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Articles - June 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

BY CORY MIMMS

0612 Next

Surgeons sometimes leave things inside patients — needles, scissors, even scalpels. Those items easily show up on X-rays, allowing doctors to find and remove them. But not surgical sponges. They require extra precaution; most sponges are marked with barium, which is difficult to see on X-rays. Portland State University chemistry professor Andrea Goforth and her graduate assistant, Anna Brown, have developed a better way to tag sponges using bismuth. Denser than lead and nontoxic, bismuth nanoparticles are perfect X-ray deflectors, and by infusing them in silicone they can be stitched into surgical sponges. “The heavier the atoms the better they scatter X-rays,” Goforth says. These bismuth markers — bismarkers — show up bright white on X-rays, making them practically impossible to miss. The preliminary patent application was filed last June and Goforth now is seeking an industry partner for the next stage of development: manufacturing, marketing and selling. She isn't finished with her bismuth research, though. “My original concept was that these would be injectable contrast agents,” Goforth says. By modifying them to bind with certain types of cells and then injecting them into the bloodstream, the particles could be used to find tumors.

 

Comments   

 
Martha  Perez
0 #1 General Political ActivistMartha Perez 2012-06-12 19:15:52
The other day, I was taking a shower, and I could not help but observe the efficiency of my bath sponge's ability to absorb a lot of water. I would like to learn more about how large, industrial sized sponges, may be able to someday play an important role in flood control, and prevention. Thanks for doing this article!
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There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

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