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Colossal explosion from supermassive black hole at center of galaxy revealed

September 25, 2013

black_hole_jet

Two million years ago, a supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy erupted in an explosion so immensely powerful that it lit up a cloud 200,000 light years away, a team of researchers led by the University of Sydney has revealed.

The finding is an exciting confirmation that black holes can “flicker,” moving from maximum power to switching off over short periods of… read more

Scientists closer to universal flu vaccine after pandemic ‘natural experiment’

September 25, 2013

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Scientists have moved closer to developing a universal flu vaccine by using the 2009 pandemic to study why some people seem to resist severe illness.

Researchers at Imperial College London asked volunteers to donate blood samples just as the swine flu pandemic was getting underway and report any symptoms they experienced over the next two flu seasons.

They found that those who avoided severe… read more

Integrating a graphene photodetector into a computer chip

Graphene can convert all telecommunications wavelengths, unlike germaniuim
September 25, 2013

PA_nature_photonics_graphen_licht

Vienna University of Technology scientists have succeeded in combining graphene photodetectors with semiconductor chips, allowing for transforming light used in telecommunications (such in as fiber optics) into electronic signals.

Two years ago, the team of Thomas Müller (Institute of Photonics, Vienna University of Technology) demonstrated that graphene is ideally suited to turn light into electrical current, allowing for fast conversion,” says Müller.

“A narrow… read more

A stretchable, foldable transparent electronic display

Uses include foldable/expandable screens for new classes of smartphones and other personal electronic devices, electronics-integrated clothing, and wallpaper-like lighting
September 25, 2013

ucla_foldable_electronics

Imagine an electronic display nearly as clear as a window, or a curtain that illuminates a room, or a smartphone screen that doubles in size, stretching like rubber,  and all of these being made from the same material.

Researchers from UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a transparent, elastic organic light-emitting device, or OLED, that could one day make all… read more

Researchers observe never-before-detected brain activity in deep coma

September 25, 2013

Flat line and Nu-complex (credit: Daniel Kroeger et al./PLoS ONE)

University of Montreal researchers have found brain activity that kicks in after a patient’s EEG shows an isoelectric (“flat line”) EEG, according to their paper in PLoS ONE (open access).

The flatline EEG (brainwave) pattern is usually recorded during very deep coma and is considered to be one of the limit points in establishing brain death. In particular clinical conditions, it is accepted as the only criterion.… read more

New method of creating twisted light may allow fibers to carry more information

September 24, 2013

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Scientists at SLAC have found a new method to create coherent beams of twisted light — light that spirals around a central axis as it travels.

The method has the potential to generate twisted light in shorter pulses, higher intensities, and a much wider range of wavelengths (including X-rays) than is currently possible.

First described two decades ago, twisted light is attracting attention from… read more

Nanoscale neuronal activity measured for the first time

September 24, 2013

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A new technique that allows scientists to measure the electrical activity in  small synaptic terminals in the hippocampus has been developed by a researcher at Queen Mary University of London.

By applying a high-resolution scanning probe microscope that allows three-dimensional visualization of the structures at a resolution of  approximately 100–150 nm, the team was able to measure and record the flow of current in small… read more

Support for top-down theory of how ‘buckyballs’ form

Discovery could have a bearing on medical imaging, cancer treatment
September 24, 2013

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Researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have reported the first experimental evidence that supports the theory that a soccer ball-shaped nanoparticle commonly called a buckyball is the result of a breakdown of larger structures rather than being built atom-by-atom from the ground up.

Technically known as fullerenes, these spherical carbon molecules have shown great promise for uses in medicine, solar energy, and optoelectronics.… read more

Crowd-activated Google Hangout On Air broadcasts

September 23, 2013

Crowd-activated HOA

What you see is one person who is filming a video, and then the other person is able to join that video stream just by looking  at it.” — Jon Fisher

This just in from CrowdOptic CEO Jon Fisher, live at the RocketSpace Glass Hackathon in San Francisco, where his team just demo’d CrowdOptic’s new Android app for social sharing: crowd-activated Google Hangout On Airread more

Stem cell reprogramming made easier

September 23, 2013

iPSCs -- old vs new method

Weizmann Institute scientists show that removing one protein from adult cells enables them to efficiently turn back the clock to a stem-cell-like state.

Embryonic stem cells have the enormous potential to treat and cure many medical problems. That is why the discovery that induced embryonic-like stem cells can be created from skin cells was rewarded with a Nobel Prize in 2012.

But the process… read more

Jetpack to be available in 2014

September 23, 2013

martin_jetpack

New Zealand’s Martin Aircraft is developing the “first practical jetpack” and has done manned and unmanned flight tests of its latest prototype, Aviation Week reports.

When completed it will be aimed at first responders (such as fire services), planned to be available in 2014.

You will have to wait a bit longer for a personal JetPack.

Flight control is fly-by-wire (computer-controlled) and there’s… read more

Earth’s habitable lifetime: at least 1.75 billion years, say astrobiologists

Why we should move to Mars before that
September 23, 2013

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If we can just hold out another 1.75 billion years, we’ll be fine — as long as we move to Mars by then, according to astrobiologists at the University of East Anglia.

“We used the ‘habitable zone’ concept to make these estimates — this is the distance from a planet’s star at which temperatures are conducive to having liquid water on the surface,” said Andrew… read more

Teaching computers to recognize objects better

September 23, 2013

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Object-recognition software (which tries to identify objects in digital images) is still fairly limited.

So, in an attempt to improve it, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have created a system that, in effect, allows humans to see the world the way an object-recognition system does.

The system takes an ordinary image, translates it into the mathematical representation used… read more

Scientists claim discovery of life coming to Earth from space [UPDATED]

September 20, 2013

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Scientists from the University of Sheffield believe they have found life arriving to Earth from space after sending a balloon 27km into the stratosphere.

After it landed, they discovered that they had captured a diatom fragment and some unusual biological entities from the stratosphere, all of which are too large to have come from Earth, the scientists suggest.

The team was led by Professor… read more

A gene for forgetting

Could lead to new PTSD treatments
September 20, 2013

mit_memories_fade_away

A new study from MIT reveals a gene that is critical to the process of memory extinction (when older memories are replaced with new experiences).

Enhancing the activity of this gene, known as Tet1, might benefit people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by making it easier to replace fearful memories with more positive associations, says Li-Huei Tsai, director of MIT’s… read more

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