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Parasites brainwash grasshoppers into death dive

September 5, 2005

A parasitic worm that makes the grasshopper it invades jump into water and commit suicide does so by producing proteins which directly and indirectly affect the grasshopper’s central nervous system.

Some of the proteins were linked to neurotransmitter activities. Others were linked to geotactic behaviour — the oriented movement of an organism in response to gravity.

Powerful Attack Upset Global Internet Traffic

October 23, 2002

The “largest and most sophisticated assault on the servers in the history of the Internet” on Monday briefly crippled 9 of the 13 computer servers that manage global Internet traffic.

Twitter Plays Key Role in DoS Attacks in Iran

June 22, 2009

Easy-to-use ways to launch denial-of- service attacks to mobilize a cyber-army against Iranian sites by simply clicking a link could backfire.

Dean Kamen’s “Luke Arm” Prosthesis Readies for Clinical Trials

February 1, 2008

Dean Kamen’s “Luke arm”–a prosthesis named for the remarkably lifelike prosthetic worn by Luke Skywalker in Star Wars–came to the end of its two-year funding last month.

Its fate now rests in the hands of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which funded the project.

Camera phones will be high-precision scanners

September 19, 2005

New cell-phone OCR software allows entire documents to be scanned simply by sweeping the phone across the page.

The software takes dozens of still images of the page and merges them, using the outline of the page as a reference guide.

Forget the Files and the Folders: Let Your Screen Reflect Life

November 7, 2002

“Operating systems are lapsing into senile irrelevance,” says computer scientist David Galernter. What is needed is a universal information structure, a narrative stream that “reflects the shape of your life, not the shape of a 1940′s Steelcase file cabinet.”

Galernter has developed such a system, called Scopeware Vision, and has made a beta version available for free download (requires Windows 2000 or XP with Outlook or Outlook… read more

A Ham Radio Weekend for Talking to the Moon

June 27, 2009

On Saturday, amateur radio operators will bounce signals off the moon, using parabolic antenna radio telescopes around the world.

Also see Echoes of Apollo

How to create a seamless panorama video from multiple cameras

May 5, 2015

Credit: Disney Research

Non-professionals may someday be able to create high-quality video panoramas using multiple cameras with the help of an algorithm developed by a team of Disney researchers.

Their method smooths out the blurring, ghosting and other distortions that routinely occur when video feeds from unstructured camera arrays are combined to create a single panoramic video. The algorithm corrects for the apparent difference in position of an object caused… read more

Window opened on Alzheimer’s conundrum: Mouse-brain study shows protein plaques to be a cause of the problem

February 7, 2008

Harvard Medical School researchers have found that the brain protein plaques characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease can form extraordinarily fast, and seem to be the starting point of further degeneration in the brain–at least in mice.

The research helps settle a long-standing debate about whether such plaques are a primary cause or a symptom of Alzheimer’s, and may have implications for how the disease is treated.

Magnetic Microchips Replace Electronic Semiconductor

September 29, 2005

Researchers have created a computer by using magnetic microchips rather than semiconductor electronics.

Magnetic microchips reduce heat and are simpler and potentially cheaper to produce than electronic chips.

Physics, with wormholes by you

May 11, 2011
Portal 2

Portal 2, a new game from the Valve Corporation, makes physics fun.

You are a woman trapped in the distant future in an abandoned robot factory buried miles beneath the Midwestern plains. The only other characters you encounter are two deranged artificial intelligences vying for control of the complex.

You must escape to the surface. And this requires navigating a series of meticulously designed… read more

Efforts to Stop Music Piracy Pointless

November 21, 2002

Record industry attempts to stop the swapping of pop music on online networks such as Kazaa will never work.

So says a research paper prepared by Microsoft computer scientists. They believe that the steady spread of file-swapping systems and improvements in their organisation will eventually make them impossible to shut down.

Apple iPhone to Replace Your Hearing Aids?

July 8, 2009

The SoundAMP iPhone app amplifies sounds heard by the iPhone microphone and allows the user to set which frequencies to boost and which to filter.

A recorded buffer allows you to quickly replay the last five to thirty seconds of a misheard conversation.

New graphene-like two-dimensional material could improve energy storage

May 18, 2015

Top view , illustrating the porous and layered structure of a highly conductive powder (Ni3(HITP)2), precursor to a new, tunable graphene analog. (Credit: Image courtesy of Mircea Dinc?, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

MIT and Harvard University researchers have created a graphene-like electrically conductive. porous, layered material as possible new tool for storing energy and investigating the physics of unusual materials.

They synthesized the material using an organic molecule called HITP and nickel ions, forming a new compound: Ni3(HITP)2.

The new porous material is a crystalline, structurally tunable electrical conductor with a high surface area — features… read more

Researchers fashion copper for high-speed computing

February 13, 2008

Georgia Tech researchers have replaced solder with all-copper connections between computer chips and external circuitry, boosting the speed and amount of data that can be sent throughout a computer.

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