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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

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

All-optical switching promises terahertz-speed hard drive and RAM memory

April 4, 2013

Magnetic structure in a colossal magneto-resistive manganite is<br />
switched from antiferromagnetic to ferromagnetic ordering during<br />
about 100 femtosecond laser pulse photo-excitation (credit: DOE Ames Laboratory)

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, Iowa State University, and the University of Crete in Greece have found a new way to switch magnetism that is at least 1000 times faster than currently used in magnetic memory technologies.

Magnetic switching is used to encode information in hard drives, magnetic random access memory and other computing devices. The discovery, reported in the April 4 issue… read more

A Terminator-style contact-lens display

November 23, 2011

(Credit: University of Washington/

Bringing us a step closer to a Terminator-style augmented-reality display, University of Washington engineers have constructed an experimental contact lens with a single-pixel embedded light-emitting diode (LED) and tested it in a rabbit.

The LED lights up when it receives energy from a remote radio frequency transmission, picked up by an antenna around the edge and collected via a silicon power harvesting and radio integrated circuit.

But the… read more

A tiny computer attracts a million tinkerers

January 31, 2013

The Raspberry Pi Model B is a credit–card sized computer board that plugs into a TV. It’s a miniature ARM–based PC that can perform many of the functions of a large desktop PC such as spreadsheets, word–processers and games. It also plays High–Definition videos. (Credit: Raspberry Pi)

Almost one million $35 Raspberry Pi computers have shipped since last February, capturing the imaginations of educators, hobbyists and tinkerers around the world, The New York Times reports.

The Raspberry Pi — about 3 inches by 2 inches and less than an inch high — was intended to replace the expensive computers in school science labs. For less than the price of a new keyboard, a… read more

Electrical pulse treatment pokes tiny holes to kill cancer

April 16, 2013

Lung tumor before (left) and after (right)

A new, minimally invasive treatment that creates microscopic holes in tumors without harming healthy tissue is a promising treatment for challenging cancers, suggests a preliminary study being presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology‘s 38th Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans.

“Irreversible electroporation (or IRE) is a new way to attack cancer, using microsecond electrical pulses to kill cancer at the cellular level… read more

Can we trust robots? Better question: can robots trust us?

August 24, 2014

https://twitter.com/hitchBOT

Ask HitchBOT, a charismatic robot who just hitchhiked its way across Canada from Halifax, N.S. to Victoria, B.C. — a three-week journey of more than 6,000 km (3728 miles) — accepting 18 rides from total strangers and tweeting its progress to its 35,100 followers.

@HitchBOT used GPS and a 3G cellphone wireless connection feeding to a map with its position. It has… read more

Scientists suggest that cancer is purely man-made

October 15, 2010

Cancer is a modern, man-made disease caused by environmental factors such as pollution and diet, a study by University of Manchester scientists has strongly suggested.

A study of remains and literature from ancient Egypt and Greece and earlier periods — carried out at the University of Manchester’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology and published in Nature — includes the first histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy.… read more

US road safety agency issues policy on driverless cars

May 31, 2013

google_car

Self-driving vehicle technology is not yet at a stage that it can be authorized for use by the public for general driving, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation recommendation to state governments, PC World reports.

If a state decides to permit operation of self-driving vehicles other than for testing, at a minimum it should require that a person licensed to drive self-driving vehicles should be seated… read more

Rooftop solar, other renewables make 9GW of baseload fossil fuels no longer needed in Australia

August 1, 2013

800px-Panneaux_photovoltaïques

AGL Energy, one of the big three power utilities in Australia, says that 9,000MW of fossil-fuel baseload capacity needs to be taken out of the national electricity market (NEM) to bring it back into balance, RenewEconomy reports.

That assessment of 9,000MW equates to nearly one-third of the country’s baseload generation — a sure sign that renewables, and in particularly rooftop solar, are changing the dynamics of the… read more

Neuromorphic ‘atomic-switch’ networks function like synapses in the brain

August 19, 2014

atomic-switch network

Researchers in the U.S. and Japan have developed a self-assembled neuromorphic (brain-like) device comprising more than a billion interconnected “atomic-switch” inorganic synapses embedded in a complex network of silver nanowires.

The researchers are located at the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA) at the National Institute forread more

A boost for quantum reality

May 9, 2012

joint_measurement_n_qubits

In a controversial paper in Nature Physics, theorists claim they can prove that wavefunctions — the entity that determines the probability of different outcomes of measurements on quantum-mechanical particles — are real states.

The paper is thought by some to be one of the most important in quantum foundations in decades. The authors say that the mathematics leaves no doubt that the wavefunction is not just a statistical tool, but rather, a… read more

Flip of a single molecular switch makes an old brain young

March 8, 2013

A cultured neuron with projecting dendrites studded with sites of communication between neurons, known as dendritic spines (Yale University)

The flip of a single molecular switch helps create the mature neuronal connections that allow the brain to bridge the gap between adolescent impressionability and adult stability.

Now Yale School of Medicine researchers have reversed the process, recreating a youthful brain that facilitated both learning and healing in the adult mouse.

Scientists have long known that the young and old brains are very different. Adolescent brains… read more

The touch-screen generation

March 30, 2013

touch-screen generation

Young children — even toddlers — are spending more and more time with digital technology. What will it mean for their development?

The Atlantic magazine explores this trend in its cover story, “The Touch-Screen Generation.”

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

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