science + technology news

Building Programmable Jigsaw Puzzles with RNA

December 20, 2004

Researchers have achieved reliable prediction and design of the three-dimensional structure of artificial RNA building blocks to generate molecular jigsaw puzzle units called tectosquares.

This shows that small RNA structural motifs can code the precise topology of large molecular architectures. With its underlying modular and hierarchical construction displaying a minimal set of primitive operations, the tectosquare system could possibly be a Turing-universal computing molecular system.

The tectosquares can… read more

Million-frames-per-second camera does sub-cellular bioimaging

December 1, 2010

MEGAFRAME sensor

A European consortium has developed theĀ Megaframe Imager, an ultrafast camera capable of recording images at one million frames per second.

It allows for cellular and sub-cellular imaging, neural imaging, biosensing, DNA and protein microarray scanning, automotive collision studies, and high-sensitivity astronomical observations.

The Megaframe Imager uses an extremely sensitive single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) device and custom-designed on-chip intelligence, in conjunction with DNA microarrays.… read more

Immortal cells

June 18, 2001

Two mitochondria proteins, Bax and Bak, play of critical role in initiating apoptosis, or programmed cell death.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine demonstrate that virtually all forms of cell death are eliminated in cells that lack Bak and Bax, allowing the cells to become immortal.

This has important implications for the development of new cancer treatments and provides new hope that cell death can… read more

First 100 Days: Harness the genie of citizen engagement

February 11, 2009

If Obama really wants to change America, he should hold digital brainstorms for all Americans, and he should make sure the young people — the Net Geners who have grown up digital — are involved, says Don Tapscott, author and chairman of the think tank nGenera Insight.

Steve Omohundro: Building self-aware AI systems

September 5, 2007

In a podcast, Steve Omohundro, president of Self-Aware Systems, says he is developing AI systems that understand their own behavior and work to improve themselves.

He gave an example of Microsoft Windows crashing–the Windows system doesn’t know it crashed or why it crashed and a human engineer has to fix it. A self-aware system would be able to fix its own code and learn from it. It turns out… read more

2004: The year in technology

January 3, 2005

Computer worm wars, “phishing” emails intended to trick recipients into revealing personal or financial information, powerful new supercomputers, and running robots were among the top tech stories of 2004.

Tuning chip dopants could lead to integrating logic and memory on single chip

December 10, 2010

Physicists at Ohio State University have discovered that tiny defects inside a computer chip can be used to tune the properties of key atoms in the chip.

The technique, which they describe in the journal Science, involves rearranging the holes left by missing atoms to tune the properties of dopants — the chemical impurities that give the semiconductors in computer chips their special properties.

Though the technique is… read more

New Markets for Biotech

July 10, 2001

The next big producers of biotech crops could very well be nations in the developing world. Countries such as China and India are now gearing up to commercialize dozens of genetically modified plants in the next few years.

But some developing nations, concerned that agricultural exports could be negatively affected by existing or future bans on plant biotech in Europe and elsewhere, are putting the brakes on research.

Can exercising your brain prevent memory loss?

February 18, 2009

Participating in certain mental activities, like reading magazines or crafting in middle age or later in life, may delay or prevent memory loss, a study by Mayo Clinic neuropsychiatrist Yonas Geda has found.

Dark matter and inflation — one and the same?

September 17, 2007

Cosmologist Andrew Liddle at the University of Sussex and his colleagues say the hypothetical inflaton particle may be responsible for both inflation and the dark matter that has been perplexing astronomers.

‘Morse code’ signal switches genes

January 13, 2005

Cells use a morse code-like signal to switch genes on and off, researchers have found.

According to Professor Douglas Kell, who sits on the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and is a member of the research team, “This raises new challenges for drug designers. It appears that simply aiming to knock down signalling molecules with drugs, as many people are trying to do, may have weak or… read more

New Application Allows Scientists Easy Access to Important Government Data

December 16, 2010

Government agencies around the world make billions of bits of raw data available to the public each day, but this data is often in difficult formats or so widely spread around the Web it is virtually unusable to the public and scientists who seek to use this valuable information in their research.

Computer scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed an application to help solve the problem.… read more

Challenge to create program that can win a game without knowing rules

August 5, 2001

Artificial Intelligence NV (Ai) has announced a challenge to promote original AI research. The companuy invites participants to create a computer program that can win at a game without knowing either the game’s rules or the identity of its opponent.
The creator of the winning program will win a $2000 prize and the representatives of the top three winning programs will be invited to an AI workshop at… read more

Racetrack Memory

February 25, 2009

IBM fellow Stuart Parkin has developed an entirely new way to store information: “racetrack memory,” a memory chip with the huge storage capacity of a magnetic hard drive, the durability of electronic flash memory, and speed superior to both.

The key is an array of U-shaped magnetic nanowires, arranged vertically like trees in a forest.

The Double Thinker

September 24, 2007

Steven Pinker brings his theory of human nature and his obsession with words together in his new book, “The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window Into Human Nature.”

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