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Encouraging people to contribute knowledge

December 17, 2007

Google is inviting a selected group of people to try a new, free tool they call “knol,” which stands for a unit of knowledge.

Similar to Wikipedia, the goal is to “encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it,” and Google hopes authors will cover all topics. Google says it will provide easy-to-use tools for writing, editing, and so on, as well as… read more

The Fountain of Health

April 5, 2006

Calorie restriction delays the onset of a broad swath of age-related diseases, so some biologists hope that a drug that mimics the molecular effects of calorie restriction might also delay the onset of some or all of these diseases.

Part 2 of the article

High-bandwidth optical chip developed

June 25, 2003

A new class of microscopic crystal structures developed at the University of Toronto is bringing high bandwidth optical microchips one step closer to efficient, large-scale fabrication. The structures, known as photonic band gap (PBG) materials, could usher in an era of speedy computer and telecommunications networks that use light instead of electrons.

Press release

Flow of potassium into cells implicated in schizophrenia

May 7, 2009

A study by scientists at the National Institutes of Health and European colleagues on schizophrenia has implicated machinery that maintains the flow of potassium in cells and revealed a potential molecular target for new treatments.

Expression of a previously unknown form of a key such potassium channel was found to be 2.5 fold higher than normal in the brain memory hub of people with the chronic mental illness and… read more

Why older people can’t multitask as well

April 12, 2011

Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have pinpointed a reason older adults have a harder time multitasking than younger adults: they have more difficulty switching between brain networks.

UCSF scientists compared the working memory of healthy young men and women (mean age 24.5) and older men and women (mean age 69.1) in a visual memory test involving multitasking. Using fMRI, the researchers… read more

Toshiba Builds 100x Smaller Micro Nuclear Reactor

December 21, 2007

Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size 200 kilowatt nuclear reactors designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks.

It uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The process is self-sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy, the company claims.

Wireless device to improve cancer treatment

April 19, 2006

Engineers at Purdue University are creating a wireless device the size of a rice grain that could be implanted in tumors to tell doctors the precise dose of radiation received and locate the exact position of tumors during treatment.

The device, a passive wireless transponder, has no batteries and will be activated with electrical coils placed next to the body.

Source: Purdue University news release

Scientists Identify And Repress Breast Cancer Stem Cells In Mouse Tissue

December 24, 2007

By manipulating highly specific gene-regulating molecules called microRNAs, scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have succeeded in singling out and repressing stem-like cells in mouse breast tissue–cells that are widely thought to give rise to cancer.

No therapies currently exist that target stem-like tumor-initiating cells, whose existence in diverse tissues including breast, lung, brain and colon, as well as in the blood, has been demonstrated in a line of… read more

NANO Design Showing Online

April 23, 2006

Transhumanist Arts and Culture Showings has introduced the “NANO” group showing, featuring eight designers: Gina Miller, Forrest Bishop, Anders Sandberg, Robert A. Freitas Jr., Eric Viktor, Philippe Van Nedervelde, Michael Gallagher, and Natasha Vita-More.

According to Vita-More, “NANO is a rare opportunity to view selected nano images by designers whose backgrounds embrace fine arts, multimedia, technology, science and engineering. Compiling the diverse milieu is brought about through… read more

Machines that Reproduce May be Reality

July 11, 2003

Researchers have created a primordial soup that works like a digital DNA factory, where T-shaped “codons” swim in a computer-generated virtual liquid forming single, double, and even triple strands.

Like DNA, these digital particles “can be assembled into patterns that encode” information, claims robotics scientist Peter Turney. Given sufficient time, a soup of separated individual particles will “spontaneously form self-replicating patterns.”

Progress Toward Artificial Tissue?

May 18, 2009

A highly porous, sponge-like material whose mechanical properties closely resemble those of biological soft tissues has been developed by Australian and Korean researchers.

The new concept uses DNA strands as a matrix; the strands completely “wrap” the scaffold-forming carbon nanotubes in the presence of an ionic liquid, networking them to form a gel. This gel can be spun: just as silk and synthetic fibers can be wet-spun for textiles,… read more

ABB’s FRIDA offers glimpse of future factory robots

April 20, 2011

(Credit: ABB)

This headless, two-armed robot may be tomorrow’s factory worker.

Its name is FRIDA (Friendly Robot for Industrial Dual-arm Assembly), and it’s a creation of ABB, the Swiss power and automation giant, which introduced it early this month at the Hannover trade show, Europe’s largest industrial fair.

Designed for assembly applications, FRIDA is capable of using its human-like arms to grasp and manipulate electronic components and other small parts.… read more

When It Comes To Metal, Smaller Is Stronger: Now Scientists Know Why

January 3, 2008

Scientists have reported that a previously unobserved process known as “mechanical annealing” explains why structures made of metal get stronger as their dimensions shrink to the micrometer scale or less.

The most realistic virtual reality room in the world

May 11, 2006

More than $4 million in equipment upgrades will shine 100 million pixels on Iowa State University’s six-sided virtual reality room.

That’s twice the number of pixels lighting up any virtual reality room in the world and 16 times the pixels now projected on Iowa State’s C6, a 10-foot by 10-foot virtual reality room that surrounds users with computer-generated 3-D images. That means the C6 will produce virtual reality at… read more

Computer program detects author gender

July 21, 2003

A new computer program can tell whether a book was written by a man or a woman, based on a simple scan of key words and syntax.

Female writers use more pronouns. Males prefer words that identify or determine nouns (a, the, that) and words that quantify them (one, two, more).

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