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A circuit diagram of the mouse brain

Max Planck scientists aim to analyze a whole mouse brain under the electron microscope.
October 24, 2012

Serial block-face electron microscopy stack from the corpus callosum, cut down the middle, with 50 traced myelinated axons emerging, randomly coloured (credit: MPI f. Medical Research)

Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Medical Research scientists are developing a complete circuit diagram of the brain of the mouse using an electron microscope to make fine extensions of almost every single neuron visible.

Most axons are less than one micron thick, some even smaller than 100 nanometers. “The electron microscope is the only microscope with a high enough resolution to enable individual axons lying next to each other… read more

First Earth-size planet in ‘habitable zone’ discovered

April 18, 2014

An artistic concept of Kepler-186f based on a collaboration of scientists and artists (credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech)

Astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the “habitable zone” — the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun.

Planets have previously been found in the habitable zone, but they are all… read more

Google calls for greater transparency and challenges surveillance gag order

June 19, 2013

Google logo

Google has called on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Tuesday to relax its gag order on tech companies targeted in U.S. security investigations, The Guardian reports.

The legal filing cites the first amendment’s guarantee of free speech and follows on from a letter to attorney general Eric Holder asking for permission to disclose the number of requests Google receives… 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

Digital global intelligence on the future of the world in the palm of your hand

December 11, 2013

(Credit: The Millennium Project)

The Millennium Project’s Global Futures Intelligence System is now available and accessible online, including auto-detected mobile phone data access.

“Overviews, situation charts, references, and latest relevant news on the most important challenges facing humanity are now all immediately available,” explains Jerome Glenn, CEO of The Millennium Project.

“The system presents distillations of the present situation, prospects, and strategies to address issues ranging from climate change to… read more

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

February 8, 2013

neurogeneis-branching-thumbnail

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.

 

 

 

Astronaut on ISS uses interplanetary Internet to control robot in Germany

November 12, 2012

legorobot_esa

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

Simulated attack on the US power grid planned for Wednesday — Thursday

November 12, 2013

gridexii

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is quietly planning to launch a simulated attack on the U.S. power grid on Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 13–14) called GridEx II, according to an unpublished document obtained by KurzweilAI from NERC.

The updated objectives for GridEx II are:

• Exercise the current readiness of the electricity industry to respond to a security incident, incorporating… read more

Nanomagnets may replace silicon-based transistors in computers, say UC Berkeley researchers

November 20, 2013

As the current passes through a strip of tantalum, electrons with opposite spins separate. This helps in orienting the nanomagnets  on the top of the tantalum strip such that they can be switched easily, which is also called "clocking". Thus information propagates from the input magnet along a chain of magnets and thus we perform nanomagnetic logic.

New work by University of California Berkeley researchers could one day make nanomagnetic switches a viable replacement for the conventional power-consuming transistors found in all computers.

“Increased energy consumption of modern day computers is a major challenge that the computer industry faces,” researcher Debanjan Bhowmik explained to KurzweilAI. Bhowmik is a UC Berkeley graduate student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and the first author of a paper on this… read more

Floating cities of the future

August 1, 2012

seascraper_national_geographic

Touted as an eco-friendly floating city, the Seascraper  is among concepts for sustainable offshore settlements described by National Geographic.

“With more than seven billion people on the planet, mass migrations to cities, and increased risks of flooding and sea level rise, more and more architects and innovators seem to be weighing anchor,” NatGeo says.

A Japan-developed robot for disaster response

November 23, 2012

toshiba_robot

Toshiba has developed a remote-controlled tetrapod inspection robot with camera and dosimeter, designed to investigate risky areas, such as Fukushima nuclear power plants.

The multiple joints of its legs are controlled by a movement algorithm that enables the robot to walk on uneven surfaces (like Boston Dynamics’ Big Dog), avoid obstacles, and climb stairs to get access into areas can’t be reached by wheeled robots (such as some iRobot… read more

MIT researchers build ultrahigh-definition Quad HD (4K) TV chip

February 21, 2013

uhd_quadhd_mit

At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference this week, MIT researchers unveiled their own Quad HD video chip design.

Quad HD is also known as 4K and ultrahigh-definition (UHD). The new Quad HD video standard enables a fourfold increase in the resolution of TV screens.

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, several manufacturers debuted new UHD models.

There is no UHD content… read more

Beyond Second Life: more realistic avatars

May 21, 2013

avatar

Philip Rosedale, founder of once-popular virtual world Second Life, has created a new company called High Fidelity. As suggested by the video above and the blog, the company is developing more natural ways for avatars to communicate (with heads and hand movements, for example) and with low latency (faster response time).

“Imagine holding your phone and being able to twist and move your avatar’s hand.… read more

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