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Would you pay $68,000 to unlock the secrets of your genetic code?

May 1, 2009

Bidding kicked off last week at $68,000 on a 10-day eBay auction whose prize includes personal genome sequencing, analysis, and interpretation services provided by Cambridge, Mass.-based genetics firm Knome, Inc.

The auction’s winner also participates in a roundtable discussion with Knome’s geneticists, clinicians and bioinformaticians to review the winner’s sequence data, and a private dinner with George Church, co-Founder and Knome’s chief scientific advisor.

The auction is intended… read more

Would you have allowed Bill Gates to be born?

June 1, 2005

There is a good chance we will soon have a genetic test for detecting the risk of autism in an embryo or fetus.

The development of such a screening tool raises the possibility that parents might one day have the option of preventing the birth of a child with even a mild form of the disorder.

As genetic testing moves into the world of mental health, we are… read more

Would you give up your immortality to ensure the success of a posthuman world?

July 30, 2007

On Wednesday at TransVision 2007, Marvin Minsky puckishly suggested we could solve any population problem by uploading the minds of 10 billion people and running them on a computer that occupies a few cubic meters and costs only a few hundred dollars to run.

Ray Kurzweil claimed that longevity trends are accelerating so fast that the life expectancy will increase more than one year for each year… read more

Would you eat ‘eco-friendly’ meat created from stem cells?

May 23, 2014

cells to food

In a paper in the Cell Press journal Trends in Biotechnology, Cor van der Weele of Wageningen University in The Netherlands and coauthor Johannes Tramper describe a potential meat manufacturing process, starting with a vial of cells taken from a cell bank and ending with a pressed cake of minced meat.

Cor van der Weele  point out that the rising demand for meat around the world is… read more

Would You Buy a Car From a Robot?

December 12, 2002

Honda is using its Asimo walking-talking robot as a promotional tool, reciting information about cars in showrooms and appearing in commercials and at events.

Asimo uses the visual information from a camera to recognize ten different preprogrammed faces, follows movements, and takes direction for its movements.

Worse Than Gray Goo

February 24, 2004

“If we ever get to the point where script kiddies can release dangerous gray goo, we’re probably doomed –since it’ll surely be harder to stop goo than to stop slow-moving, slow-thinking meat robots from pushing the wrong buttons, says Center for Responsible Nanotechnology Director of Research Chris Phoenix.

“But we will have much more severe dangers to deal with before that point. Like nano-arms races with weapons much more… read more

Wormhole ‘no use’ for time travel

May 24, 2005

A new study by Stephen Hsu and Roman Buniy of the University of Oregon says the idea of building a traversable wormhole may be fundamentally unstable.

However, they also assert that “semi-classical” wormholes — in which the space-time “tube” shows only weak deviations from the laws of classical physics — are the most desirable type for time travel because they potentially allow travellers to predict where and when they… read more

Worm-inspired robot crawls through intestines

June 7, 2006

A robot designed to crawl through the human gut by mimicking the wriggling motion of an undersea worm could one day help doctors diagnose disease by carrying tiny cameras through patients’ bodies.

Worm research in life extension leads scientists to discover new metric to track aging

Living longer usually means a living longer in old age, but wouldn't it better to extend young adulthood instead?
December 10, 2015

C. elegans nematode worm (credit: The Goldstein Lab)

When researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in California administered an antidepressant called mianserin to the Caenorhabditis elegans roundworm in 2007, they discovered the drug increased the lifespan of the “young adulthood” of roundworms by 30–40 per cent.

So, does that mean it will work in humans? Not necessarily. “There are millions of years of evolution between worms and humans,” says TSRI researcher Michael… read more

Worm mind control

Using precisely-targeted lasers, researchers manipulate neurons in worms' brains and take control of their behavior
September 25, 2012


In the quest to understand how the brain turns sensory input into behavior, scientists have crossed a major threshold.

Using precisely-targeted lasers, Harvard researchers have taken over an animal’s brain, instructing miniature nematode worms Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) to turn in any direction they choose by manipulating neurons in the worms’ “brain.”

They even implanted false sensory information, fooling the animal into thinking food was nearby.… read more

Worm Infects Millions of Computers Worldwide

January 23, 2009

A new digital plague has hit the Internet, known as Conficker or Downadup, infecting millions of personal and business Windows-based computers in what seems to be the first step of an unknown multistage attack.

Experts say it is the worst infection since the Slammer worm exploded through the Internet in January 2003, and it may have infected as many as nine million personal computers around the world.

Worm ‘EEG’ tests neural effects of drugs

May 24, 2013

C. elegans nematode worm (credit: The Goldstein Lab)

Scientists from the University of Southampton have developed a microfluidic electrophysiological device called a NeuroChip that records the neural activity in the microscopic worm Caenorhadbitis elegans  (C. elegans) — the worm equivalent of an EEG —.to help test the effects of drugs.

How to record a worm’s ‘EEG’

With the NeuroChip, you feed the  worm into a narrow, fluid-filled channel that tapers at… read more

World’s thinnest piezoelectricity generator

Could lead to wearable electronic devices based on MoS2 that are transparent, extremely light, and very bendable and stretchable
October 16, 2014

Positive and negative polarized charges are squeezed from a single layer of atoms, as it is being stretched. (Credit: Lei Wang / Columbia Engineering)

Researchers from Columbia Engineering and Georgia Institute of Technology reported Wednesday (Oct. 15) that they have made the first experimental observation of piezoelectricity (generation of electricity from mechanical stress) and the piezotronic effect (using piezoelectricity as a semiconductor gate to control current flow in a device) in an atomically thin material, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) — potentially resulting in devices that are optically transparent, extremely… read more

World’s smallest, fastest nanomotor

They could one day move through the body at high speed to deliver drugs to target cells
May 21, 2014

Nanomotor drug delivery. After coating the nanomotor with biochemicals, the researchers were able to control the speed and rate of drug delivery to a cell in the lab. (Credit: Cockrell School of Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin)

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have built the “smallest, fastest, and longest-running” nanomotor  to date — an important step toward developing miniature machines that could one day move through the body to deliver drugs such as insulin for diabetics when needed, or target and treat cancer cells without harming good cells, the scientists say.

Led by Cockrell School of Engineering mechanical engineering assistant… read more

World’s smallest electronic diode made from single DNA molecule

Electronic components 1,000 times smaller than with silicon may be possible
April 6, 2016

DNA diode ft

Nanoscale electronic components can be made from single DNA molecules, as researchers at the University of Georgia and at Ben-Gurion University in Israel have demonstrated, using a single molecule of DNA to create the world’s smallest diode.

A diode is a component vital to electronic devices that allows current to flow in one direction but prevents its flow in the other direction.… read more

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