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NASA video on LENR (low energy nuclear reactions), a clean form of nuclear energy

January 13, 2012

NASA Langley Research Center posted Thursday (but has not announced) a new video on NASA research on LENR (low energy nuclear reactions), entitled “Method for Enhancement of Surface Plasmon Polaritons to Initiate & Sustain LENR.”

The research focuses on “another way of producing energy-efficient nuclear power,” says NASA Senior Research Scientist Joseph Zawodny, featured in the video (posted on YouTube by KurzweilAI). “This other form of nuclear power releases… read more

Memory implants

A maverick neuroscientist believes he has deciphered the code by which the brain forms long-term memories
May 1, 2013


Teodore Berger, a biomedical engineer and neuroscientist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, envisions a day in the not too distant future when a patient with severe memory loss can get help from an electronic implant, MIT Technology Review reports.

In people whose brains have suffered damage from Alzheimer’s, stroke, or injury, disrupted neuronal networks often prevent long-term memories from forming. For more than… read more

What zebrafish can teach us about healing brain damage

November 11, 2012


The zebrafish regenerates its brain after injury, unlike mammals. Is there something we can learn about the process that might help with traumatic brain injury  and neurodegenerative disorders?

A research team at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD), Germany decided to investigate.

They found that that in zebrafish — in contrast to mammals — inflammation is a positive regulator of neuronal regeneration in the… 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

Google’s plan to take over the world

June 18, 2013

Google logo

Google isn’t just the backbone of the Internet anymore, writes Steve Kovach at Business Insider.

“It’s rapidly becoming the backbone of your entire life, all thanks to data you’re voluntarily giving up to a private company based on your Web searches, photos, Gmail messages, and more. …

“It’s the most apparent in Google Now, a voice-powered personal assistant that launched on Android phones last year.” [...]

What campuses can learn from online teaching

October 8, 2012


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

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

X Prize Founder, at SXSW, Seeks Ideas to Fix Education

March 13, 2012

X-Prize chairman Peter Diamandis plans to launch an Education X Prize to help fix the U.S. educational system, such as coming up with better ways to crowd-source education, or rewarding the creation of a “powerful, addictive game” that promotes education.

Paul G. Allen commits $300M to expand the Allen Institute for Brain Science to drive toward a complete understanding of how the brain works

March 22, 2012

3D nerve fiber tracts, cortical segmentation, and MRI image of human brain

Paul G. Allen has committed an additional $300 million to the Allen Institute for Brain Science to significantly expand its scientific programs, the Institute announced Wednesday March 21.

Bringing his total commitment to date to $500 million, Allen has charged the Institute with tackling some of the most fundamental and complex questions in brain science today.

The answers to these questions are essential for achieving a… read more

IBM invests $3 billion to extend Moore’s law with post-silicon-era chips and new architectures

Pushing limits of chip technology to 7 nanometers and below
July 10, 2014

Graphene Integrated circuit, the first fabricated from wafer-size graphene, announced by IBM in 2011 (credit: IBM)

IBM announced today it is investing $3 billion for R&D in two research programs to push the limits of chip technology and extend Moore’s law.

The research programs are aimed at “7 nanometer and beyond” silicon technology and developing alternative technologies for post-silicon-era chips using entirely different approaches, IBM says.

IBM will be investing especially in carbon nanoelectronics, silicon photonics, new memory technologies, and architectures that support quantum… read more

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

August 24, 2014

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

Self-driving vehicles: benefits to society, policy challenges for lawmakers

January 6, 2014

Imagined autonomous vehicle

Self-driving vehicles offer the promise of significant benefits to society, but raise several policy challenges, including the need to update insurance liability regulations and privacy concerns such as who will control the data generated by this technology, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

“Our research finds that the social benefits of autonomous vehicles — including decreased crashes, increased mobility and increases… read more

Turning off the stem-cell aging switch

May 24, 2012


Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have uncovered a series of biological events that implicate stem cells’ “niche” (surroundings) as the culprit in loss of stem cells due to aging.

Their findings have implications for treatment of age-related diseases and for the effectiveness of regenerative medicine.

Stem cells are essential building blocks for all organisms, from plants to humans. They can divide… read more

Neuroscientists create organic-computing ‘Brainet’ network of rodent and primate brains — humans next

Rodent network performs sophisticated image processing and avatar-control tasks, presaging future hybrid digital-analog parallel-processing organic computers
July 10, 2015


Duke University neuroscientists have created a network called “Brainet” that uses signals from an array of electrodes implanted in the brains of multiple rodents in experiments to merge their collective brain activity and jointly control a virtual avatar arm or even perform sophisticated computations — including image pattern recognition and even weather forecasting.

Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) are computational systems that allow subjects to use their… read more

US road safety agency issues policy on driverless cars

May 31, 2013


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

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