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Subtitle-Reading Glasses Make Cinema-Going for the Hard of Hearing Less, um, Hard

April 19, 2007

Madrid’s Carlos III University has developed a gadget that projects subtitles in a movie theater.

A computer in the cinema emits the subtitles to within 50 meters; a receptor in the glasses captures the signal and projects it onto the microscreen, which fits over the right-hand lens.

Speed of light may have changed recently

July 1, 2004

The speed of light may have been lower as recently as two billion years ago on Earth, based on measurements of the fine structure constant, or alpha, which dictates the strength of the electromagnetic force.

The Consumer Genetic Testing Industry Strikes Back

July 27, 2010

Last Thursday, the Government Accountability Office presented Congress with a¬†damning report on the consumer genetic testing industry, concluding many tests are “misleading and of little or no practical use.” Company leaders and some geneticists, responding via blog and twitter, have called the report one-sided and unscientific, citing concern it will do irreparable harm to the nascent industry.

One of the main criticisms is that the GAO did… read more

Scientists Identify Machinery that Helps Make Memories

November 3, 2008

Duke University Medical Center researchers have identified a missing-link molecule that helps to explain the process of plasticity (rearranging neural connections in learning and forming memories) and could lead to new therapies.

The myosin Vb molecule moves new receptors to the synapse via actin filaments so that the neuron can respond more strongly and strengthen connections.

The finding may suggest new therapies for treating memory loss, psychiatric disease,… read more

Fusion energy breakthrough at Sandia Labs

April 26, 2007
Circuits on an LTD device able to produce large electrical impulses rapidly and repeatedly

An electrical circuit that should carry enough power to produce the long-sought goal of controlled high-yield nuclear fusion and do it every 10 seconds has undergone extensive preliminary experiments and computer simulations at Sandia National Laboratories.

The development may make it possible to provide humanity unlimited electrical energy from cheap, abundant seawater in the future.

Computer, heal thyself

July 14, 2004

Why should humans have to do all the work? It’s high time machines learned how to take care of themselves.

“For at least three decades now, programmers have joked of ‘heisenbugs’ — software errors that surface at seemingly random intervals and whose root causes consistently evade detection.

“The name is a takeoff on Werner Heisenberg, the German physicist whose famous uncertainty principle posited that no amount of observation… read more

New diagnostic chip can generate single-cell molecular ‘fingerprints’ for brain tumors

August 4, 2010

Conceptual summary of the microfluidic image cytometry technology: (a) Dissociated glioblastoma cells obtained from a patient are introduced into a microfluidic cell array chip for multi-parameter analysis by this technology. (b) A semi-automated pipette executes cell seeding/culture and ICC. (c) The ICC-treated samples in the chips are mounted on a fluorescent microscope for image acquisition followed by analysis using an image cytometry program (i.e., Metamorph, Molecular Devices Inc.) to quantify the expression levels of signaling proteins with single-cell resolution.

UCLA researchers have developed a cancer diagnostic chip that generates single-cell “molecular fingerprints” for a small quantity of pathology samples, including brain tumor tissues, combining the advantages of microfluidics and microscopy-based cell imaging.

The new microfluidic image cytometry (MIC) platform is capable of making molecular measurements on small tumor samples provided by tumor resection and biopsy using as few as 1,000 to 3,000 cells, according to the more

Cloaking objects at a distance

November 7, 2008

Kong Kong University of Science and Technology physicists have come up with a way to cloak at a distance, using a “complementary material” to hide an object outside it.

All invisibility cloaks to date only work by hiding an object embedded inside them. Now a group of have worked out how to remotely cloak objects that sit outside a cloaking material. The trick is to make the cloaking material… read more

Quantum Dot Recipe May Lead To Cheaper Solar Panels

May 3, 2007

Rice University scientists have developed tetrapod cadmium selenide-based quantum dot photovoltaics as an alternative to conventional, more expensive silicon-based solar cells.

Transplant hope for stroke sufferers

July 27, 2004

Transplants of human fetal stem-cells may help repair stroke-induced brain damage.

Fetal stem cells have advantages over adult and embryonic alternatives. Adult stem cells do exist in the brain, but they are difficult to obtain, survive less well after transplantation and may be less versatile than their younger counterparts.

Another approach would be to add a gene to the stem cells that boosts growth and prevents the formation… read more

MRI scans show brain’s response to actions of others

August 12, 2010


Affter studying the gray matter of 38 people in a Stanford experiment, psychologists concluded it is the perceived intentions — not the actions — of others that lead us to cherish the charitable and spurn the selfish.

The finding comes from the work of Jeff Cooper, who spent his time as a Stanford doctoral candidate studying a part of the brain called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Scientists already… read more

European conference on Computing and Philosophy issues call for papers

November 13, 2008

E-CAP, the European conference on Computing and Philosophy, has issued a call for papers that cover topics like robotics, AI, ambient Intelligence, computational linguistics, interdisciplinary approaches to the problem of consciousness, biological information, artificial life, and synthetic emotions.

The conference will be held at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Kevin Warwick is a keynote speaker.

Solar Power at Half the Cost

May 11, 2007

A new mechanism for focusing light on small areas of photovoltaic material could make solar power in residential and commercial applications cheaper than electricity from the grid in most markets in the next few years.

Do You See a Pattern Here?

August 9, 2004

In a new book, The (Mis)Behavior of Markets, Benoit Mandelbrot, father of the fractal, says the world’s central banks need a risk model that “takes into account long-term dependency, or the tendency of bad news to come in waves” to avoid further global financial system crises.

He recommends that they fund “an international commission for systematic, rigorous, and replicable research into market dynamics.

“If we can map the… read more

Regenerating a Mammoth for $10 Million

November 20, 2008

A scientific team at Pennsylvania State University has recovered a large fraction of the mammoth genome from clumps of mammoth hair, and that a living mammoth could perhaps be regenerated for as little as $10 million.

The same technology could be applied to any other extinct species from which one can obtain hair, horn, hooves, fur or feathers, and which went extinct within the last 60,000 years, the effective… read more

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