science + technology news

A blood test offers clues to longevity

May 19, 2011

New blood tests that can gauge the length of telomeres in the human body are now going on sale, marketed by some laboratories as revealing the subject’s biological age.

Experts disagree on the relevance of telomere length as an indicator of biological age.

Some of the labs offering the test call it more of a warning flag than an indicator of the biological age. Certain telomere experts, such… read more

Small RNAs Make Big Splash

December 19, 2002

Recent discoveries indicate that a class of RNA molecules called small RNAs operate many of the cell’s controls. They can shut down genes or alter their levels of expression.

In some species, truncated RNA molecules literally shape genomes, carving out chunks to keep and discarding others. There are even hints that certain small RNAs might help chart a cell’s destiny by directing genes to turn on or off during… read more

Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man

July 27, 2009

Impressed and alarmed by advances in artificial intelligence, a group of computer scientists is debating whether there should be limits on research that might lead to loss of human control over computer-based systems that carry a growing share of society’s workload.

DNA analyses highlight human differences–and similarities

February 21, 2008

Two researcher teams performed the most thorough genetic analysis yet on samples from the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP), confirming that populations lost genetic variation as they migrated farther from Africa and discovering that copy number variants (rearrangements within longer stretches of DNA) differ between human populations similarly to SNPs.

Previous studies had either looked at fewer “markers”–sites of genetic variation–or fewer population groups. The HGDP covers more than… read more

Researchers Look to Create a Synthesis of Art and Science for the 21st Century

November 7, 2005

Artists play an equal role with research scientists in the futuristic research “collaboratory” being assembled by astrophysicist Larry Smarr, director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, or Calit2, a $400 million research consortium assembled over the last five years.

One current project is to create a pack of “feral” robotic dogs with artificial intelligence capabilities and let them loose in a San Diego neighborhood. The robots… read more

Nanowire measurements could improve computer memory

May 26, 2011

Nano Wires

The optimal characteristics for nanowire-based charge-trapping memory devices may have been found by physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The technology is based on silicon formed into nanowires, approximately 20 nanometers in diameter. These nanowires form the basis of non-volatile memory.

Nanowire-based devices are being studied extensively as the possible basis for next-generation computer memory because they hold the promise to… read more

‘Gadget printer’ promises industrial revolution

January 9, 2003

Research at the University of California at Berkeley will allow fully assembled electric and electronic gadgets such as light bulbs, radios, remote controls, mobile phones and toys to be printed in one go. The trick: print layers of conducting and semiconducting polymers in such a way that the circuitry is built up as part of the bodywork.

DNA computation gets logical

August 4, 2009

Weizmann Institute researchers have developed an advanced DNA computer capable of representing basic rules and facts and answering queries, using fluorescent molecules in some strands to light up in a combination of colors that represent answers.

Researchers demonstrate smallest possible carbon nanotube

February 29, 2008
a, b: high-resolution transmission electron microscopy images, c: simulation, d: model.

Researchers in Japan have synthesized the smallest (0.4 nm diameter) single-walled carbon nanotube by using thermal decomposition of ferrocene molecules inside larger commercial-grade nanotubes.

Gene turn-off makes meek mice fearless

November 18, 2005

Deactivating the gene that codes for the protein stathmin transforms meek mice into daredevils, researchers have found. The team believe the research might one day enable people suffering from phobias or anxiety disorders to be clinically treated.

The protein is known to destabilise microtubule structures that help maintain the connections between neurons. This allows the neurons to make new connections, allowing the animal to learn and process fear experiences,… read more

Quantum knowledge may cool computers

June 1, 2011

Researchers at ETH Zurich/Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and colleagues have found that the deletion of data, under certain conditions, can create a cooling effect instead of generating heat.

The physicist Rolf Landauer calculated in 1961 that during the deletion of data, some release of energy in the form of heat is unavoidable. The new study revisits Landauer’s principle for cases when the values of the… read more

Getting a Closer Look at the Eye

January 24, 2003

Adaptive optics, originally developed for astronomy (using mirrors to eliminate the visual distortion caused by the earth’s atmosphere), is being used by ophthalmologists to see to see individual cells in the retina.
It is being combined with optical coherence tomography, which allows doctors to capture images deep inside tissue.

Traffic jam in brain causes schizophrenia symptoms

August 11, 2009

There are fewer pathways for information to flow between neurons in the brain of a mouse bred to exhibit symptoms of schizophrenia compared to a normal mouse, Northwestern University researchers have found.

Fewer pathways make it hard for information to flow between neurons and results in the symptoms of schizophrenia.

(Peter Penzes, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)

US seeks terrorists in web worlds

March 5, 2008

US intellgence agencies have begun a project to develop ways to spot terrorists who are using virtual worlds.

Codenamed Reynard, the project is “a seedling effort to study the emerging phenomenon of social (particularly terrorist) dynamics in virtual worlds and large-scale online games and their implications for the intelligence community,” according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

IBM introduces self-healing data center software

December 5, 2005

IBM has released new data center software designed to automatically detect and fix performance problems, advancing its effort to build “self-healing” technology.

close and return to Home