science + technology news

The island where people forget to die

October 26, 2012

Ikaria

For a decade, with support from the National Geographic Society, I’ve been organizing a study of the places where people live longest, Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zoneswrites in The New York Times.

The project grew out of studies by my partners, Dr. Gianni Pes of the University of Sassari in Italy and Dr. Michel Poulain, a Belgian demographer. In 2000, they identified a region of… read more

Revolutionary space engine turns an airplane into a spaceplane

July 1, 2013

skylon

A revolutionary engine that can turn an aircraft into an orbiting spaceplane has won fresh backing from the British Government.

The hybrid engine called Skylon (Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine) — is currently being developed by Reaction Engines, SEN reports.

Until now, spacecraft heading for orbit have had to be launched by conventional rockets because of the amount of fuel needed to be get them… read more

Is climate science ‘settled’?

"Rigidly promulgating the idea that climate science is 'settled' (or is a 'hoax') demeans and chills the scientific enterprise."
September 23, 2014

(Credit: iStock)

The claim that “climate science is settled,” which runs through today’s popular and policy discussions, is misguided, says computational physicist Steven E. Koonin*, Director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University, writing in The Wall Street Journal Friday.

“It has … distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment … and inhibited… read more

Bitcoin attracts major investors

May 24, 2013

bitcoin

Bitcoin is gaining traction outside its existing community of enthusiastic early adopters.

An estimated 1,100 people attended Bitcoin 2013, the first large conference dedicated to Bitcoin, MIT Technology Review reports. The conference also showed that Bitcoin has begun to attract the backing of conventional technology industry investors, who have sunk millions of dollars into a handful of Bitcoin startups.

In the Bitcoin system,… read more

New theory uncovers cancer’s deep evolutionary roots

Authors predict that if cancer cells are saturated with oxygen but deprived of sugar, it will slow them down or even even kill them
July 16, 2013

This typical four-week-old human embryo looks similar to fish embryos, with proto-gills and a tail.(credit: University of New South Wales)

A new way to look at cancer — by tracing its deep evolutionary roots to the dawn of multicellularity more than a billion years ago — has been proposed by Paul Davies of Arizona State University’s Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science in collaboration with Charles Lineweaver of the Australian National University.

If their theory is correct, it promises to transform the approach to… read more

Factory-grown meat is coming

February 29, 2012

Hamburger

Dr. Mark Post of Eindhoven University in the Netherlands hopes to produce meat in factoriesThe Economist reports.

He derives stem cells from cattle muscle,which are then multiplied a millionfold before they are put in Petri dishes and allowed to turn into muscle cells.

He plant to scale the process up by growing the cells on small spheres floating in tanks. Ultimately, he will use scaffolds made of… read more

Australian billionaire wants to build Jurassic Park-style resort

August 1, 2012

jurassic_park

Controversial billionaire Clive Palmer is rumored to be planning to clone a dinosaur from DNA so he can set it free in a Jurassic Park-style area at his new Palmer Resort in Coolum, Sunshine Coast Daily reports.

Palmer has apparently been in deep discussion with the people who successfully cloned Dolly the sheep to bring his dinosaur vision to life.

A spokesman said Palmer would hold a… read more

Low-cost self-driving cars expected by 2016

May 28, 2013

audi_mobileye

Mobileye Vision Technologies has created a self-driving system for an Audi A7 car, John Markoff writes in The New York Times.

It is capable only of driving in a single lane at freeway speeds, as well as identifying traffic lights and automatically slowing, stopping and then returning to highway speeds.

But by blending advanced computer-vision techniques with low-cost video cameras, the company is… read more

U.S. engineering schools to educate 20,000 students to meet grand challenges

March 25, 2015

(credit: National Academy of Engineering)

In a letter of commitment presented to President Barack Obama at the White House Science Fair Monday, more than 120 U.S. engineering schools announced plans to educate a new generation of engineers expressly equipped to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century.

These “Grand Challenges,” identified through initiatives such as the White House Strategy for American Innovation, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges… read more

The corrugated galaxy — Milky Way may be much larger than previously estimated

March 12, 2015

The Milky Way galaxy is at least 50 percent larger than is commonly estimated, according to new findings that reveal that the galactic disk is contoured into several concentric ripples. (Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

The Milky Way galaxy is at least 50 percent larger than is commonly estimated, according to new findings that reveal that the galactic disk is contoured into several concentric ripples.

The research, conducted by an international team led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Heidi Jo Newberg, revisits astronomical data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey which, in 2002, established the presence of a bulging ring of stars beyond the… read more

Ray Kurzweil talk at DEMO Oct. 2 to be streamed live

October 2, 2012

DEMO

Ray Kurzweil will speak Tuesday Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. PDT at the DEMO conference at the Hyatt Santa Clara in Santa Clara, California on “how we are making exponential gains in reverse-engineering the human brain, how these insights are going to fuel an AI revolution, and the impact of that revolution on business and society.”

The conference will be streamed live here through Oct. 3.

Kurzweil’s… read more

Impact of automation puts up to 85% of jobs in developing countries at risk

February 8, 2016

risk of jobs ... ft

A new report from the Oxford Martin School and Citi considers the risks of job automation to developing countries, estimated to range from 55% in Uzbekistan to 85% in Ethiopia — a substantial share in major emerging economies, including China and India (77% and 69% respectively).

The report, Technology at Work v2.0: The Future Is Not What It Used to Be, builds on 2013 research by Oxford Martin… read more

‘Diamonds from the sky’ approach to turn CO2 into valuable carbon nanofibers

Decreasing CO2 to pre-industrial-revolution levels is the goal
August 19, 2015

Researchers are generating carbon nanofibers (above) from CO2 , removing a greenhouse gas from the air to make products. (credit: Stuart Licht, Ph.D)

A research team of chemists at George Washington University has developed a technology that can economically convert atmospheric CO2 directly from the air into highly valued carbon nanofibers for industrial and consumer products — converting an anthropogenic greenhouse gas from a climate change problem to a valuable commodity, they say.

The team presented their research today (Aug. 19) at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of theread more

Serious Blow to Dark Matter Theories?

April 19, 2012

galactic_halo

The most accurate study so far of the motions of stars in the Milky Way has found no evidence for dark matter in a large volume around the Sun.

According to widely accepted theories, the solar neighborhood was expected to be filled with dark matter, a mysterious invisible substance that can only be detected indirectly by the gravitational force it exerts. But a new study by a team of… read more

Extending Einstein’s theory beyond light speed

October 11, 2012

Spacetime_curvature

University of Adelaide applied mathematicians have extended Einstein’s theory of special relativity to work beyond the speed of light.

Einstein’s theory holds that nothing could move faster than the speed of light, but Professor Jim Hill and Dr Barry Cox in the University’s School of Mathematical Sciences have developed new formulas that allow for travel beyond this limit.… read more

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