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13 things that do not make sense

March 18, 2005

There are many scientific observations that simply defy explanation, such as the placebo effect, the horizon problem (the microwave background radiation filling the cosmos is at the same temperature everywhere), ultra-energetic cosmic rays, dark matter, and Viking’s methane.

Dutch robot Flame walks like a human

May 23, 2008
(TU Delft)

Researcher Daan Hobbelen of TU Delft has developed a new, highly-advanced walking robot: Flame.

This type of research provides insight into how people walk, which can help people with walking difficulties through improved diagnoses, training and rehabilitation equipment.

Women catch up on net use

December 19, 2001

Women are catching up with men when it comes to logging on to the internet, according to research.Figures from the Office of National Statistics show a steady increase in the number of people using the internet in Britain.

But the number of women using the web leapt 12% on last year compared with a minimal change in figures for men.

The results of the Expenditure and Food Survey… read more

Carbon nanotubes show promise for high-speed genetic sequencing

January 4, 2010

A new method for DNA sequencing in which a single-stranded ribbon of DNA is threaded through a carbon nanotube could be carried out thousands of times faster than existing methods at a fraction of the cost, if perfected, Arizona State University scientists say.

Carbon nanotube forest camouflages 3-D objects

November 22, 2011

Scanning electron microscope images show a tank etched out of silicon, with and without a carbon nanotube coating (top row). When the same structures are viewed under white light with an optical microscope (bottom row), the nanotube coating camouflages the tank structure against a black background. (credit: L. J. Guo et al., University of Michigan)

University of Michigan researchers are taking advantage of the unique low refractive index of carbon nanotubes’ low-density aligned nanotubes to demonstrate a new application: making 3-D objects appear as nothing more than a flat, black sheet.

The refractive index of a material is a measure of how much that material slows down light, and carbon nanotube “forests” have a low index of refraction very close… read more

Gene project would seek keys to cancer

March 31, 2005

Federal officials are planning to compile a comprehensive catalog of the genetic abnormalities that characterize cancer, in hopes of discovering important new clues about how to diagnose, prevent, and treat cancer.

The proposed Human Cancer Genome Project would be greater in scale than the Human Genome Project. Its goal: determine the DNA sequence of thousands of tumor samples. Researchers would look for mutations that give rise to cancer or… read more

Word/Logic Bank to Help Build ‘Thinking’ Machines

May 29, 2008

Information scientists have announced an agreement on a “concept bank” programmers could use to build an Internet facility called the Open Ontology Repository (OOR).

The OOR would comprise diverse collections of concepts (ontologies) such as dictionaries, compendiums of medical terminology, and classifications of products, that could be stored, retrieved, and connected to various bodies of information.

OOR users, tasked with creating a computer program for manufacturing machines, for… read more

Flexible Displays Gain Momentum

January 24, 2002

Researchers at Cambridge, MA-based E Ink have completed the first working prototype of an electronic ink display attached to a flexible, silicon-based thin-film transistor backplane, the sheet of electronics that controls display pixels. This proof-of-concept prototype confirms that it will soon be possible to mass-produce reams of self-erasing electronic paper that combine sheets of electronic ink with flexible silicon circuitry.

The company estimates that by sometime in 2005 they’ll… read more

The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s

January 11, 2010

The ever-accelerating pace of technological change may be minting a series of mini-generation gaps, with each group of children uniquely influenced by the tech tools available in their formative stages of development, says psychologist Larry Rosen and the author of the coming “Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn.”

Now in their 20s, those in the Net Generation, according to Dr. Rosen, spend two hours a day… read more

An Off-and-On Switch for Controlling Animals?

April 12, 2005

The recent discovery by Yale researchers that they can make fruit flies walk, leap or fly — by shining a laser at the genetically modified insects — may provide clues about a range of disorders, from Parkinson’s disease to drug addiction.

Tongue stimulator can boost ailing senses

June 5, 2008

TIMC lab (Grenoble, France) researchers have built a device that relays body movements to an array of electrodes on the tongue to help people with balance or other body-movement problems.

The “sensory substitution” allows people to sense changes in their posture (or too much pressure on a part of their body) they can’t otherwise feel, so that they can compensate for the changes.

The array design was originally… read more

Implants for vision

February 14, 2002

Scientists have demonstrated that they can stimulate the visual cortex in the brain while bypassing the retina itself.
Several teams of scientists are trying to develop a device that would electrically stimulate the visual system in seeing-impaired individuals. Although serious problems must be overcome before a useful device is developed, a review in Science concludes that “a number of international groups are tackling the remaining problems associated with epiretinal and… read more

James Cameron on how ‘Avatar’ technology could keep Clint Eastwood young forever

January 18, 2010


It is now theoretically possible to extend careers by digitally keeping stars young pretty much forever, using the photorealistic CGI technology James Cameron perfected for Avatar, he says.

“You could put Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart in a movie together, but it wouldn’t be them. You would have to have somebody play them. And that’s where I think you cross an ethical boundary….”

Forget 3D, here comes the QD TV

December 13, 2011

Manchester University spinoff Nanoco has developed paper-thin, flexible displays, using quantum dots, that can be rolled up and carried in a pocket, built into wallpaper to create giant room-size screens, and used in TVs with improved color, to be available in stores by the end of 2012.


In Small Trial, Gene Therapy Is Seen as Aid in Alzheimer’s

April 25, 2005

A small clinical trial has produced preliminary evidence that gene therapy may slow the decline in mental functioning associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The gene involved in this trial controls production of nerve growth factor, a protein that can protect brain cells from death.

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