science + technology news

Weird Object Zooming by Earth Wednesday is Likely an Asteroid

January 13, 2010

An 11-meters-wide space rock will make its closest approach at 7:45 a.m. EST (1245 GMT) Wednesday when it comes within 80,000 miles (130,000 km) of our planet.

Weighing molecules one at a time

Caltech-led physicists create first-ever mechanical device that measures the mass of a single molecule
August 28, 2012

This scanning electron micrograph shows one of the molecule-weighing devices. The bridge-like section at the center vibrates sideways. The scale bar at the bottom is two microns (millionths of a meter). (Credit: Caltech / Scott Kelberg and Michael Roukes)

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) scientists have made the first-ever mechanical device that can measure the mass of individual molecules one at a time.

This new technology, the researchers say, will eventually help doctors diagnose diseases, enable biologists to study viruses and probe the molecular machinery of cells, and even allow scientists to better measure nanoparticles and air pollution.

The device — which is only… read more

Weeding out problem stem cells for safer therapy

September 28, 2012

Human induced pluripotent stem cells (credit: UCSD)

Mayo Clinic researchers have found a way to detect and eliminate potentially troublemaking stem cells to make stem cell therapy safer.

Induced Pluripotent Stem cells, also known as iPS cells, are bioengineered from adult tissues to have properties of embryonic stem cells, which have the unlimited capacity to differentiate and grow into any desired types of cells, such as skin, brain, lung and heart cells.… read more

Weed sequenced. No really — weed.

August 23, 2011

(Credit: iStockphoto)

DNA sequencing hit a new high with the release of the Cannabis sativa genome, says Nature News.

The raw sequence, done in Amsterdam (where else?), was posted on Amazon’s EC2 public cloud computing service by a young company called Medicinal Genomics, which aims to explore the genomes of therapeutic plants.

Medicinal Genomics founder Kevin McKernan says he estimates the size of the… read more

Website turns tables on government officials

July 6, 2003

MIT researchers have created the Government Information Awareness (GIA) project as a response to the US government’s Total Information Awareness program.

Internet users can submit their own intelligence reports on government officials; they will be published with no effort to verify their accuracy. Software similar to Google also gleans information from Internet sites that store information about politicians. Users can also access information compiled from various real-time… read more

Webcast: Robots in Space

November 2, 2002

Dr. Richard Terrile, NASA JPL Mars Scout Program Scientist, will present “Rise of the Machines: Intelligent Robots and Space Exploration,” an overview of the current and future plans for exploring the solar system with robotic spacecraft, on Nov. 21 and 22 in Pasadena, CA. The Nov. 21 event will also be webcast.

“The science and science fiction of computer intelligence will be explored by comparing our technological and scientific… read more

Webcams Transport Virtual Visitors

February 3, 2005

“Video chatting” is getting easier and more popular thanks to a growing number of service providers, fast broadband connections, and new cameras.

Using lightweight portable minicameras mounted on computer screens, people can see and be seen by friends or virtual strangers who are invited into the home to talk and take a look around.

Web-based program calculates effects of an Earth impact

April 9, 2004

A new web-based program tells you how an asteroid or comet collision will affect your spot on the globe by calculating several environmental consequences of its impact, including thermal radiation, seismic shaking, ejecta deposition, and air-blast effects.

University of Arizona press release

Web-based counseling — telepsychiatry — is taking off

February 10, 2012

Dr. Avrim Fishkind, a psychiatrist in Houston, rarely sees any of his patients in person, and that’s the way they like it.

Fishkind is part of a fast growing movement in the mental healthcare field where therapists counsel patients via inexpensive, Web-based video conferencing technology.

“We’ve had just over 60,000 patient encounters. To my knowledge, only six have refused to be seen via teleconferencing,” he said. “When it… read more

Web-based attacks could create chaos in the physical world

May 2, 2003

Using little more than a Web search engine and some simple software, a computer-savvy criminal or terrorist could easily leap beyond the boundaries of cyberspace to wreak havoc in the physical world, a team of Internet security researchers has concluded.

Automated order forms on the Web could be exploited to send tens of thousands of unwanted catalogs to a business or an individual, which could also paralyze the local… read more

Web Surfers Hit Higher Speeds

August 19, 2004

A majority of U.S. home Internet users now have broadband: an estimated 63 million broadband users, or 51 percent of all home Internet users, as of July.

Special offers for broadband services, the growing use of multimedia on the Web, and the availability of music and video downloads drove Internet users to the faster service.

Web Searches Take Cultural Pulse

December 19, 2002

Google, Lycos and other search sites have unleashed lists of the year’s top search terms, which many say are an accurate barometer of cultural fads, fears and obsessions.

Web search is ready for a shakeup, says researcher

August 4, 2011

Computer scientist Oren Etzioni at the University of Washington has called upon the international academic community and engineers working in industry to take a bolder approach when designing how people find information online.

Etzioni calls on experts to literally think outside the search box. He imagines a future in which someone would speak a question, such as: “What was the score in today’s Mariners game?” or “Where’s… read more

Web program simplifies artificial gene design

February 20, 2006

GeneDesign, a new web-based program that simplifies many tricky steps involved in designing artificial DNA, has been released by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers.

But this is also a source of concern. An investigation conducted by New Scientist in November 2005 revealed that few gene synthesis companies check that the genes they are being asked to make are safe, or perform customer background checks after receiving an… read more

Web Mashups Made Easy

March 12, 2008

Mash Maker, A new research project from Intel Research, aims to let people use their ordinary Web browsers to combine information from different sites.

Mash Maker is one of a handful of services and products intended to help the motivated noncoder combine information from different websites, including Microsoft’s Popfly, Yahoo Pipes, and IBM’s Lotus Mashups.

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