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Scientists watch live brain-cell circuits fire

Promising new tool for mapping brain-cell activity
August 14, 2013


A new class of genetically engineered proteins called ArcLight can be used to watch electrical activity in individual brain cells in live brains, Yale University scientists have demonstrated.

These proteins may be a promising new tool for mapping brain-cell activity and for studying how neurological disorders disrupt normal neuron signaling.  Understanding brain cell activity is a high priority of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

ArcLight… read more

Scientists ‘watch’ rats exploring their memories

Could lead to learning how to preserve memories
July 16, 2015

Each of the five panels shows a memory snapshot created by hundreds of place cells while the rat was physically stationary at the top of the 1.8 m track (black). The time difference between the first and last snapshot is a mere one-fifth of a second; the positions represented by the neurons are shown in bright colors. (credit: Reprinted with permission from Pfeiffer and Foster, Science, 349:180)(2015)

How do you visualize your memory? As a continuous video recording, or as a series of snapshots strung together?

According to Johns Hopkins scientists, who actually watched nerve cells firing in the brains of rats as they planned where to go next, it’s a series of snapshots — more like jumping across stepping stones than walking across a bridge.

“Our data from rats suggest that our… read more

Scientists Weigh Stem Cells’ Role as Cancer Cause

December 21, 2007

Within the next few months, researchers at three medical centers expect to start the first test in patients of one of the most promising–and contentious–ideas about the cause and treatment of cancer: that cancerous stem cells maintain and propagate malignant tumors.

Scientists work on laws for robots to avoid possible war with artificial intelligence

May 31, 2006

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is working on a new set of safety guidelines for next-generation robots — the first attempt at a formal version of the first of Asimov’s Laws of Robotics: “A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.”

Japan’s ministry guidelines will require manufacturers to install a sufficient number of sensors to keep… read more

Scientists work to plug microorganisms into the energy grid

May 22, 2009

Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Centers have been charged to develop the next generation of biofuels to supply sources of energy to the grid from non-food, cellulosic, parts of plants.

Researchers are especially looking at lignocellulosic biomass (such as wood), and also at microbes to make energy-rich fatty acids for the synthesis of cell membranes and energy storage compounds for use in producing appropriate biomass.

Source:… read more

Scientists work toward engineered blood vessels

December 18, 2007

MIT scientists have found a way to induce cells to form parallel tube-like structures that could one day serve as tiny engineered blood vessels.

The researchers found that they can control the cells’ development by growing them on a surface with nano-scale patterning. Engineered blood vessels could one day be transplanted into tissues such as the kidneys, liver, heart or any other organs that require large amounts of vascular… read more

Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man

July 27, 2009

Impressed and alarmed by advances in artificial intelligence, a group of computer scientists is debating whether there should be limits on research that might lead to loss of human control over computer-based systems that carry a growing share of society’s workload.

Scientists Would Turn Greenhouse Gas Into Gasoline

February 20, 2008

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists are proposing a concept, named Green Freedom, for removing carbon dioxide from the air and turning it back into gasoline.

Air would be blown over a liquid solution of potassium carbonate, which would absorb the carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide would then be extracted and subjected to chemical reactions that would turn it into fuel: methanol, gasoline or jet fuel.

However, economically providing… read more

Scientists ‘Write’ With Atoms Using An Atomic Force Microscope

January 12, 2009

An international team of scientists has discovered a new method to manipulate atoms using an atomic force microscope (AFM) that makes it possible to build stable atomic structures at room temperature and on various semiconductor surfaces.

For example, placing specific dopant elements in the best position on semiconductor surfaces could increase the efficiency of nanoscale transistors.

Scientists, be on guard … ET might be a malicious hacker

November 29, 2005

Richard Carrigan, a particle physicist at the US Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, believes the SETI@home project is putting Earth’s security at risk by distributing the signals they receive to computers all over the world.

Scientists, lawyers mull effects of home robots

December 7, 2009

Scientists are studying the potential dilemmas and the legal, social and ethical consequences of living with robots.

Scientists: Data-storing bacteria could last thousands of years

March 1, 2007

Two Japanese universities have announced scientists there have developed a new technology that uses bacteria DNA as a medium for storing data long-term, even for thousands of years.

They have successfully encoded “e=mc2 1905!” on the common soil bacteria, Bacillius subtilis.

“While the technology would most likely first be used to track medication, it could also be used to store text and images for many millennia, thwarting the… read more

Scientists: Watch for Weird Life From Beyond

July 9, 2007

Scientists in a National Academy of Sciences report committee worry that researchers have already limited their scope of thinking about where extraterrestrial life might be found.

The assumption that life requires water, for example, has limited the search for life on Mars to those “habitats” where liquid water is thought to be present or to have once flowed. But recent research suggests liquids such as ammonia or formamide could… read more

Scorn over claim of teleported DNA

January 13, 2011


Luc Montagnier, who shared the Nobel prize for medicine in 2008 for his part in establishing that HIV causes AIDS, says he has evidence that DNA can send spooky electromagnetic imprints of itself into distant cells and fluids. If that wasn’t heretical enough, he also suggests that enzymes can mistake the ghostly imprints for real DNA, and faithfully copy them to produce the real thing. In… read more

Scots scientists unveil ‘spray-on’ computer

April 10, 2007

Scottish scientists have developed a computer the size of a matchstick head, thousands of which can be sprayed onto patients to give a comprehensive analysis of their condition.

The individual appliances, or “specks,” will form networks that can be programmed like ordinary computers.

Spraying them directly onto a person creates the ability to carry out different tests at the same time, for example muscle movement and pulse rate.… read more

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