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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.

Should nanotech research be halted?

June 22, 2001

Ethical questions need to be asked now before we enter the brave new nanoworld, says Bill Joy.

Nanotechnology and information technology developments raise ethical issues regarding protecting intellectual property, privacy, moral rights and responsibilities of machines; and blur the distinction between “real” and “virtual” reality, points out

Should we fire the first shot in a cyberwar?

December 14, 2011

Military bureaucracies around the world are likely to see offensive capabilities as increasingly attractive in any cyberwar, suggests  Herbert Lin, chief scientist at the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board at the National Research Council.

“Offensive cybertechnology and operations are inherently stronger than defensive operations — that is, offense beats defense in cyberspace, in most cases, and given enough time,” says Lin, who spoke last week at an MIT… read more

Should we live to 1,000?

December 13, 2012


Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer of SENS Foundation and the world’s most prominent advocate of anti-aging research, argues that it makes no sense to spend the vast majority of our medical resources on trying to combat the diseases of aging without tackling aging itself, writes ethicist Peter Singer on Project Syndicate.

De Grey believes that even modest progress in this area over the coming decade could… read more

Should we use iris images for positive identification?

August 21, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

A new report by biometric researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) used data from thousands of frequent travelers enrolled in an iris recognition program to determine that no consistent change occurs in the distinguishing texture of their irises for at least a decade.

The new study counters a previous study of 217 subjects over a three-year period that… read more

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.

Shuttle disaster revives debate on merits of manned flight

February 5, 2003

The Columbia crash likely will accelerate the move toward more unmanned space exploration. “Any specific mission you can identify to do in space, you can design and build an unmanned space craft to do it more effectively, more economically and more safely,” said Alex Roland, a professor of history at Duke University and for eight years a historian at NASA.

SIA boosts forecast, touts nano effort

June 11, 2004

The U.S. electronics industry’s long-term prospects could dim unless a national effort to boost nanoelectronics gets underway, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.

Many believe that the higher leakage currents that come with scaling CMOS devices will force the industry to adopt new technologies by 2020.

John Kelly, senior vice president for IBM’s Technology Group, called for the creation of a National Research Institute to lead a “massive,… read more

SIAI seeks funding for AI research

May 9, 2007

The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SIAI) announced today its $400,000 Online Matching Challenge, intended to fund a research program to create an artificial general intelligence (AGI).

Sick? DNA Scanner Tells What Ails

December 27, 2002

A prototype diagnostic tool under development by two London companies offers rapid genetic analysis of infectious diseases, delivering results in a half hour rather than the usual two weeks with DNA labs.

The box takes a DNA sample directly from saliva. DNA is extracted from the sample and then multiplied in a miniature polymerase chain reaction, which clones DNA strands rapidly. Once enough DNA is present, it can be… read more

Side-to-side shaking of nanoresonators throws off impurities

August 8, 2007

Tiny vibrating silicon resonators are of intense interest in nanotechnology circles for their potential ability to detect bacteria, viruses, DNA and other biological molecules.

Cornell researchers have demonstrated a new way to make these resonators vibrate side to side and have shown that this can serve a vital function: shaking off extraneous stuff that isn’t supposed to be detected.

Sifteo announces upcoming availability of Sifteo cubes

August 15, 2011

Sifteo Cubes

Sifteo Inc. has announced the upcoming availability of its Sifteo cubes to U.S. and Canadian customers.

Sifteo cubes are motion-aware 1.5-inch blocks with full-color screens that wirelessly connect with a personal computer during play to create unique interactions when shaken, tilted, rotated and neighbored next to one another.

Sifteo has also announced the availability of the Sifteo Creativity Kit, which is included with… read more

‘Sifting’ liquid at the cellular level

July 18, 2012


Drexel University engineers have used carbon nanotubes to separate liquids within a solution, showing that individual carbon nanotubes can act as a separation channel that would force two differing molecules to separate as easily as oil and water.

For example, the molecules that comprise two chemically distinct liquids will interact differently with the walls of the nanotube as the liquids flow through it. This will… read more

Sifting the Garbage for a Green Polymer

June 19, 2007

Scientists have recently turned to trash in an effort to unearth organic alternatives to petrochemical plastics.

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