science + technology news

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

ngi_fbi

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

707px-Extreme_ultraviolet_lithography_tool

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

Autonomous taxis could be cheaper and improve the environment, says Berkeley Lab study

July 6, 2015

Self-driving car concept (credit: Google)

It’s the year 2030. A fleet of driverless taxis roams throughout your city, ready to pick you up and take you to your destination at a moment’s notice. As a result, greenhouse gases are now 63 to 82 percent lower than with a privately owned hybrid car and 90 percent lower than a 2014 gasoline-powered private vehicle. …

Those numbers are from a new study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory… read more

This Is how Dennis Tito plans to send people to Mars

February 28, 2013

Mars-Capsule_220213.m

If Dennis Tito has his way, two people will leave our planet in January 2018 and make a trip to Mars and back, with a quick flyby, SpaceRef reports.

The project is being spearheaded by a non-profit organization, the Inspiration Mars Foundation.

Tito’s mission will be facilitated by donors, not investors.

Tito and a group of coauthors from NASA and several aerospace companies… read more

2012 State of the Future

October 24, 2012

2012-stateofthefuture

“The world is getting richer, healthier, better educated, more peaceful, and better connected, and people are living longer; yet half the world is potentially unstable,” according to Jerome C. Glenn, CEO of The Millennium Project and co-author of the “2012 State of the Future,” an overview of our global situation, problems, solutions, and prospects for the future.

The 16th Annual Edition includes 145 pages and… read more

Pupil dilation reveals sexual orientation in new Cornell study

August 7, 2012

Blue Eye Macro

There is a popular belief that sexual orientation can be revealed by one’s pupil dilation when viewing attractive people, but there has been no scientific evidence.

Now Cornell University researchers have confirmed it in an experiment, using a specialized infrared lens to measure pupillary changes in participants watching erotic videos.

Pupils widened most to videos of people who participants found attractive, thereby revealing where they were on… read more

Bitcoin network speed 8 times faster than top 500 supercomputers combined

May 13, 2013

bitcoin

The mining speed of the bitcoin network on bitcoinwatch.com passed 1 exaFLOPS (1,000 petaFLOPS) this week — more than 8* times the combined speed of the Top 500 supercomputers, according to The Genesis Block.

(FLOPS stands for FLoating-point Operations Per Second, and is frequently used as a standard to measure computer speed.)

However, that calculation was based on 2011 supercomputer data and it’s not… read more

Mayo Clinic researchers extend lifespan by up to 35 percent in mice

February 3, 2016

Aged mice with and without senescent cell clearance (credit: Mayo Clinic)

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have discovered that senescent cells — cells that no longer divide and accumulate with age — shorten lifespan by as much as 35 percent in normal mice.

Removing these aging cells delays tumor formation, preserves tissue and organ function, and extends lifespan without observed adverse effects, the researchers found, writing Feb. 3 in Nature.

“Cellular senescence is a biological mechanism that functions as… read more

Memory capacity of brain is 10 times more than previously thought

The brain’s memory capacity is in the petabyte range, as much as the entire Web, data from the Salk Institute show; may lead to more energy-efficient computers
January 20, 2016

Salk scientists computationally reconstructed brain tissue in the hippocampus to study the sizes of connections (synapses). The larger the synapse, the more likely the neuron will send a signal to a neighboring neuron. The team found that there are actually 26 discrete sizes that can change over a span of a few minutes, meaning that the brain has a far great capacity at storing information than previously thought. Pictured here is a synapse between an axon (green) and dendrite (yellow). (credit: Salk Institute)

Salk researchers and collaborators have achieved critical insight into the size of neural connections, putting the memory capacity of the brain far higher than common estimates. The new work also answers a longstanding question as to how the brain is so energy efficient, and could help engineers build computers that are incredibly powerful but also conserve energy.

“This is a real bombshell in the field of neuroscience,” says … read more

China proposes space collaboration with India

November 4, 2012

Space solar power satellite (credit: SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc./Spaceworks Commercial)

The China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) proposed on Nov. 2 a joint collaboration for a space solar power mission with India and met with former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam.

“Kalam assured, certainly he will take up this interest to the Government of India and ISRO [Indian Space Research Organization], so that a hard cooperation and collaboration between ISRO, DRDO [Defence Research & Development Organisation of India] and CAST is… read more

‘Spin-orbitronics’ could ‘revolutionize the electronics industry’ by manipulating magnetic domains

April 14, 2015

magnetic-domain switching ft.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have found a new way of manipulating the walls that define magnetic domains (uniform areas in magnetic materials) and the results could one day revolutionize the electronics industry, they say.

Gong Chen and Andreas Schmid, experts in electron microscopy with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, led the… read more

Omega-3 improves working memory in healthy young adults

October 31, 2012

Lovaza

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have determined that healthy young adults ages 18–25 can improve their working memory by increasing their Omega-3 fatty acid intake.

Before they began taking the supplements, all participants were asked to perform a working memory test in which they were shown a series of letters and numbers. The young adults had to keep track of what appeared one, two,… read more

New flexible classroom design

February 8, 2013

Classroom (credit:

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a classroom design that gives instructors increased flexibility in how to teach their courses and improves accessibility for students, while slashing administrative costs.

The new flexible approach acknowledges the fact that students are now bringing their own laptops to class. The classrooms also include mobile infrastructure, where whiteboards, desks and tables can be reconfigured according to the… read more

When machines do your job

Researcher Andrew McAfee says advances in computing and artificial intelligence could create a more unequal society
July 13, 2012

race_against_the_machine

Are American workers losing their jobs to machines?

That was the question posed by Race Against the Machine, an influential e-book published last October by MIT business school researchers Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.

The pair looked at troubling U.S. employment numbers — which have declined since the recession of 2008-2009 even as economic output has risen — and concluded that computer technology was… read more

Driverless vehicles to zip at full speed through intersections

December 6, 2012

intersection

Driverless vehicles will safely wiz through intersections at the full speed limit, according to researchers from Virginia Tech Transportation Research.

Autonomous vehicles will turn themselves over to an automated intersection controller, with the controller tweaking their trajectory to prevent crashes, explained Ismail Zohdy of Cairo, Egypt, a Ph.D. student in civil engineering at Virginia Tech, and Hesham Rakha, director of the Center for Sustainableread more

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