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Showing posts with the label Northwestern University

Genetic Mutation helps Amish live longer, healthier!

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Genetic mutations are usually associated with bad news. A mutation in BRCA genes could put you at risk of breast or ovarian cancer or give you a blood disorder like thalassemia or haemophilia. From cystic fibrosis to phenylketonuria, colour blindness to polycystic kidney, there is a long list (some rare, some not so rare) of diseases caused by mutations. 

Although, Marvel Comics has done a lot on its part to promote the good that can come out of harboring a rare mutation, the benefits are yet to reach the common man. A commonly cited example for good mutation is the resistance to malaria that is conferred by the Sickle Cell mutation, but it does come with the risk of getting two copies of the mutation and being affected by sickled red blood cells. There are a few other mutations that seem to help people lower their risk for heart diseases, get stronger bones or improve their under water vision.
But, a recently published paper in Science Advances puts light on a mutation in SERPINE1 gene …

How Jackie Chan helped make solar cells better?

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Supercop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)As the world warms up to using solar panels and harnessing the immense energy that is reflected back from the Earth everyday, there are still some major hurdles that we need to overcome before we can rely on this technology for all our energy needs.
Cost of solar panels has been a major point of debate but as governments around the world are encouraging consumers to adopt this technology, there are considerable grants pouring in to reduce the cost of installing solar panels and that is welcome relief.
The efficiency of the solar panel itself has been questioned on many occasions. General estimates of efficiency of solar panels has been put at 10-15%, which basically means that
these expensive panels are only capable of converting 10-15% of light incident on them into electricity.  Unarguably, this does sound quite low.  And has been picked up by detractors of renewable energy to ridicule. 
But did you know that the efficiency of gasoline powered engines st…