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Free stem cells for all?

October 16, 2006

Free stem cells for all? Possibly, now that the US Patent and Trademark Office is re-examining key patents on human embryonic stem cells that some say have been stifling stem cell research.

Nanosheets made by mimicking protein formation

October 16, 2006

Unravelling the complex process by which nanoparticles self-assemble into microscopic wafers could lead to new techniques for building nanoscale devices.

Cadmium telluride nanocrystals have been found to spontaneously form sheets 2 microns thick if submerged in water.

The process is similar to one employed by a protein found in bacteria to form sheets known as S-layers, which form the outermost layer of a cell.

Databases That Learn

October 12, 2006

The latest generation of security software studies the way people normally access a database to identify hackers. It learns about appropriate database usage patterns, and sounds an alarm if something anomalous happens.


October 12, 2006

Larry Sanger, the co-founder of Wikipedia who later quit the project over differences in vision, has announced a direct competitor: Citizendium, a Wikipedia-style site with a focus on building a more scholarly, expert-centric community.

Combing the Cosmos at High Speed: The Allen Telescope Array

October 12, 2006

The Allen Telescope Array (ATA), a specialized radio telescope now under construction by the SETI Institute and the University of California Berkeley, will be about a hundred times faster than any previous radio search, and will simultaneously pick up all cosmic static between 0.5 and 11.2 gigahertz—a spectral range equivalent to two thousand TV channels.

Space tourism on China’s agenda?

October 12, 2006

China may one day offer trips into space for tourists. It plans to launch more rockets, explore the moon and even help farmers by using satellite transmissions.

Tiny Genome May Reflect Organelle in the Making

October 12, 2006

The record for world’s smallest genome has been smashed by a bacterium that lives inside a sap-feeding insect. The microbe is missing almost half of the genes thought to be essential for its kind to persist, raising the possibility that it is becoming an organelle similar to a mitochondrion or chloroplast.


October 12, 2006

NPR’s weekly “To the Best of Our Knowledge” show will feature interviews with Ray Kurzweil on “the future of the human brain” and James Gardner on “intelligent Life is the architect of the universe” on Sunday,
October 15th (see NPR affiliates list for local stations and times).

Gardner is author of The New Scientific Theory of Evolution: Intelligent Life Is the Architect of the Universe.

Earth’s orbit linked to extinctions

October 12, 2006

A tiny change to the Earth’s orbit can affect the climate on Earth by altering the amount of sunlight received by different regions of the globe.

Utrecht University researchers mapped out which species lived in which time periods. With this information, they found evidence for two different cycles of die-offs, each taking up to 30% of the species alive at the time. Every 2.4-2.5 million years there was a… read more

DNA speeds up nanoparticle assembly

October 12, 2006

The speed of nanoparticle assembly can be accelerated by using the self-assembling properties of DNA, Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers have found.

Synthetic DNA is capped onto individual gold nanoparticles and customized to recognize and bind to complementary DNA located on other particles. This process forms clusters of gold particles.

Source: Brookhaven National Laboratory news

Researchers develop nanoparticle sensor

October 12, 2006

New Mexico Tech researchers have developed a sensor that uses the light-emitting properties of some nanoparticles to analyze and identify nucleotides, individual components of single strands of DNA and RNA.

The hope to adapt the sensors to detect cancer cells in their early stages and to target and destroy cancerous cells and tissue.

Engineering Food at Level of Molecules

October 11, 2006

Food companies remain wary of pushing nanotechnology too far and too fast for safety-conscious consumers. But they are tantalized by nanotechnology’s capacity to create valuable and sometimes novel forms of everyday substances,like food ingredients and packaging materials.

OilFresh, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., is marketing a novel device to keep frying oil fresh. OilFresh grinds zeolite, a mineral, into tiny beads averaging 20 nanometers across and coats them with an… read more

Annihilation omens

October 11, 2006

Ever-faster advances in brain science and computers are merging to build superhuman intelligence systems, says Fred C. Ikle in his latest book, “Annihilation from Within.”

Homo connectus will relegate the obsolete nation-state and its dysfunctional institutions to artifacts of history, quaint but useless. This gigantic leap of history will “obliterate all previous notions about military power, pose a fundamental challenge to all religions, and eventually upend human civilization.”… read more

MIT looks to give ‘group think’ a good name

October 11, 2006

The new MIT Center for Collective Intelligence hopes to address this central question: “How can people and computers be connected so that — collectively — they act more intelligently than any individuals, groups, or computers have ever done before?”

DNA trail points to human brain evolution

October 11, 2006

The human brain may have evolved beyond that of our primate cousins because our brain cells are better at sticking in place, researchers say.

The genetic assembly of the ten billion neurons in the human brain relies on precise expression of adhesion molecules that allow for thousands of connections between neurons and the matrix of proteins around them.

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