science + technology news

Space-based solar farms power up

February 28, 2013

spsalpha-concept

Space-based solar power (SBSP) has once again begun to attract attention with projects emerging in the US, Russia, China, India and Japan, among others. All are driven by increasing energy demands, soaring oil and gas prices, a desire to find clean alternatives to fossil fuels and by a burgeoning commercial space industry that promises to lower the cost of entry into space and spur on a host of new industries,… read more

New rechargeable flow battery enables cheaper, large-scale energy storage

Design may support widespread use of solar and wind energy
August 20, 2013

(credit:

MIT researchers have engineered a new rechargeable flow battery that doesn’t rely on expensive membranes to generate and store electricity. The device, they say, may one day enable cheaper, large-scale energy storage.

The palm-sized prototype generates three times as much power per square centimeter as other membraneless systems — a power density that is an order of magnitude higher than that of many lithium-ion batteries… read more

Disturbing video depicts near-future ubiquitous lethal autonomous weapons

The technology described in the film already exists, says UC Berkeley AI researcher Stuart Russell
November 18, 2017

slaughterbots

Campaign to Stop Killer Robots | Slaughterbots

In response to growing concerns about autonomous weapons, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a coalition of AI researchers and advocacy organizations, has released a fictional video that depicts a disturbing future in which lethal autonomous weapons have become cheap and ubiquitous worldwide.

UC Berkeley AI researcher Stuart Russell presented the video at the United Nations Convention onread more

Migrant workers in China face competition from robots

July 20, 2012

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The International Federation of Robotics tracked a 50 percent jump in purchases of advanced industrial robots by Chinese manufacturers in 2011, to 22,600 units, and now predicts that China will surpass Japan as the world’s largest market in two years, Technology Review reports.

Foxconn, said last July that the Taiwan-based manufacturing giant would add up to one million industrial robots to its assembly lines inside of three years.

The… read more

Cell-phone-radiation study finds associated brain and heart tumors in rodents

May 27, 2016

Glioma in rat brain (credit: Samuel Samnick et al./European Journal of Nuclear Medicine)

A series of studies over two years with rodents exposed to radio frequency radiation (RFR) found low incidences of malignant gliomas (tumors of glial support cells) in the brain and schwannoma tumors in the heart.*

The studies were performed under the auspices of the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP).

Potentially preneoplastic (pre-cancer) lesions were also observed in the brain and heart of male rats… read more

Giant space telescope could image objects at far higher resolution than Hubble

Could image space objects like black hole “event horizons” or view rabbit-size objects on Earth
January 27, 2015

A new orbiting telescope concept developed at CU-Boulder could allow scientists to image objects in space or on Earth at hundreds of times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope. (credit: NASA)

University of Colorado Boulder researchers plan to update NASA officials this week on a revolutionary space telescope concept selected by the agency for study last June that could provide images up to 1,000 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.

CU-Boulder Professor Webster Cash said the instrument package would consist of an orbiting space telescope with an opaque disk in front… read more

Are you elderly and having memory or concentration problems?

November 7, 2012

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They might be caused by common medications used to treat insomnia, anxiety, itching or allergies, according to Dr. Cara Tannenbaum, Research Chair at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM, Montreal Geriatric University Institute) and Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Montreal (UdeM).

Up to 90 percent of people over the age of 65 take at least one prescription medication. Eighteen… read more

Kim Suozzi cryopreserved January 17 at Alcor

by Shannon Vyff
January 19, 2013

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Kim Suozzi, diagnosed at age 21 with brain cancer while studying neuroscience at college, passed away Thursday, January 17, 2013 at age 23.

The Society for Venturism, a cryonics advocacy and support group, started a charity fund for her cryonic suspension in August of 2012 and through an overwhelming amount of support from the extreme life extension community, enough funds were raised for her to be cryopreserved with Alcor.… read more

New antimicrobial peptide kills strains resistant to existing antibiotics

Resistant strains of E. coli and Staph finally meet their match
November 4, 2016

scanning electron micrograph (SEM) shows a strain of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria taken from a vancomycin intermediate resistant culture (credit: CDC)

A team of researchers at MIT, the University of Brasilia, and the University of British Columbia has engineered an antimicrobial peptide to wipe out many types of bacteria, including some that are resistant to most antibiotics.

A recent study from a U.K. commission on antimicrobial resistance estimated that by 2050, antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections will kill 10 million people per year if no new drugs are developed.

Learningread more

Elon Musk’s Los Angeles tunnel-boring machine plan revealed

... and a coast-to-coast Hyperloop connection
May 1, 2017

Musk's plan for a tunnels under Los Angeles (credit: The Boring Company)

Things happen fast with Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and CEO/CTO of SpaceX. It starts December 17, 2016 when he’s stuck in Los Angeles traffic:

On February 3, Musk reveals he has already begun digging a “demo tunnel” in the SpaceX parking lot, Bloomberg reports.

Bloomberg also reports that Musk plans to build an underground network that “includes as many as 30 levels… read more

Limb regeneration: do salamanders hold the key?

June 24, 2014

Salamander (credit: UCL)

The secret of how salamanders successfully regrow body parts is being unravelled by University College London (UCL) researchers in a bid to apply it to humans.

For the first time, researchers have found that the “ERK pathway” must be constantly active for salamander cells to be reprogrammed, and hence able to contribute to the regeneration of different body parts.

The team identified a key… read more

FBI launches face recognition project

The Next Generation Identification program will include a nationwide database of criminal faces and other biometric data
September 10, 2012

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As part of an update to the national fingerprint database, the FBI has begun rolling out facial recognition to identify criminals, New Scientist reports.

It will form part of the bureau’s long-awaited, $1 billion Next Generation Identification (NGI) program, which will also add biometrics such as iris scans, DNA analysis, and voice identification to the toolkit. A handful of states began uploading their photos as… read more

Moore’s Law threatened by lithography woes

October 9, 2012

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Moore’s Law is losing steam due to delayed introduction of next-generation extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV), said experts at the 2012 International Symposium on Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography, EE Times reports.

EUV systems need light sources that are nearly 20 times more powerful than the ones used today to lay down patterns on next-generation chips that target sizes as small as 14 nm. Lithography experts said that… read more

Why Google’s self-driving car may save lives — if all cars are computer-driven

May 11, 2012

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The technology behind Google’s self-driving car represents a potential leap forward in auto safety.

More than 30,000 people are killed each year in crashes despite huge advances in auto safety. The overwhelming majority of those crashes are caused by human-driver error.

Computer driven cars could reduce traffic deaths by a very significant degree, said David Champion, head of auto testing at Consumer Reports, but only if all cars are… read more

How teachers’ myths about the brain are hampering teaching

October 17, 2014

Photographs of the left and right midsagittal sections of Einstein’s brain with original labels (Falk et al., 2013), reproduced here with permission from the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Silver Spring, MD. The red circles indicate two breaches on each<br />
hemisphere of Einstein’s corpus callosum that have different shapes, which may have been introduced when the two hemispheres were<br />
separated in 1955.

Teachers in the UK, Holland, Turkey, Greece and China were presented with seven “neuromyths” and asked whether they believe them to be true.

A quarter or more of teachers in the UK and Turkey believe a student’s brain would shrink if they drank less than six to eight glasses of water a day, while around half or more of those surveyed believe a student’s brain is only 10 per… read more

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