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ASTRON and IBM to explore origins of the universe

April 2, 2012


IBM and ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, have announced an initial 32.9 million EURO, five-year collaboration to research extremely fast, but low-power exascale computer systems for the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

The SKA is an international consortium to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. Scientists estimate that the processing power required to operate the telescope will be equal to several… read more

Happy or sad? You might not see that ad, if Microsoft Kinect can figure out your mood

June 15, 2012


Microsoft has applied for a patent for  targeting ads to users based on their emotional state, using a Kinect type device, GeekWire reports.

Do you look happy? You’ll see ads for vacation packages and consumer electronics, but not weight-loss programs or self-help products. Do you look sad? You won’t see that over-the-top animated ad for children’s birthday parties at the local bowling alley. Feeling frustrated? It’s PC support ads for… read more

Hijacking the bacterial ‘communication system’ to tell cancer cells to stop spreading — or even die

October 3, 2014

Cancer cells on the left are pre-molecule treatment. The cells on the right are after the treatment and are dead.

A molecule used as a bacteria communication system can be hijacked and used to prevent cancer cells from spreading — or even to die on command, University of Missouri researchers have discovered.

“During an infection, bacteria release molecules which allow them to ‘talk’ to each other,” explained Senthil Kumar, an assistant research professor and assistant director of the Comparative Oncology and Epigenetics Laboratory at the MU College of Veterinaryread more

A ‘Google’ for chemistry invents best path to new compounds in seconds

Giant network links all known compounds and reactions
August 24, 2012


Northwestern University scientists have connected 250 years of organic chemical knowledge into one giant computer network called Chematica — a chemical “Google” on steroids.

A decade in the making, the software optimizes syntheses of drug molecules and other important compounds, combines long (and expensive) syntheses of compounds into shorter and more economical routes, and identifies suspicious chemical recipes that could lead to chemical weapons.

The… read more

How to use Amazon Cloud supercomputers to view molecules in remarkable detail

Cloud computing code speeds processing of data-intensive microscopy data
February 5, 2013

Salk Institute for Biological Studies researchers have shared a how-to secret for biologists: code for Amazon Cloud that significantly reduces the time necessary to process data-intensive microscopic images.

The method promises to speed research into the underlying causes of disease by making single-molecule microscopy of practical use for more laboratories.

“This is an extremely cost-effective way for labs to process super-resolution images,” says … read more

Antifreeze, cheap materials may lead to low-cost solar energy

July 5, 2013


Engineers at Oregon State University have determined that ethylene glycol, commonly used in antifreeze products, may be the key to making solar cells that cost less and avoid toxic compounds.

Ethylene glycol functions well in a “continuous flow” reactor — an approach to making thin-film solar cells that is easily scaled up for mass production at industrial levels, they note.

The research, published in Materialread more

Craig Venter imagines a world with printable life forms

October 18, 2012


Craig Venter imagines a future where you can download software, print a vaccine, inject it, and presto! Contagion averted.

“It’s a 3-D printer for DNA, a 3-D printer for life,” Venter said at the inaugural Wired Health Conference in New York City, Wired Science reports.

The geneticist and his team of scientists are already testing out a version of his digital biological converter, or “teleporter.”… read more

Most of the harmful mutations in people arose in the past 5,000 to 10,000 years

European Americans have a larger proportion of potentially harmful variants than African Americans --- probably an artefact of their original migration out of Africa
December 4, 2012

(Credit: iStock)

The human genome has been busy over the past 5,000 years. Human populations have grown exponentially, and new genetic mutations arise with each generation, says Nature News.

Humans now have a vast abundance of rare genetic variants in the protein-encoding sections of the genome.

A study published in Nature now helps to clarify when many of those rare variants arose.

Researchers used deep sequencing to locate… read more

Expanding our intelligence without limit

March 8, 2012

SXSW logo

Ray Kurzweil will join TIME Magazine writer Lev Grossman for a “mind-expanding keynote conversation about our future” at SXSW in Austin on Monday, March 12.  2 PM — 3 PM (Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 5).

Grossman wrote the Time cover story “2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal,” on the Singularity and Ray Kurzweil’s “radical vision for humanity’s immortal future.”

Kurzweil and Grossman will discuss… read more

New carbon nanotube fiber acts like textile thread, conducts electricity and heat like a metal wire

Unmatched combination of strength, conductivity, flexibility
January 11, 2013


Scientists from Rice University, the Dutch firm Teijin Aramid, the U.S. Air Force, and Israel’s Technion Institute have unveiled a new carbon nanotube (CNT) fiber that looks and acts like textile thread and conducts electricity and heat like a metal wire.

In this week’s issue of Science, the researchers describe an industrially scalable process for making the threadlike fibers, which outperform commercially available high-performance materials… read more

Voyager 1 embarks on historic journey into interstellar space

September 13, 2013


NASA‘s Voyager 1 spacecraft is now officially the first human-made object to venture into interstellar space. The 36-year-old probe is about 12 billion miles (19 billion kilometers) from our sun.

New and unexpected data indicate Voyager 1 has been traveling for about one year through plasma, or ionized gas, present in the space between stars. Voyager is in a transitional region immediately outside… read more

LSD found successful in treating alcoholics

March 9, 2012


Teri Krebs and Pål-Ørjan Johansen, researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), have taken a closer look at experiments in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, treating alcoholics with LSD.

The researchers found six different studies of LSD and alcoholism that were scientifically sound, involving a total of 536 people. They showed that a single dose of LSD, provided for treatment purposes, helped… read more

Clothes will sew themselves in DARPA’s sweat-free sweatshops

June 11, 2012


DARPA has awarded $1.25 million to fully automate the sewing process, Wired Danger Room reports.

One 2010 estimate put the military’s annual clothing budget at $4 billion dollars.

SoftWear Automation Inc., has so far developed “a conceptual” version of the automated system. According to its website, it is a robotic system that relies on an extremely precise monitoring of a given fabric’s “thread count”… read more

Are restrictions to scientific research costing lives?

September 6, 2012


In “Censors on Campus,” Index on Censorship magazine asks whether lives might be saved by making vital research freely available.

Some parts of Asia and Africa the fight against malaria is severely hampered because doctors and researchers are denied full access to the 3,000 articles published on the disease each year. At the same time, scientists living and working in developing countries are prevented from becoming global… read more

Intelligence could not be linked to 12 specific genetic variants, contradicting studies

October 4, 2012


Most of the specific genes long thought to be linked to intelligence probably have no bearing on one’s IQ, and new study by psychological scientist Christopher Chabris of Union College has revealed.

Chabris and David Laibson, a Harvard economist, led an international team of researchers that analyzed a dozen genes using large data sets that included both intelligence testing and genetic data.

In nearly every case, the researchers found… read more

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