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Suite of chatterbox genes discovered

November 13, 2009

By combining human and chimp Foxp2 genes in a petri dish, University of California, Los Angeles neuroscientists have identified 116 genes controlled by Foxp2 that responded differently to the human version of Foxp2 than the chimp version, supporting Foxp2′s suggested role in the evolution of language and speech.

In another experiment, they found a striking overlap between the genes whose activity was different in the human brain tissue and… read more

Sun president: PCs are so yesterday

September 26, 2005

Increasingly, the personal computer is a relic, says Sun Microsystems president Jonathan Schwartz. Instead, what has become important are Web services on the Internet and the mobile phones most will use to access them.

Schwartz points to the increasing wealth and power of companies, like eBay, Google, Yahoo and Amazon.com, that profit from free services available over the network.

Sun supercomputer takes on IBM’s Blue Gene

June 27, 2007

Sun Microsystems Inc. is aiming to wrest the world supercomputing crown from IBM’s Blue Gene.

Sun’s Constellation, to be installed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, provides 21 million floating-point operations per second, potentially reaching 2 PFLOPS. IBM already has a 3 PFLOP version of its Blue Gene supercomputer, but Sun could potentially hit the No. 2 spot.

Sun unleashes X6.9 class flare; Earth spared this time

August 10, 2011

An x-class flare began at 3:48 AM EDT on August 9, 2011 and peaked at 4:05 AM. The flare burst from sun spot region AR11263, before it rotated out of view. The image here was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in extreme ultraviolet light at 131 Angstroms (credit: NASA)

On August 9, 2011 at 3:48 a.m. EDT, the sun emitted an Earth-directed X6.9 flare, as measured by the NOAA GOES satellite.

This was the largest flare of the current solar cycle, an R3 (Strong) Radio Blackout, alternatively classified as an X6,  according to the U.S. NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.

These gigantic bursts of radiation can disrupt GPS and communications signals. In this case, scientists… read more

Sun-free photovoltaics powered by heat

August 1, 2011

Silicon chip micro-reactors developed by the MIT team. Each of these contains photonic crystals on both flat faces, with external tubes for injecting fuel and air and ejecting waste products. Inside the chip, the fuel and air react to heat up the photonic crystals. (Credit: Justin Knight)

A new photovoltaic energy-conversion system has been developed by researchers at MIT, powered solely by heat, generating electricity with no sunlight at all.

The researchers made a button-sized power generator fueled by butane that can run three times longer than a lithium-ion battery of the same weight. The device can then be recharged instantly, just by snapping in a tiny cartridge of fresh fuel.

The… read more

Sun-powered device converts CO2 into fuel

February 19, 2009

Powered only by natural sunlight, an array of catalytic titanium dioxide nanotubes is able to convert a mixture of carbon dioxide and water vapor into natural gas at rates 20 times higher than previous methods, Pennsylvania State University researchers have found.

The process is not yet commercially viable.

Sun-Seeking Robot Bound for Arctic

April 5, 2001

A sun-seeking robot created at Carnegie Mellon University will be tested for two weeks starting July 10 on Devon Island above the Arctic Circle in Nunavut, Canada, “the closest thing we have to Mars on Earth.”

The experimental Hyperion robot prototype is part of a $1 million NASA project to develop a Mars robot that seeks sunlight that feeds a solar panel on its back.

Sunlight to Fuel Hydrogen Future

December 9, 2004

The photovoltaic cell is old news: the latest way to exploit the sun is through tiny materials that can directly convert sunlight into large amounts of hydrogen.

Hydrogen Solar of Guilford, England, and Altair Nanotechnologies are building a hydrogen-generation system that captures sunlight and uses the energy to break water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The company’s current project is a fuel station in Las Vegas that will soon… read more

Sun’s properties not ‘fine-tuned’ for life

May 23, 2008

There’s nothing special about the Sun that makes it more likely than other stars to host life, a new study by Australian National University scientists shows. The finding adds weight to the idea that alien life should be common throughout the universe.

They suggest that there are probably no special attributes that a star requires to have a habitable planet, other than the obvious one — the planet must… read more

‘Sunshade’ for global warming could cause drought

August 3, 2007

Pumping sulphur particles into the atmosphere to mimic the cooling effect of a large volcanic eruption, proposed as a last-ditch solution to combating climate change, could cause catastrophic drought, according to a study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Super Accurate Radiation Robots Kill Cancer Cells and Leave Healthy Ones Untouched

May 26, 2010

A new generation of radiation robots is lowering the rate of dead healthy cells by more accurately targeting cancer cells.

‘Super Earth’ Discovered at Nearby Star

August 26, 2004

European astronomers have found one of the smallest planets known outside our solar system, a world about 14 times the mass of our own around a star much like the Sun.

No planet so small has ever been detected around a normal star. And the finding reveals a solar system more similar to our own than anything found so far.

Super Organics

April 28, 2004

Forget Frankenfruit — the new-and-improved flavor of gene science is Earth-friendly and all-natural. Welcome to the golden age of smart breeding.

Researchers are beginning to understand plants so precisely that they no longer need transgenics to achieve traits like drought resistance, durability, or increased nutritional value. Over the past decade, scientists have discovered that our crops are chock-full of dormant characteristics. Rather than inserting, say, a bacteria gene to… read more

Super Realistic Bionic Hand

July 19, 2007

Touch Bionics’ i-Limb is supposedly the world’s most advanced bionic hand.

Super Robots Gear Up for Space

February 22, 2007

Superbots — robots made up of identical modular units that plug into one another to create robots that can stand, crawl, wiggle, and roll — are being developed mainly to carry out multiple complex tasks, such as assembly, inspection, maintenance, habitat construction, surface landing, and exploration in space and on planet surfaces.

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