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What campuses can learn from online teaching

October 8, 2012

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Also see the three related posts today (below). — Ed.

Higher education is at a crossroads not seen since the introduction of the printing press, said MIT president L. Rafael Reif* in The Wall Street Journal.

“Residential education’s long-simmering financial problem is reaching a crisis point,” he said. “At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other campuses, the upheaval today is coming from the technological change posed by… read more

Lifespan-extending drug given late in life reverses age-related heart disease in mice

June 12, 2013

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Elderly mice suffering from age-related heart disease saw a significant improvement in cardiac function after being treated with the FDA-approved drug rapamycin for just three months.

The research, led by a team of scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, shows how rapamycin impacts mammalian tissues, providing functional insights and possible benefits for a drug that has been shown to extend the lifespan… read more

Singapore scientists create stem cells from a drop of blood

DIY finger prick technique opens door for extensive stem cell banking
March 21, 2014

Schematic on finger-prick blood isolation and treatment for cellular reprogramming (credit: Loh Yuin Han, Jonathan, IMCB)

Scientists at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*STAR) Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) have developed a method to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from a single drop of finger-pricked blood.

The method also enables donors to collect their own blood samples, which they can then send to a laboratory for further processing. The easy access to blood samples using the new… read more

Toyota unveils helpful Human Support Robot

September 25, 2012

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Toyota has unveiled a new assistant robot alled the Human Support Robot (HSR),  designed to help the disabled live more independently, Gizmag reports.

The HSR can be controlled using a simple graphical user interface via tablet. It can also wear a tablet atop its head, which would allow caregivers and family members to communicate with the robot’s owner over Skype or other services.

Unlike recent telepresence robots,… read more

Can space elevators really work?

February 28, 2014

Climber ascends space elevator, heading spaceward from its aeroshell (credit: Frank Chase/Chase Design Studios)

Yes. A space elevator appears possible and space elevator infrastructure could indeed be built via a major international effort, a study conducted by experts under the auspices of the International Academy of Astronautics has found, Space.com writer Leonard David reports.

Two technologies pacing the development of the space elevator are an ultra-strong space tether and other space elevator components, and lightweight solar cells, according to study lead… read more

Hovering moon base may be on NASA’s horizon

November 16, 2012

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NASA is considering plans for a hovering moon base parked in orbit about 60,000 kilometers from the moon’s far side, at Lagrange point 2 (EML-2)New Scientist reports.

There, the combined gravity of Earth and the moon would tug on a spacecraft with exactly the force needed for it to hover near the moon without spending fuel. This might assist human missions to an asteroid or to Mars… read more

3D-printing human embryonic stem cells for drug testing, future replacement of human organs

New 3D printing process is first to print the more delicate (and more useful) hESCs
February 6, 2013

3D printing with embryonic stem cells (credit: )

A new 3D printing process using human stem cells could pave the way to custom replacement organs for patients, eliminating the need for organ donation and immune suppression, and solving the problem of transplant rejection.

The process, developed at Edinburgh-based Heriot-Watt University, in partnership with Roslin Cellab, could also speed up and improve the process of reliable, animal-free drug testing by growing three-dimensional human tissues and structures… read more

Facebook, CNN, and the rise of social voting

July 13, 2012

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CNN and Facebook have joined forces to make the “I’m Voting” Facebook app, which enables Facebook users to endorse candidates and issues, and to commit to voting.

If you use the app and commit to voting for someone, that information appears in your timeline, news feed, and real-time ticker.

During CNN’s political coverage this fall, CNN personalities will use the app to poll users on issues.

“We fundamentally… read more

Southampton engineers build a Raspberry Pi supercomputer

September 12, 2012

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Computational Engineers at the University of Southampton have built a supercomputer from 64 Raspberry Pi computers and Lego.

The machine, named “Iridis-Pi” after the University’s Iridis supercomputer, runs off a single 13 Amp mains socket and uses MPI (Message Passing Interface) to communicate between nodes using Ethernet.

The whole system cost under £2,500 (excluding switches) and… read more

4D printed objects ‘make themselves’

March 1, 2013

Cube self-folding strand (credit: Self-Assembly Lab, MIT/Stratasys)

At the TED conference in Los Angeles, architect and computer scientist Skylar Tibbits showed how the process allows objects to self-assemble, BBC News reports.

It could be used to install objects in hard-to-reach places such as underground water pipes, he suggested.

It might also herald an age of self-assembling furniture, said experts.

Smart materials

“We’re proposing that the fourth dimension is time… read more

Blocking this molecule in the brain could prevent age-related cognitive decline

February 8, 2013

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Researchers have discovered a molecule that accumulates with age and inhibits the formation of new neurons. The finding might help scientists design therapies to prevent age-related cognitive decline.

The investigators identified the molecule, called Dickkopf-1 or Dkk1, in the brains of aged mice. By blocking production of Dkk1, “we released a brake on neuronal birth, thereby resetting performance in spatial memory tasks back to levels observed in… read more

Gingrich proposes Moon base by 2020

January 27, 2012

Domed lunar settlement (credit: Pat Rawlings/NASA)

Newt Gingrich has called for a bold, aggressive space program that would establish a permanent base on the Moon by 2020, along with a next-generation propulsion system for taking humans to Mars, and commercial near-Earth activities that include science, tourism, and manufacturing.

Transcript of the speech, courtesy of the National Space Society.

 

 

 

Volvo’s first self-driving cars now being tested live on public roads in Swedish city

100 cars, involving a vehicle manufacturer, real customers, legislators, transport authorities, and a major city
May 5, 2014

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Volvo Car Group’s “Drive Me” project — featuring 100 self-driving Volvos on public roads in everyday driving conditions — is moving forward rapidly, with the first test cars now driving around the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

“The test cars are now able to handle lane following, speed adaption, and merging traffic all by themselves,” says Erik Coelingh, Technical Specialist at Volvo Car Group.

“This is an important step… read more

Astronaut on ISS uses interplanetary Internet to control robot in Germany

November 12, 2012

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NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) used an experimental version of interplanetary Internet in late October to control an educational rover from the International Space Station, NASA says.

The experiment used NASA’s Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocol to transmit messages and demonstrate technology that one day may enable Internet-like communications with space vehicles and support habitats or infrastructure on another planet.

Space station Expedition… read more

First true 3D microchip created: Cambridge scientists

February 1, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

University of Cambridge scientists have created a new type of microchip that allows information to travel in three dimensions, enabling additional storage capacity on chips.

Currently, microchips can only pass digital information in a very limited way — from either left to right or front to back, the researchers say.

In the future, a 3D microchip would enable additional storage capacity on chips by… read more

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