science + technology news

Full-Mental Nudity

March 19, 2007

Until this experiment, nobody had ever tried to take a picture of free will…

John-Dylan Haynes, a brilliant researcher at Germany’s Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, is using fMRI to look for that core in the brain’s medial prefrontal cortex.

Scans have also been used to identify brain signatures of disgust, drug cravings, unconscious racism, and suppressed sexual arousal, not to mention psychopathy and propensity to kill.… read more

Activity discovered at Yellowstone supervolcano

March 16, 2007

One of the largest supervolcanoes in the world lies beneath Yellowstone National Park, and activity has been increasing lately.

Science fiction movie review: Sunshine

March 16, 2007

It is 2057, and you’re being sent on a mission to the Sun, to save our ailing star from imminent death….

Catalyst could help turn CO2 into fuel

March 16, 2007

A new catalyst that can split carbon dioxide gas could allow us to use carbon from the atmosphere as a fuel source in a similar way to plants.

Artificial lymph node transplanted into mice

March 16, 2007

An artificial lymph node has been transplanted into mice, where it successfully produced immune cells.

The new form of bioengineered tissue marks a significant step towards transplanting an entire immune system into patients dying of AIDS, cancer or other diseases.

Giant Pool of Water Ice at Mars’ South Pole

March 16, 2007

Mars has enough water ice at its south pole to blanket the entire planet in more than 30 feet of water if everything thawed out.

Astronomers have solid evidence that billions of years ago water flowed over the Martian surface. And recently, evidence has pointed to a warming trend as Mars emerges from an “ice age.”

Making memories that last a lifetime

March 16, 2007

Neurobiologists have discovered a mechanism by which the constantly changing brain retains memories.

They have found that the brain co-opts DNA methylation, the same machinery by which cells stably alter their genes to specialize during embryonic development.

In this process, molecules called methyl groups are attached to genes, which switches them off. Conversely, lack of methyl groups enables the genes to remain activated.

Using drugs that inhibit… read more

D-Wave Systems makes quantum-computer video available

March 16, 2007

D-Wave Systems, Inc. has made the video of its 16-bit quantum-computer launch event at the Computer History Museum available online.

(Free registration required.)

Search engine spawned from antiterrorism efforts finds place in business

March 16, 2007

Artificial-intelligence-based search technology originally developed to help U.S. military and government agencies gather intelligence information from the so-called deep Web is now is finding a place in businesses looking for tool that can scour the Internet beyond the Web-crawling capabilities of Google or Yahoo.

Personalized Medical Monitors

March 15, 2007

MIT researchers are developing algorithms to help doctors efficiently interpret EKG, EEG, and other ever-growing masses of medical data and quickly perceive patterns that might otherwise be buried.

Digital Imaging, Reimagined

March 15, 2007

Rice University engineers have developed a camera that uses a single image sensor to collect just enough information to let a novel algorithm reconstruct a high-resolution image.

Future applications include MRI systems that capture images up to 10 times as quickly as today’s scanners and tiny mobile-phone cameras that produce high-quality, poster-size images.

Inkjet printers start cranking out microchips

March 15, 2007

Nanoident Technologies has opened a factory in Linz, Austria that produces organic semiconductors, which are chips made by spraying intricate patterns of specialized ink onto layers of foil and polymer.

The factory costs a fraction of a traditional silicon chip factory, but the chips, which are slower and degrade over time, will be used for one-time-only applications, such as water purity testers.

Research focused on enabling desktop computers to see the light

March 15, 2007

University of Bath researchers are are attempting to build an ultra-high-speed desktop computer that runs on light rather than electronics, using attosecond (10^-18 second) light pulses.

Wipe out a single memory

March 15, 2007

A single, specific memory has been wiped from the brains of rats, leaving other recollections intact, using a drug known to cause limited amnesia (U0126).

Greg Quirk, a neurophysiologist from the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico, thinks that psychiatrists working to treat patients with conditions such as PTSD will be encouraged by the step forward. “These drugs would be adjuncts to therapy,” he says. “This is the… read more

The universe is a string-net liquid

March 15, 2007

Herbertsmithite could be the new silicon — a building block for quantum computers.

Unlike conventional error-prone quantum computers using electron spin, a new stable design may be possible, using a “string-net liquid” — a potentially new state of matter — with elementary and quasi-particles at the end of “strings.”

Physicists could manipulate these particles with electric fields, braiding them around each other, encoding information in the number of… read more

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