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1 in 8 chance of catastrophic solar megastorm by 2020

March 4, 2012

Solar flares

The Earth has a roughly 12 percent chance of experiencing an enormous megaflare erupting from the sun in the next decade,  according to space physicist Pete Riley, senior scientist at Predictive Science in San Diego, California, writing n Space Weather on Feb. 23.

This event could potentially cause trillions of dollars’ worth of damage and take up to a decade to recover from,  according to a 2008 report from the National… read more

NASA’s Kepler mission discovers 715 new planets

February 27, 2014

The artist concept depicts multiple-transiting planet systems, which are stars with more than one planet. The planets eclipse or transit their host star from the vantage point of the observer. This angle is called edge-on. (Credit:  NASA)

NASA’s Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly-verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system.

Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth. This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more akin to Earth than previously identified exoplanets (planets… read more

The highest-resolution immersive visualization facility ever built

November 21, 2012

RealityDeck

Stony Brook University (SBU) recently unveiled its new Reality Deck, with 1.5 billion pixels total on 416 super-high-resolution screens in a four-walled surround-view theater — the highest-resolution  immersive display ever built — and driven by a 220 TFLOPs graphic supercomputer.

Its purpose and primary design principle is to enable scientists, engineers, and physicians to tackle current problems that require the visualization of vast amounts of… read more

Easing brain fatigue with a walk in the park

April 3, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

An innovative new study from Scotland confirms the observation that you can ease brain fatigue simply by strolling through a leafy park, The New York Times reports.

Researchers have long theorized that green spaces are calming, requiring less of our so-called directed mental attention than busy, urban streets do, but it had not been possible to study the brains of people while they were actually outside, moving… read more

Hubble sees cloudy ‘super-Earth’ 40 light-years away

January 2, 2014

GJ1214b

Two teams of scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope report they have characterized the atmospheres of a pair of planets with masses intermediate between gas giants, like Jupiter, and smaller, rockier planets, like Earth.

A survey by NASA’s Kepler space telescope mission previously showed that objects in this size range are among the most common type of planets in our Milky Way galaxy. The researchers described their… read more

Singularity University plans massive upgrade

August 27, 2012

Singularity University

Singularity University is planning to exponentially advance itself, transforming from a provider of short supplemental classes into a sort of innovation pipeline, with a rich website and conference series on one end, an expanding array of classes in the middle, and at the other end incubation labs for startups and corporate skunkworks teams, as well as a strong global alumni network, Wired Business reports.

The ongoing… read more

Stumped by a problem? The ‘generic parts technique’ technique unsticks you

March 8, 2012

CocaCola

University of Massachusetts psychologist Dr. Tony McCaffrey has developed a systematic way of overcoming “functional fixedness” (the tendency to fixate on the common use of an object or its parts, hindering people from solving problems). He calls it the “generic parts technique” (GPT).

He found that people trained in GPT solved eight problems 67 percent more often than those who weren’t trained, and the trained group… read more

White House announces new US ‘open access’ policy

A "massive sellout" to big publishers, with 12-month embargo on research, says a PLOS founder
February 25, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

The White House said Friday that publications from taxpayer-funded research should be available to you, but only after a year’s delay.

“The Obama Administration is committed to the proposition that citizens deserve easy access to the results of scientific research their tax dollars have paid for,” the memo said.

But that doesn’t mean fast access. And the policy would, strangely, only apply to Federal agencies with more… 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

Homeland Security looking for (more than) a few good drones

September 28, 2012

Reaper Drone (Credit: USAF)

DHS to test unmanned aircraft for variety of applications.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security this week issued a call for unmanned systems makers to participate in a program that will ultimately determine their safety and performance for use in first responder, law enforcement and border security situations, Network World Layer 8 reports.

In a twist that will certainly raise some eyebrows,  the program’s results  of… read more

Nanoparticles reprogram immune cells to fight cancer

August 16, 2013

mitochondria-targeted NPs

Researchers at the University of Georgia are developing a new treatment technique that uses nanoparticles to reprogram immune cells so they are able to recognize and attack cancer.

However, most cancerous cells are able to avoid detection by the immune system because they so closely resemble normal cells.

That leaves the cancerous cells free to multiply and grow into life-threatening tumors while the body’s… read more

A virus that kills cancer: the cure that’s waiting in the cold

September 5, 2012

oncolytic_virus

Professor Magnus Essand has developed a virus that may kill cancer cells, The Telegraph reports.

Cheap to produce, the virus is exquisitely precise, with only mild, flu-like side-effects in humans. But Ad5[CgA-E1A-miR122]PTD is never going to be tested to see if it might also save humans, due to lack of funding.

Contact info.

IBM unveils cognitive computing chips, combining digital ‘neurons’ and ‘synapses’

August 18, 2011

Golden Gate

IBM researchers unveiled today a new generation of experimental computer chips designed to emulate the brain’s abilities for perception, action and cognition.

In a sharp departure from traditional von Neumann computing concepts in designing and building computers, IBM’s first neurosynaptic computing chips recreate the phenomena between spiking neurons and synapses in biological systems, such as the brain, through advanced algorithms and silicon circuitry.

The technology could yield many orders… read more

Companies discover untapped brain power: autistics

July 21, 2013

Autistic_teenage_girl

Companies are discovering the untapped brain power of a group long thought ill suited to the office: adults on the autistic spectrum. Joshua Kendall, author of America’s Obsessives, reports at The Daily Beast on one Danish man’s mission to employ the seemingly unemployable — and successful famous “obsessives”* (think Jefferson and Heinz) in American history.

While the 1% of the population with ASDs may have considerable difficulty navigating… read more

SpiderFab: low-cost kilometer-scale antennas in space

September 17, 2012

SpiderFabConcept

“We’d like someday to be able to have a spacecraft create itself entirely from scratch, but realistically that’s quite a ways out; that’s still science fiction,” says Robert Hoyt, CEO and chief scientist of Tethers Unlimited Inc. Instead, with his “SpiderFab” project, he proposes to use 3D printing technology aboard a tiny CubeSat to create a much larger structure in space.

The  project received $100,000 from NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts… read more

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