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Portable peer review

Author-pays service cuts down on redundant reviews
February 13, 2013


Researchers waiting for their manuscript to emerge from multiple rounds of peer review as it bounces from journal to journal can easily get frustrated at the inefficiencies of the system. Soon, they may have another option: paying for a fast, independent peer review that could travel with the paper from one journal to another, and eliminate redundant peer reviews, Nature News reports.

The concept comes from a… read more

Spy-camera robot penguins infiltrate bird colonies

February 13, 2013


A BBC documentary team unleashed 50 spycams into penguin colonies, including cameras that served as eyes for robotic penguins, to capture stunning close-up footage of the unusual birds, CNET reports.

“Penguins: Spy in the Huddle” documents nearly a year hanging out with penguins through the surrogate eyes of 50 different spycams. Some of the spycams were disguised as chunks of snow or small boulders, but… read more

3D printing: ‘potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything’ — President Obama

February 13, 2013

(Credit: White House)

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, U.S. President Barack Obama noted that “Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing. After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three.

“Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico. After locating plants in other countries… read more

Injection-free vaccination

Delivering live vaccines without a refrigerator
February 12, 2013

Scientists at King's have demonstrated the ability to deliver a dried live vaccine to the skin without a traditional needle, and shown for the first time that this technique is powerful enough to enable specialised immune cells in the skin to kick-start the immunising properties of the vaccine.

Scientists at King’s College London have demonstrated the ability to deliver a dried live vaccine to the skin without a traditional needle, and shown for the first time that this technique is powerful enough to enable specialized immune cells in the skin to kick-start the immunizing properties of the vaccine.

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, researchers say that although it is an… read more

Is the ozone layer on the road to recovery?

February 12, 2013

Total polar ozone in the northern and southern hemispheres as measured by various instruments. The blue line depicts projections based on the Chemistry Climate Model E39CA. The total ozone reached its lowest levels in both hemispheres in the late 1990s, and it is expected to increase in the coming years.(Credit: ESA/DLR/Eumetsat/NASA/WMO/GAW)

Satellites show that the recent ozone hole over Antarctica was the smallest seen in the past decade. Long-term observations also reveal that Earth’s ozone has been strengthening following international agreements to protect this vital layer of the atmosphere.

According to the ozone sensor on Europe’s MetOp weather satellite, the hole over Antarctica in 2012 was the smallest in the last 10 years.

Since the… read more

Can interacting with avatars reduce depression?

February 12, 2013


A preliminary study by researchers at Case Western Reserve University suggests that depression symptoms may be significantly reduced when 18- to 25-year-olds interact with computerized avatars — virtual 3D images of a healthcare provider like a nurse practitioner or physician — as a way to rehearse office visits ahead of time and learn self-management skills.

At this age, a majority of young people do not… read more

How ‘bullet time’ will revolutionize exascale computing

The filming technique used in The Matrix will change the way we access the huge computer simulations of the future, say computer scientists
February 12, 2013

( Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

The exascale computing era is almost upon us and computer scientists are already running into difficulties. 1 exaflop is 10^18 floating point operations per second, that’s a thousand petaflops. The current trajectory of computer science should produce this kind of  capability by 2018 or so.

How do humans access and make sense of the exascale data sets?

The answer, of course, is to find some way to compress… read more

Self-assembling molecules offer new clues on life’s possible origin

A pair of RNA-like molecules can spontaneously assemble into gene-length chains
February 12, 2013


Billions of years ago, related molecules may have created a rudimentary form of genetic information that eventually led to the evolution of RNA and life itself, the researchers say. Although it’s likely to be difficult, if not impossible, to prove whether similar proto-RNAs were present at the dawn of life, the researchers are working to see if the proto-RNAs can indeed faithfully encode information and evolveread more

Biofeedback mobile app

February 12, 2013


The Department of Defense has released an Android smartphone app to help service members use the therapeutic benefits of biofeedback.

BioZen, a mobile app from the Defense Department’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), uses Bluetooth-coupled sensors to show the user their physical level of relaxation.

It is the first portable, low-cost method for clinicians and patients to use biofeedback in… read more

Project Holodeck hands-on demo and interview with director Nathan Burba

February 12, 2013


Recently I got a chance to meet up with Project Holodeck director Nathan Burba, Ben Lang writes at Road to VR.

Not only did we sit down for a detailed interview, but I was also fortunate enough to get a hands-on demo of the system. Project Holodeck is an immersive virtual reality multiplayer platform. …

Project Holodeck, which will actually be using the Oculus… read more

Microscopic 3D printing

February 11, 2013

Nanoscribe_Hellcat 2013_001

Nanoscribe GmbH, a spin-off of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), has developed the world’s fastest 3D printer of micro- and nanostructures, the German company claims.

With this printer, three-dimensional objects, often smaller than the diameter of a human hair, can be manufactured with minimum time consumption and maximum resolution. The printer is based on a novel laser lithography method.

Nanoscribe systems are… read more

Watson provides cancer treatment options to doctors in seconds

February 11, 2013


IBM and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center unveiled Friday the first commercially developed Watson-based cognitive computing breakthroughs.

These innovations stand alone to help transform the quality and speed of care delivered to patients through individualized, evidence based medicine, says IBM.

For more than a year, IBM has partnered separately with WellPoint and Memorial Sloan-Kettering to… read more

Peering into living cells at the nanoscale without chemicals

February 11, 2013

Using a holographic microscope and a rotating laser beam, this image of a full living cell can be computed in minutes. The user can choose any section to see what is inside -- such as the nucleus (left) and its genetic material. (Credit: Yann Cotte & Fatih Toy/EPFL)

Two EPFL researchers have designed a device that combines holographic microscopy and computational image processing to observe living biological tissues at the nanoscale.

Going beyond conventional microscopes, they can acquire images of living cells in just a few minutes at a resolution of less than 100 nanometers — without using contrast dyes or fluorescents, to avoid distortion by the presence of foreign substances.

Being… read more

Researchers control animals’ movements with light

February 11, 2013

Photographs of spinalized zebrafish responding to laser photostimulation (credit: David Kokel/Nature Chemical Biology)

A drug-like molecule called “optovin” has been found to let researchers control movements in mice and fish with flashes of light.

Unlike similar experiments using a light-based technique known as optogenetics, to achieve the neural control, the new method doesn’t require researchers to genetically engineer animals, MIT Technology Review reports.

The techniques is a powerful research tools for understanding the brain, and may one day be… read more

Artificial bone scaffold combines stem cells and plastic to heal broken bones

February 11, 2013

SEM image of a vertical cross-section of the<br />
scaffold shows porous channel formation between 50–600 μ m length, and each channel wall consists of a submicron pore structure; h) (highlighted<br />
in (g)), arrows indicate sub-micrometer pores (f, h). i

To improve bone healing, researchers at Edinburgh and Southampton universities have used a honeycomb scaffold structure, which allows blood to flow through it, enabling stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow to attach to the material and grow new bone.

Over time, the plastic slowly degrades as the implant is replaced by newly grown bone.

The researchers used a pioneering technique to… read more

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