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23-Year old with terminal brain cancer hopes to be cryopreserved (UPDATE)

October 18, 2012

kim_suozzi

As we noted previously, Kim Suozzi, 23, has terminal brain cancer that is highly aggressive and growing rapidly in a location that makes surgery impossible, and her final wish is to be cryopreserved.

Alcor Life Extension Foundation announced Wednesday that it has offered to cryopreserve Kim at a reduced cost, with the staff donating their time for her cryopreservation.

“I learned about cryonics… read more

Hacked terminals capable of causing pacemaker deaths

Security holes enable attackers to switch off pacemakers, rewrite firmware from 30 feet away
October 18, 2012

685px-Pacemaker

Barnaby Jack, a Research Architect with the TRACE research team at McAfee, has reverse-engineered a pacemaker transmitter to make it possible to deliver deadly electric shocks to pacemakers within 30 feet and rewrite their firmware, SC Magazine reports.

In a speech at the BreakPoint security conference in Melbourne Wednesday, Jack said such attacks were tantamount to “anonymous assassination” and in a realistic but worse-case… read more

Genome hunters go after martian DNA

October 18, 2012

Mars

Two high-profile entrepreneurs say they want to put a DNA sequencing machine on the surface of Mars in a bid to prove the existence of extraterrestrial life.

In what could become a race for the first extraterrestrial genome, researcher J. Craig Venter said Tuesday that his Maryland academic institute and company, Synthetic Genomics, would develop a machine capable of sequencing and beaming back DNA data… read more

Winners of the 2011 Feynman Prizes in nanotechnology

October 18, 2012

Foresight Institute logo

The Foresight Institute has announced the winners of the 2011 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes for Nanotechnology Theory and Experiment.

The winner of the 2011 Feynman Prize for Experimental work is Leonhard Grill (Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Research School, Germany) in recognition of his pioneering and continuing work on manipulating and structuring functional matter at the atomic scale.

He has used scanning tunneling… read more

A cardboard bike

October 18, 2012

cardboard-bike

Working from his garden shed, Israeli inventor Izhar Gafni has invented a $20 cardboard bike, says The Telegraph.

The solid tires are made of reconstituted rubber from old car tires and some proprietary materials have been added for water protection and other purposes.

“This is a real game changer,” said Nimrod Elmish, Gafni’s business partner. ”It changes … the way products are manufactured and shipped, it causes factories to… read more

The state of the US election system

Gains in voting-machine technologies could be cancelled out by errors introduced through mail and Internet voting
October 19, 2012

(credit: Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project)

The good news: widespread technological upgrades have largely eliminated the voting-machine problems that were so evident when Florida’s disputed recount determined the 2000 presidential election.

The bad news: early voting through the mail, which is increasing, is turning out to be a relatively low-accuracy method of voting, according to a new open access research report released by MIT and the Californiaread more

New military apparel repels chemical and biological agents

October 19, 2012

The highly breathable membranes have pores made of a few nanometer-wide vertically aligned carbon nanotubes that are surface modified with a chemical warfare agent-responsive functional layer (credit: Fornasiero, et al./Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists and collaborators are developing a new military uniform material that repels chemical and biological agents, using a novel carbon-nanotube (CNT) fabric.

The material will be designed to undergo a rapid transition from a breathable state to a protective state. The highly breathable membranes would have pores made of a few-nanometer-wide vertically aligned carbon nanotubes with a layer that is responsive to chemical-warfare… read more

Harvard launches two free online courses, more than 100,000 sign up worldwide

October 19, 2012

“I figure I’d have to teach another 200 years to reach that many students in person,” said Harvard Professor Marcello Pagano (pictured), after learning that more than 100,000 people worldwide had signed up for the two Harvard courses being taught on the edX platform (credit: Aubrey LaMedica/Harvard School of Public Health)

Harvard University’s first two courses on the new edX digital education platform launched this week, as more than 100,000 learners worldwide began taking dynamic online versions of CS50, the College’s popular introductory computer science class, and PH207, a Harvard School of Public Health course in epidemiology and biostatistics.

For Marcello Pagano, a professor of statistical computing who is co-teaching PH207x, the potential to teach so… read more

What is DARPA’s Plan X?

October 19, 2012

Plan X (credit: DARPA)

On October 15 and 16, DARPA outlined its plans for Plan X to more than 350 software engineers, cyber researchers, and human-machine interface experts and solicited their feedback, in preparation for anticipated release in the next month of the program’s Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), to be posted to www.fbo.gov.

DARPA‘s Plan X program,. the first of its kind, will attempt to create revolutionary technologies for… read more

Mapping brain circuits for specific functions

New way to image brain-cell activity could shed light on psychiatric disorders
October 19, 2012

MIT neuroscientists used calcium imaging to label these pyramidal cells in the brain (credit: Qian Chen/MIT)

A team led by MIT neuroscientists has developed a way to monitor how brain cells coordinate with each other to control specific behaviors, such as initiating movement or detecting an odor.

The researchers’ new imaging technique, based on the detection of calcium ions in neurons, could help them map the brain circuits that perform such functions.

It could also provide new insights into the… read more

Decoding the brain’s circuit diagrams

New method facilitates mapping neural connections
October 19, 2012

neurons_calcium_fluorescence

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, the University of Göttingen and the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Göttingen has now developed a method for decoding neural circuit diagrams.

Using measurements of total neuronal activity, they can determine the probability that two neurons are connected with each other.

The human brain consists of around 80 billion neurons that exchange signals with… read more

Probing the brain’s chemistry

October 19, 2012

Glucose molecule and electrode

NC State University chemist Leslie Sombers and her graduate student Leyda Lugo-Morales have developed a method for real-time measurement of chemical fluctuations in the brain.

They use voltammetry, a method of electrochemical scanning where voltage is applied to, and current is collected from, a carbon fiber microelectrode that is about 10 times smaller than a human hair.  The resulting data is in the… read more

Could PTSD be cured by sleep-based therapies?

October 19, 2012

The_Scream

Traumatic memories can be manipulated in sleeping mice to reduce their fearful responses during waking hours.  The finding, announced by  Stanford University researchers at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, suggests that sleep-based therapies could provide new options for treating conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Nature News Blog reports.

Currently, one of the most common treatments for PTSD requires the… read more

Hacking your own education

October 20, 2012

hacking_your_education

Dale J. Stephens‘ Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

In Hacking Your Education, Stephens speaks to a new culture of “hackademics” who think college diplomas are antiquated.

Hackademics abandon society’s linear path to success and bend institutions to fit their own reality.… read more

3D printing factory opens in New York City

October 20, 2012

(Credit: Shapeways)

Shapeways, a Netherlands-based online 3D printing company, has opened a “factory of the future” in Queens, New York that plans to house 50 high-resolution industrial 3D printers and print custom-designed products a year, Popular Science reports.

The company will allow customers to upload custom 3D designs, and then prints them using materials including acrylic, nylon, glass, gypsum, ceramic, and sandstone, and precious metals such as silver, and ships the… read more

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