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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.

Time capsule to be beamed from Mexican pyramid

October 11, 2006

Mexico’s Teotihuacan, once the center of a sprawling pre-Hispanic empire, is set to become the launch pad for an attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life.

Starting on Tuesday, enthusiasts from around the world will have a chance to submit text, images, video and sounds that reflect human nature to be included in the message.

Those contributions–part of media company Yahoo’s “Time Capsule” project–will be digitized and beamed with… read more

The Long Zoom

October 10, 2006

Electronic Arts’ forthcoming Spore game will allow you to “create an world that is entirely yours: the creatures, the vehicles, the cities, the planets,” says designer Will Wright.

Those layers map onto different spatial scales that you advance through as you play: cell, creature, tribe, city, civilization and space.

As you work your way through the Spore levels, your creatures are automatically sent back to the central Spore… read more

20 Smart Companies to Start Now

October 10, 2006

Business 2.0 Magazine has listed 20 tantalizing business ideas, ranging from a host of new websites and applications to next-generation power sources and a luxury housing development.

HP’s Memory Spot Chip is Spot On

October 10, 2006

A prototype of a tiny wireless chip capable of storing and transmitting data was recently revealed by HP.

HP’s Memory Spot Chip reads sound from a picture

When the new chip hits the market in about two years, it will enable a variety of applications ranging from digital wristbands that store patient medical information to a new form of storing digital versions of documents or sound bytes on… read more

Gas induces ‘suspended animation’

October 10, 2006

Hydrogen sulphide was found to slow down heart rate and breathing and decrease body temperature in mice, while keeping a normal blood pressure.

The effects of the gas seemed to be reversible, with the mice returning to normal two hours after the mice started to breathe normal air again.

Scientific world gathers data on ‘nuclear test’

October 10, 2006

Scientists around the world are taking a cautious wait-and-see attitude after North Korea claimed to have successfully conducted an underground nuclear test on Monday.

Only careful analysis of data returned by seismic or atmospheric sensors will determine whether the blast was a success or a damp squib, they say. Nor could they rule out the possibility of a scam, in which North Korea blew up a huge stock of… read more

Making Water From Thin Air

October 10, 2006

Aqua Sciences has developed technology capable of creating water from the air nearly anywhere in the world is now under contract to nourish U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq.

The 20-foot machine can churn out 600 gallons of water a day without using or producing toxic materials and byproducts.

Virus boosts nanoparticle memory

October 6, 2006

A new type of digital memory device has been created by incorporating inorganic platinum nanoparticles into the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV).

The TMV is a 300 nm tube consisting of a protein capsid (outer shell) and RNA core. According to the researchers, the TMV’s thin, wire-like structure makes it suitable for attaching nanoparticles. In this case, it allowed them to add an average of sixteen positive platinum ions per… read more

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