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Human body parts grown in a lab

In a north London hospital, scientists are growing noses, ears and blood vessels in the laboratory in a bold attempt to make body parts using stem cells.

It is among several labs around the world, including in the U.S., that are working on the futuristic idea of growing custom-made organs in the lab.

While only a handful of patients have received the British lab-made organs so far— including tear ducts, blood vessels and windpipes — researchers hope they will soon be able to transplant more types of body parts into patients, including what would be the world’s first nose made partly from stem cells. (AP)

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Synthetic cannabis deaths sound alarms in Australia

The deaths of two men and a rash of recent hospitalizations in Australia, all suspected to result from the use of synthetic cannabis, are focusing attention on a growing worldwide problem.

Drug users have been embracing products touted as producing a natural marijuanalike high. The effect is produced by synthetic compounds designed to mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, which are sprayed onto plant material then often marketed as “Spice.” However, “synthetic cannabinoids certainly have the potential to be significantly more dangerous than the natural plant material that they supposedly mimic,” says David Caldicott, an emergency medical doctor at the Australian National University in Canberra.

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Silicon Carbide (synthetic)

Niagra Falls, Ontario, Canada

"It is definitely Silicon Carbide. It is made for the abrasives industry (you know that black grit you tumble stuff in). It is made by taking a graphite rod (very large) and burring it in Sand. They run a large amount of electricity through the graphite (hence the location in Niagara Falls with lots of access to inexpensive electricity). The current causes the graphite to heat up and vaporize and it causes the silicon and oxygen in the sand to dissociate. As the Carbon atoms and silicon atoms go screaming out of the hot sand pile, they recombine to form the silicon carbide. When they are done, and the silicon carbide is cooling, oxygen in the air reacts with the still hot silicon carbide to form a very thin oxide layer. It is this thin oxide layer that causes the iridescence (just as a thin layer of oil on water interacts with light to create a rainbow of colors). (I used to live in Niagara Falls, NY and knew a foreman to the Carborundum manufacturer that made this material and he explained it at one of the Buffalo Geological Society Meetings. (PS, I recognize my handwriting on the linked picture)"
-Dean