science + technology news

Silicon ‘Lego bricks’ used to build 3D chips

January 14, 2007

Silicon wafers covered with matching patterns of Lego-like teeth and holes could aid the development of 3D electronics.

Must-know terms for the 21st Century intellectual: Redux

January 12, 2007

George P. Dvorsky has created a list of the most fundamental and crucial terms that re-define the human condition and should be known by any expert generalist.

They include Accelerating Change, Anthropic Principle, Artificial General Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Cosmological Eschatology, Engineered Negligible Senescence, Mind Transfer (Uploading), Molecular Assembler, and of course, Technological Singularity.

Laser-induced explosion of gold nanoparticles: potential role for nanophotothermolysis of cancer

January 12, 2007

Researchers have used laser-induced explosion of absorbing nanoparticles in selective nanophotothermolysis of cancer.

This is realized through fast overheating of a strongly absorbing target during a short laser pulse. The resulting explosion of nanoparticles may be accompanied by optical plasma and shock waves with supersonic expansion and particle fragmentation with fragments of high kinetic energy. These can contribute to the killing of cancer cells.

A Better Artificial Skin

January 12, 2007

University of Cincinnati scientists have grown artificial skin cells, using collagen scaffolds. They could ultimately produce a type of artificial skin that can sweat, tan, and fight off infection more effectively.

Shrinking telomeres linked to heart disease

January 11, 2007

People who go on to have heart attacks have much shorter telomeres than those who remain healthy, a major new study has shown.

Telomeres are strands of DNA that cap chromosomes and wear away with each cell division.

Statins’ ability to protect patients from heart disease and stroke so effectively might be due to limiting the damage caused by telomere shortening, said Leicester University cardiologist Nilesh Samani.

Animal-human hybrid cloning deferred

January 11, 2007

Controversial proposals to make embryos by merging human and animal material remain on hold following a decision on Thursday by the UK regulator of embryo research.

The researchers want to use cow or rabbit eggs as a short cut to making cloned embryos which could yield human embryonic stem cells. These are vital for research into major illnesses.
Opponents of embryo research say the creation of embryos from animal… read more

End-Time for the Internet

January 11, 2007

Spam, spyware, and viruses will drive smart computer users to dumber appliances like BlackBerrys, iPods, and Xboxes, says Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Internet governance and regulation at Oxford University.

The migration to closed systems will end innovation on the Internet, he says.

The nonhuman touch

January 11, 2007

In experiments across the country, robots are providing the human caring touch to patients who need more help than there are therapists and nurses: stroke victims, autistic children, and the elderly.

Record-Breaking Speed for Flexible Silicon

January 10, 2007

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, have made ultrathin silicon transistors that operate more than 50 times faster than previous flexible-silicon devices and are expected to reach 20 Gigahertz.

Brain power focused on future-tech quest

January 10, 2007

America’s big names in engineering, as well as millions of Internet users around the world, are being asked to weigh in with their picks for the greatest technological challenges of the next century — a nine-month process that could give birth to new research initiatives.

The National Academy of Engineering project, called the “Grand Challenges for Engineering” program, is aimed at gathering up all those ideas and distilling them… read more

A Fast, Sensitive Virus Detector

January 10, 2007

A sensor that measures the concentration of viruses in minutes could make possible a handheld device that cheaply and quickly spots pathogens.

Picking the Best Embryo from the Bunch

January 10, 2007

New embryo-screening technologies could weed out embryos with major genetic abnormalities and improve IVF success rates.

New study supports a stem cell origin of cancer

January 10, 2007

University of Southern California researchers have found that cancer is rooted in stem cells.

They found that cancer arises in cells that have already undergone epigenetic (heritable factors not associated with DNA) alterations, which points to epigenetic events preceding genetic events in cancer development.

This implies it would be very important to screen stem cells for the epigenetic abnormalities they uncovered to prevent people from receiving potentially cancer-prone… read more

Analogy of cochlea as resonator could lead to artificial copies

January 10, 2007

In attempting to construct an artificial cochlea — and faced with limited knowledge of how the living chamber works — scientists might need to look no further than a simple electronic device: a surface acoustic wave (SAW) resonator.

Recently, scientist Andrew Bell suggested that the cochlea exhibits similar structure and electromechanical properties to this circuitry, commonly used in cell phones.

Top tech movies: Creepy-crawly climbing bots and more

January 10, 2007

A new film shows researchers at Case Western University using robots equipped with a cross between wheels and legs (“whegs”) to test a new material that mimics the gravity-defying feet of geckos and insects.

Another clip shows a flying robot with whegs as well as retractable wings. The robot, resembling a large winged insect, combines the ability to fly with the capacity to crawl to reach a specific location… read more

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