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Graphene’s negative environmental impacts

May 1, 2014

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Researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have found graphene oxide nanoparticles are very mobile in lakes or streams and likely to cause negative environmental impacts if released.

Graphene oxide* nanoparticles are an oxidized form of graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms prized for its strength, conductivity and flexibility. Applications for graphene include everything from cell phones and tablet computers… read more

Can an algorithm write a better news story than a human reporter?

April 27, 2012

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Computers will write more than 90 percent of news in 15 years, and will win a Pulitzer Prize within 5 years, says Kristian Hammond,  CTO and cofounder of Narrative Science, a company that trains computers to write news stories.

The service is currently limited to content based on structured data, such as sports and financial summaries (used by Forbes in some cases) and sales reports. To go further and create articles will… read more

Bio-printing transplantable tissues and organs is now a step closer

July 1, 2014

Blood vessels (credit: University of Sydney)

Scientists from the Universities of Sydney, Harvard, Stanford, and MIT have bio-printed artificial vascular networks mimicking the body’s circulatory system.

These networks are necessary for growing large complex transplantable tissues and organs for people affected by major diseases and trauma injuries.

“Thousands of people die each year due to a lack of organs for transplantation,” says study lead author and University of Sydney researcher Luiz Bertassoni. ”Many more are… read more

New benchtop sequencers shipping; sequence genome in under a day

September 14, 2012

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Life Technologies began shipments of its new Ion Proton benchtop sequencing instrument on Thursday, but the sequencing race is still on.

Illumina and Oxford Nanopore have also promised new machines by the end of the year, each capable of sequencing a human genome in less than a day, Nature News Blog reports.

The Ion Proton machine costs $150,000 and performs 4-hour sequencing runs using $1,000 disposable… read more

Moderate exercise enhances memory and preserves gray matter

Exercise can improve your memory and preserve brain cells, researchers find
November 28, 2012

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A short burst of moderate exercise enhances the consolidation of memories in both healthy older adults and those with mild cognitive impairment, scientists with UC Irvine’s Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory have discovered.

In their study, post-doctoral researcher Sabrina Segal and neurobiologists Carl Cotman and Lawrence Cahill had people 50 to 85 years old with and without memory deficits view… read more

Google Ventures launches Glass Collective with VC firms

April 11, 2013

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Google Ventures is launching a new initiative to fuel the development of Google Glass called Glass Collective, in partnership with venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Forbes reports.

The three firms hope to fund a community of developers to make Google Glass the next major computing platform.

Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz said Glass would become a platform… read more

IBM Research achieves new record for quantum computing device performance

February 28, 2012

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Scientists at IBM Research have achieved major advances in quantum computing device performance that they say may accelerate the realization of a practical, full-scale quantum computer, with quantum states lasting up to 100 microseconds — a 2 to 4 times improvement over previous results.

The scientists have established three new records for reducing errors in elementary computations and retaining the integrity of quantum mechanical properties in quantum bits (qubits)… read more

Open-source Internet of Things platform could help spur smarter homes and cities

October 15, 2013

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If you buy several Internet-connected home gadgets — say, a “smart” thermostat, “smart” door lock, and “smart” window blinds — you’ll likely have to control each one with a separate app, meaning it exists in its own little silo.

That’s not how Elier Ramirez does it. In his home, an iPad app controls his lights, ceiling fans, and TV and stereo. Pressing a single button within… read more

Brussels wants e-identities for EU citizens

May 24, 2012

Your papers, please! (Credit: 2009Bruno Rouchouze/EUROSMART eID Working Group)

The European Commission plans legislation that would make electronic IDs compulsory.for all Europeans.

Neelie Kroes, the EU’s Digital Agenda Commissioner, will present by the beginning of June a new legislative proposal which aims “to facilitate cross-border electronic transactions” through the adoption of harmonized e-signatures, e-identities and electronic authentication services (eIAS) across EU member states, according to an internal document seen by EurActiv.

“A clear regulatory environment for eIAS would… read more

A new solid-state hard drive that uses ultrasound to store more data

February 21, 2013

Acoustic-assisted magnetic recording (credit: Oregon State University)

Electrical engineers at Oregon State University have discovered a new method, called acoustic-assisted magnetic recording, to use high-frequency sound waves to create durable solid state storage that allows for storing more data in a smaller space, using less power.

“We’re near the peak of what we can do with the technology we now use for magnetic storage,” said Pallavi Dhagat, an associate professor in the… read more

Ostrich-inspired robot learns some fancy footwork

March 23, 2013

FastRunner (credit: IHMC)

Meet FastRunner, a bioinspired robot that thinks it’s an ostrich, being built at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. It’s expected to be the world’s fastest robotic biped, at 22 mph.

Impressive, but no Boston Dynamics Cheetah, at 28.3 mph (on a treadmill) — beating out Usain Bolt’s 27.79 mph.

But FastRunner may soon negotiate more complex environments — ones that Cheetah may fear to tread, thanks to… read more

China plans to quadruple solar power-generating capacity by 2015

July 16, 2013

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China has given a lift to the renewable energy industry by formally setting out plans to more than quadruple its solar power-generating capacity to 35 gigawatts by 2015, Financial Times reports.

China’s State Council, or cabinet, said it hoped 10GW of capacity would be added annually over the next three years.

China has the world’s third-biggest installed capacity of solar power, with 8.3GW of solar photovoltaic… read more

Craig Venter’s ‘biological teleportation’ device

October 22, 2013

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Craig Venter has built a prototype of a “Digital Biological Converter” (DBC) that would allow what he calls “biological teleportation”: receiving DNA sequences over the Internet to synthesize proteins, viruses and even living cells, The Guardian reports.

It could, for example, fill a prescription for insulin, provide flu vaccine during a pandemic or even produce phage viruses targeted… read more

Genetic variants build a smarter brain

June 21, 2012

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Taking a step in understanding how genes influence intelligence, an international team of scientists has identified a network of genes that may boost performance on IQ tests by building and insulating connections in the brain.

Intelligence runs in families, but although scientists have identified about 20 genetic variants associated with intelligence, each accounts for just 1% of the variation in IQ scores.

Because the effects of these genes… read more

X-51A WaveRider expected to fly at 3,600 mph in key test Tuesday

August 14, 2012

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The unmanned experimental aircraft X-51A WaveRider is expected to fly above the Pacific Ocean near Point Mugu at Mach 6 — at 3,600 mph — for 300 seconds Tuesday, Los Angeles Times reports.

A passenger aircraft traveling at that speed could fly from Los Angeles to New York in 46 minutes.

Aerospace engineers say that harnessing technology capable of sustaining hypersonic speeds is crucial to the next generation… read more

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