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Zooming in on bacterial weapons in 3D

May 23, 2012


Imaging of the structure of bacteria’s injection needles at atomic resolution has been achieved by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in cooperation with colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology and the University of Washington.

Their findings might contribute to drug tailoring and the development of strategies which specifically prevent the infection process.

Hundreds of tiny hollow needles sticking out of the bacterial… read more

Zombie PCs being sent to steal IDs

March 16, 2005

Bot nets, collections of compromised computers controlled by a single person or group, have become more pervasive and increasingly focused on identity theft and installing spyware.

The large networks of compromised computers are now a tool for groups of criminals bent on making money through identity fraud or adware installation. A person whose computer is infected with bot software runs the risk of having sensitive information such as account… read more

Zillions of Universes? Or Did Ours Get Lucky?

October 28, 2003

Cosmologists debated the controversial anthropic principle* at a recent conference, “The Future of Cosmology,” at Case Western Reserve University.

* An attempt to explain why the fundamental constants of physics and chemistry are fine-tuned to allow the universe and life at we know it to exist.

Zeroing in on how Alzheimer’s-disease toxins are created

Results may generate new targets for drug development
February 19, 2014


Using the Gordon supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, researchers have achieved new insights into how toxic molecular complexes associated with Alzheimer’s disease are created.

Igor Tsigelny, a research scientist with SDSC, the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, and the Department of Neurosciences, focused on a small peptide called amyloid-beta, which pairs up… read more

‘Zero-dimensional’ carbon nanotubes may lead to superthin/superfast electronics and synthetic cells

Could also make it possible to build strong, ultralight cars, bridges, and airplanes
December 13, 2013

Zero Dimensional Nanotubes

Synthetic, man-made cells and ultrathin electronics built from a new form of “zero-dimensional” carbon nanotube (CNT) may be possible, thanks to research at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering.

When created, single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) have a length-to-diameter ratio of up to 132,000,000:1 (think long wires that entangle, forming a one-dimensional structure). This clustering makes it difficult to achieve high purity, water solubility,… read more

‘Zero intelligence’ trading closely mimics stock market

February 3, 2005

A model that assumes stock market traders have zero intelligence has been found to mimic the behavior of the London Stock Exchange very closely, say researchers at the Santa Fe Institute.

The researchers say the finding could be used to identify ways to lower volatility in the stock markets and reduce transaction costs.

Zeno Could Be Next Robot Boy Wonder

September 6, 2007

Hanson Robotics’ latest creation is a 17-inch, 4.5-pound personal robot boy that can walk, talk, express emotions, and make eye contact.

The prototype, which will have a formal unveiling at Wired Nextfest in California next week, is described as an intelligent “conversational robot” and will ultimately be part of Hanson’s “Robokind” line of personal, interactive bots.

“We’re combining the best artificial intelligence with this theater for fiction so… read more

Zen training speeds the mind’s return after distraction, brain scans reveal

September 4, 2008

Experienced Zen meditators can clear their minds of distractions (being interrupted by a word-recognition task) more quickly than novices, according to a new brain imaging study by Emory University School of Medicine researchers.

“This suggests that the regular practice of meditation may enhance the capacity to limit the influence of distracting thoughts. This skill could be important in conditions such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety… read more

Zeitgeist 2010: Year in Review

December 10, 2010


Zapping sleepers’ brains boosts memory

November 7, 2006

Applying a gentle electric current to the brain during sleep can significantly boost memory, University of Luebeck researchers report.

They believe this is due to the pattern of the applied current mimicking that seen in naturally occurring deep sleep, where memory consolidation is thought to take place.

Zapping Individual Cancer Cells

July 9, 2008

Engineers at the University of Texas at Austin have patented a laser microscalpel that allows a surgeon to operate on tissue one cell at a time, precisely targeting disease while leaving healthy surrounding cells alive.

The device combines two technologies–a femtosecond laser and two-photon fluorescence microscopy–into a single miniaturized, flexible probe. The probe can target single cells in three-dimensional space, penetrating up to 250 micrometers into tissue.

The… read more

Zapping cancer cells with magnets

October 10, 2012


Magnetic nanoparticles can be used to kill cancer cells by controlling cell signaling pathways, researchers from Yonsei University in South Korea have demonstrated.

They developed magnetic nanoparticles that turn on apoptosis cell signaling (commands to kill cells) in cancer cells by using a remote, non-invasive magnetic field.

The magnetic switch uses zinc-doped iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (Zn0.4Fe2.6O4), combined with a targeting antibody for death receptor 4 (DR4, a… read more

Zapping asteroids and space debris with a swarm of satellites firing lasers

March 28, 2012


No, it’s not a new version of the classic Asteroids video game. Engineers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow have envisioned a swarm of small agile satellites flying in formation, firing solar-powered lasers at an asteroid.

According to Dr. Massimiliano Vasile, of Strathclyde’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, the concept is more feasible than a single large spacecraft carrying a multi-mega watt laser.

“Our system is… read more

Yudkowsky on Coast to Coast AM Saturday night

August 30, 2007

AI researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky will be a guest on the national Coast to Coast AM radio show from 11pm – 2am PT on Saturday night, September 1st.

He will discuss AI, the Singularity and its implications, the Singularity Summit, and the work of the Singularity Institute.

Yudkowsky is one of the featured speakers at the Singularity Summit 2007, to be held September 8th and… read more

You’re far less in control of your brain than you think

When your eyes tell your hands what to think
October 1, 2012


You’ve probably never given much thought to the fact that picking up your cup of morning coffee presents your brain with a set of complex decisions. You need to decide how to aim your hand, grasp the handle and raise the cup to your mouth, all without spilling the contents on your lap.

A new Northwestern University study shows that, not only does your brain… read more

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