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A battery made of wood: long-lasting, efficient, environmentally friendly

June 23, 2013

wood_fibers

University of Maryland researchers have developed and tested a battery with anodes made of tin-coated wood that are a thousand times thinner than a piece of paper.

Using sodium instead of lithium (which is used in many rechargeable batteries) makes the battery environmentally benign. Also, while sodium doesn’t store energy as efficiently as lithium, its low cost and use of commonly available materials would make… read more

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.

 

Optical nano-tweezers allow for manipulating molecules, other nanoscale objects

March 7, 2014

The image on the left is an electron beam microscopy image of the extremity of the plasmon nano-tweezers. The image on the right is a sketch illustrating the trapping of a nanoparticle in the bowtie aperture. (Credit: Institute of Photonic Sciences)

Researchers at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) in Catalonia have invented nano-optical tweezers capable of trapping and moving an individual nano-object in three dimensions using the force of light.

“This technique could revolutionize the field of nanoscience since, for the first time, we have shown that it is possible to trap, 3D-manipulate, and release a single nano-object without exerting any mechanical contact or other invasive action,” said Romain… read more

Blind mole rats may hold key to cancer

November 6, 2012

Palestine_Mole-rat_1

Some 23% of humans die of cancer, but blind mole rats — which can live for 21 years, an impressive age among rodents — seem to be immune to the disease.

Cell cultures from two species of blind mole rat, Spalax judaei and Spalax golani, behave in ways that render them impervious to the growth of tumors, according to work by Vera Gorbunova at the University of Rochester,… read more

Researchers observe never-before-detected brain activity in deep coma

September 25, 2013

Flat line and Nu-complex (credit: Daniel Kroeger et al./PLoS ONE)

University of Montreal researchers have found brain activity that kicks in after a patient’s EEG shows an isoelectric (“flat line”) EEG, according to their paper in PLoS ONE (open access).

The flatline EEG (brainwave) pattern is usually recorded during very deep coma and is considered to be one of the limit points in establishing brain death. In particular clinical conditions, it is accepted as the only criterion.… read more

To Boldly Go: A One-Way Human Mission to Mars

October 20, 2010

(NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science)

Paul Davies, a physicist and cosmologist from Arizona State University, and Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a Washington State University associate professor, argue for a one-way manned mission to Mars.

In an article, “To Boldly Go: A One-Way Human Mission to Mars,” published in Volume 12 of the Journal of Cosmology, the authors write that while technically feasible, a manned mission to Mars and back is unlikely to lift off… read more

PhoneSat — NASA’s smartphone nanosatellite

August 29, 2012

android-phonestat

NASA’s new PhoneSat project at Ames Research Center will soon demonstrate the ability to launch the lowest-cost and easiest-to-build satellites ever flown in space by using consumer smartphones.

Smartphones already offer a wealth of capabilities needed for satellite systems, including fast processors, versatile operating systems, multiple miniature sensors, high-resolution cameras, GPS receivers, and several radios.

NASA engineers kept the total cost of the components to build each… read more

Will 2D tin be the next super material for chip interconnects?

New single-layer material could go beyond graphene, conducting electricity with 100 percent efficiency at room temperature
November 25, 2013

Adding fluorine atoms (yellow) to a single layer of tin atoms (grey) should allow a predicted new material, stanene, to conduct electricity perfectly along its edges (blue and red arrows) at temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius (212 Fahrenheit). (Yong Xu/Tsinghua University; Greg Stewart/SLAC)

Move over, graphene. “Stanene” —  a single layer of tin atoms — could be the world’s first material to conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency at the temperatures that computer chips operate, according to a team of theoretical physicists led by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University.

Stanene — the Latin name for tin (stannum) combined with the… read more

Khan Academy adds computer science courses

August 15, 2012

spinning_galaxy

Khan Academy has added a set of computer science courses to its popular collection of learn-at-home instructional videos. For the project, Khan tapped jQuery creator John Resig, who chose JavaScript as the first language to teach students. The initial set of tutorials cover drawing, programming basics, animation and user interaction.

Army Corps of Engineers using 3D printers to create dam models

January 30, 2013

Sacramento District commander Col. Bill Leady shows off a 1/240-scale 3D-printed model of the Folsom Dam auxiliary spillway in Folsom, Calif., during a site visit in May 2012 (credit: Michael J. Nevins)

About 25 miles northeast of Sacramento, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District construction crews are working to complete one of the Corps’ biggest projects — a new spillway at Folsom Dam, designed to help reduce the risk of flooding throughout the Sacramento region.

With an estimated project cost of more than $750 million, it’s important to be able to show and describe how the project will… read more

How to control fruit flies by putting designer drugs in their food

Don't tell Alex Jones about this, whatever you do!
September 9, 2013

Drosophila melanogaster aka fruit fly (credit: Mr.checker/ Wikimedia Commons)

So scientists at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans have figured out how to control fruit-fly behavior and physiology by spiking their food with a designer drug called (we’re not making this up) DREADD (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs).

The idea is to give them Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy, ALS, and mental illness.

That’s all we need, crazed… read more

Colossal explosion from supermassive black hole at center of galaxy revealed

September 25, 2013

black_hole_jet

Two million years ago, a supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy erupted in an explosion so immensely powerful that it lit up a cloud 200,000 light years away, a team of researchers led by the University of Sydney has revealed.

The finding is an exciting confirmation that black holes can “flicker,” moving from maximum power to switching off over short periods of… read more

Brazil aims to clone endangered animals

November 14, 2012

750px-Maned_Wolf_11,_Beardsley_Zoo,_2009-11-06

Conservationists in Brazil are poised to try cloning eight animals that are under pressure, including jaguars and maned wolves, New Scientist reports.

None of the targeted animals are critically endangered, but Brazil’s agricultural research agency, Embrapa, wants a headstart. Working with the Brasilia Zoological Garden, it has collected around 420 tissue samples, mostlyread more

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