science + technology news

Structure deep within the brain may contribute to a rich, varied social life

December 27, 2010

Scientists have discovered that the amygdala, a small almond shaped structure deep within the temporal lobe, is important to a rich and varied social life among humans. The finding was published this week in a new study in Nature Neuroscience and is similar to previous findings in other primate species, which compared the size and complexity of social groups across those species.

“We know that primates who live in… read more

Structure of key control element behind protein misfolding identified

March 1, 2012

Berkeley Lab researchers at the Advanced Light Source have discovered a nucleotide-sensing loop that synchronizes conformational changes in the three domains of group II chaperonin for the proper folding of other proteins (credit: Berkeley Lab)

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have determined the crystal structure of a critical control element within chaperonin, the protein complex responsible for the correct folding of other proteins, using the exceptionally bright and powerful x-ray beams of the Advanced Light Source.

Proteins are able to fold themselves into a dazzling multitude of shapes and forms that… read more

Stuck Pig

July 14, 2006

Gryonic suspension may be just a few years away from clinical trials on humans, based on successful suspended animation with hundreds of pigs for an hour at a time.

Student challenges basic ideas of time

August 1, 2003

A bold paper that been published in the August issue of Foundations of Physics Letters seems set to change the way we think about the nature of time and its relationship to motion and classical and quantum mechanics. The work also appears to provide solutions to Zeno’s paradoxes.

In the paper, “Time and Classical and Quantum Mechanics: Indeterminacy vs. Discontinuity”, Peter Lynds argues that “There’s no such thing as… read more

Student engineers design, build, fly ‘printed’ airplane

October 23, 2012


The MITRE Corporation hired two University of Virginia engineeering students to build an unmanned aerial vehicle, using 3D printing technology, part of a Department of the Army project to study the feasibility of using such planes.

The result was a plane with a 6.5-foot wingspan, made from assembled “printed” parts.  It achieved a cruising speed of 45 mph and is only the third 3D-printed plane known to… read more

Students’ cellphone screening device for anemia wins $250,000 prize

Low-cost system could save thousands of women and children from anemia-related deaths and disabilities
July 26, 2012

This conceptual image illustrates how the HemoGlobe device would connect with a health worker's cellphone (credit: )

A noninvasive way to identify women with anemia, a dangerous blood disorder, in developing nations has been developed by Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering undergraduates.

The device, HemoGlobe, is designed to convert  existing cell phones of health workers into a “prick-free” system for detecting and reporting anemia at the community level.

The device’s sensor, placed on a patient’s fingertip, shines different wavelengths of light through the skin to… read more

Students Develop Device to Help Blind Maneuver

June 7, 2010

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev students have developed an innovative optical system that helps blind people maneuver around obstacles and frees up their hands.

The system incorporates a computer, two video cameras and a scanning light source to warn the blind of obstacles with audible alerts. The system detects obstacles — even those overhead — by scanning the depth of its surroundings, taken from two different angles — similar… read more

Students Hope BioBeer Can Fight Disease

November 10, 2008

Rice University students are developing “BioBeer” brewed using yeast genetically modified to produce resveratrol, a naturally occurring compound found in red wine and a few other foods that has been shown to have cancer-fighting and cardiovascular benefits in mice.

Students tackle rescue robot ‘war game’

August 14, 2002

Students gathered Monday around a cardboard mockup of Washington’s train station to try their hand at using robots to search for and assist terrorism victims in the aftermath of an explosion.

Students, Meet Your New Teacher, Mr. Robot

July 12, 2010

Computer scientists are developing highly programmed machines that can engage people and teach them simple skills, including household tasks, vocabulary or, as in the case of the boy, playing, elementary imitation and taking turns.

The most advanced models are fully autonomous, guided by artificial intelligence software like motion tracking and speech recognition, which can make them just engaging enough to rival humans at some teaching tasks.

Researchers say… read more

Studies link meditation, support, and Tai Chi practices with healing for breast-cancer survivors

November 4, 2014

Tai Chi (credit: Anita Ritenour, CC)

Two recent studies suggest that meditation, support groups, and Tai Chi are associated with healing for breast cancer survivors.

Canadian researchers found that practicing mindfulness meditation or being involved in a support group has “a positive physical impact” at the cellular level in breast cancer survivors.

The researchers, at Alberta Health Services’ Tom Baker Cancer Centre and the University of Calgary Department of Oncology,… read more

Studies of gene regulation in brain development may lead to new treatment of mental disorders

December 4, 2012


A team of researchers at the University of California, San Diego and the Institut Pasteur, Paris has come up with a novel way to describe brain development.

The findings could lead to new drug designs for mental disorders such as autism-spectrum disorders (ASD) and schizophrenia.

In the paper, the researchers identified the hierarchical tree of two types of gene networks that determine the… read more

Studies Report Inducing Out-of-Body Experience

August 24, 2007

Using virtual-reality goggles, a camera and a stick, scientists have induced out-of-body experiences — the sensation of drifting outside of one’s own body — in ordinary, healthy people, according to studies being published today in the journal Science.

The research reveals that “the sense of having a body, of being in a bodily self,” is actually constructed from multiple sensory streams, which include vision, touch, balance and the sense… read more

Studio evolves from ‘Ice Age’ to ‘Robots’

June 10, 2003

20th Century Fox is planning to release the animated film Robots, due out in March 2005. It features a universe completely inhabited by mechanical people.

Study builds on plausible scenario for origin of life on Earth

August 15, 2011

The natural enantiomer of the RNA precursor molecules formed a crystal structure visible to the naked eye (credit: Jason Hein)

A relatively simple combination of naturally occurring sugars and amino acids formed on Earth before any life existed offers a plausible route to RNA, researchers at the University of California, Merced, have found.

Biological molecules, such as RNA and proteins, can exist as enantiomers. Enantiomers are two molecules that are identical except for the three dimensional arrangement of the atoms that make it up. One of the best… read more

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