Most Recently Added Most commentedBy Title | A-Z

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

Atomic bombs help solve mystery: does the adult human brain produce new neurons?

June 9, 2013

Credit: Cell, Spalding et al.

A study in the journal Cell reveals that a significant number of new neurons in the hippocampus — a brain region crucial for memory and learning — are generated in adult humans.

“It was thought for a long time that we are born with a certain number of neurons, and that it is not possible to get new neurons after birth,” says senior study author Jonas Frisén of the Karolinska Institute.… read more

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

Does online education need to be free to succeed?

October 8, 2012

salman_khan

Also see the three related posts today (below). — Ed.

According to venture capitalists and entrepreneurs,  technology will “disrupt” education as we know it, and maybe create a few billion-dollar companies along the way (see “The Crisis in Higher Education”), says Technology Review.

According to Dow Jones VentureSource, VCs invested $217 million in digital education companies during the first half of 2012 — more than… read more

Full-brain waves challenge area-specific view of brain activity

March 21, 2013

A still-shot of a wave of brain activity measured by electrical signals in the outside (left view) and inside (right view) surface of the brain. The colour scale shows the peak of the wave as hot colours and the trough as dark colours. (Credit: D.A.)

Our understanding of brain activity has traditionally been linked to brain areas — when we speak, the speech area of the brain is active.

New research by an international team of psychologists shows that this view may be wrong. The entire cortex, not just the area responsible for a certain function, is activated when a given task is initiated.

Furthermore, activity occurs in a pattern: waves… 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

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

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

close and return to Home