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SpaceX Dragon capsule arrives at Space Station with precious cargo

October 10, 2012

Dragon ISS

A privately built robotic space capsule arrived at the International Space Station early Wednesday (Oct. 10) to make the first-ever commercial cargo delivery to the orbiting lab under a billion-dollar deal with NASA, Space.com reports.

The unmanned Dragon spacecraft was captured by station astronauts using a robotic arm after an apparently flawless approach by the cargo-laden space capsule, which was built by the private spaceflight company SpaceX. It… read more

Multitasking neurons found essential to the brain’s computational power

May 21, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

There are many neurons, especially in brain regions that perform sophisticated functions such as thinking and planning, that react in different ways to a wide variety of things.

MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller first noticed these unusual activity patterns about 20 years ago, while recording the electrical activity of neurons in animals that were trained to perform complex tasks.

“We started noticing early on that… read more

Star ripped apart by unknown black hole

Scientists record signal as distant black hole consumes star
August 4, 2012

750px-Black_Hole_Milkyway

Astronomers think they have seen a star being ripped to pieces by a previously unknown black hole (see ‘The awakening of a cosmic monster‘), says Nature News.

The astronomers saw a pulse of X-rays that rose and fell in intensity every 200 seconds. The team thinks that the oscillation is coming from the last bits of the star, which are making their final orbits before being sucked… read more

Google Fiber installations kick off

November 19, 2012

google_fiber_installation

After months of building a brand new Fiber infrastructure, Google is starting to connect homes in Kansas City, Google Fiber Blog reports, offering some tips on what to expect.

 

New research supports the huge potential of tidal power

January 18, 2013

Artist’s impression of a tidal turbine array (credit: Phil. Trans. R. Soc)

A global group of scientists and engineers, including from the University of Southampton, has published in a special issue journal of the Royal Society in support of tidal power, which has the potential to provide more than 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity demand, they calculate.

While the predictable nature of tides makes them an ideal renewable energy source, more so than wind, the… read more

Solving the ‘cocktail party problem’: how we can focus on one speaker in noisy crowds

March 11, 2013

This is a cartoon illustrating the idea that at a cocktail party the brain activity synchronizes to that of an attended speaker, effectively putting them ‘on the same wavelength’ (credit: Zion-Golumbic et al./Neuron)

Researchers have demonstrated how the brain hones in on one speaker to solve the “cocktail party problem.”

Researchers discovered that the brain can selectively track the sound patterns from the speaker of interest and at the same time exclude competing sounds from other speakers.

The findings could have important implications for helping individuals with a range of deficits such as those associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,… read more

A new supercapacitor for energy storage at high temperatures

September 5, 2013

rice_SUPERCAP-1

Rice University researchers who have developed a supercapacitor that can operate at very high temperatures, using clay as a key ingredient.

The supercapacitor is reliable at temperatures of up to 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit), and could be useful for powering devices for use in extreme environments, such as oil drilling, the military and space, Rice scientist Pulickel Ajayan reported in Nature’s… read more

IBM invents ’3D nanoprinter’ for microscopic objects

April 25, 2014

AdvMatCover

IBM scientists have invented a tiny “chisel” with a nano-sized heatable silicon tip that creates patterns and structures on a microscopic scale.

The tip, similar to the kind used in atomic force microscopes, is attached to a bendable cantilever that scans the surface of the substrate material with the accuracy of one nanometer.

Unlike conventional 3D printers, by applying heat and force, the nanosized tip can… read more

How to design proteins from scratch

November 8, 2012

protein_model_vs_structure

Given the exponential number of contortions possible for any chain of amino acids, dictating a sequence that will fold into a predictable protein structure has been a daunting task.

Now a team from David Baker’s laboratory at the University of Washington reports that they can do just that, Nature News reports.

By following a set of rules, they designed five proteins from scratch that fold reliably into… read more

Reducing Internet and telecom greenhouse gases

January 4, 2013

Internet_traffic

The information communications and technology (ICT) industry, which delivers Internet, video, voice and other cloud services, produces more than 830 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually — about 2 percent of global CO2 emissions — the same proportion as the aviation industry produces. This is expected to double by 2020.

Now researchers from the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) and Bell Labs are reporting new models of emissions and… read more

How to build a robotic bat wing

Could lead to the design of a small aircraft
February 26, 2013

A robotic bat wing lets researchers measure forces, joint movements, and flight parameters — and learn more about how the real thing operates in nature (credit: Breuer and Swartz labs/Brown University)

Researchers at Brown University have developed a robotic bat wing that is providing valuable new information about dynamics of flapping flight in real bats — the function of ligaments, the elasticity of skin, the structural support of musculature, skeletal flexibility, upstroke, and downstroke.

The strong, flapping flight of bats offers great possibilities for the design of small aircraft, among other applications.

The robot, which… read more

Social networking is about to get exponentially more annoying

December 9, 2011

MagnetU (credit: MagnetU)

 

MagnetU is a $24 device that broadcasts your social media profile to other “nodes” (people) around you, Technology Review Mims’s Bits reports.

If anyone else with a MagnetU has a profile that matches yours sufficiently, the device will alert both of you via text and/or an app. It also links to Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and other online social networks.

New book by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler — Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

January 20, 2012

Abundance book cover large

In the forthcoming book Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, Peter H. Diamandis (chairman and CEO of the X-Prize Foundation and cofounder and chairman of Singularity University) and award-winning science writer Steven Kotler give us an extensive tour of the latest in exponentially growing technologies and explore how four emerging forces  — exponential technologies, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, and the Rising Billion — are… read more

Hippies head for Noah’s Ark: queue here for rescue aboard alien spaceship

March 26, 2012

Pic de Bugarach

New Age believers have descended on the Pyrenean village of Bugarach in France. They believe that when apocalypse strikes on December 21  this year, the aliens will save all the nearby humans and beam them off to the next age.

Some hikers have been spotted scaling the mountain carrying a ball with a golden ring, strung together by a single thread.

Upwards of 100,000 people are thought to be… read more

The free ride is over for streaming video

May 21, 2012

ytleanback

Comcast’s plans to do away with its 250 GB data cap and charge users based upon usage marks the end of an era for cable TV providers, and for the online video industry, TechCrunch reports.

 

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