Power of a Black Hole, Metallic Glass, Bacteria Becoming More Antiseptic Resistant, How Geckos Stick to Ceiling

Posted August 13th, 2014 at 8:04 pm (UTC+0)
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A black hole's corona is shown here in one artist's rendering as the white light at the base of a jet just outside the entrance to the black hole. (NASA/JPL)

A black hole’s corona is shown here in one artist’s rendering as the white light at the base of a jet just outside the entrance to the black hole. (NASA/JPL)

Astronomers Witness Power of Supermassive Black Hole

Astronomers, using NASA’s space-based Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array or NuSTAR said they were able to capture what they described as a very rare astronomical event in the area that surrounds Markarian 335, a supermassive black hole that’s located about 324 million light-years from Earth.

The astronomers noticed that over a period of just days the powerful gravity produced by the black hole has been pulling its corona, a compacted source of x-rays that usually hovers near it, closer and closer into the black hole itself.

Michael Parker of the UK’s Institute of Astronomy and lead author of a new paper that details these findings said that, “The corona recently collapsed in toward the black hole, with the result that the black hole’s intense gravity pulled all the light down onto its surrounding disk, where material is spiraling inward.”

The paper was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

 

1 cm sized piece of tantalum (Wikimedia Commons)

1 cm sized piece of tantalum (Wikimedia Commons)

Researchers Form Glass from Metal

An international team of scientists were able to do something that materials scientists have been trying to do for a long time: form glass from pure, liquid metal.

The team developed an innovative new technique in order to create the metallic glass.  The system involves a special device that allows liquid metal to be cooled at a very rapid rate.

The researchers used the new device and technique to transform liquefied forms of the metals tantalum and vanadium into metallic glass.

The researchers said that since metallic glass is easily made and is a very strong material manufacturers like to use it for various specialized applications.

The work and findings made by the scientific team was outlined in a study recently published by the journal Nature.

 

A bottle containing the antibiotic chlorhexidine. (Wikimedia Commons)

A bottle containing the antibiotic chlorhexidine. (Wikimedia Commons)

Deadly Bacteria Shows Signs of Resisting Commonly Used Hospital Antiseptic

New research led by scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine indicates that a form of bacteria that can cause life-threatening bloodstream infections in critically ill patients may be growing more and more resistant to a popular and common hospital antiseptic called Chlorhexidine gluconate or CHG.

A study detailing the researcher’s findings was published by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America in its journal, Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

“Hospitals are appropriately using chlorhexidine to reduce infections and control the spread of antibiotic-resistant organisms,” said Nuntra Suwantarat, MD, the study’s lead author in a press release. “However, our findings are a clear signal that we must continue to monitor bacteria for emerging antiseptic resistance as these antibacterial washes become more widely used in hospitals.”

 

Close-up of the underside of a gecko's foot as it walks on a glass wall. Van der Waals force interactions between the finely divided setae (hairs on the toes) and the glass enables the gecko to stay in place and walk on the seemingly smooth glass. (Bjørn Christian Tørrissen via Wikimedia Commons)

Close-up of the underside of a gecko’s foot as it walks on a glass wall. Van der Waals force interactions between the finely divided setae (hairs on the toes) and the glass enables the gecko to stay in place and walk on the seemingly smooth glass. (Bjørn Christian Tørrissen via Wikimedia Commons)

Secret to Gecko’s Ability to Climb and Cling to Walls Uncovered

Did you ever wonder how creatures such as geckos can easily run up and down walls and cling almost endlessly to ceilings as if they have magic glue on their feet?

Scientists at Oregon State University recently developed a model that may explain these unique behaviors which could lead to the development such practical solutions as better and smarter adhesive systems.

Their scientific model pointed out that geckos have this incredible mechanism in their toes that allows them to turn their stickiness on/off or even ‘unstick’ themselves if need be.  The sticky mechanism involves the use of something called “seta” – tiny hairs that cover the gecko’s toes.

Details of the Oregon team’s research and findings were just published in the Journal of Applied Physics.

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