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‘Virgin birth’ stem cells bypass ethical objections

July 4, 2006

“Virgin-birth” embryos have given rise to human embryonic stem cells capable of differentiating into neurons.

The embryos were produced by parthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction in which eggs can develop into embryos without being fertilised by sperm. The technique could lead to a source of embryonic stem cells that could be used therapeutically without having to destroy a viable embryo.

‘Virgin birth’ method promises ethical stem cells

April 29, 2003

Researchers are on the brink of obtaining human stem cells by parthenogenesis and animal experiments suggest such cells are indistinguishable from normal stem cells.

‘Virgin birth’ mammal rewrites rules of biology

April 22, 2004

A mammal that is the daughter of two female parents has been created for the first time.

It was created by combining the genetic material of two egg cells, circumventing the “imprinting” barrier in mammals (certain genes necessary for embryo development are shut down in the sperm and egg; only when they meet are all of the key genes available) by manipulating the nucleus of a female egg to… read more

Viral maneuvers revealed by surveillance system

September 7, 2008

University of Southern California virologists have found a way to tag and track individual viruses that are too small to be viewed with light microscopes (10-300 nanometers across).

They tagged the HIV-1 viruses by attaching them to biotin (vitamin B7)molecules, which in turn connect to a fluorescent protein called GFP coated onto quantum dots, revealing that the virus travels through cells via their cytoskeleton.

Viral DNA imaged inside shell

June 18, 2008
Tightly wound viral DNA in a bacteriophage (UCSD)

UC San Diego researchers and colleagues used electron microscopy and 3D computer reconstruction to find and image the structure of an asymmetrical virus at 8 Angstroms (.8 nanometer) resolution.

Previously, only symmetrical spherical viruses had been imaged with this resolution. The image will help to unravel how the virus locks onto its host and infects the cells by injecting its DNA.

University of Californiaread more

Viral cure could ‘immunise’ the internet

December 1, 2005

A cure for computer viruses that spreads in a viral fashion could immunize the Internet, even against pests that travel at lightning speed, a mathematical study reveals.

“Honeypot” computers would be linked to one another via a dedicated and secure network and distributed across the Internet. The honeypots would attract a virus, analyze it automatically, and then distribute a countermeasure.

Viper vision

February 15, 2006

A new invention uses an ordinary digital-camera light sensor to capture a scene. An array of infrared LEDs then transforms this image into a pattern of heat points that can be projected onto a user’s forehead.

The human forehead is very sensitive to temperature change, so users may be able to “see” a coarse image in their mind. The technique could also be used to relay Braille messages.

Violent or erotic images cause momentary periods of ‘emotion-induced blindness’

August 17, 2005

A new psychological study finds that when people are shown violent or erotic images they frequently fail to process what they see immediately afterwards.

An emotion-induced blindness test is available for readers to take.

Viewing protein interactions in brain cells

December 27, 2011

At the core of the new imaging technology is the phenomenon known as FRET that occurs only when two fluorescently tagged molecules come within the distance of 8 nanometer or less. Detecting the FRET serves as a proxy for the two proteins X and Y associating within a living cell (credit: University of Miami)

University of Miami (UM) biology professor Akira Chiba is leading a multidisciplinary team to develop the first systematic survey of protein interactions within brain cells. The team is aiming to reconstruct genome-wide in situ protein-protein interaction networks (isPIN) within the neurons of a multicellular organism.

Like all other cells, each neuron produces millions of individual proteins that associate with one another and form a complex communication network.… read more

View to the Edge of No-Return

February 23, 2004

Imagine making a natural telescope more powerful than any other telescope currently operating. Then imagine using it to view closer to the edge of a black hole where its mouth is like a jet that forms super-hot charged particles and spits them millions of light-years into space.

The length of a telescope needed to do that would have to be gigantic, about a million kilometers wide. But just such… read more

Videos: Do Electric Sheep Dream of Dancing Fractals?

December 22, 2010


These fractal animations, known as Electric Sheep, were created by a downloadable (Windows, Mac OSX or Linux) screensaver program that harnesses the power of many computers to create abstract art. The more people who run the Electric Sheep program, the better the animations get.

Videos of 28th Chaos Communication Congress talks

January 4, 2012


Videos of the 28th Chaos Communication Congress (28C3) are now available.

The four-day conference on technology, society, and utopia, offered  lectures and workshops on effects of technological advances on society.

The recordings are available for download and can be viewed on the 28C3 Youtube channel.

See also: Cory Doctorow keynote talkread more

Video: the year in robots

December 31, 2008

This robot, developed at Reading University, has a tangle of rats neurons in place of control software; its biological “brain” even allows it to avoid obstacles.

Other videos include swarms of robots that use electromagnetic forces to cling together and a human-like robot head that can spookily mimic a person’s facial expressions in realtime.

Video: Sociable robots learn to get along with humans

February 23, 2009

U.K. researchers’ emotional robots are learning human social tricks to help future humanoid robots fit in with humans.

Video: Robot uses human mind tricks to navigate

February 9, 2009

Engineers in Germany have been studying human brain activity related to visual information to improve the way moving robots avoid obstacles.

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