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Meet ‘Flame,’ the massive spy malware infiltrating Iranian computers

May 31, 2012


A massive, highly sophisticated piece of malware has been newly found infecting systems in Iran and elsewhere and is believed to be part of a well-coordinated, ongoing, state-run cyberespionage operation, Wired Threat Level reports.

Dubbed “Flame,” the malware is an espionage toolkit that has been infecting targeted systems in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa for at least two… read more

Johns Hopkins surgeons implant first brain ‘pacemaker’ for Alzheimer’s disease in US

December 7, 2012


Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine have surgically implanted a pacemaker-like device into the brain of a patient in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the first such operation in the United States.

The device, which provides deep brain stimulation and has been used in thousands of people with Parkinson’s disease, is seen as a possible means of boosting memory and reversing cognitive decline.

The… read more

The world of wearable computers

May 20, 2013


(Credit: Credit Suisse)

“The next big thing” is the rise of sophisticated wearable technology, such as smart watches, and other accessories, according to Credit Suisse semiconductor analysts, Fortune reports.

The wearables market is perhaps $3 billion to $5 billion today, rising to perhaps $30 billion to $50 billion over the next three to five years, the analysts forecast, adding that there may… read more

RNA and DNA precursors were created from powerful comet impacts billions of years ago, say scientists

June 7, 2013


Lawrence Livermore (LLNL) scientist Nir Goldman and University of Ontario Institute of Technology colleague Isaac Tamblyn have found that icy comets that crashed into Earth billions of years ago could have produced life-building organic compounds.

Comets contain a variety of simple molecules, such as water, ammonia, methanol, and carbon dioxide, and an impact event with a planetary surface would provide an abundant supply… read more

Reversing the loss of brain connections in Alzheimer’s disease

June 21, 2013

Photomicrograph of nerve cell during an electrical recording (left), fluorescently labeled nerve cell (right) (credit:

The first experimental drug to boost brain synapses lost in Alzheimer’s disease has been developed by researchers at Sanford-Burnham.

The drug, called NitroMemantine, combines two FDA-approved medicines to stop the destructive cascade of changes in the brain that destroys the connections between neurons, leading to memory loss and cognitive decline.

The decade-long study, led by Stuart A. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of the Del… read more

DNA nanorobots deliver ‘suicide’ messages to cancer cells, other diseases

February 17, 2012


Will plug-in electric cars crash the electric grid?

February 25, 2014


The growing number of plug-in electric cars — more than 96,000 bought in 2013 — may put a lot of new strain on the nation’s aging electrical distribution systems, like transformers and underground cables, especially at times of peak demand, according to University of Vermont (UVM) scientists.

So they have created a novel solution, which they report on in the forthcoming March issue of IEEE Transactions onread more

Stem cell reprogramming made easier

September 23, 2013

iPSCs -- old vs new method

Weizmann Institute scientists show that removing one protein from adult cells enables them to efficiently turn back the clock to a stem-cell-like state.

Embryonic stem cells have the enormous potential to treat and cure many medical problems. That is why the discovery that induced embryonic-like stem cells can be created from skin cells was rewarded with a Nobel Prize in 2012.

But the process… read more

Design the best medical Tricorder and win $10 million

May 17, 2011

Medical Tricorder (credit: Paramount Pictures and/or CBS Studios)

A $10 million prize to develop a mobile solution that can diagnose patients better than or equal to a panel of board certified physicians has been announced by the X PRIZE Foundation and Qualcomm.

The Tricorder X PRIZE aims to incentivize consumer empowerment in healthcare by extending the reach of health information and services to more people.

The two organizations seek to… read more

IBM scientists discover new liquid molecular technique to charge memory, logic chips

Would use tiny ionic currents, processing data like the human brain
March 22, 2013

ionic liquid device

IBM has announced a materials science breakthrough at the molecular level that could pave the way for a new class of non-volatile memory and logic chips that would use less power than today’s silicon devices.

IBM’s scientists discovered a new way to power chips using tiny ionic currents, which are streams of charged molecules that can mimic the event-driven way in which the human brain operates.

Today’s computers… read more

Whole-genome sequences of supercentenarians reveal longevity clues

April 11, 2012


A team of researchers has analyzed the complete genomic sequences of male and female supercentenarians, both over 114 years old.

Surprisingly, the researchers showed that the DNA sequences are largely comparable to existing non-supercentenarian genomes, and the two individuals do not appear to carry most of the well-established human longevity-enabling variants already reported in the literature.

In fact, the supercentenarians have a comparable number of known disease-associated variants relative to… read more

Germany meets half its energy demand from solar, briefly

May 30, 2012


Solar power plants in Germany peaked at 22 gigawatts of output for a few hours on Friday and Saturday, yielding almost half the country’s energy needs from the renewable resource and setting a new record in the process, IEEE Spectrum Energywise reports.

In the wake of the decision to shutter all of its nuclear plants, solar power will need to play an even… read more

A 3,000-vehicle test of wireless crash-avoidance system

August 22, 2012


Tuesday’s launch of a new year-long test of “smart car” technology conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute is designed to save lives and reduce injuries among American motorists.

The researchers plan to install wireless communication devices on nearly 3,000 vehicles that will let passenger cars, commercial trucks, and transit buses “talk” to each other, as well as to traffic lights and other… read more

Secrets of human speech uncovered

How the brain exerts symphony-like control of the vocal tract during the act of speaking
March 1, 2013


A team of researchers at UC San Francisco has uncovered the neurological basis of speech motor control, the complex coordinated activity of tiny brain regions that controls our lips, jaw, tongue and larynx as we speak.

The work has potential implications for developing brain-computer interfaces for artificial speech communication and for the treatment of speech disorders. It also sheds light on this ability, which is… read more

Hundreds of tiny untethered surgical tools tested in animal biopsies

Could find early signs of cancer or other diseases
April 25, 2013

Optical image of μ -gripper in the bile duct opening of the porcine<br />
liver. Scale bar represents 200 microns

“So what we plan to do is unleash swarms of hundreds of microscopic ‘grippers’ into your colon and let them just snip away at you, OK?”  — Future gastroenterologist to patient

By using swarms of untethered grippers, each as small as a speck of dust, Johns Hopkins engineers and physicians have devised a new way to perform biopsies that could provide a more effective way… read more

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