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Shifting constant could shake laws of nature

May 2, 2006

A series of experiments suggests that over the past 12 billion years, the ratio of the mass of a proton to that of an electron may have decreased.

Various versions of string theory suggest that extra dimensions occupied by a particle might affect properties such as its mass. Subtle changes in these dimensions could make physical constants vary slightly, acccording to John Barrow, a cosmologist at the University of… read more

Shifting Into Overdrive: What happens when mass storage leaves microchips in the dust

May 9, 2003

In mass storage, we have seen a 60,000-fold fall in price — more than a dozen times the force of Moore’s law.

Implications of lower-cost mass storage: the cheaper the disk space, the more dead the traditional business models of the entertainment industry; we will save copies of everything; and your memory will improve — there will be space to store whatever you wish to recall from your day.

Shifting sound to light may lead to better computer chips

March 17, 2009

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have converted terahertz- frequency sounds into light, using piezoelectric materials.

Applications include characterizing semiconductor devices more accurately, explosives detection, and medical uses such as detection of skin cancer.

Ship kites in to port

February 11, 2008

A cargo ship has completed a two week journey using a computer-controlled kite to help tow the ship, saving engine power and fuel.

SkySails, the maker, estimates fuel savings of 10 to 15% during the time the kite was flying, representing a savings of about $1,000 to $1,500 in fuel costs per day. SkySails claims that freight ships and cruise liners could reduce fuel consumption by up to 50%… read more

Shocked into walking

February 4, 2002

A partially paralysed man is walking with the help of tiny electric shocks to his spine. With training, doctors hope to help other paraplegics walk again.
The University of Arkansas team planted electrodes in his lower back and gave low-level electrical stimulation.
After months of training, the patient can now walk up to a kilometer. The stimulation method involves reactivating an innate walking program in the spinal cord that coordinates… read more

Shocking cancer treatment may also yield weapon

March 5, 2009

A technique using 60-nanosecond pulses thought to be a promising cancer treatment is also being investigated by Old Dominion University as the basis for a Taser-like weapon that stuns for longer.

Shocking Cells Into Submission

June 6, 2003

A new treatment called electroporation uses pulses of electric current to force cells to accept DNA, which is designed to fight HIV, cardiovascular disease and other maladies.

Shocking Way to Transform Waste

March 16, 2004

For the first time, a microbial fuel cell has generated electricity while cleaning wastewater, a development that could make sewage treatment more affordable for both industrialized and developing nations. While a typical fuel cell runs on hydrogen, a microbial fuel cell relies on bacteria to metabolize food, releasing electrons that yield a steady electrical current. The fuel for this particular microbial fuel cell was skimmed from the settling pond of… read more

Shoe power

April 11, 2011

Rubber Generator

Bioengineers from the University of Auckland have developed cheap, lightweight rubber power generators that could harvest power if embedded in shoes.

The generators are built with dielectric elastomer generator technology that uses the movements of a flexible, non-conductive material to build up charge in attached electrodes.

A single 110-millimeter-wide, plunger-shaped generator is capable of producing 10 milliwatts of power. The researchers say that the flexible, integrated rubber components… read more

Shoes and sheets get wired

December 26, 2002

“Electrotextiles” woven with wires and electronic devices are being fashioned into speedometer shoes, chameleon curtains. singing shirts, and to measure footfalls, detect explosions and spot smuggling. “Soft keypads” allow wearers to control remote devices. And antennas can be woven in.

Gadgets could be next: clothes and woven-in sensors could record athletes’ heart rate, hydration and blood sugar levels.

Shooting clouds with lasers triggers electrical discharge

April 15, 2008

French and German researchers have used an ultra-high-power, five terawatt mobile laser to trigger electrical activity in storm clouds over New Mexico.

The beams created channels of ionized molecules known as “filaments” that conduct electricity through clouds. The researchers say enhancements could achieve thunderbolts.

Shooting for Space

October 7, 2003

Cisco and its partners, including NASA, have launched a router into low Earth orbit as a test of extending the Internet into space.

Space-based routers could be used to tie the military’s myriad networks together and the government’s research networks together so that personnel on land, in the air or at sea can communicate directly.

Cisco also sees private-sector enterprise and consumer applications.

Short Mental Workouts May Slow Decline of Aging Minds, Study Finds

December 26, 2006

Ten sessions of exercises to boost reasoning skills, memory and mental processing speed staved off mental decline in middle-aged and elderly people in the first definitive study to show that honing intellectual skills can bolster the mind in the same way that physical exercise protects and strengthens the body.

Older adults who did the basic exercises followed by later sessions were three times as fast as those who got… read more

Short-term stress can affect learning and memory

March 12, 2008

University of California at Irvine researchers have found that short-term stress lasting as little as a few hours can impair brain-cell communication in areas associated with learning and memory.

The acute-stress-activated selective corticotropin molecules released hormones (CRH), which disrupted the process the brain uses to collect and stores memories.

In rat and mouse studies, the researchers found that the release of CRH in the hippocampus led to rapid… read more

Should every computer chip have a cosmic ray detector?

March 10, 2008

Intel has been awarded a US patent for building cosmic ray detectors into every chip to avoid “soft errors” caused by electrons displaced by cosmic rays.

When triggered, it could activate error-checking circuits that refresh the nearby memory, repeat the most recent actions, or ask for the last message from outside circuits to be sent again.

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