motions by using environmental humidity change,” Kim said. “Plants move slowly — one cycle of bending and unbending can take an entire day. To increase the response speed of the bilayer, we had to develop a novel way to fabricate the active layer. Its response speed increases with the surface-area-to-volume ratio of the layer because humidity can be absorbed more rapidly, so we deposited active nanoscale fibers onto an inactive layer.”–While a key step in creating a robot, repeated bending and unbending produces no net locomotion. “This cyclic motion must be converted into directional motion to create a robot that moves,” he said. “So we attached legs to our actuator, which allows only one-directional locomotion. We call the legs ‘ratchets’ and combined them with an actuator to build our bio-inspired robot.”–The group’s work is significant because it opens the door for tiny robots capable of locomotion based solely upon changes in environmental humidity — no electrical power supplies are involved. Just imagine: robots functioning in the field where no electricity is available because they operate based on changes in humidity levels in the same manner as seeds.–Sounds too easy, right? “Making a bilayer for the robots isn’t difficult, but making a fast one requires technical expertise,” said Kim. The group has also developed a mathematical model to find the optimum design for the robot to achieve the fastest speed for any given robot size.–One of the reasons why the group envisions a bright future for humidity-change-powered microrobots is because humidity changes are all around us.–“Generally, it tends to be drier during the day and more humid at night — the periodic humidity change cycle that enables seeds to bury themselves in the ground,” said Kim. “Humidity changes occur even when we breathe, because humid air is exhaled.”Importantly for the group’s future plans, human skin is more humid than the atmosphere. “This is the main humidity gradient that we want to tap into,” he pointed out. The team is exploring the possibility of placing a tiny robot directly on human skin — one that bends because it’s humid near skin.–“The concept is that by bending, some part of the robot will move away from the skin to encounter dry atmospheric air. When it dries, the robot will return to an upright position near the skin,” he said. Then the cycle begins again, and the robot continues to move based on changes in the skin’s humidity.–Moving forward, the group’s goal is to develop these futuristic-sounding medical robots capable of functioning on human skin. Thanks to bio-inspiration from plants, “such a robot could do jobs like disinfecting wounds, removing skin wrinkles, and nourishing skin tissues,” Kim added.–Presentation #A25.9, “Moisture-driven actuators inspired by motility of plants,” is authored by Beomjune Shin, Minhee Lee and Ho-Young Kim. It will be at 9:44 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015 in Room 304 of the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. ABSTRACT:–Story Source-The above post is reprinted from materials provided by American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics. -American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics. “Tiny robots inspired by pine cones.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 November 2015. <>.
    Kenya Doctors Find Anti-fertility Agent in UN Vaccines- Vaccine carrying anti fertility
    The Kenya Catholic Doctors Association had six tetanus vaccinations from around Kenya tested, and 100% of them tested positive for the HCG antigen.
    The Kenya Catholic Doctors Association is charging UNICEF and WHO with sterilizing millions of girls and women under cover of an anti-tetanus vaccination program sponsored by the Kenyan government.–While the government claims the tetanus vaccine is perfectly safe, the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association disagrees.-According to LifeSiteNews, a Catholic organization, the Association had six different samples of the vaccine from various locations around Kenya tested in an independent laboratory in South Africa.–What they found is disturbing: All six samples tested positive for the HCG antigen which is commonly used in anti-fertility vaccines. The HCG antigen was found in tetanus vaccines targeted to young girls and women of childbearing age.–Said Dr. Ngare, a spokesman for the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association:
    “This proved right our worst fears; that this WHO campaign is not about eradicating neonatal tetanus but a well-coordinated forceful population control mass sterilization exercise using a proven fertility regulating vaccine. This evidence was presented to the Ministry of Health before the third round of immunization but was ignored.”-Dr. Ngare listed a number of concerns to do with the mass tetanus vaccination program in Kenya that caused Catholic doctors to become suspicious-Dr. Ngare told LifeSiteNews that several things alerted doctors in the Church’s far-flung medical system of 54 hospitals, 83 health centres, and 17 medical and nursing schools to the possibility the anti-tetanus campaign was secretly an anti-fertility campaign.-Why, they ask does it involve an unprecedented five shots (or “jabs” as they are known, in Kenya) over more than two years and why is it applied only to women of childbearing years, and why is it being conducted without the usual fanfare of government publicity?–“Usually we give a series three shots over two to three years, we give it anyone who comes into the clinic with an open wound, men, women or children.” said Dr. Ngare.
    But it is the five vaccination regime that is most alarming. “The only time tetanus vaccine has been given in five doses is when it is used as a carrier in fertility regulating vaccines laced with the pregnancy hormone, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) developed by WHO in 1992.” (Source.)–It is important to note that there is no financial incentive for the Kenyan government to participate in the vaccination programs, for UNICEF and WHO distribute the vaccines for free.–“When funds from the UN are not enough to purchase yearly allotments of vaccines, an organization started and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GAVI, provides extra funding for many of these vaccination programs in poor countries,” reports HealthImpactNews. –When disasters happen in poorer countries, UNICEF is one of the first relief organizations to begin mass vaccination programs.–Interestingly, there was no tetanus outbreak in Kenya – yet. The only perceived “threat” of tetanus was due to local flood conditions.–Like flu shot vaccines, there is a lot of debate on the necessity and safety of vaccinations. -The findings by the Kenyan doctors, however, is certainly worth considering.
    Electric fields remove nanoparticles from blood with ease
    November 23, 2015 in Nanotechnology / Bio & Medicine
    An artist’s representation of the nanoparticle removal chip developed by researchers in Professor Michael Heller’s lab at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. An oscillating electric field (purple arcs) separates drug-delivery nanoparticles (yellow spheres) from blood (red spheres) and pulls them towards rings surrounding the chip’s electrodes. The image is featured as the inside cover of the Oct. 14 issue of the journal
    Engineers at the University of California, San Diego developed a new technology that uses an oscillating electric field to easily and quickly isolate drug-delivery nanoparticles from blood. The technology could serve as a general tool to separate and recover nanoparticles from other complex fluids for medical, environmental, and industrial applications. –Nanoparticles, which are generally one thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair, are difficult to separate from plasma, the liquid component of blood, due to their small size and low density. Traditional methods to remove nanoparticles from plasma samples typically involve diluting the plasma, adding a high concentration sugar solution to the plasma and spinning it in a centrifuge, or attaching a targeting agent to the surface of the nanoparticles. These methods either alter the normal behavior of the nanoparticles or cannot be applied to some of the most common nanoparticle types.–“This is the first example of isolating a wide range of nanoparticles out of plasma with a minimum amount of manipulation,” said Stuart Ibsen, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of NanoEngineering at UC San Diego and first author of the study published October in the journal Small. “We’ve designed a very versatile technique that can be used to recover nanoparticles in a lot of different processes.”
    This new nanoparticle separation technology will enable researchers—particularly those who design and study drug-delivery nanoparticles for disease therapies—to better monitor what happens to nanoparticles circulating in a patient’s bloodstream. One of the questions that researchers face is how blood proteins bind to the surfaces of drug-delivery nanoparticles and make them less effective. Researchers could also use this technology in the clinic to determine if the blood chemistry of a particular patient is compatible with the surfaces of certain drug-delivery nanoparticles.-“We were interested in a fast and easy way to take these nanoparticles out of plasma so we could find out what’s going on at their surfaces and redesign them to work more effectively in blood,” said Michael Heller, a nanoengineering professor at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and senior author of the study.–Nanoparticle removal chip
    next to a dime for comparison. Credit: Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego
    The device used to isolate the drug-delivery nanoparticles was a dime-sized electric chip manufactured by La Jolla-based Biological Dynamics, which licensed the original technology from UC San Diego. The chip contains hundreds of tiny electrodes that generate a rapidly oscillating electric field that selectively pulls the nanoparticles out of a plasma sample. Researchers inserted a drop of plasma spiked with nanoparticles into the electric chip and demonstrated nanoparticle recovery within 7 minutes. The technology worked on different types of drug-delivery nanoparticles that are typically studied in various labs.
    The breakthrough in the technology relies on designing a chip that can work in the high salt concentration of blood plasma. The chip’s ability to pull the nanoparticles out of plasma is based on differences in the material properties between the nanoparticles and plasma components. When the chip’s electrodes apply an oscillating electric field, the positive and negative charges inside the nanoparticles reorient themselves at a different speed than the charges in the surrounding plasma. This momentary imbalance in the charges creates an attractive force between the nanoparticles and the electrodes. As the electric field oscillates, the nanoparticles are continually pulled towards the electrodes, leaving the rest of the plasma behind. Also, the electric field is designed to oscillate at just the right frequency: 15,000 times per second.
    “It’s amazing that this method works without any modifications to the plasma samples or to the nanoparticles,” said Ibsen.
    Experimental setup of the chip. Credit: Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego
    More information: “Recovery of Drug Delivery Nanoparticles from Human Plasma Using an Electrokinetic Platform Technology,” by Stuart Ibsen, Avery Sonnenberg, Carolyn Schutt, Rajesh Mukthavaram, Yasan Yeh, Inanc Ortac, Sareh Manouchehri, Santosh Kesari, Sadik Esener, and Michael J. Heller. The paper was published in the Oct. 14, 2015 issue of the journal Small. ———-Provided by University of California – San Diego
    List of Essential Oils and some Applications
    Essential oils are volatile and liquid aroma compounds from natural sources, usually plants. Essential oils are not oils in a strict sense, but often share with oils a poor solubility in water. Essential oils often have an odor and are therefore used in food flavoring and perfumery. Essential oils are usually prepared by fragrance extraction techniques (such as distillation, pressing, or maceration). Essential oils are distinguished from aroma oils (essential oils and aroma compounds in an oily solvent), infusions in a vegetable oil, absolutes, and concretes. Typically, essential oils are highly complex mixtures of often hundreds of individual aroma compounds.
    Agar oil or oodh, distilled from Agarwood (Aquilaria malaccensis). Highly prized for its fragrance.[1]
    Ajwain oil, distilled from the leaves of Bishop’s weed (Carum copticum). Oil contains 35–65% thymol.
    Angelica root oil, distilled from the Angelica archangelica.
    Anise oil, from the Pimpinella anisum, rich odor of licorice, used medicinally.
    Asafoetida, used medicinally and to flavor food.
    Balsam of Peru, from the Myroxylon, used in food and drink for flavoring, in perfumes and toiletries for fragrance, and in medicine and pharmaceutical items for healing properties.
    Basil oil is used in making perfumes, as well as in aromatherapy
    Bay oil is used in perfumery; Aromatherapeutic for sprains, colds, flu, insomnia, rheumatism.
    Bergamot oil, used in aromatherapy and in perfumes.
    Black Pepper essential oil is distilled from the berries of Piper nigrum. The warm, soothing effect makes it ideal for treating muscle aches, pains and strains and promoting healthy digestion.
    Buchu oil, made from the buchu shrub. Considered toxic and no longer widely used.[citation needed] Formerly used medicinally.
    Birch is aromatheapeutic for gout, Rheumatism, Eczema, Ulcers.
    Camphor is used for cold, cough, fever, rheumatism, and arthritis
    Cannabis flower essential oil, used as a flavoring in foods, primarily candy and beverages. Also used as a scent in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, and candles.[2]
    Caraway oil, used a flavoring in foods. Also used in mouthwashes, toothpastes, etc. as a flavoring agent.[3]
    Cardamom seed oil, used in aromatherapy and other medicinal applications. Extracted from seeds of subspecies of Zingiberaceae (ginger). Also used as a fragrance in soaps, perfumes, etc.
    Carrot seed oil (essential oil), used in aromatherapy.
    Cedarwood oil, primarily used in perfumes and fragrances.
    Chamomile oil, There are many varieties of chamomile but only two are used in aromatherapy- Roman and German. Both have similar healing properties but German chamomile contains a higher level of azulin (an anti-inflammatory agent).
    Calamus Root, used medicinally
    Cinnamon oil, used for flavoring and medicinally.
    Cistus species
    Citronella oil, from a plant related to lemon grass is used as an insect repellent, as well as medicinally.
    Clary Sage
    Clove oil, used as a topical anesthetic to relieve dental pain.
    Coffee, used to flavor food.
    Costmary oil (bible leaf oil), from the Tanacetum balsamita
    Costus Root, used medicinally
    Cranberry seed oil, equally high in omega-3 omega-6 fatty acids, primarily used in the cosmetic industry.
    Cubeb, used medicinally and to flavor foods.
    Cumin oil/Black seed oil, used as a flavor, particularly in meat products. Also used in veterinary medicine.
    Curry leaf, used medicinally and to flavor food.
    Davana oil, from the Artemisia pallens, used as a perfume ingredient and as a germicide.
    Dill oil, chemically almost identical to caraway seed oil. High carvone content.
    Elecampane, used medicinally.
    Eucalyptus oil, historically used as a germicide. Commonly used in cough medicine, among other medicinal uses.[4][unreliable medical source?]
    Fennel seed oil, used medicinally, particularly for treating colic in infants.
    Fenugreek oil, used medicinally and for cosmetics from ancient times.
    Frankincense oil, used for aromatherapy and in perfumes.
    Galangal, used medicinally and to flavor food.
    Geranium oil, used medicinally, particularly in aromatherapy, used for hormonal imbalance, for this reason geranium is often considered to be “female” oil.
    Ginger oil, used medicinally in many cultures.
    Grapefruit oil, extracted from the peel of the fruit. Used in aromatherapy. Contains 90% limonene.
    Henna oil, used medicinally.
    Hickory nut oil
    Horseradish oil
    Idaho Tansy
    Jasmine oil, used for its flowery fragrance.
    Juniper berry oil, used as a flavor. Also used medicinally, including traditional medicine.
    Laurus nobilis
    Lavender oil, used primarily as a fragrance. Also used medicinally.
    Lemon oil, similar in fragrance to the fruit. Unlike other essential oils, lemon oil is usually cold pressed. Used medicinally, as an antiseptic, and in cosmetics.
    Lemongrass. Lemongrass is a highy fragrant grass from India. In India, it is used to help treat fevers and infections. The oil is very useful for insect repellent.
    Lime, anti septic, anti viral, astringent, aperitif, bactericidal, disinfectant, febrifuge, haemostatic, restorative and tonic.
    Litsea cubeba oil, lemon-like scent, often used in perfumes and aromatherapy.
    Melaleuca See Tea tree oil
    Melissa oil (Lemon balm), sweet smelling oil used primarily medicinally, particularly in aromatherapy.
    Mentha arvensis oil/Mint oil, used in flavoring toothpastes, mouthwashes and pharmaceuticals, as well as in aromatherapy and other medicinal applications.
    Moringa oil, can be used directly on the skin and hair. It can also be used in soap and as a base for other cosmetics.
    Mountain Savory
    Mugwort oil, used in ancient times for medicinal and magical purposes. Currently considered to be a neurotoxin.
    Mustard oil (essential oil), containing a high percentage of allyl isothiocyanate or other isothiocyanates, depending on the species of mustard
    Myrrh oil, warm, slightly musty smell. Used medicinally.
    Neem oil or Neem Tree Oil
    Neroli is produced from the blossom of the bitter orange tree.
    Orange oil, like lemon oil, cold pressed rather than distilled. Consists of 90% d-Limonene. Used as a fragrance, in cleaning products and in flavoring foods.
    Oregano oil, contains thymol and carvacrol, making it a useful fungicide. Also used to treat digestive problems.[5][unreliable medical source?]
    Orris oil is extracted from the roots of the Florentine iris (Iris florentina), Iris germanica’ and Iris pallida. It is used as a flavouring agent, in perfume, and medicinally.[6]
    Palo Santo
    Parsley oil, used in soaps, detergents, colognes, cosmetics and perfumes, especially men’s fragrances.
    Patchouli oil, very common ingredient in perfumes.
    Perilla essential oil, extracted from the leaves of the perilla plant. Contains about 50–60% perillaldehyde.
    Pennyroyal oil, highly toxic. It is abortifacient and can even in small quantities cause acute liver and lung damage.
    Peppermint oil, used in a wide variety of medicinal applications.
    Pine oil, used as a disinfectant, and in aromatherapy.
    Red Cedar
    Roman Chamomile
    Rose oil, distilled from rose petals, Used primarily as a fragrance.
    Rosehip oil, distilled from the seeds of the Rosa rubiginosa or Rosa mosqueta. Used medicinally.
    Rosemary oil, distilled from the flowers of Rosmarinus officinalis. Used in aromatherapy, topically to sooth muscles, and medicinal for its antibacterial and antifungal properties.[7][unreliable medical source?]
    Rosewood oil, used primarily for skin care applications. Also used medicinally.
    Sage oil, used medicinally
    The spice star anise is distilled to make star anise oil
    Sandalwood oil, used primarily as a fragrance, for its pleasant, woody fragrance.[8]
    Sassafras oil, from sassafras root bark. Used in aromatherapy, soap-making, perfumes, and the like. Formerly used as a spice, and as the primary flavoring of root beer, inter alia.
    Savory oil, from Satureja species. Used in aromatherapy, cosmetic and soap-making applications.
    Schisandra oil, from Schisandra chinensis, used medicinally.
    Spearmint oil, often used in flavoring mouthwash and chewing gum, among other applications.
    Spikenard, used medicinally.
    Spruce has calming and elevating properties. It can be used as a topical application for muscular aches and pains, poor circulation, and rheumatism. Spruce Oil has also been used to improve breathing conditions of asthma, bronchitis, coughs, and general weakness.
    Star anise oil, highly fragrant oil using in cooking. Also used in perfumery and soaps, has been used in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and skin creams.[9] 90% of the world’s star anise crop is used in the manufacture of Tamiflu, a drug used to treat influenza, and is hoped to be useful for avian flu
    Tarragon oil, distilled from Artemisia dracunculus, used medicinally.
    Tea tree oil, extracted from Melaleuca alternifolia; promoted for medicinal use, but with limited evidence of effectiveness.
    Thyme oil, used medicinally.
    Tsuga belongs to the pine tree family. It is used as analgesic, antirheumatic, blood cleanser, and stimulant. It treats cough, respiratory conditions, kidney ailments, urinary infections.
    Turmeric, used medicinally and to flavor food
    Valerian is used for insomnia, migraines, nervous dyspepsia, and dandruff.
    Vetiver oil (khus oil) a thick, amber oil, primarily from India. Used as a fixative in perfumery, and in aromatherapy
    Western red cedar
    Wintergreen can be used as an analgesic, anodyne, anti rheumatic & anti arthritic, anti spasmodic, anti septic, aromatic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, emenagogue and stimulant
    Yarrow oil is used medicinally, to relieve joint pain.
    Ylang-ylang is used for calming, antiseptic, and aphrodisiac purposes, as well as hypertension and skin diseases.
    Zedoary, used medicinally and to flavor food.