A closed Android-based network to study cyber disruptions and help secure hand-held devices

October 4, 2012

Sandia builds self-contained, Android-based network to study cyber disruptions and help secure hand-held devices

As part of ongoing research to help prevent and mitigate disruptions to computer networks on the Internet, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in California have turned their attention to smartphones and other hand-held computing devices.

Sandia cyber researchers linked together 300,000 virtual hand-held computing devices running the Android operating system so they could study large networks of smartphones and find ways to make them more reliable and… read more

Plasma jet zaps superbugs

October 4, 2012


Scientists at Queen’s University Belfast have developed a new technique with the potential to kill off hospital superbugs like Pseudomonas aeruginosaC. difficile and MRSA.

The novel method uses a cold plasma jet to rapidly penetrate dense bacterial structures known as biofilms that bind bacteria together and make them resistant to conventional chemical approaches. The new approach developed by scientists in the School of Mathematics and Physics and… read more

Neurons created from other brain cells to treat neurodegenerative diseases

October 5, 2012


Researchers have discovered a way to generate new human neurons from pericyte cells, providing a possible new approach to cell-based therapy of neurodegenerative diseases,  said Benedikt Berninger of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

“The ultimate goal is to induce such conversion within the brain itself to provide a novel strategy for repairing the injured or diseased brain.”

Pericytes keep the blood-brain barrier intact and participate in… read more

How neuron electrical activity controls the biological clock

October 5, 2012


New York University biologists have discovered new ways our biological clock’s neurons use electrical activity to help control behavioral rhythms. The findings also point to new way to explore sleep disorders and related afflictions.

“This process helps explain how our biological clocks keep such amazingly good time,” said Justin Blau, an associate professor of biology at NYU and one of the study’s authors. The findings may offer new… read more

Cryonics photos delve into the frozen world of the immortality faithful

October 5, 2012


The Prospect of Immortality is a six-year study by UK photographer Murray Ballard, who has traveled the world pulling back the curtain on the amateurs, optimists, businesses, and apparatuses of cryonics, the preservation of deceased humans in liquid nitrogen, Wired reports.

“It’s not a large industry,” says Ballard, who visited the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Phoenix, Arizona; the Cryonics Instituteread more

The race to bring quantum teleportation to your world

There'd an international quantum teleportation space race heating up
October 5, 2012


Around the world, countries are investing time and millions of dollars into the technology, which uses satellites to beam bits of quantum information down from the sky and and could profoundly change worldwide communication, Wired Science reports.

In the past year, a team from China and another in Austria set new records for quantum teleportation, using a laser to beam photons through the open… read more

A multi-photon approach to quantum cryptography

Information breach may be drastically reduced as a result of a technology breakthrough
October 5, 2012


University of Oklahoma researchers have,  demonstrated a novel technique for cryptography that offers the potential of unconditional security.

As increasing volumes of data become accessible, transferable and, therefore actionable, information is the treasure companies want to amass.

To protect this wealth, organizations use cryptography, or coded messages, to secure information from “technology robbers.” This group of hackers and malware creators increasingly is becoming more sophisticated at… read more

Google simulates brain networks to recognize speech and images

October 5, 2012


This summer Google set a new landmark in the field of artificial intelligence with software that learned how to recognize cats, people, and other things simply by watching YouTube videos (see “Self-Taught Software“).

That technology, modeled on how brain cells operate, is now being put to work making Google’s products smarter, with speech recognition being the first service to benefit, Technology Review reports.… read more

Proteins remember the past to predict the future

October 5, 2012


The most efficient machines remember what has happened to them, and use that memory to predict what the future holds.

That is the conclusion of a theoretical study by Susanne Still, a computer scientist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and her colleagues, and it should apply equally to “machines” ranging from molecular enzymes to computers, Nature News reports. The finding could help to improve scientific… read more

Sperm and eggs created in dish produce mouse pups

October 5, 2012


After producing normal mouse pups last year using sperm derived from stem cells, a Kyoto University team of researchers has now accomplished the same feat using eggs created the same way, Science Now reports. The study may eventually lead to new ways of helping infertile couples conceive.

The stem cells in both cases are embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The former are taken… read more

What campuses can learn from online teaching

October 8, 2012


Also see the three related posts today (below). — Ed.

Higher education is at a crossroads not seen since the introduction of the printing press, said MIT president L. Rafael Reif* in The Wall Street Journal.

“Residential education’s long-simmering financial problem is reaching a crisis point,” he said. “At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other campuses, the upheaval today is coming from the technological change posed by… read more

Does online education need to be free to succeed?

October 8, 2012


Also see the three related posts today (below). — Ed.

According to venture capitalists and entrepreneurs,  technology will “disrupt” education as we know it, and maybe create a few billion-dollar companies along the way (see “The Crisis in Higher Education”), says Technology Review.

According to Dow Jones VentureSource, VCs invested $217 million in digital education companies during the first half of 2012 — more than… read more

The future of online vs. residential education

October 8, 2012

In this correspondence (posted with permission), Ray Kurzweil and MIT president L. Rafael Reif discuss the future of online education and its impacts on residential education. Also see the three related posts today (below). — Ed.

Hi Rafael,

I enjoyed your insightful piece in today’s WSJ on the emergence and future of online education. It eloquently makes the point that online teaching is here to stay. But I… read more

Declassified at last: Air Force’s supersonic flying saucer schematics

October 8, 2012


The National Archives has recently published never-before-seen schematics and details of a 1950s military venture, called Project 1794, which aimed to build a supersonic flying saucer, Wired Danger Room reports.

In a memo dating from 1956, the results from pre-prototype testing are summarized and reveal exactly what the developers had hoped to create.

The saucer was supposed to reach a top speed of “between Mach 3… read more

The most complex synthetic biology circuit yet

New sensor can detect four different molecules, could be used to program cells to precisely monitor their environments
October 8, 2012

Mining circuits from genomic islands. a, The truth table for an<br />
AND gate. b, The architecture of an AND gate. The protein–protein and<br />
protein–DNAinteractions that can lead to crosstalk between gates are shown as<br />
red rectangles. c

Christopher Voigt, an associate professor of biological engineering at MIT, and his students have developed circuit components that don’t interfere with one another, allowing them to produce the most complex synthetic circuit ever built.

The circuit integrates four sensors for different molecules. Such circuits could be used in cells to precisely monitor their environments and respond appropriately.

Background: the big burrito

Using genes as interchangeable… read more

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