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Digital cameras focus on revised reality

August 30, 2006

Today’s cameras will let you adjust perceived reality, by altering a photo as it’s snapped.

Some new Hewlett-Packard cameras include a feature that makes subjects look thinner, while another mode makes facial lines and pores virtually disappear. A “skin tone” feature on some Olympus models can give consumers a leisure-class tan. Other manufacturers offer modes to make the colors of the world richer as you capture… read more

Saving Lives With Tailor-Made Medication

August 29, 2006

Pharmacogenetics, a clinical discipline in which doctors use high-tech genetic testing to custom-make drugs to patients’ individual needs, will mean that we define smaller and smaller markets for every drug.

Instead of one medication for high blood pressure, a manufacturer will have to produce dozens of variants and combinations.

Carbon-nanotube ‘strings’ may ID single molecules

August 29, 2006

Nanoscale “guitar strings” that vibrate at 1.3 GHz could detect and identify individual molecules have been developed by University of California, Berkeley scientists.

The device may even let researchers study the quantum behavior of molecules, and possibly viruses.

Their next goal is to develop coatings for the carbon nanotubes that will selectively bind target molecules, such as explosives, so that they can actually start spotting molecules.

Do cancer cells cooperate with each other?

August 29, 2006

Game theorist Robert Axelrod, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, is applying game theory to cancer.

The “game” — to grow a successful tumor — proceeds more efficiently for all players if they cooperate. The theory could have major implications for how we treat cancer.

Researchers Channel Microcapsules Into Tumour Cells And Release Their Contents Using A Laser Impulse

August 28, 2006

Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces researchers have released active substances from a capsule in a tumor cell, using an infrared laser pulse. The laser light cracks its polymer shell by heating it up and the capsule’s contents are released.

Scientists Find Memory Molecule

August 28, 2006

Scientists at SUNY Downstate Medical Center have discovered a molecular mechanism that maintains memories in the brain. In an article in Science magazine, they demonstrate that by inhibiting the molecule they can erase long-term memories, much as you might erase a computer disc.

Furthermore, erasing the memory from the brain does not prevent the ability to re-learn the memory, much as a cleaned computer disc may be re-used. This… read more

Nano-transport controlled by heat-sensitive polymer

August 28, 2006

Max Plank Institute nanotechnologists have devised a new way to move nano-sized objects, by mixing heat-sensitive polymer molecules into a coating of molecular motors made from the protein kinesin.

Nanowire arrays can detect signals along individual neurons

August 25, 2006

Scientists at Harvard University have created the first artificial synapses between nanoelectronic devices and individual mammalian neurons, and the first linking of a solid-state device — a nanowire transistor — to the neuronal projections that interconnect and carry information in the brain.

They used silicon nanowires just tens of nanometers in width to detect, stimulate, and inhibit nerve signals along the axons and dendrites of live mammalian neurons, with… read more

Military robo-surgeon prepares for battle

August 25, 2006

Life-saving operations on soldiers in combat zones could become possible thanks to a remotely operating portable robotic surgeon that allows doctors to perform surgery on the battlefield without endangering themselves.

Future Shock: Kurzweil on The Daily Show

August 25, 2006

Daily Show “correspondent” Samantha Bee learns about nanobots, immortality, and sex with robots from Ray Kurzweil on The Daily Show in a new segment, “Future Shock.”

Brave new world in life sciences

August 23, 2006

The authors of the 2006 report, “Globalization, Biosecurity, and the Future of Life Sciences,” propose a “web of protection” that bolsters the development of robust defenses without restricting the free flow of scientific information.

Source: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Future of Robots

August 23, 2006

Futurist Ray Kurzweil explains how the boundary between man and machine is quickly disappearing (includes podcast).

Embryonic stem cells without embryo death

August 23, 2006

Advanced Cell Technology researchers were able to grow a stem cell line from just one or two cells from an early embryo — leaving that embryo viable.

The cells are “pluripotent,” meaning they can grow into the three major tissue types.

They hope that because the method does not involve destroying embryos, it will lead to the lifting of the veto on federal funding for stem cell research.

Watching the Brain in Action

August 23, 2006

MIT researchers have used two-photon microscopy to visualize chemical activity in individual brain cells of living animals.

The technique could be used to monitor cell activity in animal models of neurological disease or degeneration, or to test the effects of therapies in treating these conditions, or study plasticity, the ability of neurons and their connections to change in response to experience.

Computers write news at Thomson

August 23, 2006

Thomson Financial has found a way to replace human beings in the newsroom and is instead using computers to write some of its stories.

The computers work so fast that an earnings story can be released within 0.3 seconds of the company making results public.

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