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This Is Your Brain on Drugs

June 1, 2004

Scientists are developing technology to peer into the brains of people taking antidepressants, hoping to cut down on the arduous process of evaluating the drugs.

Aspect Medical Systems has developed a system to do that based on the EEG, which records the firing of brain cells in the frontal lobe, blood flow and other activity. It uses a disposable strip of electrodes that affixes to the forehead and feeds… read more

This is your brain on freestyle rap

November 19, 2012

Open Mike Eagle (credit: Mush Records)

Researchers in the voice, speech, and language branch of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study the brain activity of rappers when they are “freestyling” — spontaneously improvising lyrics in real time.

Published online in the November 15 issue of the journal Scientific Reports (open access), the findings… read more

This Is Your Brain on Schadenfreude

January 24, 2006

Functional magnetic resonance imaging has reached the level of sophistication required to identify states of mind, as shown in one recent experiment to measure levels of empathy, based on “pain-related areas” in the brain when a person is watching someone else in pain.

This is your brain on violent media

December 7, 2007

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center’s Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) Research Center have shown that watching violent programs can cause parts of your brain that suppress aggressive behaviors to become less active.

Depictions of violent acts have become very common in the popular media,” said Christopher Kelly, the first author on the paper and a current CUMC medical student. “Our findings demonstrate for the first time that watching… read more

This Is Your Business, Virtually

January 23, 2003

The video-conferencing room at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York now allows for virtual meetings on a new 4-foot-by-16-foot high-definition rear-projection screen, with 200 milliseconds latency.

This is your grid on brains

October 3, 2008

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology plan to use living neural networks composed of thousands of brain cells from laboratory rats to control simulated power grids in the lab.

From those studies, they hope to create a “biologically inspired” computer program to manage and control complex power grids in Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria and elsewhere, and possibly other complex systems, such as traffic-control systems or global financial networks.… read more

This Laser Trick’s a Quantum Leap

October 5, 2005

Physicists in Australia have slowed a speeding laser pulse and captured it in a crystal, a feat that could be instrumental in creating quantum computers.

The scientists slowed the laser light pulse from 300,000 kilometers per second to just several hundred meters per second, allowing them to capture the pulse for about a second.

This Palm Reads Your Mind

May 26, 2003

Researchers at the National Space Biomedical Research Institute claim their new “MiniCog” PDA application will help people determine if they “need to eat, sleep, exercise or better focus (their) thoughts.”

The program includes routines that ask users to pick lowercase letters out of groups of uppercase letters and correctly identify the color of “conflicting” text.

“This Paper Should Not Have Been Published”

December 9, 2010

A dozen experts contacted by science writer Carl Zimmer unanimously agreed that NASA scientists have failed to make the case for arsenic-based bacterial life.

This radical discovery could turn semiconductor manufacture inside out

How to "grow" self-assembling semiconductors, atomic layer by atomic layer
November 30, 2012

Aerotaxy production process (credit: Lars Samuelson et al./Lund University)

A completely new method of manufacturing the smallest structures in electronics could make their manufacture thousands of times quicker, allowing for cheaper semiconductors.

Instead of starting from a silicon wafer or other substrate, the idea is to grow gallium arsenide semiconductor structures from freely suspended nanoparticles of gold in a flowing gas. Semiconductor nanowires are key building blocks for the next generation of light-emitting diodes, solar cells,… read more

This robot could transform manufacturing

A smarter, safer new industrial robot
September 19, 2012


Baxter, is six feet tall, 300 pounds, and a robot. It could bring automation to new areas of manual work and help many U.S. manufacturers regain a competitive edge, Technology Review reports.

Almost anyone, literally, can in very short order be shown how to program it,” says Chris Budnick, president of Vanguard Plastics. “It’s a matter of a couple of minutes.”

Baxter is the first of a new… read more

This rock could spy on you for decades

May 30, 2012


After U.S. forces depart Afghanistan in 2014, palm-sized sensors, some disguised as rocks or buried, with wafer-sized, solar-rechargeable batteries that could enable the sensors’ operation for perhaps as long as two decades, will remain littered across the Afghan countryside, Wired Danger Room reports.

These “field and forget” systems for “persistent surveillance” will be able to detect anyone who moves nearby and report their locations back to a remote headquarters.

“Were… read more

This week’s solar flare illuminates the grid’s vulnerability

June 13, 2011

The next peak cycle of sunspot activity is predicted for 2012–2014, bringing with it a greater risk of large geomagnetic storms that can generate powerful rogue currents in transmission lines, potentially damaging or destroying the large transformers that manage power flow over high-voltage networks.

In the worst-case scenario, the stockpile of spare transformers would fall far short of replacement needs. Urban centers across the continent would be without power… read more

This Worm Can Be Turned

August 25, 2003

The Blaster worm and SoBig virus give the computer community the largest threat so far. Some fear a terrorist attack would have added ammunition if it were coupled with a vicious computer attack.

This, From That

May 13, 2008

A new report from the Institute for the Future argues that do-it-yourself “makers” could force enormous changes in the ways that goods and services are designed and manufactured.

The renewed urge to tinker, along with flexible manufacturing technologies, could shift production from big companies and stores to communities of makers and consumers.

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