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How memory load leaves us ‘blind’ to new visual information

October 2, 2012

Dangerous distraction? (Credit: Garvin)

Trying to keep an image we’ve just seen in memory can leave us blind to things we are “looking” at, according to a new study by neuroscientists.

It’s been known for some time that when our brains are focused on a task, we can fail to see other things that are in plain sight. It’s called ”inattentional blindness.”

Here’s an example: count the number of basketball passes… read more

Gene-modified cow makes milk rich in protein, study finds

October 2, 2012

cows

Scientists have altered the genes of a dairy cow to produce milk that’s rich in a protein used in numerous food products and lacking in a component that causes allergies in humans.

Using a process called RNA-interference that turns certain genes on or off, scientists from New Zealand produced a cow whose milk had increased casein, a protein used to make cheese and other foods, and almost no… read more

Google’s answer to Siri thinks ahead

A smartphone helper that answers queries before you even ask them
October 2, 2012

Google Now (credit: Google)

Google’s vision of how a smartphone can become a trusted, all-knowing assistant is rolling out to consumers in the form of Google Now.

It’s a feature of the newest iteration of Android, Jelly Bean, which is so far available on only a handful of smartphones, and suggests that Google has ambitions to go well beyond what Siri has shown so far, Technology Review reports.… read more

Liquid air ‘offers energy storage hope’

October 2, 2012

wind farms

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers says liquid air can compete with batteries and hydrogen to store excess energy generated from renewables, BBC News reports.

IMechE says “wrong-time” electricity generated by wind farms at night can be used to chill air to a cryogenic state at a distant location. When demand increases, the air can be warmed to drive a turbine.

 

Stem cells improve visual function in blind mice

October 2, 2012

retina_AMD

An experimental treatment for blindness, developed from a patient’s skin cells, improved the vision of blind mice in a study conducted by Columbia ophthalmologists and stem cell researchers.

The findings suggest that induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells — which are derived from adult human skin cells but have embryonic properties — could soon be used to restore vision in people with macular degeneration and other… read more

Keeping tumor cells alive to test different drugs

Conditionally reprogrammed cells act as stem-like epithelial cells and offer promise for personalized medicine
October 2, 2012

Using a newly discovered cell technology, Georgetown University Medical Center researchers were able to identify an effective therapy for a patient with a rare type of lung tumor. The single case study provides a snapshot of the new technology’s promising potential, but the researchers caution that it could be years before validation studies are completed and regulatory approval is received for its broader use.

The patient in the… read more

‘Green Brain’ project to create autonomous flying robot with honeybee brain

October 2, 2012

The honeybee brain: a schematic view of the major neuropils of the central brain area excluding the eyes, showing the olfactory pathway (credit: Randolf Menzel and Martin Giurfa/TRENDS in Cognitive Sciences)

Scientists at the Universities of Sheffield and Sussex are embarking on an ambitious project to produce the first accurate computer models of a honeybee brain in a bid to advance our understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how animals think.

The team will build models of the systems in the brain that govern a honeybee’s vision and sense of smell. Using this information, the researchers… read more

Ray Kurzweil talk at DEMO Oct. 2 to be streamed live

October 2, 2012

DEMO

Ray Kurzweil will speak Tuesday Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. PDT at the DEMO conference at the Hyatt Santa Clara in Santa Clara, California on “how we are making exponential gains in reverse-engineering the human brain, how these insights are going to fuel an AI revolution, and the impact of that revolution on business and society.”

The conference will be streamed live here through Oct. 3.

Kurzweil’s… read more

YouTube, social media play new role in presidential debate

Campaigns are gearing up to shape social media reactions in real time
October 3, 2012

YT_election_hub

The Internet will play an expanded role in tonight’s presidential debate.

YouTube has teamed up with ABC News and Yahoo News to stream the debate.

And as a sign of just how pervasive and crucial social media has become, in some states elected officials are only one degree of “friend” separation from nearly every Facebook account holder in that state, says JD Schlough, a… read more

Why we need a supercomputer on the Moon

October 3, 2012

lunar_supercomputer

Building a supercomputer on the moon would be a mammoth technical undertaking, but a University of Southern California graduate student thinks there’s a very good reason for doing it: help alleviate a coming deep-space network traffic jam that’s had NASA scientists worried for several years now.

Ouliang Chang floated his lunar supercomputer idea a few weeks ago at a space conference in Pasadena, California, read more

Acoustic cell-sorting chip may lead to cell-phone-sized medical labs

October 3, 2012

acoustic_cell_sorting_chip

A technique that uses acoustic waves to sort cells on a chip may create miniature medical analytic devices.

The device uses two beams of standing surface acoustic waves (SSAW) to act as acoustic tweezers to sort a continuous flow of cells on a dime-sized chip, said Tony Jun Huang, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics, Penn State.

By changing the frequency of the acoustic… read more

Making the Kinect ‘finger-precise’

October 3, 2012

A 3Gear pointing interface (credit: 3Gear Systems)

3Gear Systems has announced a software development kit for adding gestures to applications, using your entire hand (fingers, thumbs, wrists and all) for user interaction.

“This is especially useful when you’re doing something 3D, say assembling 3D parts in Computer Aided Design (CAD), flying through a medical 3D MRI scan, or playing 3D games.

“With the rise of 3D printing and the Maker community, we’re especially interested… read more

The cosmological supercomputer

How the Bolshoi simulation evolves the universe all over again
October 3, 2012

cosmic_web

Most of the ordinary matter in the universe — the stuff that makes up all the atoms, stars, and galaxies astronomers can see — is invisible, either sprinkled throughout intergalactic space in tenuous forms that emit and absorb little light or else swaddled inside galaxies in murky clouds of dust and gas, Joel R. Primack writes in IEEE Spectrum.

When astronomers look out into the night… read more

Smartphone technology acceptable for remote stroke diagnosis

October 3, 2012

stroke image

A new Mayo Clinic study confirms the use of smartphones medical images to evaluate stroke patients in remote locations through telemedicine.

“Essentially what this means is that telemedicine can fit in our pockets,” says Bart Demaerschalk, M.D., professor of Neurology, and medical director of Mayo Clinic Telestroke.

“For patients this means access to expertise in a timely fashion when they need it… read more

A new way to create ‘building blocks’ for drugs

October 3, 2012

synthetically_useful_byarils

A new way to prepare biaryls — compounds that are essential building blocks in the creation of drugs and many modern materials such as LEDs — using gold as a catalyst is described by University of Bristol researchers in Science.

Gold catalysis is easier, cheaper and more environmentally friendly than current methods that use palladium as a catalyst.

Biaryls, compounds containing two directly connected benzene… read more

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