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Chinese move to their eco-city of the future

March 19, 2012

Tainjin, China

Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco City — the world’s largest eco-city — is an experimental model for how Chinese cities could develop and solve some of the enormous problems facing them: permanent gridlock, a lack of water, and ruinous electricity bills.

General Motors is using Tianjin to work out if electric driverless cars can function in a normal traffic system, and road-test the next generation of vehicles: small urban cars that drive themselves… read more

Children with autism have extra synapses in brain

May be possible to prune synapses with a future drug after diagnosis
August 26, 2014

A neuron from the brain of young person with autism. A new study finds that young people with autism have excess synapses. (Credit: Guomei Tang and Mark S. Sonders/CUMC)

Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).

Because synapses are the points where neurons connect and communicate with each other, the excessive synapses may have profound effects on how the brain functions. The… read more

Mediterranean diet linked to longer life

December 3, 2014

(Credit: iStock)

The Mediterranean diet appears to be associated with longer telomere length — a marker of slower aging and thus long life, a  study published in the BMJ this week suggests.

The Mediterranean diet has been consistently linked with health benefits, including reduced mortality and reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease.

The diet is based on a high intake of vegetables, fruits,… read more

70% of American adults have high-speed broadband access at home

August 28, 2013

pew - internet

As of May 2013, 70% of American adults ages 18 and older have a high-speed broadband* connection at home, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Groups with the highest rates of home broadband adoption continue to be college graduates, adults under age 50, and adults living in households earning at least $50,000, as well as whites and adults living in… read more

Imaging global brain connectivity can predict how intelligent you are

'Global brain connectivity' with a part of the left lateral prefrontal cortex explains 10 percent of variance in individual intelligence
August 2, 2012

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What factors distinguish the brains of exceptionally smart humans from those of average humans?

Overall brain size matters somewhat, accounting for about 6.7 percent of individual variation in intelligence.

More recent research has pinpointed the brain’s lateral prefrontal cortex, a region just behind the temple, as a critical hub for high-level mental processing, with activity levels there predicting another 5 percent of variation in individual intelligence.… read more

What happens to your brain on the way to Mars?

Long-term galactic cosmic ray exposure leads to dementia-like cognitive impairments
May 4, 2015

radiation effects

Exposure to highly energetic charged particles — much like those found in the galactic cosmic rays that bombard astronauts during extended spaceflights — causes significant damage to the central nervous system, resulting in cognitive impairments, according to a UC Irvine radiation oncology open-access study appearing in the May 1 edition of Science Advances.

“This is not positive news for astronauts deployed on a two- to three-year round… read more

This is how the universe will end: not with a bang but a rip

First the galaxies are destroyed. Then the solar system breaks apart and the Earth explodes. Finally, the atoms themselves are ripped apart.
July 3, 2015

This is a time line of life of the universe that ends in a Big Rip. (credit: Jeremy Teaford, Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt University mathematicians have come up with a new theory of “cosmological viscosity” (how sticky the universe is) that challenges current theories.

For decades, cosmologists have had trouble reconciling the classic notion of viscosity based on the laws of thermodynamics with Einstein’s general theory of relativity, according the the team, which has now come up with a fundamentally new mathematical formulation of the problem that appears to… read more

Hands-on with the next generation Kinect: PrimeSense Capri

January 17, 2013

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The next generation of PrimeSense‘s 3D sensor (used inside the Microsoft Kinect), called Capri, will revolutionize vision for very cheap and very expensive robots, IEEE Spectrum reports.

Capri is also small enough that it’ll be able to fit into tablets (and eventually smartphones).

The first engineering samples of Capri are expected to ship in 2-3 months, with consumer kits… read more

Robot avatar body controlled by thought alone

July 5, 2012

These areas of the motor cortex are activated when thinking about moving things (credit: New Scientist)

For the first time, a person lying in an fMRI machine has controlled a robot hundreds of kilometers away using thought alone.

.”The ultimate goal is to create a surrogate, like in Avatar, although that’s a long way off yet,” says Abderrahmane Kheddar, director of the joint robotics laboratory at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan.

Teleoperated robots,… read more

Germany to tap brakes on high-speed trading

October 29, 2012

hft_chart

Germany is set to advance a bill Wednesday imposing a spate of new rules on high-frequency trading, escalating Europe’s sweeping response to concerns that speedy traders have brought instability to the markets.

The measure seeks to require traders to register with Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, collect fees from those who use high-speed trading systems excessively, and force stock markets to install circuit breakers that can interrupt trading if… read more

NASA Mars rover fully analyzes first soil samples

December 5, 2012

curiosity_trenches_mars

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has used its full array of instruments to analyze Martian soil for the first time, and found a complex chemistry within the Martian soil, including water and sulfur and chlorine-containing substances.

The rover’s laboratory includes the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite and the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument. SAM used three methods to analyze gases given off from the dusty… read more

Watching fish thinking

February 1, 2013

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Neuroscientists have found a way to watch neurons fire in an independently moving animal for the first time. The study was done in fish, but it may hold clues to how the human brain works, Science Now reports.

Junichi Nakai of Saitama University’s Brain Science Institute in Japan and colleagues selected a glowing marker known as green fluorescent protein (GFP) and linked it to a compound that… read more

Apple’s new headquarters: an exclusive sneak peek

October 14, 2013

apple-cupertino-hq-main1

The site of Apple’s proposed new spaceship-shaped headquarters that goes before the City Council Tuesday for an initial vote “will be one of the most environmentally sustainable developments on this scale anywhere in the world,” according ot Dan Whisenhunt, San Jose Mercury News reports.

Apple Campus 2 promises to bring a world-class real-estate project — along with a lot of traffic congestion — to the heart of… read more

IBM to take Watson to the cloud, opens to app developers

November 14, 2013

A hypothetical Watson medical app (credit: IBM)

IBM announced today that it will make its IBM Watson technology available to developers in the cloud so they can build apps using Watson.

IBM will be launching the IBM Watson Developers Cloud, a cloud-hosted marketplace for resources including a developer toolkit, educational materials, and access to Watson’s application programming interface (API).

Resources for developers

App providers can use their own company’s data, or access the IBM Watson Contentread more

Using large-scale brain simulations for machine learning and AI

June 27, 2012

unsupervised_icml2012_cat_and_face

The Google research team has been working on some new approaches to large-scale machine learningGoogle Official Blog reports.

Today’s machine learning technology takes significant work to adapt to new uses. For example, say we’re trying to build a system that can distinguish between pictures of cars and motorcycles.

In the standard machine learning approach, we first have to collect tens of thousands of pictures that have already been

read more

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