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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

Neuroscientists plant false memories in the brain

MIT study also pinpoints where the brain stores memory traces, both false and authentic
July 26, 2013

memory_traces_hippocampus

The phenomenon of false memory has been well-documented: In many court cases, defendants have been found guilty based on testimony from witnesses and victims who were sure of their recollections, but DNA evidence later overturned the conviction.

In a step toward understanding how these faulty memories arise, MIT neuroscientists have shown that they can plant false memories in the brains of mice.

They also… read more

NASA’s Van Allen probes discover particle accelerator in the heart of Earth’s radiation belts

July 26, 2013

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Scientists have know that something in space accelerated particles in the Van Allen radiation belts to more than 99 percent the speed of light, but they didn’t know what that something was.

New results from NASA‘s Van Allen Probes now show that the acceleration energy comes from within the belts themselves.

Particles inside the belts are sped up by local kicks of… read more

What if quantum entanglement worked on the macroscopic level?

July 26, 2013

entangled photons

Quantum entanglement works for photons, and even molecuiles, but what about larger objects?

University of Geneva (UNIGE) researchers managed to entangle crystals in 2011, but now they have entangled two optic fibers, populated by 500 photons.

To do this, the team first created an entanglement between two fiber optics on a microscopic level before moving it to the macroscopic level. The entangled state survived… read more

Making genome editing more accurate, efficient, safer

Improved technique makes it easier to add or delete genes in living cells, with less risk of off-target DNA damage
July 26, 2013

genome sequence trace - featured

Earlier this year, MIT researchers developed a way to easily and efficiently edit the genomes of living cells. Now, the researchers have discovered key factors that influence the accuracy of the system, an important step toward making it safer for potential use in humans, says Feng Zhang, leader of the research team.

With this technology, scientists can deliver or disrupt multiple genes at… read more

Neural electrical activity combines memory, environment, and state of mind

Researchers give rats false memories
July 26, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

The information carried by the electrical activity of neurons is a mixture of stored memories, environmental circumstances, and current state of mind, scientists have found in a study of laboratory rats.

The findings, which appear in the open-access journal PLoS Biology, offer new insights into the neurobiological processes that give rise to knowledge and memory recall.

Recent research showed that memories are not unchanging… read more

Tattoo biosensor warns when athletes are about to ‘hit the wall’

July 25, 2013

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University of California San Diego neuroengineers have developed a real-time electrochemical biosensor that can alert marathoners, competitive bikers, and other “extreme” athletes that they’re about to “bonk,” or “hit the wall.”

The sensor can be applied to the human skin like a temporary tattoo that stays on and flexes with body movements.

In ACS’ journal Analytical Chemistry, Joseph Wang and colleagues describe the first… read more

Hot-fire tests show 3D-printed rocket parts rival traditionally manufactured parts

Potential to reduce the time and cost associated with making complex parts by an order of magnitude
July 25, 2013

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NASA engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., have put rocket engine parts to the test and compared their performance to parts made the old-fashioned way with welds and multiple parts during planned subscale acoustic tests for the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket.

In little more than a month, Marshall engineers built two subscale injectors with a specialized 3-D… read more

A pathway in the brain that allows humans to learn new words

Might account for language disorders and differences between humans and non-human primates in language learning
July 25, 2013

The arcuate fasciculus (c

Researchers from King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry, in collaboration with Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the University of Barcelona, have mapped the neural pathways involved in word learning among humans.

They found that the arcuate fasciculus, a collection of nerve fibers connecting auditory regions at the temporal lobe with the motor area located at the frontal lobe in the left hemisphere… read more

Body maps, plasticity, and neurological disorders

Salk findings on brain development may shed light on neurological disorders such as autism
July 25, 2013

Mouseunculi

Salk Institute researchers have demonstrated that altering the functional architecture of the brain’s cortex is possible, and that this alteration produces significant changes in parts of the brain that connect with the cortex and define its functional properties.

Dennis O’Leary, holder of the Vincent J. Coates Chair of Molecular Neurobiology at Salk, was the first scientist to show that the basic functional architecture of the… read more

The love hormone is two-faced

Surprise finding shows oxytocin strengthens bad memories and can increase fear and anxiety
July 24, 2013

oxtr_fear

Oxytocin has long been known as the warm, fuzzy hormone that promotes feelings of love, social bonding and well-being. It’s even being tested as an anti-anxiety drug.

But new Northwestern Medicine research shows oxytocin also can cause emotional pain, an entirely new, darker identity for the hormone.

Oxytocin appears to be the reason stressful social situations, perhaps being bullied at school or tormented by a boss,… read more

Real-time drawing assistance through crowdsourcing

July 24, 2013

Draw_A_Friend-featured

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon and Microsoft Research have proposed a new method for the large-scale collection and analysis of drawings by using a mobile game specifically designed to collect such data.

Analyzing this crowdsourced drawing database, the researchers build a spatially varying model of artistic consensus at the stroke level. They then present a surprisingly simple stroke-correction method which uses their artistic consensus… read more

UK team designs human mission to Mars

July 24, 2013

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Scientists at Imperial College London have designed a concept mission to land astronauts on Mars. The plan envisages a three-person crew journeying to Mars aboard a small two-part craft, BBC News reports.

The craft would rotate to generate artificial gravity and use a heat shield to protect itself against solar flares. The crew would then return to Martian orbit in a pre-sent craft fuelled using ice from… read more

Look before you Leap Motion

July 24, 2013

leap_motion

Leap Motion’s low-cost gesture-control device is not as easy to use as you might think.

For the past couple days, I’ve been gesticulating even more than normal — at times, subtly, at other times, wildly — while getting to know the latest in gesture-control technology: the Leap Motion controller, Rachel Metz writes at MIT Technology Review.

Long anticipated due to its low cost ($80),… read more

Chips that mimic the brain in real time

July 24, 2013

multi-neuron chip

Neuroinformatics researchers from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich together with colleagues from the EU and U.S. have demonstrated how complex cognitive abilities can be incorporated into electronic systems made with “neuromorphic” chips.

They further show how to assemble and configure these electronic systems to function in a way similar to an actual brain.

No computer works as efficiently as the… read more

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