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Modern science map

September 1, 2010


Crispian Jago has developed a draft timeline (based on an original London underground map) showing the last 500 years of science, reason and critical thinking “to celebrate the achievements of the scientific method through the age of reason, the enlightenment and modernity.”

Some of the lines are still sketchy, such as the one for Mathematics and Computing. Jago welcomes comments. – Ed

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Invention: Personal life mapper

November 24, 2008

University of Massachusetts researchers have patented “personal information maps” that cluster related documents and information, and superimpose the results on relevant background images or 3D objects in a manner akin to how our minds store and organize information.

Practical Nanowire Devices

May 31, 2007

Researchers at Harvard University and the University of Hawaii have developed an easy way to align nanowires and carbon nanotubes over areas 100 times larger than is possible using existing methods. The researchers are also able to fabricate the nanowires on a number of different surfaces. The advance potentially paves the way to mass production of electronics devices based on these promising nanostructures.

Alien Contact More Likely by ‘Mail’ Than Radio, Study Says

September 2, 2004

A new study suggests it is more energy-efficient to communicate across interstellar space by sending physical material than beams of electromagnetic radiation.

Beams of radiation are cone-shaped and grow in size as they travel outward, meaning the great majority of their energy is wasted.

A far more energy-efficient — although slower — way of communicating over great interstellar distances is to send a physical object, which can hold… read more

Study identifies ‘traffic engineer’ in neurons

September 9, 2010

These mammalian cells were labeled with an antibody that reveals microtubules. A critical enzyme keeps traffic flowing in the right direction in the microtubules of nervous system cells. (Dorota Wloga/University of Georgia)

A new University of Georgia study published in the journal Nature has identified a critical enzyme that keeps traffic flowing in the right direction in the nervous system, and the finding could eventually lead to new treatments for conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Cells contain a network of tubes known as microtubules that are made of protein and serve as tracks for the shuttling… read more

Heart disease ‘reversed in mice’

December 3, 2008

US and German scientists have halted the advance of heart disease in mice, and even reversed some of its effects, by blocking a genetic material called microRNA, showing it can play a key role in the development of heart disease.

Second Life, or Not?

June 8, 2007

An activist group is raising a ruckus about what it says may be the first effort to patent an entirely synthetic free-living organism. It says the patent application, filed by maverick genome sequencer Craig Venter’s institute on an idea that has likely not yet been achieved, would tie up new technology and could aid bioterrorists. But others say there’s nothing new or surprising about the patenting effort.

The work… read more

Step Toward Universal Computing

September 13, 2004

Transitive Corp. of Los Gatos, California claims to have cracked one of most elusive goals of the software industry: a near-universal emulator (called QuickTransit) that allows software developed for one platform to run on any other, with almost no performance hit.

Home’s electrical wiring acts as antenna to receive low-power sensor data

September 16, 2010

SNUPI sensor (Gabe Cohn)

Sensors developed by researchers at the University of Washington and the Georgia Institute of Technology use residential wiring to transmit information to and from almost anywhere in the home, allowing for wireless sensors that run for decades on a single watch battery. The technology could be used in home automation or medical monitoring.

Low-cost sensors recording a building’s temperature, humidity, light level or air quality are central to the… read more

Video: Jumping rolling robot avoids all obstacles

December 9, 2008

A new robot design from University of Bath allows it to either jump or roll over obstacles, making it useful for space exploration.


First map of core white-matter connections of human brain developed at USC

May help better address clinical challenges such as traumatic brain injury
February 12, 2014


USC neuroscientists have systematically created the first map of the core white-matter “scaffold” (connections) of the human brain — the critical communications network that supports brain function.

Their work, published Feb. 11 in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, has major implications for understanding brain injury and disease, the researchers say.

By detailing the connections that have the greatest influence over all other connections, the researchers offer… read more

Bones could allow data swaps via handshake

June 18, 2007

Rice University researchers want to use the human skeleton to transmit commands reliably and securely to wearable gadgets and medical implants, using frequency-shift-keyed, low-power acoustic signals.

Glial cells supply axon nerve fibers with energy, researchers find

May 14, 2012

Electron microscope cross-section image of the nerve fibres (axons) of the optic nerve. Axons are surrounded by special glial cells, the oligodendrocytes, wrapping themselves around the axons in several layers. Between the axons, there are extensions of astrocytes, another type of glial cells

Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine researchers have discovered a possible mechanisms by which glial cells in the brain support axons and keep them alive.

Oligodendrocytes are a group of highly specialized glial cells in the central nervous system. They form the fat-rich myelin sheath that surrounds the nerve fibers as an insulating layer increases the transmission speed of the axons and also reduces ongoing… read more

Researchers Create Nanotubes That Change Colors, Form ‘Nanocarpet’ and Kill Bacteria

September 27, 2004

University of Pittsburgh researchers have synthesized a simple molecule that produces perfectly uniform, self-assembled nanotubes which organize themselves into a “nanocarpet” of upright clusters resembling a carpet (including a self-assembled backing) and can act as a bacterial biosensor or biocide.

These nanotubes can change color in the presence of chemical agents. In tests with E. coli the nanotubes changed color when the bacteria were present. The tubes also killed… read more

How Flexible Solar Panels Could Make Solar Power Competitive

September 24, 2010

The cost of making and installing thin and flexible solar cells can be less than a dollar a watt, low enough to compete generally with fossil fuels, says Cal Tech professor Harry Atwater.

Two ways  to use high-efficiency solar cell materials in flexible cells, he suggests: deposit gallium arsenide on a rigid surface, then peel it off to make a flexible solar cell; and grow crystalline… read more

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