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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

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

Alzheimer’s-in-a-dish is ‘first clear evidence’ for amyloid hypothesis

Promises to revolutionize drug discovery for neurodegenerative disorders
October 13, 2014

A confocal microscope image of an amyloid-beta deposit (orange) in 3D neural cell culture (credit: Se Hoon Choi et al/Nature)

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers have created the first “Alzheimer’s-in-a-dish” — a 3D petri dish capable of reproducing the full course of events underlying the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s has been thought to result from the buildup of inflammatory plaque formed by the beta-amyloid protein and from another protein, tau, which entangles neurons.

The new research provides the first clear evidence supporting the hypothesis that deposition of… 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

Scientists use stem cells to grow new human hair in the lab

Next step: transplant stem-cell-derived human dermal papilla cells back into human subjects (any volunteers?)
January 28, 2015

Sanford-Burnham scientists grew human dermal papillae cells from stem cells. (credit: Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute)

A method for initiating human hair growth — using human pluripotent stem cells to create new cells — has been developed by Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) researchers.

Their idea is to coax human pluripotent stem cells to become dermal papilla cells — a unique population of cells that regulate hair-follicle formation and growth cycle. (Human dermal papilla cells on their own are… 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

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

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

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