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Bytes and Biology

March 27, 2006

The impact of computer science on science as a whole was considered by a group of leading researchers, led by Stephen Emmott of Microsoft Research. Their report, “Towards 2020 Science,” is at

Amazon avoids Apple toll with Kindle Cloud Reader

August 15, 2011


Amazon has embraced Web apps as a way around Apple’s App Store subscription rules. The company has introducedĀ Kindle Cloud Reader, an HTML5-based ebook reading app that provides access to Kindle content in the cloud and to Amazon’s Kindle Store.

Apple takes a 30% cut of sales made through its in-app purchasing system, as it does for App Store downloads. Amazon, which competes with Apple to sell ebooks,… read more

Imaging nerve-cell growth and repair in vivo

June 16, 2003

Biophysics researchers at Cornell and Harvard researchers have proposed a new method of imaging the cytoskeletal infrastructure of nerve cells to map the nervous system as it develops and struggles to repair itself.

The technique allows for in vivo images of the growth of microtubules by detecting the second harmonic generated from microtubules when hit by laser light.

The technique could answer the puzzle about which errant pathways… read more

Fighting Sleep: Researchers Reverse Cognitive Impairment Caused By Sleep Deprivation

October 27, 2009

A University of Pennsylvania research team has found a molecular pathway in the brain that is the cause of cognitive impairment due to sleep deprivation.

The impairment may however be reversible by reducing the concentration of a specific enzyme that builds up in the hippocampus of the brain, they found.

Second Family of High-Temperature Superconductors Discovered

April 21, 2008
(Kamihara et al.)

Researchers in Japan and China have discovered a new family of iron-and-arsenic compounds that operate as high-temperature superconductors. Physicists are hailing the discovery as a major advance.

Software Out There

April 7, 2006

Blocks of interchangeable software components are proliferating on the Web and developers are joining them together to create a potentially infinite array of useful new programs.

This new software represents a marked departure from the inflexible, at times unwieldy, programs of the past, which were designed to run on individual computers.

Drawing superconductor circuits with x-rays

August 23, 2011

X-ray beams could one day be used to write superconducting circuits. Solid lines indicate electrical connections; semicircles indicate superconducting junctions, whose states are indicated by red arrows (credit: UCL Press Office)

Researchers from the London Centre for Nanotechnology and the Physics Department of Sapienza University of Rome have discovered a technique to “draw” superconductor circuits using an X-ray beam.

The research group manipulated regions of high temperature superconductivity in a material that combines oxygen, copper, and lanthanum. Illumination with X-rays causes a small-scale rearrangement of the oxygen atoms in the material, resulting in high… read more

New catalyst paves way for cheap, renewable hydrogen

June 30, 2003

Scientists have developed a hydrogen-making catalyst that uses cheaper materials and yields fewer contaminants than do current processes, while extracting the element from common renewable plant sources.

In the June 27 issue of the journal Science, researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison report developing the catalyst from nickel, tin and aluminum and using it in a process called aqueous-phase reforming (APR), which converts plant byproducts to hydrogen.… read more

Singularity University Kicks Off First Executive Program

November 6, 2009

Singularity University (SU) will launch the SU Executive Program at the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. on Saturday.

The nine-day program is designed to educate, inform and prepare executives for the imminent disruption and opportunities resulting from exponentially accelerating technologies.

The SU Executive Program addresses six fields experiencing exponentially accelerating change: AI and Robotics, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, Medicine and Human Machine Interface, Networks… read more

Photoluminescence in nano-needles

April 23, 2008

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have grown gallium-arsenide structures into the shape of narrow needles which, when optically pumped, emit light with high brightness.

In addition to optoelectronic devices, the needles could be valuable in such applications as atomic force microscopy (AFM), where the sharp tips can be grown in arrays without further etching or processing steps.

Some believe that AFM arrays, besides speeding up the… read more

Bio fuel cells could power portable gadgets

April 23, 2006

A hydrogen fuel cell that uses enzymes instead of expensive metal catalysts to drive chemical reactions has been developed by researchers from Oxford University.

They used two enzymes, one harvested from bacteria and the other from fungus, to catalyse the same chemical reactions.

Ultrasensitive particles offer new way to find cancer

September 1, 2011

MIT chemical engineers have designed particles that can detect microRNA inside living cells (Image source: Stephen Clifford Chapin)

MIT researchers haveĀ engineered a way to detect abnormal microRNA levels in the blood of cancer patients, raising the possibility of developing a simple blood test to diagnose or monitor the disease.

The technology consists of an array of tiny particles, each designed to latch onto a specific type of microRNA. By exposing blood samples to these particles, the researchers can generate a microRNA… read more

Miniature biolab embedded on silicon chip

July 10, 2003

Researchers from Cornell University have developed a miniaturized DNA-based biological testing system that fits on a silicon chip and can be customized to detect a wide variety of microorganisms.

The 2 cm x 4 cm chip captures the DNA from the sample and purifies it. A reaction chamber performs a polymerase chain reaction to rapidly replicate the selected segment of DNA, which can then be tested.

Cady and… read more

Digital ‘Cloud’ could form over London for the 2012 Olympics

November 12, 2009


MIT researchers have proposed to build a tourist attraction called “The Cloud” in London for the 2012 Olympics.

The structure would consist of two 400-foot tall mesh towers that are linked by a series of interconnected plastic bubbles, which would themselves house an observation deck inside and be used to display everything from Olympic scores and highlights to a “barometer of the city’s interests and moods” outside.

New nanotech products hitting the market at the rate of 3 to 4 per week

April 25, 2008

New nanotechnology consumer products are coming on the market at the rate of 3 to 4 per week, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) Project Director David Rejeski said in testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday.

The number of consumer products using nanotechnology has grown from 212 to 609 since PEN launched the world’s first online inventory of manufacturer-identified nanotech goods in March 2006. Health and fitness items, which… read more

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