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Students, Meet Your New Teacher, Mr. Robot

July 12, 2010

Computer scientists are developing highly programmed machines that can engage people and teach them simple skills, including household tasks, vocabulary or, as in the case of the boy, playing, elementary imitation and taking turns.

The most advanced models are fully autonomous, guided by artificial intelligence software like motion tracking and speech recognition, which can make them just engaging enough to rival humans at some teaching tasks.

Researchers say… read more

Studies link meditation, support, and Tai Chi practices with healing for breast-cancer survivors

November 4, 2014

Tai Chi (credit: Anita Ritenour, CC)

Two recent studies suggest that meditation, support groups, and Tai Chi are associated with healing for breast cancer survivors.

Canadian researchers found that practicing mindfulness meditation or being involved in a support group has “a positive physical impact” at the cellular level in breast cancer survivors.

The researchers, at Alberta Health Services’ Tom Baker Cancer Centre and the University of Calgary Department of Oncology,… read more

Studies of gene regulation in brain development may lead to new treatment of mental disorders

December 4, 2012


A team of researchers at the University of California, San Diego and the Institut Pasteur, Paris has come up with a novel way to describe brain development.

The findings could lead to new drug designs for mental disorders such as autism-spectrum disorders (ASD) and schizophrenia.

In the paper, the researchers identified the hierarchical tree of two types of gene networks that determine the… read more

Studies Report Inducing Out-of-Body Experience

August 24, 2007

Using virtual-reality goggles, a camera and a stick, scientists have induced out-of-body experiences — the sensation of drifting outside of one’s own body — in ordinary, healthy people, according to studies being published today in the journal Science.

The research reveals that “the sense of having a body, of being in a bodily self,” is actually constructed from multiple sensory streams, which include vision, touch, balance and the sense… read more

Studio evolves from ‘Ice Age’ to ‘Robots’

June 10, 2003

20th Century Fox is planning to release the animated film Robots, due out in March 2005. It features a universe completely inhabited by mechanical people.

Study builds on plausible scenario for origin of life on Earth

August 15, 2011

The natural enantiomer of the RNA precursor molecules formed a crystal structure visible to the naked eye (credit: Jason Hein)

A relatively simple combination of naturally occurring sugars and amino acids formed on Earth before any life existed offers a plausible route to RNA, researchers at the University of California, Merced, have found.

Biological molecules, such as RNA and proteins, can exist as enantiomers. Enantiomers are two molecules that are identical except for the three dimensional arrangement of the atoms that make it up. One of the best… read more

Study claims 100 percent renewable energy possible by 2030

January 20, 2011

New research published in the journal Energy Policy says that enough renewable energy is available and could be harnessed to meet demand indefinitely by 2030 by building about four million 5 MW wind turbines, 1.7 billion 3 kW roof-mounted solar photovoltaic systems, and around 90,000 300 MW solar power plants.

Study details catastrophic impact of nuclear attack on US cities

March 21, 2007

A new study by researchers at the Center for Mass Destruction Defense (CMADD) at the University of Georgia details the catastrophic impact a nuclear attack would have on American cities and the inability of the nation’s current medical system to handle casualties.

It also suggests what the authors said are much needed yet relatively simple interventions that could save tens of thousands of lives.

Among the… read more

Study Details How U.S. Could Cut 28% of Greenhouse Gases

November 30, 2007

The United States could shave as much as 28 percent off the amount of greenhouse gases it emits at fairly modest cost and with only small technology innovations, according to a new report from McKinsey & Company.

The innovations include changes in the lighting, heating and cooling of buildings, for example, that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels even as they save money.

Study Detects Recent Instance of Human Evolution

December 11, 2006

A surprisingly recent instance of human evolution has been detected among the peoples of East Africa. It is the ability to digest lactose, the principal sugar of milk, in adulthood, conferred by genetic changes that occurred as recently as 3,000 years ago, a team of geneticists has found.

Study establishes major new treatment target in diseased arteries

May 11, 2009

By eliminating the gene for a signaling protein called cyclophilin A (CypA) from a strain of mice, researchers at the University of Rochester and were able to provide complete protection against abdominal aortic aneurysm, a fatal event in 90 percent of cases.

Inhibition of CypA also appears to have benefit in several diseases that involve blood vessels in the brain and heart, the researchers suggest.

Study finds contaminants in bottled water

October 16, 2008

Laboratory tests on ten brands of bottled water purchased in nine states and the District of Columbia detected bacteria and 38 pollutants often found in tap water, some at levels no better than tap water, a study released Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group found.

The pollutants identified include common urban wastewater pollutants like caffeine and pharmaceuticals, an array of cancer-causing byproducts from municipal tap water chlorination,… read more

Study finds new nanomaterial could be breakthrough for implantable medical devices

November 11, 2008

Nanoporous ceramic membranes may create an interface between human tissues and medical devices that is free of protein buildup, leading to new dialysis devices and other revolutionary medical implants, a new study led by North Carolina State University has found.

Study finds value in ‘junk’ DNA

October 17, 2008

A University of Iowa study has found evidence that a significant number of exons (the building blocks for protein-coding genes) created from junk DNA seem to play a role in gene regulation.

Study Gives Key Role to Sleep in Helping Brain Learn Anew

January 29, 2008

During sleep, the synapses weaken, University of Wisconsin researchers have hypothesized.

This weakening performs a crucial role of sleep: restoring the brain for the next period of learning.

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