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Forget electric cars, this one runs on compressed air

August 19, 2012

tata airpod car 2

India’s Tata Motors is pushing technology for compressed air to power cars forward with its project to build “Airpods zero-pollution, cute-as-a-bug smartcars that zip along at 40 m.p.h. via the magic of squeezed air, The Atlantic Cities reports.

They are built with pneumatic motors that use pressurized air to drive pistons.

The mid-sized model fits three passengers, although one must face backward.… read more

New evidence on how compound found in red wine can help prevent cancer

How resveratrol can prevent cancer, heart disease and diabetes
December 7, 2012

400px-Glass_of_red_wine

University of Leicester scientists have presented groundbreaking new evidence about how a chemical found in red wine can help prevent cancer.

Experts from around the world attended Resveratrol 2012, a major conference at the University to assess the latest advances in the study of resveratrol — a compound found in the skins of red grapes.

The conference featured new findings based on… read more

Most realistic android infant?

July 29, 2012

Affetto-internalmech2

Osaka University’s Asada Lab roboticists say Affetto is the most realistic infant robot ever made, thanks to the 12 degrees of freedom of its head, its smile, and the 20 flexible pneumatic actuators to move its arms, neck, and spine.

What do you think? Does this bypass the uncanny valley yet? (Warning: fast-forward to :58 to bypass the scary part.)… read more

Neuroscientists plant false memories in the brain

MIT study also pinpoints where the brain stores memory traces, both false and authentic
July 26, 2013

memory_traces_hippocampus

The phenomenon of false memory has been well-documented: In many court cases, defendants have been found guilty based on testimony from witnesses and victims who were sure of their recollections, but DNA evidence later overturned the conviction.

In a step toward understanding how these faulty memories arise, MIT neuroscientists have shown that they can plant false memories in the brains of mice.

They also… read more

Lab-grown model 3D brains

"Cerebral organoids” can model complex human brain disorders and the earliest stages of brain development
August 30, 2013

organoid

Scientists in an Austrian laboratory have developed complex human brain tissue made from stem cells in a laboratory 3D culture system for the first time. The method allows induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells (which have the potential to differentiate into almost any cell in the body) to develop into “cerebral organoids” — or “mini brains.”

These mini brains, which are a few millimeters across, develop several… read more

The future of online vs. residential education

October 8, 2012

In this correspondence (posted with permission), Ray Kurzweil and MIT president L. Rafael Reif discuss the future of online education and its impacts on residential education. Also see the three related posts today (below). — Ed.

Hi Rafael,

I enjoyed your insightful piece in today’s WSJ on the emergence and future of online education. It eloquently makes the point that online teaching is here to stay. But I… read more

Nanoparticles could lead to stronger drugs, fewer side effects for cancer patients [UPDATE]

August 30, 2012

cerulean_science_nanoparticles

A biotech company called Cerulean says its nanoparticle-delivered cancer drugs are better at attacking tumors, Technology Review reports.

One result of the side effects of cancer treatments is that patients often can’t tolerate or survive a combination of different drugs at the same time — which can limit a doctor’s ability to knock out the disease. The head of a Boston-area biotech called Cerulean Therapeuticsread more

Google Introduces new search tools to try to read our minds

May 16, 2013

(Credit: Google)

Google revealed some new search tools on Wednesday at I/O, its annual developers conference, The New York Times reports. Taken together, they are another step toward Google’s trying to become the omnipotent, human-like “Star Trek” search engine that its executives say they want it to be.

When people ask Google certain questions, it will now try to predict the person’s follow-up questions and answer them, too. Ask… read more

The Red Queen was right: life must continually evolve to avoid extinction

June 22, 2013

Alice_&_Red_Queen

A University of California, Berkeley study has found that a lack of new emerging species contributes to extinction over a period of millions of years.

The researchers studied 19 groups of mammals that either are extinct or in decline from a past peak in diversity, as in the case of horses, elephants, rhinos and others.

The “Red Queen” hypothesis

The study was conducted… read more

Fullerene C60 administration doubles rat lifespan with no toxicity

April 17, 2012

Optical microscopy of spleen sections (a) oral and (b) i.p. treatment with olive oil only; (c) oral and (d) i.p. treatment with C60-olive oil. The arrows indicate C60 crystalscontaining macrophages with specific brown color. (Credit:

Researchers at the University of Paris and colleagues fed the molecule fullerene (C60 or “buckyballs”) dissolved in olive oil to rats and found it almost doubles their lifespan, with no chronic toxicity.

The results suggest that the effect of C60, an antioxidant, on lifespan is mainly due to the attenuation of age-associated increases in oxidative stress, according to the researchers.

Pharmacokinetic studies show that dissolved C60 is absorbed by the gastro-intestinal tract and… read more

A weapon we can’t control

June 27, 2012

Stuxnet

The decision by the United States and Israel to develop and then deploy the Stuxnet computer worm against an Iranian nuclear facility late in George W. Bush’s presidency marked a significant and dangerous turning point in the gradual militarization of the Internet, says Misha Glenny, a visiting professor at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, and the author of DarkMarket: Cyberthieves, Cybercopsread more

What happens during the brain’s ‘resting state’?

September 20, 2012

fMRI images

Over the past few years, some researchers have been adding a bit of down time to their study protocols, Nature News reports. While subjects are still lying in the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners, the researchers ask them to try to empty their minds. The aim is to find out what happens when the brain simply idles. And the answer is: quite a lot.

Some circuits… read more

Unexplained communication between brain hemispheres without corpus callosum

October 21, 2011

Ag CC

Could the brain be using electromagnetic fields to communicate between hemispheres — the electromagnetic field theory of consciousness proposed by Johnjoe McFadden (School of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Surrey)?

Neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have made a puzzling finding: people born without a corpus callosum (which links the two hemispheres of the brain)  — a condition called agenesis… read more

A cheap spying tool with a high creepy factor

August 6, 2013

cheap_spying_tool

How easy would it be to monitor the movement of everyone on the street by a private citizen with a few hundred dollars to spare?

Brendan O’Connor, 27, bought some plastic boxes and stuffed them with a $25, credit-card size Raspberry Pi Model A computer and a few over-the-counter sensors, including Wi-Fi adapters, The New York Times reports.

He connected each of those boxes to a… read more

Google Glass: how to get one

February 21, 2013

google_glass

“We’re looking for bold, creative individuals who want to join us and be a part of shaping the future of Glass,” says the Google Glass team.

“We’d love to make everyone an Explorer, but we’re starting off a bit smaller. We’re still in the early stages, and while we can’t promise everything will be perfect, we can promise it will be exciting.”

“Using Google+… read more

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