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New ‘Molecule-Making Machine’ Could Speed The Development Of Life-Saving Drugs

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Thanks to advances in 3-D printing, it’s now possible to whip up everything from pizza to prosthetics to human organs with the push of a button.

Now researchers have created a 3-D printer that works on the atomic scale, assembling complex molecules from scratch. And they say their molecule-making machine could revolutionize the drug-development process and simplify the fabrication of solar cells and other high-tech products.

A drug discovery revolution? “We’re really excited about the immediate impacts that this will have on drug discovery,” Dr. Martin D. Burke, a professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and one of the researchers, says in a video released by the university.

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20 Strangers Kissing for the First Time Is Strangely Sweet

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First kisses are awkward. And scary. And uncomfortable. And if you’re lucky, it can be romantic enough to make your knees wobble.

Los Angeles-based filmmaker Tatia PIlieva, along with Wren Studio, managed to capture those heart-stopping and breathtaking moments by asking 20 strangers to kiss for the first time on camera. The result is a candid look at love, romance and chemistry.

The first few moments feel awkward, as they make small talk: “What’s your name again?” “Can we turn off the lights?” “You have nice eyes.” “It’s actually pretty scary.” But then, like longtime lovers, each pair goes in for the kill — and somehow, everything works out. Actually, it’s pretty sweet.

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Scientists Look In Chicken’s Eye And Discover Weird New State Of Matter

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Huffpost Science

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Gaze deeply into the eye of a chicken, and what do you see? Some see terrifying stupidity. But researchers at Princeton University and Washington University in St. Louis say they see in the bird’s eye the first known biological occurrence of a strange state of matter known as “disordered hyperuniformity.”

The potentially new state of matter is the result of the way five photoreceptor cells of different sizes are packed into the retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of chickens’ eyes, according to a written statement describing the research.

In other animals, these “cone” cells are often arranged in a regular pattern, according to LiveScience. Insect cones, for example, are arranged in a hexagonal grid.

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Chicken eye | Nacivet via Getty Images
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‘Smoking Caterpillar’ Puffs Out Nicotine To Deter Spiders, New Research Shows (VIDEO)

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Ripped from the pages of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” scientists have discovered a smoking caterpillar of sorts.

While this find may not push Alice’s hookah-smoking insect from its psychedelic pedestal, this caterpillar is pretty snazzy, as it can use nicotine to ward off hungry wolf spiders.

The researchers found a gene in hornworm caterpillars that allows them to puff nicotine out through their spiracles (tiny holes in their sides), from the tobacco they consume, as a warning to their would-be predators. Researchers called this tactic “defensive halitosis.”

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Lycurgus Cup, Ancient Roman Artifact, Inspires Modern-Day Nanotechnology (VIDEO)

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The ancient Romans were pretty advanced for their time — so advanced that they may even have been pioneers of what we now call nanotechnology.

In fact, an ornately decorated Roman artifact, known as the Lycurgus cup, is inspiring researchers to explore practical applications of the ancient technology.

Created sometime in the Fourth Century, the goblet exhibits a color-changing property that makes its glass take on different hues, depending on the light source — just watch the cup in the video above.

Scientists were long at a loss to explain the cup’s color changes. Then in the 1990s they discovered tiny particles of silver and gold in the cup’s glass. According to Smithsonian Magazine, “When hit with light, electrons belonging to the metal flecks vibrate in ways that alter the color depending on the observer’s position.”

Now, a research team is attempting to build upon the unique technology and apply it in the medical field.

Gang Logan Liu, an University of Illinois assistant professor who has studied the Lycurgus cup for several years, described it as an “icon for inspiration.”

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New Element 115, Ununpentium, May Join Periodic Table

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The periodic table of the elements has grown ever since the first version was published by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869. And now scientists in Sweden suggest it’s time to add yet another element to the table.

New research confirms the existence of a super-heavy, radioactive element with atomic number 115. Its temporary name is ununpentium (Uup), as the element has yet to be named formally. The research was conducted at the GSI accelerator facility near Darmstadt, Germany, where scientists are known for having discovered six other elements since the early 1980s.

“This was a very successful experiment and is one of the most important in the field in recent years,” lead researcher Dr. Dirk Rudolph, physics professor at the University of Lund in Sweden, said in a written statement.

Evidence for element 115 was first discovered by Russian scientists in 2004. But additional research now has confirmed that the element’s atomic number — the number of protons in the nucleus of one atom of the substance — is 115, BBC News reports.

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Dmitri Mendeleev, Russian chemist who published the first periodic table of elements.
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Fossil Proteins Resurrected From Four Billion Years Ago, May Hold Clues To Early Life

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Researchers have reconstructed the structure of 4-billion-year-old proteins.

The primeval proteins, described today (Aug. 8) in the journal Structure, could reveal new insights about the origin of life, said study co-author José Manuel Sanchez Ruíz, a physical chemist at the University of Granada in Spain.

Exactly how life emerged on Earth more than 3 billion years ago is a mystery. Some scientists believe that lightning struck the primordial soup in ammonia-rich oceans, producing the complex molecules that formed the precursors to life. Others believe that chemical reactions at deep-sea hydrothermal vents gave rise to cell membranes and simple cellular pumps. And still others believe that space rocks brought the raw ingredients for life — or perhaps even life itself — to Earth.

But it’s difficult to recreate events that happened so far in the distant past.
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fossil proteins

The individual molecules within early Earth’s primordial soup that form the basis of life likely developed in response to natural selection.
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