Emerald Robinson: Satellites get an upgrade. Are violent video games creating violent kids, and some prickly medical news, all that and more coming up on the Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit, I'm Emerald Robinson.
Come on let me upgrade you. Satellites are getting upgraded, right to the International Space Station. In an effort to cut costs involved with launching satellites, Japanese scientists have developed a way to propel cube satellites into orbit directly from the ISS. Cubesats are miniature satellites weighing about 2.
7 pounds. They are being launched by the JEM Remote Small Satellite Orbital Deployer, which uses a robotic arm and two chutes that can hold up to three satellites each. Deploying satellites directly from the International Space Station would mean safer travel for satellites out of the atmosphere as they travel in a secure vehicle, extended battery life since they would be powered up at the ISS, and the ability to be repaired. Scientists say this is all about adding yet one more capability to our wonderful space station.
Here's a surprise! A new study says that violent video games may bring out your violent side. Researchers followed a group of gamers for three consecutive days, where some were playing violent games and some non-violent. They found that of the people playing the violent games, their aggressive tendencies grew with each additional day. By contrast, there was no meaningful change in aggression for those who played non-violent games. Researchers say that while this is far from the first study to suggest a link between violence and video gaming, it is the first to provide experimental evidence that aggression accumulates with time. One researcher likened it to smoking cigarettes; a single cigarette won't cause lung cancer, but smoking over a long period of time greatly increases the risk. In the same way, repeated exposure to violent video games may have a cumulative effect on aggression.
Speaking of violent, turns out the asteroid that took out the dinos also blasted a lot of snakes and lizards along with them. Previous research said that some snakes and lizards became extinct after the asteroid struck, but new research points to a far more serious impact. Researchers looked at previously collected snake and lizard fossils - 21 known species and 9 new ones. Of the newly identified species, researchers had a little fun in naming one Obamadon gracilis after the President. They say that the extinction of snakes and lizards helped pave the way for evolution and diversification of the survivors, by eliminating competitors. And that in and of itself, sounds a lot like politics as well.
And biologists at the University of California San Diego have succeeded in genetically engineering algae to produce a human therapeutic drug used to treat cancer. Usually very expensive to engineer, this therapeutic drug may now be able to be made in larger quantities and at a lower costs. Scientists believe that moving forward, algae may be able to be used to make novel complex designer drugs that can't be produced in any other systems, such as bacterial or mammalian cells. Scientists say this new discovery comes after seven years of research attempting to demonstrate that green alga can produce a wide range of human therapeutic proteins in greater quantity and more cheaply than bacteria or mammalian cells.
And a research team is developing a new adhesive that will prick and stick like a porcupine. A team from Brigham and Women's Hospital and MIT are taking cues from Mother Nature. They have discovered how North American porcupine quills easily penetrate tissues, such as skin, and why, once lodged there, they are quite difficult to remove. Researchers say that this unique ability is due to the geometry of the quill. They found that the barbs on quills reduce the penetration force for easy insertion, but maximize the holding force making the quills incredibly difficult to remove. This discovery could prompt device makers to design medical needles that easily penetrate surfaces and resist buckling, and could lead to the next generation of medical adhesives. Lesson learned here, don't sit on a porcupine -- well duh!
And that does it for today's Daily Orbit! We'll see you right back here tomorrow!