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Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Scientists 3D-Print and Implant Jawbones, Muscles, and Ears

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Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

We may not have teleporters or instant meal machines yet, but the scientific future has arrived. Researchers have found a way to print implantable, human-scale muscle, cartilage, and bone. Their findings were published online today in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Though the accomplishment is impressive, it’s hardly a surprise. The field of tissue engineering has been steadily pumping out futuristic advances for years. The National Institutes of Health is pursuing a “tissue on a chip” program to better anticipate how human cells respond to different drugs. Other scientists are working with 3-D bioprinters to print new skin for burn victims.

The new integrated tissue and organ printing system (ITOP) is still a step beyond. It is similar to the inkjet printer in your house, except instead of colored and black ink it dispenses biodegradable scaffolding and hydrogel filled with living cells. The scaffolding provides a structural integrity for the body parts to help them survive transplantation, while the permeable, water-based cell gel ensures that oxygen and nutrients can get in. As a result, the implanted printed tissue can grow safely and even form new blood vessels.

The researchers printed out jawbones, chunks of muscle, and “ear-shaped cartilage." They then implanted these pieces in rodents, where they thrived.

“This novel tissue and organ printer is an important advance in our quest to make replacement tissue for patients,” senior author Anthony Atala, of the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine, said in a press statement. “It can fabricate stable, human-scale tissue of any shape. With further development, this technology could potentially be used to print living tissue and organ structures for surgical implantation.”

The scientists said that someday, doctors might be able to print new customized body parts for patients whose own bones, muscles, and cartilage are missing or broken. But for now, there's still research to be done; ITOP’s jaws and ears have not been tested in humans.

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Want to Become a Billionaire? Study Engineering
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If you want to get rich—really, really rich—chances are, you should get yourself an engineering degree. As The Telegraph reports, a new analysis from the UK firm Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment finds that more of the top 100 richest people in the world (according to Forbes) studied engineering than any other major.

The survey found that 75 of the 100 richest people in the world got some kind of four-year degree (though others, like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, attended a university but dropped out before graduation). Out of those who graduated, 22 of those billionaires received engineering degrees, 16 received business degrees, and 11 received finance degrees.

However, the survey doesn't seem to distinguish between the wide range of studies that fall under the "engineering" umbrella. Building a bridge, after all, is a little different than electrical engineering or computing. Four of those 100 individuals studied computer science, but the company behind the survey cites Amazon's Jeff Bezos (who got a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton) and Google's Larry Page (who studied computer engineering at the University of Michigan and computer science at Stanford) as engineers, not computer scientists, so the list might be a little misleading on that front. (And we're pretty sure Bezos wouldn't be quite so rich if he had stuck just to electrical engineering.)

Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment is, obviously, a sales-focused company, so there's a sales-related angle to the survey. It found that for people who started out working at an organization they didn't found (as opposed to immediately starting their own company, a la Zuckerberg with Facebook), the most common first job was as a salesperson, followed by a stock trader. Investor George Soros was a traveling salesman for a toy and gift company, and Michael Dell sold newspaper subscriptions in high school before going on to found Dell. (Dell also worked as a maitre d’ in a Chinese restaurant.)

All these findings come with some caveats, naturally, so don't go out and change your major—or head back to college—just yet. Right now, Silicon Valley has created a high demand for engineers, and many of the world's richest people, including Bezos and Page, earned their money through the tech boom. It's plausible that in the future, a different kind of boom will make a different kind of background just as lucrative. 

But maybe don't hold your breath waiting for the kind of industry boom that makes creative writing the most valuable major of them all. You can be fairly certain that becoming an engineer will be lucrative for a while.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Here's Why It's So Hard to Achieve the Perfect Temperature While Taking a Shower
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The only thing worse than stepping out of a warm shower into a chilly bathroom is owning a shower that seems to only have two temperatures—scalding or freezing—unless the knob is positioned just so. Curious as to why it’s so hard to achieve bathing nirvana with a simple twist of the wrist? In the video below, SciShow host Stefan Chin broke down the intricacies of home plumbing, and offered advice on how to keep your shower from going from blissfully warm to bitingly cold.

With home water heaters, “adding really hot water to cold water changes the temperature more than adding the same amount of water that’s just warm,” Chin explains. “So if the water is too hot, tiny changes in how much hot water is sent your way can lead to big changes in the temperature of the mixed water hitting your body.”

And “the water in water heaters is usually very hot,” he adds. “It’s generally set to around 50°C [about 122°F] to kill bacteria.”

Meanwhile, some small water heaters simply don’t hold enough hot water at any one time for a long shower—plus, lots of plumbing simply isn’t designed to check the temperature of the hot-cold water balance.

A hot shower is perhaps the simplest—yet most universal—luxury you can enjoy, so you probably don’t want to waste your precious relaxing time fiddling with the dial. (Plus, some creative types find that their best ideas often emerge when they’re relaxed and sudsed up—something that can't really happen when you're being doused with cold water.) Rest assured, Chin has some shower solutions, which you can learn by watching the video below.

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