Engineers at the MIT-based Center for Brains, Minds and Machines have developed a way to make a brain expand to about four and a half times its usual size, allowing nanoscale structures to appear sharp with an ordinary confocal microscope.
A study by astrophysicists at the University of Toronto suggests that exoplanets — planets outside our solar system — are more likely to have liquid water and be more habitable than we thought.
Scientists have thought that exoplanets behave in a manner contrary to that of Earth — that is, they always show their same side to their star.
If so, exoplanets would rotate in sync… read more
January 16, 2015
University of Bern researchers have prolonged the lifespan of flies by activating a gene that destroys unhealthy cells. The results could also open new possibilities in human anti-aging research.
The researchers at the Institute of Cell Biology from the University of Bern in Switzerland, led by Eduardo Moreno, developed a new method to extend the lifespan of flies, based on improved selection of… read more
January 15, 2015
University of Calgary have found evidence that both BPA in bottles (and elsewhere) and its substitute, BPS, cause alterations in brain development leading to hyperactivity in zebrafish.
Bisphenol A, known as BPA, is produced in massive quantities around the world for use in consumer products, including household plastics. BPA is a ubiquitous endocrine disruptor that is present in many household products.
It has been… read more
January 15, 2015
University of Texas at Austin researchers have created “smart glue” based on DNA that could one day be used to 3D-print tissues to repair injuries or even create organs.
They coated plastic (polystyrene or polyacrylamide) microparticles with 40 base pairs of DNA, forming gel-like materials that they could extrude from a 3D printer* to form solid shapes (up to centimeters in size). These were used as scaffolds… read more
January 15, 2015
Elon Musk has decided to donate $10M to the Future of Life Institute (FLI) to run a global research program aimed at keeping AI beneficial to humanity.
Musk, who warned last August that “we need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes,” said there is now a “broad consensus that AI research is progressing steadily, and that its impact on society… read more
Using artificial intelligence techniques to forecast solar flares*, Stanford solar physicists have automated the analysis of the largest-ever set of solar observations, using data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
Solar physicists identify which features are most useful for predicting solar flares, which requires processing more data — some 1.5 terabytes a day — than any other satellite in NASA history, according to solar physicists… read more
January 14, 2015
In a laboratory first that could “revolutionize drug discovery and personalized medicine,” Duke researchers have grown human skeletal muscle that contracts and responds just like native tissue to external stimuli such as electrical pulses, biochemical signals and pharmaceuticals.
The lab-grown tissue should soon allow researchers to test new drugs and study diseases in functioning human muscle outside of the human body, according to study leader Nenad Bursac, associate… read more
Energy-harvesting discovery generates 200 times higher voltage to power wearables, other portable devices
January 13, 2015
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) researchers have discovered how to radically improve conversion of ambient energy (such as body movement) to electrical energy for powering wearable and portable devices.
As has been noted on KurzweilAI, energy-harvesting devices can convert ambient mechanical energy sources — including body movement, sound, and other forms of vibration — into electricity. The energy-harvesting devices or “nanogenerators” typically use piezoelectric materials… read more
January 13, 2015
In their 2015 solar outlook, investment bank Deutsche Bank is predicting that solar systems will be at grid parity (when an alternative energy source cost is lower or equal to that of electricity from the electrical grid) in up to 80 per cent of the global market within 2 years, Renew Economy notes.
That’s because grid-based electricity prices are rising across the world… read more
January 12, 2015
Mechanical engineers at The Ohio State University have designed and constructed complex nanoscale mechanical parts using “DNA origami” — proving that the same basic design principles that apply to typical full-size machine parts can now also be applied to DNA — and can produce complex, controllable components for future nanorobots.
January 12, 2015
One of the largest carbon sequestration projects in the U.S., the Illinois Basin – Decatur Project (IBDP), has reached its goal of capturing 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and injecting it deep underground in the Mount Simon Sandstone formation beneath Decatur, Illinois, a Deep Saline reservoir.
For context, three million tons are emitted annually from a typical medium-sized, coal-fired power plant.… read more
If you sweep a laser pointer across the Moon fast enough, you can create spots that actually move faster than light
At a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle Thursday Jan. 8, Robert Nemiroff, a physics professor at Michigan Technological University, reported that this theoretical curiosity may turn out to be practically useful out in the cosmos.
When a superluminal sweep occurs,… read more
Northeastern University researchers have discovered an antibiotic called “teixobactin” that eliminates pathogens without encountering any detectable resistance — a finding that challenges long-held scientific beliefs and holds great promise for treating chronic infections like tuberculosis and those caused by MRSA.
Pathogens’ resistance to antibiotics is causing a public health crisis, according to Northwest’s University Distinguished Professor Kim Lewis.
Lewis’ lab played a key role in analyzing and… read more
January 8, 2015
Researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a simple new fabrication technique to create beautiful, complex 3D micro- and nanostructures with advantages over 3D printing for a variety of uses.
The technique mimics the action of a children’s pop-up book — starting as a flat two-dimensional structure and popping up into a more complex 3D structure. Using a variety… read more