Scientific discoveries this week: 3-19-12

According to researchers from the Department of Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, LSD has a beneficial effect on patients with alcoholism. The study found LSD had a beneficial effect in every trial, and overall, 59 percent of LSD-treated patients and only 38 percent of the control group (given a placebo) were improved at follow-ups. According to a researcher, LSD-treated patients claimed to have found insights into their problem and found new ways to control their alcoholism. LSD stimulates some serotonin receptors that may open the mind for new possibilities and perspectives.

According to researchers from the University of East Anglia, China’s groundwater irrigation system is polluting the atmosphere with over 30 millions tons of CO2 per year. The CO2 output is caused by the energy needed to pump water from deep aquifers that can be over seventy feet deep. The team used data collected from 366 villages in 11 provinces. They found that the total CO2 output is equal to more than 0.5% of China’s total CO2 output, or approximately the same as New Zealand’s total output of CO2.

Researchers engineered E. Coli bacteria to produce methyl ketone from glucose. The methyl ketone yielded a good fuel comparable to gasoline. The researchers from the US Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute found that E. Coli treated with special enzymes could synthesize alkene hydrocarbons, which can be turned into diesel fuel, from fatty acids.

Researchers at UCLA used a standard LightScribe DVD optical drive to create electrodes composed of a network of graphene (one-atom-thick layer of carbon). Using this technology, they were able to create electrochemical capacitors (EC) that have an energy density equivalent to a traditional battery while having a much higher power density and excellent cycle stability. This enables the EC to be charged one hundred to one thousand times faster than a conventional battery.

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