science + technology news

Skulls gain virtual faces

August 25, 2003

Max Planck Institute for Computer Science researchers have computerized the process of reconstructing a face from the skull.

The method reverses the process used in facial modeling and animation of shaping anatomical structures to fit a given 3D skin model. It takes less than a day for a computer reconstruction compared to weeks for a traditional clay model.

Skydiver gears up for record free fall

May 26, 2008

Michel Fournier, 64, plans to jump from a balloon at 130,000 feet and free-fall at up to 932 mph an hour (1.7 times the speed of sound), smashing through the sound barrier and landing by parachute in Saskatchewan, Canada.

He hopes to bring back data that will help astronauts and others survive in the highest of altitudes, and break the record for the fastest and longest free fall, the… read more

Skylifter airship could carry 150-ton buildings

October 11, 2010

Skylifter (Skylifter)

Australian company SkyLifter has designed a heavy-lifting, vertical ascent and descent aircraft that will operate as a practical flying crane.

The aircraft is designed to take off where helicopters leave off, with vertical pickup and delivery capability of over-size, fragile or bulky items up to 150 tons, and potentially more. The long flight duration of 24 hours ensures a good distance range and adds flexibility to logistics.… read more

Skylon spaceplane gathers momentum

September 21, 2010

(Reaction Engines)

U.K.-based Reaction Engines’ Skylon plane is designed to take a 12-ton payload  of cargo and passengers into space from a conventional airport and return them back down to the same runway.

The concept for the Skylon is based on a synergistic air-breathing rocket engine (SABRE) that uses jet propulsion to reach the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere before switching to rocket power to get into orbit.… read more

Skype Adds Video Calling to iPhones

December 30, 2010


Skype today announced that the new version of its iPhone application adds video call support, allowing users to make video calls over 3G and Wi-Fi networks.

This means that users of the iPhone4, iPhone 3GS, iPod touch 4th generation, PC, and Mac are now able to make and/or receive free video calls with one another, as well as with anyone else running software that supports video calling.

Skype Goes 720p HD, Big Screen Calls Coming to LG and Panasonic HDTVs

January 5, 2010


Skype 4.2 beta users can now make HD video calls (720p HD and 30 frames per second) if they have an HD webcam* and sufficient bandwidth and processing power.

LG Electronics and Panasonic will introduce HDTVs at CES with Skype software embedded.

* A few companies will introduce HD webcams designed for Skype’s software at CES.

Skype Launches Low-Cost Global Calling Plans

April 22, 2008

Skpype on Monday launched an aggressive $9.95-a-month international calling plan for U.S. customers that includes landlines and some cell-phone calls to 34 countries.

Skyscraper-style carbon-nanotube chip design ‘boosts electronic performance by factor of a thousand’

December 9, 2015

A multi-campus team led by Stanford engineers Subhasish Mitra and H.-S. Philip Wong has developed a revolutionary high-rise architecture for computing (Stanford University)

Researchers at Stanford and three other universities are creating a revolutionary new skyscraper-like high-rise architecture for computing based on carbon nanotube materials instead of silicon.

In Rebooting Computing, a special issue (in press) of the IEEE Computer journal, the team describes its new approach as “Nano-Engineered Computing Systems Technology,” or N3XT.

Suburban-style chip layouts create long commutes and regular traffic jams in electronic circuits, wasting time and energy, they note.… read more

Slaves to Our Machines

September 23, 2002

Instead of machines augmenting human ability, humans are increasingly being called on to augment machine abilities.

Sleep Deprivation for Germs

April 22, 2008

Hebrew University in Jerusalem researchers have found a method to awaken bacteria that are in a dormant state that could improve the effectiveness of antibiotics.

Most antibiotics kill only microbes that are growing and multiplying, leaving dormant bacteria untouched.

The researchers gave fresh nutrients to a set of stationary (low or no growth) bacteria cultured in the lab. They started growing and dividing again, although some only for… read more

Sleep discovery could lead to therapies that improve memory

But a medical study found increased risk of death from taking sleeping pills
March 13, 2013

(credit: iStock)

A team of sleep researchers led by UC Riverside psychologist Sara C. Mednick has confirmed the mechanism that enables the brain to consolidate memory and found that a commonly prescribed sleep aid enhances the process.

Those discoveries could lead to new sleep therapies that will improve memory for aging adults and those with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and schizophrenia.

Earlier research found a correlation between sleep spindles —… read more

Sleep may strengthen long-term memories in the immune system

New evidence shows that lack of sleep puts your body at risk
October 6, 2015

brain vs. immune ft

Deep (slow-wave*) sleep, which helps retain memories in the brain, may also strengthen immunological memories of encountered pathogens, German and Dutch neuroscientists propose in an Opinion article published September 29 in Trends in Neurosciences.

The immune system “remembers” an encounter with a bacteria or virus by collecting fragments from the microbe to create memory T cells, which last for months or years and help the body… read more

Sleep mechanism identified that plays role in emotional memory

UC researchers find that Ambien heightens recollection of and response to bad memories
June 14, 2013

Ambien (zolpidem)

Sleep researchers from University of California campuses in Riverside and San Diego have identified the sleep mechanism that enables the brain to consolidate emotional memory and found that Ambien, a popular prescription sleep aid, heightens the recollection of and response to negative memories.

Their findings have implications for individuals suffering from insomnia related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders who are prescribed… read more

Sleep selectively stores useful memories

February 2, 2011

After a good night’s sleep, people remember information better when they know it will be useful in the future, according to a new study in the Feb. 2 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings suggest that the brain evaluates memories during sleep and preferentially retains the ones that are most relevant.

Humans take in large amounts of information every day. Most is encoded into memories by the brain… read more

Sleep-deprived brains alternate between normal activity and ‘power failure’

May 21, 2008

Researchers from Duke-National University of Singapore and colleagues have found that sleep-deprived individuals experience periods of near-normal brain function interspersed with periods of slow response and severe drops in visual processing and attention.

They used fMRI to measure blood flow in participants who’d been kept awake all night or allowed to sleep (participants were tested in both states). During imaging, they did a task requiring visual attention.

When… read more

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