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Science Progressing: Algae Carbon Sinks, Google Fights Mexican Crime, Nanoparticles Kill Viruses

Science Progressing is your weekly guide to the science and technology policy news you should not have missed. Did we leave anything out? Tweet or facebook us and let us know.

Two truths and one science lie

Try to guess which of the following technology breakthroughs is false! (Answers at the bottom of the page)

1. New electric cars equipped with lithium-air batteries hit the market: The longer lasting lithium air battery allows for greater battery life in new electric vehicles.

2. Genetic therapy à la skin cream: Skin cream alters genes for disease protection.

3. Dousing Fire with sound: High powered soundwaves can extinguish fire.

SCIENCE
Google’s virtual lab
In London’s Science Museum’s Virtual World exhibit, it is possible to virtually control exhibits, including a laboratory set up by Google.

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Carbon from algae sinks
To learn more about the carbon cycle, researchers added iron to the ocean to stimulate algae growth. The experiment showed much of the carbon sunk to the bottom of the ocean and revealed more about how the carbon cycle functions.

CYBERTECHNOLOGY
Google fighting crime
Google is partnering with the Mexican government to set up networks to alert people about crime. Only 20 percent of crimes are reported for fear of retribution from gangs.

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Dry soil increases temperatures
Data on soil moisture has linked regions of low soil moisture to accelerated rises in temperature.

NEUROSCIENCE
Brain cells grown from skin cells
These artificially grown brain cells are being used to test drugs for Parkinson’s Disease. Early results show that it may be better to use drugs earlier on in the path of the disease.

BIOMEDICINE
Reactivating HIV
While this may sound ominous, this is actually a step forward in tackling HIV. By activating HIV, it is possible to remove more of the virus using the conventional highly-active retroviral therapy now used by most HIV patients which only targets active viruses.

TECHNOLOGY
Intel losing out to ARM
The more energy-efficient processors of the British firm, ARM, have long-time Intel customers Microsoft and Apple shifting. While the competition is bad for Intel, it can only be good for consumers as tech companies vie for low-cost, highly-efficient design.

PUBLIC HEALTH
Stanford researchers estimate long-term casualties of fukushima
Stanford researchers used a 3-D global atmospheric model that predicts 180 people will die from the spreading of radiation-related causes from the Fukushima plant.

RESEARCH
UK government funds open-access research
The UK government is pushing more publicly available research articles for publicly funded research.

GENETICS
Struggling genetics company discovers more accurate sequencing
The genetics company Complete Genomics invented a new method of sequencing called “long-fragment read” that produces only one error in every 10 million base pairs. The method may be used to make earlier diagnoses of IVF embryos.

NANOTECHNOLOGY
Particle targets genes and shuts down hepatitis C
Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a customizable nanozyme capable of destroying viruses.

EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY
Bringing cell phones into the classroom
Teachers are beginning to use the fact that smartphones deliver information rapidly to children to their advantage.

Answers to two truths, one lie: The first is false. Lithium-air batteries have been demonstrated but are not commercially available. The technology could one day help revolutionalize electric transport by providing a long-lasting battery and reducing the number of needed charing stations. The second is true. A new skin cream has the potential to fight genetic disorders by altering genes using siRNA. It has been tested on mice with no negative side effects. The third is also true. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, lined up two high-powered speakers on either side of fire. The speakers increased air velocity, depleting oxygen and cooling the fuel to extinguish the fire.

This weeks news collected and summarized by Sam Finegold.

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