Japanese researchers create smell sensor using genetically engineered frog eggs

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A University of Tokyo group of researchers, led by bioengineer Shoji Takeuchi, has made an electronic sensor capable of smelling gases. The sensor uses genetically engineered frog cells. Since previous sensors were not very accurate, the scientist decided to try a biological approach. The invention was revealed in a US scientific journal yesterday, and is supposed to be used to design better machines to detect polluting gases in the atmosphere.

Previous smell sensors were based on quartz rods, which vibrate when a substance binds to them. The gases are distinguished by their molar masses, which can be similar for molecules with different structure, thus relatively often triggering a false positive. Trying to find a more accurate solution, Takeuchi decided to follow an example from insect world. As he explained, “when you think about the mosquito, it is able to find people because of carbon dioxide from the human. So the mosquito has CO2 receptors. When we can (extract) DNA (from the mosquito) we can put this DNA into the frog eggs to detect CO2.”

Genes of several insects (the silk moth, diamondback moth and fruit fly), injected into African clawed frog Xenopus laevis eggs, allowed them to produce relatively inexpensive and useful sensors. The choice of the species was caused by their widely studied and well-understood protein expression mechanism.

The modified cells responded to three kinds of pheromones and one odourant, which have similar chemical properties. When a molecule of an odorous substance adhered to the receptor on the membrane protein, ion channels opened for a certain period of time, and a current was generated. Its magnitude was clearly different for all four tested substances, allowing to distinguish between them accurately.

The colleagues embedded the sensor into a mannequin, so that it could shake its head when a gas was detected. It was easier to observe. Pheromones and molecules with quite similar molecule structure produced clearly distinguishable reaction, with higher accuracy than other biological or human-made sensors. As the research group said, the detection sensitivity of the odor sensor is several tens of parts per billion (ppb), and it is as high as the sensitivity of an existing odor sensor that uses an oxide semiconductor. The distinctive feature of the new sensor is its capability to selectively detect some odorous substances, rather than its sensitivity. Very few false positives were possible due to the biological mechanism involved.

At normal temperature, the sensor lifetime is about 12 hours, which can be extended by putting it into a refrigerator before first use.

Shoji Takeuchi says has a great hope for research use in future, since the frog eggs are very practical for genetic engineering, and can be conveniently used to develop smell sensors for a wide range of gases. He said, “The X. laevis oocyte has high versatility for the development of chemical sensors for various odorants. We believe that a shared ability to smell might open a new relationship between man and robot. .. The research will have wide implications… If the sensor is embedded in a nursing robot, it will be able to identify certain mouth odors or body odors. Also, it can be used for detecting CO2, air pollution, water pollution and food. It’s very important for the environment.”

Summit On Faith Based Schools More Powerful Than Money

By Stuart Nachbar

During his final State of the Union Address, President Bush announced two proposals for faith-based schools; one, a grants program for low-income students similar to Pell Grants for college students, and the other a national Presidential summit on faith-based education.

The summit is more important than the grants program.

The proposed appropriate for grants is $300 million, too miserly to fill the likely demand for such grants, and it is unlikely to win the approval of a Democratic Congress.

However, presidents rarely use the power of their office to conduct summits on domestic policy; presidential summits are more typically used in discuss foreign relations and trade.

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Growing up Jewish, attending public schools, I am less familiar with the merits of parochial school education over public education. However, I know that parochial schools are not subject to No Child Left Behind and do not have dealings with teacher’s unions. They can also pass on students who have special educational needs. I would also perceive the marketplace dynamic for parochial education to be similar to private colleges; the best endowed and the most-focused schools are the most selective while the rest struggle to provide scholarships or recruit students who can pay tuition.

But would parochial school leaders want to submit their schools to government regulations, as colleges must do, if a federal grant program were put in place? For instance, all colleges that receive Federal assistance must welcome military recruiters on campus. How would a pacifist religious order reconcile their financial need with their values in that situation? Then there is the issue of tuition. Members of Congress in both parties have proposed legislation to force colleges and universities to become accountable for tuition increases. I can understand why; the House and Senate cannot be expected to increase financial aid at the same rate as colleges raise tuition. But would Congress ask parochial schools to be equally accountable if they enroll students who receive federal assistance?

Then there is No Child Left Behind with its reporting policies and “qualified teacher” requirements. Today, parochial schools cannot offer salary and benefits packages competitive with public schools. They would be in a less competitive position if they were mandated to seek qualified teachers.

I realize that some readers will find these arguments silly, but it seems hypocritical to me that a presidential administration that has demanded greater accountability from public schools would ask Congress to fund grants to help students attend parochial schools then not subject the parochial schools to the same accountability. It would be akin to saying that parochial school education is superior to public education without asking the parochial schools to prove it.

Leading parochial school educators and graduates have every right to say their education is superior they have delivered and received benefits from parochial schools – but a


cannot take that position public, as Bush has done by a proposing a summit.

About the Author: Stuart Nachbar has been involved with education politics, policy and technology as a student, urban planner, government affairs manager, software executive, and now as author of The Sex Ed Chronicles. Visit his blog,

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British Airways Flight 38 investigation focuses on fuel system

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Investigators examining the wreck of British Airways Flight 38, a Boeing 777 that crash landed short of the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport in the first hull loss of a 777, are examining the aircraft’s fuel system as a possible factor in the crash. No-one was killed as the scheduled flight from Beijing, China lost power during final approach on January 17.

136 passengers and 16 crew were on board when power was lost to the two Rolls-Royce engines about two miles from the runway, at a height of 600 feet. Autopilot and autothrottle were engaged at the time, the latter having just commanded an increase of thrust to the engines when power was lost. Co-pilot John Coward, in control at the time, was subsequently praised for being able to glide the disabled plane to within 1,000 feet of the runway, clearing a number of houses along the way.

Subsequent investigation has revealed that not only did the engines not fail simultaneously, but neither failed completely, contradicting initial belief. A preliminary report by the United Kingdom’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) stated that after the autothrottle commanded more thrust “The engines both initially responded but after about 3 seconds the thrust of the right engine reduced. Some eight seconds later the thrust reduced on the left engine to a similar level… Both engines continued to produce thrust at an engine speed above flight idle, but less than the commanded thrust.” This situation prevailed until impact.

On Wednesday the AAIB stated that they were examining “All possible scenarios that could explain the thrust reduction and continued lack of response of the engines.” However, it also went on to specifically mention attention to the jet’s fuel system, saying “This work includes a detailed analysis and examination of the complete fuel-flow path from the aircraft tanks to the engine-fuel nozzles.” The AAIB also ruled out the plane having completely run out of fuel, stating that there was “adequate fuel” in the tanks when the plane crashed. In addition to the fuel required to get to the target destination or emergency alternative airport – whichever is further – aircraft typically carry between thirty and forty-five minutes worth of extra fuel as a safety margin.

Possible scenarios being examined include fuel contamination, coming either from fuel taken on at Beijing or leakage from an unknown source. In particular, a heavy contaminant at the bottom of the tanks would explain a lack of earlier problems on the flight, as the fuel levels would only have become low in the final stages of the trip. Another possibility is that a central part of the fuel system developed a leak, reducing the amount of fuel available to the engines.

It is known that, according to the AAIB, “the autothrottle and engine-control commands were performing as expected prior to, and after, the reduction in thrust,” suggesting that all software in the aircraft was functioning correctly and rendering a software failure unlikely, although this possibility also remains under investigation.

How To Design Birthstone Necklaces For Mom

How to Design Birthstone Necklaces for Mom


Cora Lee

Birthstone necklaces for mom are a timeless and classic type of jewelry that many moms proudly wear day in and day out. Wearing them is a way for moms to keep their family close to them at all times even if they are not physically near them. In addition, the brightly colored gemstones can add a little bit of fun and a pop of color to any outfit. If you are interested in designing your own birthstone necklaces for mom below is a guide to help you get started.

1. Before you design your birthstone necklaces for mom you will need to figure out your children s birthstones. The first official birthstone guide was released in 1912 by the American National Association of Jewelers. Since then it has been updated, and modern birthstone charts sometimes feature slightly different birthstones for each month. Whether you choose the older chart iteration or the newer one, you should jot down the birthstone that is associated with each child s birth month so that you don t forget it.

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2. Some moms choose to include birthstones for the whole family when they are building their birthstone necklaces for mom. This means that they include mom and dad s birthstone along with the children s gems. If you decide to include your partners and your own birthstone you should write this information down too.

3. Work with a jeweler, either online or at a local jeweler s store, to find a design that you would like for your birthstone necklaces for mom. There are many different styles each at different price points. Choosing a design can be intimidating at first, but as long as you pay attention to current styles and trust your intuition you should be fine. If you ve set a budget only search for necklaces that fall specifically within the dollar range you re willing to spend.

4. In addition to birthstones you will need to decide whether you want your necklace to be made from white gold, yellow gold, or platinum. Your decision will probably be based largely on personal preference, but it can also be dependent on price.

Once you ve decided on the birthstones, style, and metal for your ring the next step is to order it. After your ring arrives slip it on right away and wear it with pride. Be prepared to receive many compliments and a few questions on how other people can design their own birthstone necklaces for mom.


offers the largest selection of handcrafted birthstone jewelry available. From birthstone necklaces and birthstone pendants to

mother’s birthstone jewelry

, they have a large selection to choose from.

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How to Design Birthstone Necklaces for Mom

Neymar signs contract extension with Barça till 2021

Monday, October 24, 2016

On Friday, Catalonian football club FC Barcelona announced Brazilian forward Neymar signed a five-year contract extension, which runs through June 2021.

Barcelona announced Neymar would be signing a contract extension in July, but Neymar was not physically present at their offices to sign at the time.

Neymar joined the Blaugrana in summer 2013 from Santos FC and since then has featured in 151 games for the Catalonian club. Neymar has won nine trophies with Barça — two La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys and Supercopa de España, and one each of UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup scoring over 90 goals.

Per the contract extension, Neymar’s buyout clause is €200 million at the end of the current season which would rise to €250million by the third season.

After signing the contract extension, Neymar said, “I feel at home […] I am very happy with colleagues on the field” ((ca)) Catalonia language: Em sento a casa […] Em sento molt feliç a dins del camp amb els companys .

Canadian military exercise NANOOK 2008 travels through uncharted waters

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Operation NANOOK 2008 was held from August 11 to August 25 by the Canadian Forces for the purpose of conducting mock emergency rescue operations for potential maritime disasters in the northeastern Canadian Arctic waters.

Two Canadian navy ships and two airforce planes, a CC-138 Twin Otter and a CP-140 Aurora, took part in the exercises in the Canada’s Arctic. The HMCS Toronto and the Canadian Coast Guard ship Pierre Radisson travelled along the Hudson Strait. The Operation extended to Davis Strait, and Frobisher Bay during the annual NANOOK Operation. There have been 18 such humanitarian operations since 2002. As more Arctic ice melts, the ships sail through uncharted waters. Emergency response times were tested for such potential disasters as oil spills, or rescue operations such as responding to cruise ship emergencies.

General Walter Natynczyk, Canada’s chief of Defence staff, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Defence Minister as well as Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and Steven Fletcher, Member of Parliament for Charleswood–St. James–Assiniboia and Parliamentary Secretary for Health, flew to Iqaluit, Nunavut to officially launch the exercise on August 19, 2008 and observe the process.

In addition to the military exercises, Veterans Affairs Canada held a commemorative event onboard the HMCS Toronto to honour the 55th Anniversary of the Cease Fire in Korea, the 65th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, and the start of the Last 100 days of the First World War. The inaugural ceremonies were held during Community Day activities in the capital city of Iqaluit, followed by the public panel discussion held on Saturday. The community day ceremonies were organized by participants in Operation NANOOK 2008. The public ceremonies received neither Nunavut politicians nor Inuit leaders.

The Truth About Accounting Business Software}

The Truth About Accounting Business Software


Steven Gwillim

Accounting business software is important for the running of your business, whether it is a small, medium, or large business or a gigantic global mega corporation. At any stage of business above the childs lemonade stand, keeping flawless records is indespensible.

There are so many things to keep track of, so that your software must be either extremely flexible, or geared specifically to your own business and its needs. There are invoices, shipment records, employment records and employee files, payment invoices, tax forms and federal work safety forms, and many more things which an accounting business software program could, ideally, keep track of, although in practice, not all of this can be kept track of by one program.

It is best to chose an accounting business software system which offers a free trial offer. This allows you to play around with it and see if it is suitable for your needs before you implement it for your business and pay what can sometimes be hundreds of dollars. Some of these have full functionality, but only for a very limited time and maybe ten to thirty days after the first time you use it.

Other accounting business software has no time limit, but limited function. This means that typically, you will be able to use most of its features to see how they work, but won’t be able to save your work. This can be very frustrating, because unless you are some kind of computer wiz, it is really very difficult to see just how the program works unless you have the leisure to use it to manipulate a large amount of real data in the real world, instead of just playing abstractly with the programs functions.

It is also possible if you are a large business or one in an IT field which already has a stock of programmers available to work for you, to hire a programmer to program out a software system specific to your businesses needs. This has several advantages. One of the most important is that you will have someone in house to explain the programs functions, take feedback, correct errors, and generally taylor the program specifically to your needs and the needs of your business.

Another advantage is that it won’t be burdened with a bunch of functions which you don’t need, and won’t be set up with so much flexibility, that it is hard to standardize the data and make everyone in the company use the program the same way. This is crucial to do and if your accounting business software data doesn’t all match up and isn’t all filled out in the same way, and the same file types, then sorting through it is an absolute nightmare, and it will cripple business efficiency.

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Posted deadlines for Christmas delivery

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

In the United States of America and other parts of the word, as Christmas and the holidays draw near, shippers have released information on shipping deadlines. Remember to always clearly label and address your holiday packages.

Lemoine Suggests: investigations from a Wikimedia Foundation news leak/Email Sue Gardner Jan 5, 2008 4:15 AM

From: Sue Gardner <edited> Date: Jan 5, 2008 4:15 AM Subject: Thanks re Wikipedia meeting, & next steps To: Jonathan Schwartz <edited>, Greg Papadopoulos <edited> Cc: Roger McNamee <edited>, Erik Möller <edited>

Hi Jonathan & Greg,

This is just a quick note to say thanks so much for meeting with Roger, Erik & me in December. We really appreciate it – hope you both had good holidays afterwards.

In the meeting, we talked about the possibility of Sun making a major contribution to Wikimedia’s hosting, so that you could reinforce your position as open source leaders by association with us in your marketing. We think this makes sense, and would love to make it work.

Next steps. Erik will pull together a wishlist, which we will send to you by the end of January – let’s say January 28. The list will likely come in two versions: one focusing on our immediate needs and our preferences in terms of hardware and software, and one laying out a “Wikimedia runs on Sun” scenario in which we fully switch over, with your help, to an integrated Sun environment. They will target different scales, let’s say about $1M in hardware vs. $5M in hardware/software/support.

Please let us know if any of this is contrary to what you remember, or if you want us to refine/revise anything. Otherwise, you’ll hear from us in about three weeks.

Thanks, Sue

Attachments: Wikimedia_Past_Present_and_Future.pdf (this is the presentation we gave at the meeting)

Interview with Reggie Bibbs on his life with neurofibromatosis

Friday, December 14, 2007

Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a genetic condition causing benign tumors (neurofibromas) to grow along certain types of nerves and, in addition, it can affect the development of bones or skin. There are several variants of the disease but type 1 and type 2 NF account for the vast majority of cases.

The disease manifestations can vary from very mild to severe. Major symptoms include growths on and under the skin; skin pigmentations called café au lait spots in type 1; acoustic nerve tumors and consequent hearing loss in type 2. Growths can affect nearly all parts of the body, and pressure on nearby structures can cause a wide variety of complications. There is a small risk that the tumors transform into malignant cancerous lesions.

NF is one of the most common single-gene human diseases; around 1 in 2,500-4,000 live births are affected by NF-1, whereas NF-2 occurs in about 1 in 50,000-120,000. Both type 1 and 2 are autosomal dominant conditions, meaning that only one copy of the mutated gene need be inherited to pass the disorder. A child of a parent with neurofibromatosis and an unaffected parent will have a 50% chance of inheriting the disorder. The gene responsible for NF-1 and possibly NF-2 is thought to function as a tumor suppressor gene.

In most cases of neurofibromatosis 1, patients can live normal and productive lives. In about 25-40% of patients there is an associated learning disability with or without ADHD. In some cases of neurofibromatosis 2, the damage to nearby vital structures, such as the cranial nerves and the brainstem, can be life-threatening. When tumors are causing pain or disfiguration, surgery is thus far the only proven beneficial treatment option.

Reggie Bibbs is a 43-year-old-man living in Houston, Texas. Mr Bibbs was born with a genetic disease called neurofibromatosis (NF), which causes him to develop tumors on his body (see infobox on the right). NF can be a subtle disease, but in Bibbs’ case it has left him with a disfigured face and deformed leg. But he is happy with the way he looks, and doesn’t want to change his appearance to please other people. He has launched a successful campaign entitled “Just Ask”, and that’s just what Wikinews did in a video-interview.

The interview was prepared by Wikinews reporter Michaël Laurent with the help of Bertalan Meskó (who has a popular genetics and web 2.0 blog). Their questions were sent to a close friend of Mr. Bibbs, Lou Congelio, who kindly conducted the interview.


  • 1 Infobox: What is neurofibromatosis?
  • 2 The interview
    • 2.1 On neurofibromatosis
    • 2.2 Growing up
    • 2.3 A head to toe body tour
    • 2.4 The daily life of Reggie Bibbs
    • 2.5 Raising awareness and his campaign
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

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