Our editors 10 Top STEM News from the week:
Gonorrhea May Soon Be Resistant to all Antibiotics
Gonorrhea may soon become untreatable.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that the wily Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria may be developing resistance to the only two antibiotics left that can cure the sexually transmitted disease.
The drugs, azithromycin and ceftriaxone, are used in combination to treat gonorrhea, a strategy experts hope will prolong the period during which these critical drugs will work.
A battery inspired by vitamins
Researchers have identified a whole new class of high-performing organic molecules, inspired by vitamin B2, that can safely store electricity from intermittent energy sources like solar and wind power in large batteries.
Smallest hard disk to date writes information atom by atom
Every day, modern society creates more than a billion gigabytes of new data. To store all this data, it is increasingly important that each single bit occupies as little space as possible. A team of scientists managed to bring this reduction to the ultimate limit: they built a memory of 1 kilobyte (8,000 bits), where each bit is represented by the position of one single chlorine atom.
Scientists develop plastic flexible magnetic memory device
Scientists have successfully embedded a powerful magnetic memory chip on a flexible plastic material. This malleable memory chip hails a breakthrough in the flexible electronics revolution, and brings researchers a step closer towards making flexible, wearable electronics a reality in the near future.
Physicists just did the “impossible” and created a quantum hologram
Until recently, scientists didn’t think it could be done. They thought the fundamental laws of physics would forbid it.
But a persistent group of scientists at the University of Warsaw have now accomplished the impossible: They created a hologram of a solitary particle of light.
Women protected against age-related mutations
Researchers at the University of Valencia’s Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology have put the ‘unguarded X hypothesis’ to the test and confirmed that differences in lifespan between the sexes, a widespread phenomenon in nature, may indeed be due to the protective effect of having two copies of the X chromosome.
Map provides detailed picture of how the brain is organized
A detailed new map lays out the landscape of the cerebral cortex — the outermost layer of the brain and the dominant structure involved in distinctly human functions such as language, tool use and abstract thinking. The map will accelerate progress in the study of brain diseases, as well as help to elucidate what makes us unique as a species.
Why is Usain Bolt the fastest person on Earth?
Twenty metres before the finish line Usain Bolt already opens his arms in triumph and ramps up his speed: even with his “handbrake” on, at 9.58 seconds, he runs the 100 metre stretch faster than anyone ever before in 2009 in Berlin. In the process, he reached a maximum speed of almost 45 kilometres per hour. Records like this could well be broken again in the forthcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. One of the factors that contributes to such athletic prowess is the structure of muscle cells. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund analyzed muscle proteins and observed the molecules at work at a previously unattained level of detail. Cryo-electron microscopy, a technique they have further developed, can be used to explain the cause of muscle diseases – and to identify features that make the musculature of top athletes so efficient.
New remote-controlled microrobots for medical operations
For the past few years, scientists around the world have been studying ways to use miniature robots to better treat a variety of diseases. The robots are designed to enter the human body, where they can deliver drugs at specificlocations or perform precise operations like clearing clogged-up arteries. By replacing invasive, often complicated surgery, they could optimize medicine.
New initiative to give Africa cheap electricity
A new initiative, Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development, will invest US$36 million to empower entrepreneurs and investors to connect 20 million households in Sub-Saharan Africa with off-grid energy by 2030.
The initiative was announced at the US Global Entrepreneurship Summit last month (23 June) by USAID administrator Gayle Smith.