science + technology news

Human-made Crises ‘Outrunning Our Ability To Deal With Them,’ Scientists Warn

September 17, 2009

The world faces a compounding series of crises — climate disruption, declining fisheries, ocean acidification, emerging diseases, increasing antibiotic resistance and energy, food and water crises, driven by human activity — which existing governments and institutions are increasingly powerless to cope with, a group of eminent environmental scientists and economists has warned in Science magazine.

Stem Cells from Hair Follicles May Help ‘Grow’ New Blood Vessels

March 31, 2008
Smooth muscle progenitor cell derived from a hair follicle

University of Buffalo researchers have found that stem cells isolated from sheep and human hair follicles contain the smooth muscle cells that grow new blood vessels.

The smooth muscle progenitor cells are capable of dilating and constricting, which are critical properties for cardiovascular tissue engineering.

University of Buffalo News Release

3D structure of HIV is ‘revealed’

January 25, 2006

The 3D structure of the HIV virus has been revealed for the first time, scientists say.

The variable size and shape of HIV has made it hard to map, the team said in the journal Structure. So the UK-German team took hundreds of images of viruses and used a computer program to combine them.

“Identifying how the virus grows will allow us to address the formation of this… read more

Startups Seek Perfect Particles To Search And Destroy Cancer

April 21, 2003

Several companies are developing new cancer treatments that send nanoparticles into patients’ bodies to find tumor cells. Once they do, doctors excite the particles with electromagnetic energy to attack the tumor without collateral damage to nearby healthy cells and without the frightening side effects of chemotherapy and radiation: hair loss, nausea, and ravaged immune systems.

Free will is not an illusion after all

September 24, 2009

A new experiment challenges a 1983 experiment that found that volunteers’ movements were preceded by a “readiness potential,” suggesting that unconscious neural processes determine our actions before we are ever aware of making a decision.

UK’s first hybrid embryos created

April 2, 2008

Scientists at Newcastle University have created part-human, part-animal hybrid embryos for the first time in the UK.

The Catholic Church has branded them “experiments of Frankenstein proportion.”

The embryos survived for up to three days and are part of medical research into a range of illnesses. They were created by injecting DNA derived from human skin cells into eggs taken from cows ovaries that have had virtually all… read more

Revolution in a Box: the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology

February 7, 2006

The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology wants to help create a world in which advanced nanotechnology — molecular manufacturing — is widely used for beneficial purposes, and in which the risks are responsibly managed.

“The ability to manufacture highly advanced nanotech products at an exponentially accelerating pace will have profound and perilous implications for all of society, and our goal is to lay a foundation for handling them wisely,” say… read more

Virus Pushes Schools to Go Virtual

May 2, 2003

After the deadly SARS outbreak, Hong Kong schools were ordered shut last month. But Macromedia Inc. and First Virtual Communications Inc. have helped thousands of those students keep up with their studies via virtual classrooms conducted over the Internet, using web cams.

Analyzing Cancer Cells to Choose Treatments

September 30, 2009

A new phase of personalized medicine for cancer, enabled by microfluidics technologies that can isolate scarce cancer cells and detect very small changes in gene expression, could ultimately become a routine part of clinical care for cancer.

Longer-Lasting Batteries for Laptops

April 7, 2008

Argonne National Laboratory scientists have developed composite battery materials that can make batteries for laptops and cell phones both safer and longer lived, while increasing their capacity to store energy by 30 percent.

The new materials are one example of a new generation of lithium-ion electrode chemistries that address the shortcomings of conventional lithium-ion batteries.

Web program simplifies artificial gene design

February 20, 2006

GeneDesign, a new web-based program that simplifies many tricky steps involved in designing artificial DNA, has been released by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers.

But this is also a source of concern. An investigation conducted by New Scientist in November 2005 revealed that few gene synthesis companies check that the genes they are being asked to make are safe, or perform customer background checks after receiving an… read more

AI Founder Blasts Modern Research

May 14, 2003

“AI has been brain-dead since the 1970s,” said AI guru Marvin Minsky in a recent speech at Boston University.

Minsky accused researchers of giving up on the immense challenge of building a fully autonomous, thinking machine.

“The worst fad has been these stupid little robots,” said Minsky. “Graduate students are wasting 3 years of their lives soldering and repairing robots, instead of making them smart. It’s really shocking.”

Singularity University releases two lecture videos

October 7, 2009

Singularity University has posted on YouTube the first two videos of lecturers in the recent Graduate Studies Program at NASA Ames.

Vint Cerf (“the father of the Internet” and Google Chief Internet Evangelist) gives a comprehensive overview of the state of the Internet today and new issues, including IPv6, the need for cloud computing standards, the growing Asian prominence online, and the interplanetary Internet.

Bob Metcalfe,… read more

Alligator blood proteins may fight antibiotic-resistant infections

April 8, 2008

Louisiana State University and McNeese State University researchers have found that proteins in alligator blood may provide a source of new antibiotics to help fight infections.

Alligators have an unusually strong immune system that is very different from that of humans. It fights microorganisms such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria without having prior exposure to them.

Proteins extracted from their white blood cells (leucocytes) killed a wide range… read more

University to Investigate Fusion Study

March 8, 2006

Purdue University has opened an investigation into “extremely serious” concerns regarding the research of a professor who said he had produced nuclear fusion in a tabletop experiment.

The vibrations, they said, collapsed tiny gas bubbles in the liquid, heating them to millions of degrees, hot enough to initiate fusion. If true, the phenomenon, often called sonofusion or bubble fusion, could have far-reaching applications, including the generation of energy.… read more

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