science + technology news

Hidden cancer threat to wildlife revealed

June 26, 2009

Cancer poses a serious threat to wild animals, say twp pathologists working for the Wildlife Conservation Society, the second leading cause of death, as in humans.

Understanding the cancers in animals will help understand them better in humans. The pathologists list 22 species that suffer from viral cancers. While some of the viruses have only been found in wildlife, others are closely related to human viruses, including papilloma virus,… read more

NASA new CubeSat concept for planetary exploration

Tiny satellites to venture out beyond the low-earth-orbit limit
May 20, 2015

Technologist Jaime Esper and his team are planning to test the stability of a prototype entry vehicle —the Micro-Reentry Capsule (MIRCA) — this summer during a high-altitude balloon mission from Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. (Credits: NASA/Goddard)

Jaime Esper, a technologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a CubeSat concept that would allow scientists to use less-expensive cubesat (tiny-satellite) technology to observe physical phenomena beyond the current low-Earth-orbit limit.

The CubeSat Application for Planetary Entry Missions (CAPE) concept involves a service module that would propel the spacecraft to its  target and a separate planetary entry probe… read more

Are Americans Afraid of the Outdoors?

February 7, 2008

The electronic world is replacing the natural world for leisure time in rich nations, University of Illinois at Chicago researchers believe.

Outdoor pursuits, ranging from camping to hunting, have entered a persistent and growing decline since 1987. Their statistical analysis shows that the increase in video games, movie rentals and other electronic entertainment most closely matches the decrease in camping and park visits, as opposed to income, vacation time,… read more

Can proteins perform logic?

September 27, 2005

Theoretical physicists in the UK have shown that it should be possible to use clusters of proteins to perform complex logic operations.

Simulating society at the global scale

May 10, 2011

An initiative to determine the next scientific or technological breakthrough for humankind is being unveiled by the EU via the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) program at the European Future Technologies Conference in Budapest.

There are six candidates in the running; in 2012 two will be granted funding for the next decade. Among the six contenders is the futurICT (also called “Futurist”) initiative. The group… read more

Fossil unveils wrist-worn Palm OS PDA

November 19, 2002

Fossil will introduce the world’s first Palm-powered wristwatch in mid-2003, with 33 MHz processor, 2 MB RAM, 160 x 160 pixel/16-level grayscale display, IrDA 1.2-compatible infrared port, miniature stylus, and USB interface to PCs.

Modified invisibility cloak could make the ultimate illusion

July 7, 2009

An illusion device using metamaterials that makes one object look like another could one day be used to camouflage military planes or create “holes” in solid walls.

To make a cup look like a spoon, for example, light first strikes the cup and is distorted. It then passes through a complementary metamaterial which cancels out the distortions to make the cup seem invisible. The light then moves into a… read more

Human Skin Cells Reprogrammed Into Embryonic Stem Cells

February 12, 2008

UCLA scientists have reprogrammed human skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells with the same unlimited properties as embryonic stem cells, using regulator genes instead of embryos or eggs.

Microsoft sees a future on the small screen

October 11, 2005

Microsoft is helping phone companies build a new Internet protocol television system (IPTV) infrastructure for delivering bleeding-edge television services, superfast Internet and phone services over a single line to the home.

Microsoft TV will allow phone companies to deliver four live pictures on a screen at once, with instant channel changes and more options for on-demand video rentals, including high-definition content. It will also merge phone services, so incoming… read more

‘Master switch’ gene for obesity and diabetes discovered

May 16, 2011

A gene linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol levels is in fact a “master regulator” gene that controls the behavior of other genes found within fat in the body, researchers at King’s College London and the University of Oxford have found.

The researchers examined over 20,000 genes in subcutaneous fat biopsies from 800 UK female twin volunteers.

They found an association… read more

Immobots Take Control

December 3, 2002

Immobots (immobile robots), a new breed of cost-effective intelligent machines, are beginning to crop up in situations where autonomy is important, such as distant space probes, copiers, and cars.

Using “model-based programming,” these systems “have a commonsense model of the physics of their internal components and can reason from that model to determine what is wrong and to know how to act,” said Brian Williams, a professor at MIT’s… read more

Quantum goes massive

July 16, 2009

Reaching microkelvin temperatures, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) provides evidence that interferometric gravitational wave detectors (designed as sensitive probes of general relativity and astrophysical phenomena) can also become sensitive probes of macroscopic quantum mechanics, say MIT scientists.

Smaller Version of the Solar System Is Discovered

February 15, 2008

Astronomers had found a miniature version of our own solar system 5,000 light-years across the galaxy — the first planetary system that really looks like our own, with outer giant planets and room for smaller inner planets.

The new discovery was made by a technique called microlensing: the gravity of the nearer star can bend and magnify the light from the more distant one, causing it to get much… read more

Trials for stem-cell treatment of brain disease

October 24, 2005

Researchers in California are about to start the first FDA-sanctioned clinical trial of a stem cell treatment for a brain disease.

Stem Cells Inc. will test the safety of injecting fetal-derived neural stem cells into the brains of children suffering from a rare and always fatal disorder known as Batten disease.

Lasers reveal rewiring of the living brain

December 19, 2002

A new technique for imaging the brains of living animals known as “two photon microscopy” represents a breakthrough in understanding rewiring of the brain that will have far-reaching implications for neurobiology, researchers say. It involves shining laser light into the brains of living animals and picking up the “returning light” produced by neurons engineered to express fluorescent proteins.

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