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Fukushima fuel pool is urgent national security issue for America, ‘top threat facing humanity’

May 7, 2012

Fukushima

After visiting Fukushima, Senator Ron Wyden warned that the situation was worse than reported, Washington’s Blog reports … and urged Japan to accept international help to stabilize dangerous spent fuel pools.

Wyden said that the spent fuel is a national security threat to the U.S.: “The radiation caused by the failure of the spent fuel pools in the event of another earthquake could reach the West… read more

GOP lawmaker seeks ‘virtual Congress’ with telecommuting plan

March 25, 2013

US_capitol_building

Under a resolution Pearce introduced on Thursday, Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) wants to create a “virtual Congress,” where lawmakers would leverage videoconferencing and other remote work technology to to hold hearings, debate and vote on legislation virtually from their home district offices, The Hill reports.

Pearce says the resolution would eradicate the need for members to jet back and forth from their districts to Washington each weekend. This… read more

The real Limitless drug

April 8, 2013

Modafinil (Provigil in the United States) was first approved by the FDA in 1998 for the treatment of narcolepsy, but since has become better known as a nootropic, a “smart drug,” especially among entrepreneurs, says New York magazine.

Rumored to be the model for the fictional pills in the movie Limitless, no scientist has conducted a study of its long-term effects on healthy brains yet. At the very… read more

A new method for producing clean hydrogen

May 23, 2013

TEM_image_Au-a-Fe2O3_catalyst

Duke University engineers have developed a novel method for producing clean hydrogen, which could prove essential to weaning society off of fossil fuels and their environmental implications.

While hydrogen is ubiquitous in the environment, producing and collecting molecular hydrogen for transportation and industrial uses is expensive and complicated. Just as importantly, a byproduct of most current methods of producing hydrogen is carbon monoxide, which is… read more

Merging nanoelectronics into 3D engineered human tissues

Researchers grow cyborg tissues with embedded nanoelectronics
August 28, 2012

3D reconstructed confocal microscopy image of synthetic 3D neural tissue with red corresponding to neurons and green/blue corresponding to the macroporous nanoelectronic circuitry seamlessly innervating the neural tissue (credit:  Tian, et al/Harvard University)

Harvard scientists have created a type of “cyborg” tissue for the first time by embedding a three-dimensional network of functional, biocompatible, nanoscale wires into engineered human tissues.

The research team led by Charles M. Lieber, the Mark Hyman Jr. Professor of Chemistry at Harvard, and Daniel Kohane, a Harvard Medical School professor in the Departmentread more

Events in the future seem closer than those in the past

We tend to feel closer to the future because we feel like we’re moving toward it
March 15, 2013

Screen capture of a virtual environment for testing time perception (credit: Caruso E M et al./Psychological Science)

We say that time flies, it marches on, it flows like a river — our descriptions of time are closely linked to our experiences of moving through space.

Now, new research suggests that the illusions that influence how we perceive movement through space also influence our perception of time. The findings provide evidence that our experiences of space and time have even more in common than previously… read more

Murder by Internet

Ubiquitous Internet connections will allow death by device and massive over-the-air theft by 2014
January 4, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

New cyberthreats that will emerge in 2014 include the use of Internet-connected devices to carry out physical crimes, including murders, and cybercriminals leveraging mobile-device Near Field Communications (NFC) to wreak havoc with banking and e-commerce, predicts IID (Internet Identity, a provider of technology and services that help organizations secure their Internet presence,

With nearly every device, from healthcare to transportation, being controlled or communicated with in… read more

We can survive killer asteroids — but it won’t be easy

April 4, 2012

(Credit: Don Davis)

More than a thousand known asteroids are classed as “potentially hazardous,” based on size and trajectory, says astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson in Wired Science.

Currently, it looks doable to develop an early-warning and defense system that could protect the human species from impactors larger than a kilometer wide. … Smaller ones, which reflect much less light and are therefore much harder to detect at great distances, carry enough energy to incinerate entire… read more

Black hole birth captured by ‘armada of instruments’

"A Rosetta-Stone event ... may require physicists to modify existing theories about radiation"
November 25, 2013

star_becomes_black_hole

“Los Alamos’ RAPTOR telescopes in New Mexico and Hawaii received a very bright cosmic birth announcement for a black hole on April 27,” said astrophysicist Tom Vestrand, lead author of a paper n the journal Science Nov. 21 that highlights the unusual event.

“This was the burst of the century,” said Los Alamos co-author James Wren. “It’s the biggest, brightest one to happen in at least 20 years, and… read more

Self-braking cars will save thousands of lives

October 8, 2012

car_crash

How effective are systems that warn a driver about an impending front collision, then slam on the brakes if the driver doesn’t act quickly enough?

A lot, says a paper recently published in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, IEEE Spectrum Tech Talk reports.

Researchers at Virginia Tech’s Center for Injury Biomechanics studied systems that rely on radar to tell the car when it is coming… read more

Controlling heat like light

New approach using nanoparticle alloys allows heat to be focused or reflected just like electromagnetic waves
January 15, 2013

An MIT researcher has developed a technique that provides a new way of manipulating heat, allowing it to be controlled much as light waves can be manipulated by lenses and mirrors.

The approach relies on engineered materials consisting of nanostructured semiconductor alloy crystals.

Heat is a vibration of matter — technically, a vibration of the atomic lattice of a material — just as sound… read more

Cosmo Wenman’s mind-blowing 3D-printed sculptures

October 22, 2012

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Cosmo Wenman is a California artist who has just reminded us not to limit our imaginations when it comes to what can be made, MakerBot Blog reports.

The horse head and human bust you see here were made entirely of MakerBot PLA Filament (White) on the original MakerBot Replicator.

“We believe so strongly in the potential of the… read more

Studying ethical questions as the brain’s black box Is unlocked

Excerpt from The New York Times
December 18, 2012

MRI Head

S. Matthew Liao, director of the bioethics program at New York University, has a singular title: neuroethicist.

Some researchers claim to be near to using fMRIs to read thoughts. Is this really happening?

The technology, though still crude, appears to be getting closer. For instance, there’s one research group that asks subjects to watch movies. When they

read more

3D graphene could replace expensive platinum in solar cells

August 22, 2013

A field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) image of 3D honeycomb-structured graphene. The novel material can replace platinum in dye-sensitized solar cells with virtually no loss of generating capacity. Hui Wang image

Michigan Technological University, scientists have replaced expensive ($1,500 an ounce) platinum in solar cells with low-cost 3D graphene.

Regular graphene is a two-dimensional form of carbon. Yun Hang Hu, the Charles and Caroll McArthur Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MTU, and his team invented a way to synthesize a 3D version, with a honeycomb-like structure.

The 3D graphene had excellent conductivity and high… read more

The future of space

March 9, 2012

Dragon and Falcon 9 Second Stage, post Second Stage Separation Event (credit: NASA)

In the new book Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier, Neil deGrasse Tyson says America is at a critical moment for future space exploration, as he explained to The Atlantic.

Give NASA the money it needs, he argues, and the agency will stimulate the economy and inspire students to pursue innovative, ambitious projects. (Say, for example, a way to thwart a wayward asteroid that could… read more

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