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The benefits of 80 million years without sex

October 12, 2007

University of Cambridge researchers have discovered how Adineta ricciae, a species of bdelloid rotifer that has evolved without sex, has survived dehydration.

The two copies of the gene lea in Adineta ricciae are different and therefore generate proteins with different functions that protect the animal during dehydration. One copy protects essential proteins from clumping together as the animal dries out, while the other helps to maintain the fragile membranes… read more

The Best Computer Interfaces: Past, Present, and Future

April 6, 2009

Multitouch screens, gesture sensing, force feedback, voice recognition, augmented reality, spatial interfaces, and future brain-computer interfaces are key developments in computer interfaces.

The Best Inventions of 2002

November 25, 2002

Time’s list of the best inventions of 2002 includes 3-D Online Environment, a lifelike 3-D virtual world now evolving on the Internet; Carver Mead’s Foveon X3 technology; the Earth Simulator, the most powerful supercomputer; and “virtual” keyboards, using a laser beam that projects a glowing red outline of a keyboard.

The best neuroscience images of 2013

December 27, 2013

Brainbow - featured

The brain bank science blog (by a group of Manchester, UK-based scientists) has posted 12 images from 2013 that are as much fantastic works of art as neuroscience. Shown here: “Brainbow,” a transgenic system designed to label different types of brain cells in a festive panoply of colors.

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The Big Bang and the Bucks Set to Collide in Inner Space

February 9, 2007

An international consortium of physicists released the first detailed design of what they believe will be the Next Big Thing in physics: the International Linear Collider, a machine 20 miles long that will slam together electrons and their evil-twin opposites, positrons, to produce fireballs of energy recreating conditions when the universe was only a trillionth of a second old.

The cost: cost about $6.7 billion and 13,000 person-years of… read more

The Biggest Jolt to Power Since Franklin Flew His Kite

April 27, 2004

Companies say they are closing in on the goal of producing relatively inexpensive superconducting wire for power generators, transformers and transmission lines.

The billionaire who is planning his 125th birthday

March 8, 2012

David Howard Murdock

David Murdock, age 87, wants to reach 125, and sees no reason he can’t, provided that he continues eating the way he has for the last quarter century: with a methodical, messianic correctness that he believes can, and will, ward off major disease and minor ailment alike.

He has spent some $500 million of his fortune in recent years to construct the North Carolina Research Campus, a scientific center… read more

The biology of politics: liberals roll with the good, conservatives confront the bad

January 6, 2012

From cable TV news pundits to red-meat speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire, our nation’s deep political stereotypes are on full display: conservatives paint self-indulgent liberals as insufferably absent on urgent national issues, while liberals say fear-mongering conservatives are fixated on exaggerated dangers to the country.

A new study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) suggests there are biological truths to such broad brushstrokes.

In a… read more

The biomechanics behind amazing ant strength

Could help design better exoskeletons for humans and robot joints
May 21, 2014

(Credit: OSC)

How can an ant lift objects many times heavier than its own body? Engineers at The Ohio State University combined computational modeling at the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) and lab experiments to find out.

They focused on the ant’s neck — the single joint of soft tissue that bridges the stiff exoskeleton of the ant’s head and thorax. When an ant carries food or any other object,… read more

The Bionic Running Shoe

May 7, 2004

Adidas is developing the runnning shoe that adjusts in real time to changing conditions and the runner’s particular style while in use.

Each second, a sensor in the heel can take up to 20,000 readings and the embedded electronic brain can make 10,000 calculations, directing a tiny electric motor to optimize the shoe’s cushioning compression to minimize impacts on the knee.

The bioretrosynthesis solution: shifting evolution into reverse to make cheaper drugs

March 27, 2014

bioretrosynthesis_R7hires

Reversing the conventional process of creating new drugs, Vanderbilt University researchers have used an alternative approach called bioretrosynthesis to produce the expensive HIV drug didanosine.

“These days synthetic chemists can make almost any molecule imaginable in an academic laboratory setting,” said Vanderbilt associate professor of chemistry Brian Bachmann, who first proposed bioretrosynthesis four years ago. “But they can’t always make them cheaply or in large quantities. Using… read more

The bioweapon is in the post

November 9, 2005

It would not be difficult for a terrorist to obtain complete genes for deadly biological weapon from several biotech firms online, and receive them by mail within weeks without customer screening or investigation, according to a New Scientist investigation.

It raises the frightening prospect of terrorists mail-ordering genes for key bioweapon agents such as smallpox, and using them to engineer new and deadly pathogens.

MIT bioengineer Drew Endy… read more

The ‘birdman’ is FAKE: Filmmaker behind wing suit flight video admits footage was a hoax and says it was ‘online storytelling’

March 22, 2012

flyinglikeabird

The Dutch “bird man” who posted a video showing a successful “test flight” of a wing suit contraption has admitted that the amazing feat was a hoax all along.

Viewers became sceptical after it emerged that no scientists actually knew “Jarno Smeets,” who claimed to have created the technology.

Now Smeets has confessed that he is actually a “filmmaker and animator” named Floris Kaayk, and… read more

The BlackBerry Brain Trust

January 5, 2005

The futuristic new Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is a think tank where some of the smartest people in the world are contemplating the foundations of quantum physics.

Participants include Lee Smolin, who propounds a “fecund universe” theory holding that every black hole leads to another universe; Raymond Laflamme, the information theorist who changed Stephen Hawking’s mind on the direction of time in a contracting universe; and Fotini Markopoulou… read more

The Bleeding Edge of Computing

March 7, 2005

Tomorrow’s computing landscape may include trinary rather than binary coding, DNA computers, and wearable computers that act as a virtual assistant who helps us on a second-by-second basis.

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