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Merging Man and Machine to Reach the Stars

March 31, 2008

“Robots in Space” (2008, The Johns Hopkins University Press) looks at competing visions for robotic vs. human space exploration and concludes that neither will get far beyond the solar system without one another.

Perhaps the only thing that can inspire fresh zeal for space exploration comes from finding new Earth-like planets around other stars, according to authors Roger Launius and Howard McCurdy.

However, humans and robots can’t even… read more

Diagnostic method based on gold nanoparticles could rival PCR

April 28, 2004

Northwestern University chemists have developed ultra-sensitive technology based on gold nanoparticles and DNA that is easier to use, considerably faster, more accurate, and less expensive than PCR, making it a leading candidate for use in point-of-care diagnostics.

The method, called bio-bar-code amplification (BCA), can test a small sample and quickly deliver an accurate result. BCA also can scan a sample for many different disease targets simultaneously.

The team… read more

Bubble-powered microrockets that zoom through your stomach

February 9, 2012


Department of Nanoengineering, University of California, San Diego scientists have developed a “microrocket” that can propel itself through acidic environments, such as the human stomach, without any external energy source, opening new medical and industrial applications.

Joseph Wang and colleagues explain that self-propelled nano- or microscale motors could have applications in targeted drug delivery or imaging in humans ,or as a way to monitor industrial applications, such… read more

Cracking The Brain’s Numerical Code: Researchers Can Tell What Number A Person Has Seen

September 25, 2009

By carefully observing and analyzing the pattern of activity in the brain, researchers have found that they can tell what number a person has just seen, or how many dots a person has been presented with.

These findings confirm the notion that numbers are encoded in the brain via detailed and specific activity patterns.

Yacht voyage yields array of new genes

March 14, 2007

A yacht voyage that genome pioneer Craig Venter took around the world has turned up a startling array of new genes and new gene families.

They have found genes that help microbes use the sun’s energy in new ways, genes that help them use nitrogen, and genes that protect organisms from ultraviolet light, and have identified more than 6 million new proteins.

How to Find Other “Earths”

April 3, 2008
(Chih-Hao Li, Center for Astrophysics)

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics researchers have adapted a laser technology to discern the faint gravitational influence that Earth-like planet revolving around a Sun-like star exert on their home stars’ light output, based on the induced wobble.

Their system increases the precision of spectrographs–optics used to analyze light from distant stars.

To date, astronomers have discovered nearly 300 planets, called exoplanets, outside our own solar system.

The Bionic Running Shoe

May 7, 2004

Adidas is developing the runnning shoe that adjusts in real time to changing conditions and the runner’s particular style while in use.

Each second, a sensor in the heel can take up to 20,000 readings and the embedded electronic brain can make 10,000 calculations, directing a tiny electric motor to optimize the shoe’s cushioning compression to minimize impacts on the knee.

The Pentagon as Silicon Valley’s incubator

August 29, 2013


In the last year, former Department of Defense and intelligence agency operatives have headed to Silicon Valley to create technology start-ups specializing in tools aimed at thwarting online threats, The New York Times reports.

In 2012, more than $1 billion in venture financing poured into security start-ups.

Two of the start-ups are Synack and Morta Security, both founded by persons formerly connected… read more

Scientists Develop Nasal Spray That Improves Memory

October 2, 2009

A molecule from the body’s immune system (interleukin-6) administered through the nose helps the brain retain emotional and procedural memories during REM sleep, researchers from University of Lubeck in Germany have found.

Map of relationships among scientific paradigms

March 21, 2007

A map of relationships among scientific paradigms has been constructed based on roughly 800,000 published papers sorted into 776 different scientific paradigms, based on how often the papers were cited together by authors of other papers.

Identical Twins’ Genes Are Not Identical

April 7, 2008

University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have found that twins’ DNA can differ due to copy number variants (different number of copies of the same gene).

These differences in identical twins can be used to identify genetic regions and genes that coincide with specific diseases due to copy number changes.

Differences between identical twins increase as they age through environmentally triggered changes, but this study suggests twins can… read more

FCC proposes that unused TV spectrum goes to wireless

May 17, 2004

The FCC has proposed that wireless devices and wireless broadband providers be able to operate in unused bands of broadcast television spectrum.

To ensure this doesn’t cause interference, the FCC proposed to require unlicensed devices to incorporate “smart radio” features that detect used spectrum.

Novel Polymer Delivers Genetic Medicine, Allows Tracking

October 8, 2009

(Joshua Bryson)

Novel polymeric beacons capable of delivering plasmid DNA into mammalian cells, tracking delivery of genetic therapies, have been developed by Virginia Tech and University of Cincinnati researchers.

‘Chasing Life’ chapter 1, part 2: ‘Beginning the chase’

March 28, 2007

In a new book, “Chasing Life,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta travels the world to find methods of improving health and longevity, quoting Ray Kurzweil, who thinks scientific progress is advancing so quickly, we will all be able to live forever–if we can only make it a few more decades.

Carbon nanotubes made into conductive, flexible ‘stained glass’

April 10, 2008

Northwestern University researchers have used metallic nanotubes to make thin films that are semitransparent, highly conductive, flexible and come in a variety of colors, with an appearance similar to stained glass.

These results could lead to improved, lower-cost products such as flat-panel displays and solar cells.

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