April News Round Up


Iraq halts ISIL offensive as more ground troops needed – AJE News Build-up operation to retake Mosul paused until police and tribal reinforcements arrive to hold captured ground.


Islamic leaders pledge to combat sectarianism – AJE News Closing statement decries Iran and ISIL for their roles in regional conflicts.




Microbiology-Style with a CBRN Twist

Not everyone can say they are a “farmer of bacteria” in their civilian job and be sincere about it. Capt. Christopher Ecker, a 7-year Army Reserve chemical officer assigned to the 307th Medical Brigade in Columbus, Ohio, can say that with a smile.


Threat Analysis:

Global Security CBRN Assessment – News and Defence Headlines | IHS Jane’s 360 Global Security CBRN Assessment News and Defence Headlines



Lasers combine with gold nanodisks to fry bacteria within seconds Researchers have developed a new approach to killing off bacteria that may provide a more efficient form of sterilization, using porous gold nanodisks and infrared light to destroy common bacteria within a matter of seconds.


Fukushima five years on: The fears, the fallout and the future Five years have passed since a tsunami washed over the seawall around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. With the cleanup expected to take decades, radioactive materials still unaccounted for and the health effects still very much under debate, what lies ahead for post-Fukushima Japan?


Modified maggots fast-track wound healing It might be a little hard to stomach, but using maggots to clean up wounds is an approach that has been in use for centuries. Now scientists are looking to hasten the healing process by genetically modifying maggots to produce a human growth factor while they go about their business.


Wounds may be treated using … frog foam? When the Tungara frog lays its eggs, it also produces a foam. Surrounding the eggs, that foam protects them. As it turns out, a synthetic version of the substance may also one day have another use – delivering medication to serious skin wounds.


Researchers turn to tick spit to shut down our immune systems Researchers may soon be employing a substance in tick saliva to help people battle damaging, and potentially deadly, autoimmune diseases.


Solar-powered “Sterile Box” targets hospital infections in developing countries Rice University students have developed a solar-powered sterilization unit that is held in a shipping container. Their goal is to deploy it in areas with high rates of hospital infection. A trial in a clinical setting in Africa is scheduled for 2017.


Mars drone tech sniffs out methane leaks on Earth NASA is testing a quadcopter equipped with a miniature methane gas sensor originally designed for testing the Martian atmosphere to seek gas pipeline leaks.


Dramatic 3D images reveal super-small motors that drive bacteria Bacteria have various means of getting around, but they all involve some kind of biological motor — and those motors have just been imaged in dramatic and colorful 3D by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).


Japan activates underground ice wall to seal away Fukushima’s nuclear waste Among the many problems plaguing the cleanup at Fukushima is the threat of radioactive water spilling from the site. The Japanese government is now ramping up its efforts to contain this problem, by flicking the switch on an underground ice wall that will enclose the failed nuclear facility.


Better antibacterial surfaces, courtesy of … maggots? Although maggots are closely associated with filth, they’re actually remarkably resistant to infection from all the bacteria that surround them. A scientist now believes that he knows why this is the case, and he thinks that it could have applications in human technologies.


Experimental battery charges and recharges via bacteria A team of researchers in the Netherlands has just developed a bacteria-based battery that they were able to charge and discharge 15 times in a row.


Sweat sensor uses battery-free, plant-like pump A sensor under development by researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands takes inspiration from how plants draw water out of the earth. Designed to take medically useful readings from patient sweat, the sensor doesn’t require any form of external power.


Fighting the Zika virus with junked tires Researchers with the Grand Challenges Canada initiative have created a highly-effective mosquito trap, each one of which is made from a single discarded tire.


Imaging drones to spot signs of explosive chemicals leaking from landmines Locating buried landmines is not only a meticulous and time-intensive task, but an incredibly dangerous one as well. Working to help keep humans out of harm’s way, British scientists have started testing drones with advanced imaging technology to more effectively map affected areas.
Tesla Model S gets new face and Bioweapon Defense Mode Having launched a range of updates over the air since the Model S launched in 2013, Tesla has released a more traditional mid-life refresh. The entry level Model X has also been updated, with a bigger battery and bigger price to match.


Flexible e-skin display is thinner than Saran wrap and tracks blood oxygen levels A new durable, flexing OLED display is less than one quarter the thickness of Saran wrap and can be worn on the skin to display blood-oxygen levels, with the developers working to afford it other health-monitoring too.


Semiconductive fabric soaks up oil spills while fighting bacteria and pollutants The latest candidate to emerge in oil spill cleanup solutions is a multipurpose fabric covered in tiny semi-conducting rods, affording it a unique set of properties that could see it used to deal with everything from water decontamination to wiping down your kitchen counter.


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