Virtual nanoscopy: like ‘Google Earth’ for cell biologists

August 8, 2012

Caption: Advances in “virtual nanoscopy” enable the generation of large-scale composite images of biological tissues, as described in The Journal of Cell Biology (JCB) and made accessible through an upgrade to JCB’s JCB DataViewer web application. Users can “zoom in” from a high-resolution, composite image of a zebrafish embryo (top) to detailed images of tiny subcellular structures (bottom). Credit: © Williams et al, 2012

Just as users of Google Earth can zoom in from space to a view of their own backyard, researchers can now navigate biological tissues from a whole embryo down to its subcellular structures thanks to recent advances in electron microscopy and image processing.

An upgrade to the JCB DataViewer, browser-based image presentation tool from the the Journal of Cell Biology (JCB), now also makes these data publicly accessible for exploration and… read more

This is what Wall Street’s terrifying robot invasion looks like

August 8, 2012


This animated GIF chronicles the rise of the HFT Algo Machines from January 2007 through January 2012 (credit: Nanex Research, hosted by imgur.com)

Given the the endless mind-whirling acronyms, derivatives and structures of the financial markets, we’re rarely served with a visualization that so elegantly illustrates the arrival of Wall Street’s latest innovation.

This is what high frequency trading looks like, when specially… read more

What makes Paris look like Paris? CMU software uncovers stylistic core

Visual data mining of Google Street View identifies cities' distinctive details
August 8, 2012

These two photos might seem nondescript, but each contains hints about which city it might belong to. Given a large image database of a given city, our algorithm is able to automatically discover the geographically-informative elements (patch clusters to the right of each photo) that help in capturing its “look and feel”. On the top, the emblematic street sign, a balustrade window, and the balcony support are all very indicative of Paris, while on the bottom, the neoclassical columned entryway sporting a balcony, a Victorian window, and, of course, the cast iron railing are very much features of London.


Paris is one of those cities that has a look all its own, something that goes beyond landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and INRIA/Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris have developed visual data mining software that can automatically detect these sometimes subtle features, such as street signs, streetlamps and balcony railings, that give Paris and other… read more

Biometric bracelet lets a medical device recognize its wearer

Wristwatch-like device measures a person's "bioimpedance" to identify him or her to medical monitoring devices
August 8, 2012


A device that measures someone’s unique response to a weak electric signal could let medical devices such as blood-pressure cuffs automatically identify the wearer and send measurements straight to his or her electronic medical record, Technology Review reports.

For now, nurses, patients, and doctors juggle the job of keeping patients’ identities straight. But computer scientist Cory Cornelius at Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire, has developed… read more

Supercomputer-level millisecond-scale sampling for protein simulation on a desktop computer

August 8, 2012

Images showing the conformational space explored by the protein in the 1ms conventional MD Anton simulation, and the 500ns aMD simulation. The red diamond marks the crystal structure where both simulations were started from; the triangles represent important structures found in the 1ms simulation. The lower image shows that with a single graphics card running 500ns of accelerated MD, the same structures can be sampled and the same relative conformational space can be explored. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) captures the slowest motions of the protein, which correspond to conformational changes on long timescales. Moving L to R along the x-axis captures the primary slow rocking motion of the protein; moving vertically on the y-axis captures the second slowest motion, or wagging movement.<br />
Courtesy of the Walker MD Lab, San Diego Supercomputer Center.

Computer scientists and biochemists at the University of California, San Diego, have developed advanced GPU accelerated software and demonstrated for the first time that they could sample biological events that occur on the millisecond timescale using only an upgraded desktop computer equipped with a relatively inexpensive graphics processing card.

These results have the potential to bring millisecond-scale sampling, now available only on a multi-million dollar supercomputer,… read more

First full-resolution and panorama images from NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover

August 9, 2012

First full-resolution (1024 by 1024 pixels) long-range image of the Martian surface from one of the Navigation cameras on NASA's Curiosity rover, which are located on the rover's "head" or mast. The rim of Gale Crater can be seen in the distance beyond the pebbly ground. The topography of the rim is very mountainous due to erosion. The ground seen in the middle shows low-relief scarps and plains. The foreground shows two distinct zones of excavation likely carved out by blasts from the rover's descent stage thrusters. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Building the search engine of the future, one baby step at a time

August 9, 2012

Speak now

In Star Trek, a computer could answer any question, instantly. “Today, we’re closer to that dream than I ever thought possible during my working life — and here are some of the latest steps we’re taking today to make search even more intelligent, says SVP Google Search Amit Singhal on the Google Official Blog

1. Understanding the world

In May Goolge launched the Knowledge Graph, a… read more

Can a picture inflate the perceived truth of true and false claims?

Scientists discover the truth behind Colbert’s 'truthiness'
August 9, 2012

Stephen Colbert (credit: The Colbert Report)

Trusting research over their guts, scientists in New Zealand and Canada examined the phenomenon that Stephen Colbert, comedian and news satirist, calls “truthiness” — the feeling that something is true.

In four different experiments they discovered that people believe claims are true, regardless of whether they actually are true, when a decorative photograph appears alongside the claim.

“We wanted to examine how the kinds of photos… read more

Disney researchers add virtual touch to the real world

New computer interface can modify the feel of almost any surface, adding a possible new dimension to games and augmented reality apps
August 9, 2012


Researchers at Disney  demonstrated a computer interface at Siggraph 2012 that changes the way ordinary objects feel, using a weak electric signal fed through a user’s entire body, Technology Review reports.

Wearable technology modifies a user’s tactile perception of the physical world without requiring him/her to wear special gloves or use a force-feedback device. Sensations can be induced when the wearer touches a computer screen, walls,… read more

New 3D map of massive galaxies and black holes offers clues to dark matter, dark energy

August 9, 2012

An illustration of the concept of baryon acoustic oscillations, which are imprinted in the early universe and can still be seen today in galaxy surveys like BOSS<br />
(Illustration courtesy of Chris Blake and Sam Moorfield).

Astronomers have constructed the largest-ever three-dimensional map of massive galaxies and distant black holes, which will help the investigation of the mysterious “dark matter” and “dark energy” that make up 96 percent of the universe.

The map was produced by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III).

Early last year, the SDSS-III released the largest-ever image of the sky, which covered one-third… read more

Simple mathematical computations underlie brain circuits

Discovery of how some neurons inhibit others could shed light on autism, other neurological disorders
August 9, 2012

Mapping functional inhibition by neurons

MIT neuroscientists report that two major classes of brain cells repress neural activity in specific mathematical ways: One type subtracts from overall activation, while the other divides it.

The brain has billions of neurons, arranged in complex circuits that allow us to perceive the world, control our movements and make decisions. Deciphering those circuits is critical to understanding how the brain works and what goes wrong in neurological… read more

Making cancer cells forget what they are to cease their deadly proliferation

Jay Bradner believes that cancer can be defeated through control of epigenetics
August 9, 2012

Jay Bradner

Jay Bradner, a physician and chemical biologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, makes defeating cancer sound easy, Nature News reports.

“With all the things cancer is trying to do to kill our patient, how does it remember it is cancer?” he asked his rapt TEDx audience. Bradner says that the answer lies in epigenetics, the programs that manage the genome.

Findings over the… read more

Transistor and logic gate made from undoped silicon nanowires

August 10, 2012

SEM image of Silicon nanowires (credit: First Nano)

Researchers in France have fabricated a transistor and two types of diode from undoped silicon nanowires (SiNWs), and combined them into a NAND logic gate.

Nanometer-scale electronic devices fabricated from SiNWs are drawing significant attention in view of their reduction in size and potential application in electronics, optoelectronics, and biochemical sensing.

Unlike the photolithography used in current chip- making, nanowires are easy to make on a nanometer scale.

But at that… read more

Transgender woman played big part in radio history

August 10, 2012


The new documentary film “RADIO WARS” has been nominated for Best Feature Documentary by the New York City International Film Festival and will screen to audiences in NYC on Saturday, August 11 @ 9pm at the Abingdon Theatre.

RADIO WARS, directed by Sandra Mohr, features the story of Dr. Martine Rothblatt, the inventor of satellite radio, and a transgender woman.

Hidden battles

Soon after… read more

Designing a new Internet with more choices

August 10, 2012

Partial map of the Internet based on the January 15, 2005 data found on opte.org

A team of researchers from four U.S. universities is poised to lay out the key components for a networking architecture to serve as the backbone of a new Internet that gives users more choices about which services they use.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) asked the researchers to design a blueprint for a future version of the Internet.

Making choices

The new Internet architecture will hinge on… read more

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