science + technology news

Wi-Fi at the Speed of Light

February 11, 2010

Penn State researchers have built an experimental wireless network that uses reflected low-power infrared light instead of radio waves to transmit data through the air at one gigabit per second — 14 times faster than the fastest Wi-Fi network and the highest speed that’s been demonstrated for an indoor wireless optical network.

Such optical networks could provide faster, more secure communications for broadcasting high-definition TV channels between rooms, and… read more

Why ‘white graphene’ structures are cool

July 16, 2015

A 3-D structure of hexagonal boron nitride sheets and boron nitride nanotubes could be a tunable material to control heat in electronics, according to researchers at Rice University. (credit: Shahsavari Group/Rice University)


Three-dimensional structures of boron nitride are a viable candidate as a tunable material to keep electronics cool, according to scientists at Rice University researchers Rouzbeh Shahsavari and Navid Sakhavand.

Their work appears this month in the American Chemical Society journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.

In its two-dimensional form, hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), aka white graphene, looks just… read more

Why you’re smarter than a chicken

August 21, 2015

(credit: Johnathan Nightingale via Flickr)

A single molecular event in a protein called PTBP1 in our cells could hold the key to how we evolved to become the smartest animal on the planet, University of Toronto researchers have discovered.

The conundrum: Humans and frogs, for example, have been evolving separately for 350 million years and use a remarkably similar repertoire of genes to build organs in the body. So what… read more

Why your memory is like the telephone game

Each time you recall an event, your brain distorts it
September 21, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Remember the telephone game where people take turns whispering a message into the ear of the next person in line? By the time the last person speaks it out loud, the message has radically changed. It’s been altered with each retelling.

Turns out your memory is a lot like that, according to a new Northwestern University Medicine study.

Every time you remember an event from the… read more

Why your immune system may control your social behavior

Implications for autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia
July 15, 2016

normal-brain-activity-ft

In a discovery that raises fundamental questions about human behavior, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have found that the immune system directly affects — and even controls — our social behavior, such as our desire to interact with others. That finding could have significant implications for neurological diseases such as autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia, the researchers suggest.

“The brain and the adaptive immune… read more

Why your hospital may be unable to prevent spread of Ebola

October 17, 2014

Ebola particle (credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

Challenging reassurances by CDC director Tom Frieden, M.D. Thursday in congressional testimony, a group of infectious disease experts has suggested that conventional U.S. medical centers are unprepared and ill equipped to manage Ebola, in an open-access article published Thursday in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The authors recommend that a national network of specialized containment and treatment facilities tied to biosafety level-4 laboratories or airport… read more

Why you should root for college to go online

September 27, 2011

Forward-looking universities are developing their own sophisticated online education capabilities. MIT with its OpenCourseWare initiative, and Cornell with its profitable e-Cornell subsidiary are two of the most visible examples. Apollo Group, parent company of the University of Phoenix, recently acquired Carnegie Learning, a provider of computer-based math tutorials.

Students will spend less time in the classroom, in favor of learning through personalized tutorials such as those produced by Carnegie… read more

Why you should go with your gut feeling

August 28, 2008

Our brains are capable of picking up subliminal signals in making decisions, University College London researchers have found.

Why you should go paperless in 2013

January 3, 2013

573px-Tablet

Are you still printing things out? Really?

Amazingly, the average office worker still uses about 10,000 sheets of paper per year, the EPA says.

To make a new push for a really paperless office, the “Paperless Coalition,” which includes Google Drive, HelloFax, Manilla, HelloSign, Expensify, Xero and Fujitsu ScanSnap, has launched a… read more

Why you should eat 10 portions of fruit or vegetables a day

February 24, 2017

image credit | iStock

Eating 800 grams a day (about ten portions*) of fruit or vegetables could reduce your chance of heart attack, stroke, cancer, and early death, scientists from Imperial College London conclude from a meta-analysis of 95 studies on fruit and vegetable intake.

The study, published in an open-access paper in the International Journal of Epidemiology, included 2 million people worldwide and assessed up to 43,000 cases… read more

Why wind — and soon solar — are already cheaper than fossil fuels

August 24, 2015

Cost of energy from renewables expected to fall drastically over the next years (credit: Citigroup)

Citigroup has published an analysis of the costs of various energy sources called “Energy Darwinism II.” It concludes that if all the costs of generation are included (known as the levelized cost of energy), renewables turn out to be cheaper than fossil fuels and a “benefit rather than a cost to society,” RenewEconomy reports.

“Capital costs are often cited by the promoters of fossil fuels as… read more

Why we overeat as we age

August 22, 2008

A Monash University scientist has discovered that key appetite control cells in the human brain — POMC neurons — degenerate over time, causing increased hunger and potentially weight gain as we grow older.

POMC neurons are attacked by free radicals after eating, especially after meals rich in carbohydrates and sugars. People aged 25 to 50 are most at risk.

Source: Monash University news release

Why we need a supercomputer on the Moon

October 3, 2012

lunar_supercomputer

Building a supercomputer on the moon would be a mammoth technical undertaking, but a University of Southern California graduate student thinks there’s a very good reason for doing it: help alleviate a coming deep-space network traffic jam that’s had NASA scientists worried for several years now.

Ouliang Chang floated his lunar supercomputer idea a few weeks ago at a space conference in Pasadena, California, read more

Why We Must Flee the Planet: The Geometry of Earth is All Wrong

July 1, 2006

Our planetary home is the wrong shape, says SETI Institute’s Seth Shostak. A sphere has less surface area than any other form of the same volume.

Gerald O’Neill’s proposed mammoth, rotating aluminum cylinders in orbit have a very low tonnage-to-terran ratio. Rather than crowding a few billion people onto the moon, for example, where residents will have to contend with such domestic inconveniences as no air, no water, and… read more

Why We Die, Why We Live: A New Theory on Aging

July 21, 2003

A new theory of aging based on parental care explains why mortality is high among infants but rapidly drops: mutations that cause death late in childhood, when much has been invested, are removed more quickly from a population than are mutations that cause death in infancy. The theory can also explain the reduction of mortality after menopause: women care for children and contribute to their survival.

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