science + technology news

New Way to Store Memory in Ferroelectric Nanodisks and Nanorods

December 9, 2004

University of Arkansas physicists have discovered a new phase in nanodisks and nanorods that may enable researchers to increase memory storage density.

The researchers studied ferroelectric materials at the nanometer scale. They found that the dipoles in nanomaterials form a new state when the temperature is lowered. Instead of polarization, the new phase creates a toroid moment, which rotates in a circular fashion like a vortex or a tornado.… read more

New ‘protopolymer’ chemical state found

December 8, 2004

A new “protopolymer” chemical state has been observed by Penn State researchers in chains of phenylene molecules on a crystalline copper surface at low temperature.

Protopolymers form when monomers align and interact without forming chemical bonds.

The existence of this bonding state could potentially have significant implications for supramolecular design. These intermolecular interactions could be used to place compounds together like a jigsaw puzzle into complex structures based… read more

Protein ‘key’ could aid search for cancer drugs

December 8, 2004

New research at Rice University is allowing biochemists to understand a key hierarchy of protein interactions that occurs in DNA replication.

It shows for the first time how a key cell regulatory protein called p21 “trumps” its rivals and shuts down cell division while DNA repairs take place.

In healthy cells, p21 binds strongly with Human Proliferating Cellular Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) to prevent the cells from making copies… read more

Video Feeds Follow Podcasting

December 8, 2004

With the success of podcasting — which lets anyone subscribe to and play back audio feeds on an iPod — the natural next step is technology that can do the same with video.

The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

December 8, 2004

There is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change, according to reports from several professional societies.

High school students win awards for nanotube, tomography projects

December 7, 2004

An invention that converts ocean wave energy into electricity and genetics research on breast cancer won top honors
in the 2004-05 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology.

Other finalists included a team project studying singled-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) sorting methods, and an individual studying non-contact noninvasive biological tissue imaging using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) sensors.

Siemens foundation

Siemens Westinghouse newsread more

Artificial cells take shape

December 7, 2004

Rockefeller University researchers have created synthetic cells — similar to bacteria — that cannot replicate or evolve but can churn out proteins for days.

These artificial protocells could be useful for drug production, as well as for advancing the quest to build artificial life from scratch.

When technology gets personal

December 7, 2004

In 2020 phones will be printed directly on to wrists, or other parts of the body, part of what’s known as a “pervasive ambient world” where “chips are everywhere” says Ian Pearson, BT’s (British Telecom’s) resident futurologist.

Researchers have developed computers and sensors worn in clothing. MP3 jackets, based on the idea that electrically conductive fabric can connect to keyboards sewn into sleeves, have already appeared in stores.… read more

Why aging reduces immune system function

December 7, 2004

Oregon Health & Science University scientists have found that human T cell diversity fades with age, potentially resulting in a higher susceptibility to disease.

In old age the population of CD8 T cells — cells that recognize and destroy abnormal or infected cells and suppress the activity of other white blood cells to protect normal tissue — is dominated by less effective T cells. This results in an immune… read more

Monkey embryos cloned for the first time

December 7, 2004

Monkey embryos have been successfully cloned for the first time, and embryonic stem cells have been extracted from them.

The success could have implications for human therapies as it means that stem cell researchers could one day test stem cell therapies in non-human primates before taking treatments into the clinic.

An Embryonic Stem Cell Road to Cardiac Cell Progenitors

December 6, 2004

Johns Hopkins Medical Institution researchers have demonstrated a system for deriving cardiac progenitor cells from embryonic stem cells through controlled differentiation.

The system is a step toward replenishing damaged cardiac tissue.

American Society for Cell Biology news release

Robotic Instrument Network Monitors Most of the Oceans

December 6, 2004

Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers have reached the half-way point in deploying an array of autonomous ocean-traveling robots to monitor and investigate changes in the world’s oceans.

1,500 of the 3,000 instruments in the Argo array are now operating. Researchers expect the full array to be deployed by 2007.

University of California at San Diego news release

Concentration hampers simple tasks

December 6, 2004

University of Cambridge researchers have used functional MRI brain imaging to show that thinking too hard about simple actions interferes with the learning process.

Scientists already knew that consciously trying too hard to learn can cause trouble. In this study, researchers watched the brain activity of people who were putting deliberate effort into mastering a challenge (they explicitly knew a pattern existed in the challenge) and compared it with… read more

Beating the lights

December 6, 2004

A researcher has shown that an adaptive system of traffic lights, each light sensing and responding only to local conditions, could self-organize into a system that is up to 30% more efficient than a non-adaptive traffic system.

The system of traffic lights would use low-cost traffic-flow sensors to adapt to changing traffic conditions, allowing it to find better switching sequences.

Cyber detective links up crimes

December 6, 2004

Computer scientists at DePaul University have developed an artificial intelligence system for crime solving that compares records for cases with all the files on past crimes, looking for telltale similarities in crime records and alerting detectives when it finds them.

The system uses pattern-recognition software to link related crimes that may have taken place in widely separated areas whose police forces may rarely be in close contact. The neural… read more

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