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Could synthetic fuels eliminate entire US need for crude oil, create ‘new economy’?

December 7, 2012

Graphical representation of the locations of selected facilities for 50% replacement of petroleum fuels. The facilities are represented by dark brown circles with corresponding sizes. The amounts of coal, biomass, and natural gas feedstock in the United States are represented by the proposed color scheme in the map legend. (Credit: Josephine A. Elia, Richard C. Baliban, and Christodoulos A. Floudas/Princeton University)

The U.S. could eliminate the need for crude oil by using a combination of coal, natural gas, and non-food crops to make synthetic fuel, a team of Princeton researchers has found.

Besides economic and national security benefits, the plan has potential environmental advantages. Because plants absorb carbon dioxide to grow, the United States could cut vehicle greenhouse emissions by as much as 50 percent in… read more

Scientists and bankers — a new model army

April 12, 2012

450px-New_York_City_Stock_Exchange_NYSE_03

Bankers must surrender more information on their activities to scientists to use it to build better system-wide financial models, says John Liechty, director of the Center for the Study of Global Financial Stability and Professor of Marketing and Statistics at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

Existing financial models failed to predict the crisis of 2008 and the follow-on crisis of 2011–12. They missed the huge system-wide risks that… read more

Leap 3D out-Kinects Kinect

May 22, 2012

leap_motion

Leap Motion is unveiling its Leap 3D motion control system, Technology Review Hello World reports.

Leap Motion appears to outrank Kinect in terms of its capability. The technology, reports CNET, can detect motion with up to a hundredth of a millimeter accuracy; it’s nuanced enough to detect fingers, for instance, enabling the possibility of touch-free pinch-to-zoom.

When the device is available for commercial release,… read more

We’re all living longer, but longevity increases not benefitting everybody

December 21, 2012

Life_expectancy

Global lifespans have risen dramatically in the past 40 years, but the increased life expectancy is not benefitting body equally, say University of Toronto researchers. In particular, adult males from low- and middle-income countries are losing ground.

People are living longer on average than they were in 1970, and those extra years of life are being achieved at lower cost, the researchers, led by U of… read more

Low-cost design makes ultrasound imaging affordable to the world

September 17, 2012

ultrasound-fetus

An ultra-low cost scanner that can be plugged into any computer to show images of an unborn baby has been developed by Newcastle University engineers.

The handheld USB device — roughly the size of a computer mouse — works like existing ultrasound scanners, using pulses of high frequency sound to build up a picture of the unborn child on the computer screen.

However, unlike the… read more

Gigabit Internet may be coming to 35 US cities

February 20, 2014

Google Fiber projects in the U.S. (credit: Google)

Google has invited cities in nine metro areas around the U.S. — 34 cities altogether — to “work with us to explore what it would take to bring them Google Fiber” at gigabit speeds — “100 times faster than what most of us live with today,” said Milo Medin, VP, Google Access, writing on the Google Fiber blog.

“We aim to provide updates by the end… read more

Walking again after spinal cord injury

June 1, 2012

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Rats with spinal cord injuries and severe paralysis are now walking (and running) thanks to researchers at EPFL.

They found that a severed section of the spinal cord can make a comeback when its own innate intelligence and regenerative capacity is awakened.

The study points to a profound change in our understanding of the central nervous system. According to lead author Grégoire Courtine, it… read more

Brain frontal lobes not sole center of human intelligence

May 15, 2013

brain_lobes

The frontal lobes in humans vs. other species are not — as previously thought — disproportionately enlarged relative to other areas of the brain, according to a study by Durham and Reading universities.

It concludes that the size of our frontal lobes — an area in the brain of mammals located at the front of each cerebral hemisphere — cannot solely account for humans’ superior cognitive… read more

Printing computer displays and solar cells

November 20, 2013

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Printable curved computer displays, TV screens, signs, clothing, fluorescent wallpaper, and flexible solar cells will soon be possible using a new printing process for flexible, organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs, say German scientists.

“Almost any surface can be made into a display,” said Dr. Armin Wedel, head of division at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP.

The first curved OLED screens were demonstrated at… read more

A genetically engineered weight-loss implant

Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner --- they're working on it
November 28, 2013

implantable_slimming_aid

ETH-Zurich biotechnologists have constructed an implantable genetic regulatory circuit that monitors blood-fat levels. In response to excessive levels, it produces a messenger substance that signals satiety (fullness) to the body. Tests on obese mice revealed that this helps them lose weight.

According to the WHO, over half the population in many industrialized nations is overweight, one in three people extremely so, with high-calorie and fatty food a lifetime on… read more

Can cloud computing boost GDP?

November 15, 2012

Cloud_Computing

Gross domestic product (GDP) can be boosted by cloud computing, the system in which remote computers on the Internet are used to store, manage and process data rather than the users’ local machines, according to a report to be published in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management. 

The report suggests that governments should collaborate to boost the adoptionread more

Three radical new energy technologies

November 21, 2012

florida_nasa

Three innovative new energy technologies are explored in the current issue of Technology and Innovation — Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors:

  • Tidal currents and ocean waves that can be recovered using ocean thermal conversion technology.
  • Infrared thermal radiation (more than half of the power provided by the Sun).
  • A new nanophosphor-based electroluminesence lighting device that caters to the exact wavelengths of light required for photosynthesis

read more

NASA technologists test ‘game-changing’ data-processing technology

Back to the future?
November 29, 2012

nasa_pellish_analog_board

NASA technologist Jonathan Pellish believes the analog computing technology of yesteryear could potentially revolutionize everything from autonomous rendezvous and docking to remotely correcting wavefront errors on large, deployable space telescope mirrors like those to fly on the James Webb Space Telescope.

Pellish is meeting with scientists and engineers to explain the technology’s capabilities and is building printed circuit boards that researchers can use to test… read more

A ‘DNA nanotrain’ for targeted cancer drug transport

Targeted chemotherapy delivery without toxic side-effects
May 2, 2013

Chemotherapy drugs are specifically transported to target cancer cells, unloaded, and induce cytotoxicity to cancer cells (credit: )

University of Florida researchers have developed a “DNA nanotrain” that fast-tracks its payload of cancer-fighting drugs and bioimaging agents to tumor cells deep within the body.

The nanotrains can cost-effectively deliver high doses of drugs to precisely targeted cancers and other medical maladies without leaving behind toxic nano-clutter.

DNA nanotechnology holds great promise as a new way to deliver chemotherapy directly to cancer cells, but… read more

How to launch your own homemade satellite

September 6, 2012

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Over the next year a dozen or so tiny, homemade satellites will be launched into low Earth orbit — 140 to 600 miles up, roughly as high as the International Space Station — conducting a variety of experiments, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Sandy Antunes, a former NASA employee-turned professor, has documented the rise of these “pico satellites” in a pair of books: DIY Satellite Platforms and Surviving Orbit theread more

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