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How to save money by making stuff with 3D printers

July 31, 2013

RepRap print

A Michigan Technological University researcher is predicting that personal manufacturing, like personal computing before it, is about to enter the consumer mainstream in a big way.

“For the average American consumer, 3D printing is ready for showtime,” said Associate Professor Joshua Pearce.

The reason is financial: the typical family can already save a great deal of money by making things with a 3D printer… read more

Sea level rise ‘locking in’ quickly, cities threatened

July 30, 2013

climate_change_threatens_cities

Measurements tell us that global average sea level is currently rising by about 1 inch per decade. But in an invisible shadow process, our long-term sea level rise commitment or “lock-in” — the sea level rise we don’t see now, but which carbon emissions and warming have locked in for later years — is growing 10 times faster, and this growth rate is accelerating, writes Benread more

How to make cost-effective, ultra-high-performance microscopes

July 30, 2013

Artist's rendering of the new microscopy setup showing one element of an LED array illuminating a sample (credit: Yan Liang and Guoan Zheng)

Engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have devised a method to convert a relatively inexpensive conventional microscope into a billion-pixel imaging system that significantly outperforms the best available standard microscope.

Such a system could greatly improve the efficiency of digital pathology, in which specialists need to review large numbers of tissue samples. By making it possible to produce robust microscopes at low cost,… read more

Molecular automata can help researchers build more targeted therapeutics

July 30, 2013

molecular automata

A new technique for developing more targeted drugs with reduced side effects by using “molecular automata” — a mixture of antibodies and short strands of DNA — has been demonstrated by Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) and Columbia University researchers.

These short DNA strands, aka oligonucleotides, can be manufactured by researchers in a laboratory for any user-specified sequence.

How it works

All cells… read more

Breakthrough in detecting single DNA mutations

Could help treat diseases like tuberculosis and cancer
July 30, 2013

This conceptual image shows probe and target complexes at different stages of the reaction that checks for mutations. The red dots represent mutations in a target base pair, while the illuminated green light indicates that no mutation was found. (Credit: Yan Liang/L2XY2.com)

Researchers have developed a new method that can look at a specific segment of DNA and pinpoint a single mutation, which could help diagnose and treat diseases such as cancer and tuberculosis.

Modern genomics has shown that just one mutation can be the difference between successfully treating a disease and having it spread rampantly throughout the body.

These small mutations can be the root of a… read more

When fluid dynamics mimic quantum mechanics

MIT researchers offer a radical new perspective on wave-particle duality
July 30, 2013

MIT researchers, in collaboration with physicist Yves Couder at the Université Paris Diderot and his colleagues, report that they have produced the fluidic analogue of a classic quantum experiment, in which electrons are confined to a circular “corral” by a ring of ions.

In the new experiments, reported in the latest issue of the journal Physical Review E (PRE), bouncing drops of fluid mimicked the… read more

Improved nuclear fuel-rod cladding might prevent future Fukushimas

July 29, 2013

A silicon carbide (SiC) sample is removed from a 1500 degree C. furnace, where it demonstrated superior tolerance to oxidation with steam.<br />
IMAGE COURTESY OF MUJID KAZIMI AND YOUHO LEE

A team of researchers at MIT is developing an alternative protection for nuclear fuel, while reducing the risk of hydrogen production by roughly a thousandfold.

Tests of the new cladding material, a ceramic compound called silicon carbide (SiC), are described in a series of papers appearing in the journal Nuclear Technology.

A substitute for traditional zircaloy could greatly reduce the danger of hydrogen explosions.… read more

Silky brain implants may help stop spread of epilepsy

July 29, 2013

Example of Silk Implant Used in the Study. Silk implants designed to release adenosine were placed into rat brains to stop the spread of epilepsy. Image courtesy of Dr. Boison, from Legacy Research Institute and OHSU.

A NIH-funded study suggests a role for adenosine in molecular processes involved in epilepsy.

Silk has walked straight off the runway and into the lab. According to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, silk implants placed in the brain of laboratory animals and designed to release a specific chemical, adenosine, may help stop the progression of epilepsy.

The research was… read more

Salk scientist discovers novel mechanism in spinal cord injury

July 29, 2013

p45_spinal_cord_injury

“See-saw” molecule may offer clues to potential therapies in the long-term.

More than 11,000 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries each year, and since over a quarter of those injuries are due to falls, the number is likely to rise as the population ages.

The reason so many of those injuries are permanently disabling is that the human body lacks the capacity to regenerate nerve fibers. The best our… read more

NIH researchers discover how brain cells change their tune

July 29, 2013

Motile_Axonal_Mitochondria_Contribute_to_the_Variability_of_Presynaptic_Strength

Study may advance fundamental understanding of how brain cells communicate.

Brain cells talk to each other in a variety of tones. Sometimes they speak loudly but other times struggle to be heard.

For many years scientists have asked why and how brain cells change tones so frequently.  National Institutes of Health researchers showed that brief bursts of chemical energy coming from rapidly moving power… read more

Twitter predicted to become a big TV screen

July 29, 2013

twitter-bird-white-on-blue

Motivational analysis conducted by Columbia Business School and University of Pittsburgh professors forecasts the Twitter medium becoming comparable to television.

New research from scholars at Columbia Business School and the University of Pittsburgh questions the sustainability of Twitter, the social network that has more than 500 million registered users. The research was recently published in the journal Marketing Science.

Columbia Business School Professor… read more

New techniques use lasers, LEDs, and optics to ‘see’ under the skin

Special section in the Journal of Biomedical Optics
July 29, 2013

jbo_june2013

Impressive examples of new non-invasive optical techniques using lasers, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and spectroscopic methods to probe and render images from beneath the surface of the skin are featured in a newly completed open-access special section in the Journal of Biomedical Optics published by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

The techniques may be used in a wide variety of medical and cosmetic… read more

A faster neuron-activity sensor for charting the brain in real time

July 29, 2013

mouse_neuron_expressing_GCaMP3

Princeton University researchers have created “souped up” versions of the calcium-sensitive proteins that for the past decade or so have given scientists an unparalleled view and understanding of brain-cell communication.

Reported July 18 in the journal Nature Communications, the enhanced proteins developed at Princeton respond more quickly to changes in neuron activity, and can be customized to react to different, faster rates of neuron activity.… read more

Self-organizing ‘giant surfactants’ promise chip-size-reduction breakthrough

July 29, 2013

giant surfactants

University of Akron researchers have developed nanoscale “giant surfactants” (using nanopatterning to combine functioning molecular nanoparticles with polymer surface films and liquid solutions) that could lead to smaller chips, lighter laptops, slimmer televisions, and crisper smartphone visual displays.

Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension (or interfacial tension) between two liquids or between a liquid and a solid.

The giant surfactants developed at… read more

S.F. hacker who made ATMs spit out cash dies

July 29, 2013

barnaby_jack

A prominent hacker who discovered a way to have ATMs spit out cash and was set to deliver a talk about hacking pacemakers and other wireless implantable medical devices has died in San Francisco, authorities and his employer said, San Jose Mercury News reports.

Barnaby Jack died at his home in San Francisco Thursday, although the cause of death is still under investigation, San Francisco Deputy Coroner… read more

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