Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 24, 2020

Science & Technology



Dinosaur’s extinction date reexamined

Those who nostalgically look back on our early school-years of science fairs and baking-soda volcanoes might remember learning a little bit about the abundant and ambiguous theories provided to explain the extinction of the dinosaurs.  Among these theories you may racall the giant, killer asteroid that impacted the Earth.


Brain roadmaps, Chinese hackers and viruses galore

The Next Big Thing?: Scientists are constantly seeking love from the government — a love that comes in the form of generous funding. Before the Human Genome Project, physicists were mostly happy with the big bucks they got to spend for splitting atoms open and traveling the depths of space. Envy in the field of biology soon dwindled away as the government shifted their attention towards genome studies. However, as the Human Genome Project came to a close almost ten years ago, the next big field of science has long been a mystery. Lately, it seems that the Brain Activity Map is lassoing the love of the government. Scientists are attempting to trace every highway of electrical impulse and intersection in synaptic clefts in the human brain within ten years. The endeavor is predicted to have an annual cost of 300 million dollars, and companies like Google, Microsoft and Qualcomm already plan to partake in the project.


Scientists find novel way to store data in DNA

The best way to archive data might not be to preserve it electronically, but to store information inside DNA. This idea occurred to Nick Goldman and Ewan Birney of the European Bioinformatics Institute when they were trying to decide what to do with the large amount of data they generate in their research. As the amount of data that needs to be archived increases, the capacity of the hard drives that need to hold it must naturally grow as well. An immediate consequence of this is the rise in cost of data storage. Faced with this problem, Goldman and Birney, in their research published in Nature, speculated that the easiest way to store the data might be to input data within strands of DNA.


Improving future cancer treatments

When the life of a loved one is in jeopardy, there are almost no limits to what people will do or try in order to save them.  When an unnamed friend of James Eshleman, Associate Director of Johns Hopkins Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory and researcher for the Departments of Oncology and Pathology, was stricken with an ultra-rare form of cancer, his friend’s uncle, who happened to be Vice President of a major pharmaceutical company, asked Eshleman to provide him with a personalized cell line on which he could test every drug his company owned. Eshleman willingly complied with the request to save his friend.


New drone technology enhances accuracy

The majority of the recent debate over unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs), more commonly called drones by the media, has focused on the political, ethical and legal questions regarding their use in war. Technology, though, plays a huge role in the utilization of drones for military applications.


“Please Touch” show opens at MSE library

As senior Hannah Weinberg-Wolf was enjoying an exhibition at the nearby Walters Art Museum last year about how touch and Renaissance sculpture are interlinked, she realized it would be more interesting to add another element: publishable scientific data.


U.S. lead batteries recycled dangerously abroad

Through contact with automobiles and everyday electronics, we’re almost all familiar with the lead waste industry. Every car made today, even hybrid and electric cars, contains about 27 pounds of lead, neatly held inside the battery.


Engineering, done marshmallow style

Theta Tau, Hopkins’s Professional Engineering Fraternity, held its sixth annual Tower of Power competition last Monday, Feb. 18. The event was a kickoff party for the Whiting School of Engineering’s E-Week, which is part of its 20-month-long celebration of 100 years of engineering at Hopkins.  Since the School of Engineering’s first year was from fall 1912 to spring 1913, Hopkins decided to start celebrating at the beginning of 2012 and keep celebrating throughout 2013.


Identity of placental mammal ancestor reconstructed

Have you ever wondered what the common ancestor of all placental mammals looked like? A recent study shows that we are descendants of a rat-like mammal that weighed no more than half a pound, displayed a long, furry tail and dined mostly on insects.


Nanosensors detect health of transplant cells

After the successful publication of his most research findings, associate professor of radiology at the Hopkins School of Medicine Mike McMahon, advises undergraduates based on his own personal experiences.


Depression found to have roots in genetics

Depression may sound like it is completely emotional, but some types are  actually linked to physical changes in the brain after traumatic events. While emotional causes can only be cured through therapy, there is a new discovery that shows promise in alleviating depression in people whose brains are physically affected.


Problems with animal production addressed

Animals in food production sites are literally living in a pigsty with no one to clean the mess up. According to a study conducted by the Hopkins Center for a Liveable Future at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, state and local health departments have not truly addressed the public concerns associated with food animal production sites.


Two-arm transplant achieved at Hopkins

The operation was a very rare, complex one performed by sixteen Hopkins surgeons over a span of thirteen hours, four times longer than a typical coronary bypass surgery. On December 18, 2012 veteran Brendan Marrocco, who lost all four limbs while serving in Iraq, received a double arm transplant surgery at the Hopkins Hospital.


Snake venom used in medicine development

The snake — the very creature considered a devil by some religions, feared as a resurrecting deity by ancient Egyptians and a cause for panic throughout the world — might just have a shot at public redemption.


SciTech Talk: Science behind heartbreak, sex and chocolate

Valentines Day gone wrong: Heartbreak sucks. The night your significant other shuts the door behind her, tote in hand, your feelings are tangled up in moments of angst, disappointment and sadness as you wrestle around in your bed, praying for the day to be a dream. But it’s not. And the next day proves to be another blow to your heart, as you find her shopping nonchalantly at Char Mar with her friends. All this confusion and the messy mixture of emotions mask what’s really going on in your body.


Environmental changes pressure viruses

We have all noticed that the temperature has been sporadically changing; one day it’s hot enough to put on our shorts, and the next, we would be freezing without our winter jackets. The random fluctuation in temperatures could turn out to have a larger impact than we thought. Recent studies showed that even viruses, which typically adapt more easily than mammals, failed to adapt when exposed to a random pattern of temperatures.


N.F.L and G.E. fund head injury research

Football injuries can sometimes seem like they’re just part of the game, but research has shown that repeated hits to the head can have severely adverse effects. With great concern for the toll of head injuries, the National Football League (NF.L) has joined with General Electric (G.E.) to help develop technologies that detect concussions.


Further health benefits of exercise explained

As if you weren’t beating yourself up enough already for taking that fourth “off day” of the week, now the stakes for athletic discipline have risen even higher as scientists have finally explained exactly why working out regularly will benefit your mind and body, aside from the killer abs.


New software reduces cost of genome analysis

We all have different hair, different skin colors, and other very different features. Surprisingly, despite all the disparities that make us a unique individual, the order of 99.9 percent of our nucleotide bases are exactly the same. We’ve come to know this through a burgeoning field of research called genomic analysis. Recently, in fact, an advanced software was recently designed by Knome Inc. that can analyze data locally without the use of the Internet, while reducing the price of analysis to an even lower price than other contemporary methods.


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