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A Peek Inside DARPA

January 23, 2007

DARPA’s research projects include cognitive technologies that enable systems to reason, learn from experience, explain themselves and reflect on their own capabilities; beneficial bacteria in the gut to protect soldiers from enteric disease; speech technology that can translate with about 50 percent accuracy, expected to reach 90 percent by 2009; and “distillation” technology designed to remove irrelevant and redundant information from masses of translated text, with a goal to go… read more

A Peek Into the Remarkable Mind Behind the Genetic Code

July 12, 2006

The first biography of Francis Crick has now appeared. In “Francis Crick, Discoverer of the Genetic Code,” Matt Ridley has created a vivid portrait that explains Crick’s scientific work with clarity, deftly outlines his career and provides sharp insights into the nature of Crick’s remarkable creativity.

A people’s view of Mars (images)

April 2, 2010

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NASA has released some of the shots that resulted when it handed over command of the HiRise camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and let the general public choose its Martian targets.

A Periodic Table Of Nanoparticles

August 22, 2006

By mixing and matching pairs of semiconducting, metallic, and magnetic nanoparticles, researchers have made many versions of what they call “binary nanoparticle superlattices.”

Their theoretical analyses, modeling work, and experimental data indicate that the factors that determine exactly what binary superlattice will form include relatively long-range electrostatic forces between the nanoparticles, close-proximity effects such as dipole interactions and van der Waals forces, size effects, and the relative concentrations of… read more

A personalized robot companion

August 20, 2013

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A consortium of European researchers has developed a customizable robot companion for people with memory or mobility problems.

The robot, a mobile wheeled semi-humanoid figure equipped with cameras, sensors, audio and a touch screen interface, can remind users to take their medicine, suggest they have their favorite drink or prompt them to go for a walk or visit friends if they haven’t been out for a while,… read more

A Picowatt Processor

July 8, 2008

University of Michigan have made a processor (the Phoenix) that measures just one millimeter square with a power consumption so low (2.8 picojoules of energy per computing cycle) that emerging thin-film batteries of the same size could power it for 10 years or more.

At this scale, it could be feasible to build the chip into a thick contact lens and use it to monitor pressure in the eye,… read more

A planet made of diamond

August 29, 2011

Pulsar Planet

A once-massive star has been transformed into a small planet made of diamond, researchers led by Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne have found.

The researchers first detected a pulsar using the Parkes radio telescope of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

The newly discovered pulsar, known as PSR J1719–1438, produced pulses that were systematically modulated. The astronomers concluded that this… read more

A planetary mood ring

March 15, 2010

Planetary Moodring by Emily Kasriel

What if there was a central place for all of humanity to text, tweet, email, blog and click in the essence of their mood in the moment — a gigantic feelings aggregator that would provide an emotional pulse check on the planet?


That’s a concept that Digital Space CEO Bruce Damer suggested Sunday on BBC World Service program “The Forum.”… read more

A Planetary System That Looks Familiar

November 8, 2007

Astronomers reported Tuesday that there were at least five planets circling a star 41 light-years from here in the constellation Cancer, known as 55 Cancri, where only four had been known before.

This makes it the most extensive planetary system yet found outside our own. It is also the one that most resembles our solar system, with a giant planet orbiting far out from the star and four smaller… read more

A Plastic That Chills

August 12, 2008

Thin films of a new polymer developed at Penn State change temperature in response to changing electric fields (the electrocaloric effect).

This could lead to new technologies for cooling computer chips and environmentally friendly refrigerators.

A Plastic Wrapper Today Could Be Fuel Tomorrow

April 9, 2007

A “fuel-latent plastic,” designed for conversion, can be used like ordinary plastic, but when it is waste, the “bioplastic” can easily be turned into a substitute diesel fuel.

A Portable DNA Detector

September 24, 2008
(University of California, Berkeley)

University of California, Berkeley researchers have developed a portable DNA analyzer that performs real-time analysis of blood samples left at the scene of a crime in six hours or less, packing microfluidics, electronics, optics, and chemical detection technology into a single briefcase-sized unit.

A portable paper-smartphone device that analyzes trace pesticides

A fast, low-cost device for home use
October 20, 2015

The prototype smartphone-based detection system – courtesy of Professor Mei et al., the images first appeared in the paper in Biosensors and Bioelectronics. (credit: Elsevier)

A new system that may allow people to detect pesticides cheaply and rapidly, combining a paper sensor and an Android program on a smartphone, has been developed by researchers in China and Singapore, according to a new study published in Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

As the potential effects of pesticides on health become clearer, it is increasingly important to be able to detect them in the environment… read more

A Portable Refinery Powered by Garbage

February 14, 2007

Researchers at Purdue University have led development of a portable “tactical” biorefinery for the U.S. Army that turns a variety of waste streams into a mixture of ethanol and methane gas, which are burned in a modified diesel engine to produce electricity.

A possible habitable planet is only four light-years away, astronomers discover

Proxima b's estimated temperature would allow for a liquid state on its surface, placing it within the "habitable zone" around the star (assuming water is present) --- Hawking's $100 million Breakthrough Starshot vindicated
August 24, 2016

Artist's impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The double star Alpha Centauri AB also appears in the image to the upper-right of the star Proxima. (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

A rocky planet called Proxima b — the closest exoplanet to us — is in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System, a team of astronomers has found after painstaking observation and data analysis.

The new world orbits its cool red-dwarf parent star every 11.2 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. A paper describing… read more

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