If there is liquid water on Mars, no one—not even NASA—can get anywhere near it

"NASA’s press statement makes it seem that scientists have certain evidence of flowing water. They do not. What they have is chemical evidence that gives a strong suggestion of liquid water mixed with salts. More importantly, however, even if NASA was 100% certain that there is liquid water on Mars, it could not do anything about it."
"The world’s space powers are bound by rules agreed to under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty that forbid anyone from sending a mission, robot or human, close to a water source in the fear of contaminating it with life from Earth."

"All space missions to an alien world are bound by planetary protection protocols. On Mars, these protocols determine which areas a mission can and cannot land, and how far it can explore after landing. And the more we learn about Mars, as a 2014 report makes it clear, the more special regions are being found where we can’t send missions."

From +Quartzhttp://ow.ly/SOd1Y

If there is liquid water on Mars, no one—not even NASA—can get anywhere near it
No space agency can go to the very regions that may host Martian life.

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"EVERYWHERE YOU GO, in everything you do, you are surrounded by an aura of microbes. They drift down from your hair when you scratch your head, they fly off your hand when you wave to your friend, they spew out of your mouth when you talk. Even when you sit around doing nothing, you’re sitting in your own, personal microbial bubble."

"Made up of millions, billions, trillions of bacteria, yeast, cells, and cell parts, this bubble is actually more like a cloud—a cloud, new research suggests, that is unique to you. And as gross as it is to imagine everyone around you shedding microbial bits and pieces into the air, studying those clouds can be useful for people like doctors tracking down disease outbreaks and cops tracking down criminals."

From +WIREDhttp://ow.ly/SO8rR

Your Body Is Surrounded by Clouds of Skin and Fart Bacteria
Everywhere you go, everything you do, you are surrounded by an aura of microbes.

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Cliff on September 29th, 2015
"Thanks to the overuse of antibiotics, hospitals, pharmacies, and big farms are all basically breeding programs for super-resilient, drug-resistant bacteria that can survive the strongest weapons humanity has against infection. For this reason, the federal government has convened the superlatively self-descriptive Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria."

"Chairing that mouthful of a task force is Dr. Martin Blaser, a physician and researcher at NYU’s Langone Medical Center—and bulldog for antibiotic temperance. Last year, Blaser’s book Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues showed that our society’s overuse of antibiotics isn’t just breeding superbugs. Antibiotics also wreak havoc on the beneficial microbiome that helps humans digest food, fight disease, and generally stay healthy."

From +WIREDhttp://ow.ly/SNK4C

The US Is Finally Taking Action on Antibiotic Resistance
WIRED had a chat with Martin Blaser, NYU doctor and chair of the White House’s new push to save ourselves from overusing antibiotics.

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Researchers in Israel and Germany develop potential alternative to animal testing

"On top of opposition from animal rights groups, more scientists are claiming that animal studies do not accurately predict the human response to drugs or beauty products, especially ones that are used on a regular basis. At the same time, using human cells for safety testing is not practical because they die after a few days outside of the body."

"To address this challenge, the researchers have created a liver-on-a-chip device, also known as a 3D micro-reactor, which mimics human physiology using nanotech-based optoelectronic sensors."

"When testing Tylenol using the technology’s sensors, the researchers were able to detect small, rapid changes in cellular respiration that have never been observed before – suggesting potential damage at much smaller dosages than had previously been observed. Scientists had long believed that liver damage from acetaminophen only occurs at high doses and in cases of diseased or compromised liver function."

"Yissum, the tech transfer arm of Hebrew University, together with the Fraunhofer Institute, submitted a joint provisional patent application earlier this year and are seeking industry partners to take the liver-on-a-chip to market. The global market for this technology is estimated to be worth $17 billion by 2018."

From +Tech Transfer Centralhttp://ow.ly/ScxzA

Researchers in Israel and Germany develop potential alternative to animal testing – Tech Transfer e-News – Tech Transfer Central
Researchers at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology in Germany have developed a technology that coul


Cliff on September 9th, 2015
"For many technologies, a written description is enough to enable a specialist working in the relevant field to reproduce an invention for which patent protection is sought. When it comes to microorganisms, however, this will not generally suffice. Take, for example, an organism isolated in soil that has been 'improved' by mutation and further selection. It would be practically impossible to describe the strain and its selection in a way that would guarantee that another skilled microbiologist would obtain the same strain. In such instances, the microorganism itself is considered a key part of the disclosure  PDF, Introduction to the Budapest Treaty. For this reason, many countries require that when patenting microorganisms, written disclosure is complemented by deposit of the biological material in question with a specialized culture collection."

"However, depositing multiple samples with each patent application is impractical. IP offices are ill-equipped to store and preserve biological materials and such a requirement would be hugely time-consuming and costly."

"Recognizing the peculiar challenges of patenting microorganisms, and the need for a streamlined and cost-effective international procedure, in the late 1970s policymakers adopted the WIPO-administered Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure."

"A key advantage of the Budapest Treaty is that for the purposes of patenting procedures, it eliminates the need to deposit multiple samples of the same biological material with biological resource centers in different countries. As such, it offers applicants an efficient, streamlined and cost-effective means of meeting the disclosure requirements associated with patenting microorganisms and other biological material."

From WIPO Magazine: http://ow.ly/RLFlA 

WIPO’s Budapest Treaty facilitates biotech patenting
August 2015. Humans have been using microorganisms for millennia. Tiny, single-cell living organisms such as yeast and bacteria are essential to produce food products like wine, beer and cheese. Only in the 20th century, however, did the industrial application of these microscopic powerhouses …

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