Interesting and exciting news this Tuesday

Okay, I’ve got several startling links this week, as usual from the related worlds of science and medicine.

First up, this article about Weird Stuff With Fibers:

Machining of spider silk fibers using femtosecond lasers

Researchers have proven that they can machine and make strips, microstructures and sensors out of spider silk using femtosecond lasers. Just a few days ago it was announced that spiders exposed to water with graphene and carbon nanotubes can make spidersilk that is 3 times stronger than regular spider silk. The two developments could mean a very strong version of graphene reinforced spidersilk could be emerge for a range of new applications…They managed to weld spider silk to metal, glass, and kevlar. Stress tests showed that the weld was roughly equivalent in strength to the spider silk itself. ….

The things people are up to these days. Lots more at the link, with many technical pictures I didn’t really pay much attention to. If you’re into technology and engineering, you may find the whole post worth reading.

Now, this next one is just weird and delightful:

Scientists Say It’s Raining Diamonds on Neptune and Uranus

“This [the effects of having copious amounts of hydrogen, helium, and methane] will generate diamond precipitation inside such celestial bodies,” Dominik Kraus, a researcher with Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf in Dresden and author on the paper told Gizmodo in an email. “This means that there is not necessarily a pure diamond core but certainly a large diamond envelope around the rocky cores that are supposed to exist inside Neptune and Uranus.”

On Jupiter and Saturn, the current thinking goes like this: when storms roll through clouds of methane molecules, lightning strikes cause carbon atoms to disassociate from their chemical bonds. When they collect in the air, you get clouds of soot which then sink into the lower atmosphere, being put under more and more pressure. That pressure is what squeezes the carbon into graphite and then again into diamond. It’s also under the effect of gravity, so it would truly fall to the middle of the planet as “diamond rain.”

Isn’t that a wonderful image?

Now, here’s something much more desirable on a personal level:

This Insane Nanochip Device Can Heal Tissue Just by Touching The Skin Once

Imagine buzzing the skin over an internal wound with an electrical device and having it heal over just a few days – that’s the promise of new nanochip technology that can reprogram cells to replace tissue or even whole organs….It’s called Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT), and while it’s only been tested on mice and pigs so far, the early signs are encouraging for this new body repair tool – and it sounds like a device straight out of science-fiction.

It doesn’t just sound like a device straight out of science fiction. It IS a device straight out of science fiction. Truly, we live in a wonderful science fiction universe. Or we will, when everyone has one of these devices in their medicine cabinets. Onward with that!

Next, something that should be useful faster:

New treatment approved for deadly blood cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration on Thursday approved the anti-cancer drug Besponsa, or inotuzumab ozogamicin, to treat B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia….B-cell ALL is a rapidly growing cancer that occurs when the bone marrow makes too many B-cell lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Almost 6,000 people in the United States are likely to be diagnosed with the disease this year, and more than 1,400 are projected to die from it … Besponsa was evaluated in clinical studies involving 326 people with relapsed or refractory B-cell ALL who had received one or two prior treatments with other medication. More than 35 percent of people evaluated achieved complete remission for about eight months after taking Besponsa, compared with about 17 percent of those who took a different chemotherapy drug.

Not a magic bullet, but good news nevertheless.

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