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New process allows for creation of complex silicon nanostructures

Salt absorbs heat to prevent collapse
August 14, 2013

This silicon nanostructure was created using a new process developed at Oregon State University (credit: Oregon State University)

Chemists at Oregon State University have identified a compound that could significantly reduce the cost and potentially enable mass commercial production of silicon nanostructures — materials that have huge potential in everything from electronics to biomedicine and energy storage: sodium chloride (table salt).

By melting and absorbing heat at a critical moment during a “magnesiothermic reaction” (one using magnesium at an elevated temperature), the… read more

Can Humanity Survive? Want to Bet on It?

January 30, 2007

We will make it to 2100, a New York Times journalist bets on, challenging British astronomer royal Martin Rees’ prediction: “By 2020, bioterror or bioerror will lead to one million casualties in a single event” because “by 2020 there will be thousands — even millions — of people with the capability to cause a catastrophic biological disaster.”

Biological computer encrypts and deciphers images

February 8, 2012


Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute in California and the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology — have developed a “biological computer” made entirely from biomolecules that is capable of deciphering images encrypted on DNA chips.

This is the first experimental demonstration of a molecular cryptosystem for images based on DNA computing.

When suitable software was applied to the biological computer, it… read more

Robolympics contestants shoot for gold

March 19, 2004

The world’s first Robolympics kicks off in San Francisco this weekend. The 414 robots will compete for prizes in various categories, such as the Humanoid Robot World Cup Soccer Tournament and Ribbon Climber, in which robots race up a carbon-fiber ribbon, designed to inspire “space elevator” technology that might one day lift satellites into orbit.

Simple Vibrating Bot Climbs Tubes With Ease

May 13, 2010

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed a robot that can climb three-dimensional tubes.

Its simple motor turns an unbalanced mass at a uniform velocity. As the mass swings around, it causes the robot to bounce back and forth between the tube walls. Two rubber o-rings let the researches specify the exact contact points and increase friction with the walls.

Study says eyes evolved for X-Ray vision

September 1, 2008

A new study by Mark Changizi, assistant professor of cognitive science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has uncovered an to binocular vision: our ability to see through clutter.

Changizi says human eyes have evolved to be forward facing, but that we now live in a non-cluttered environment where we might actually benefit more from sideways-facing eyes.

Quantum Quirk: Stopped Laser Pulse Reappears a Short Distance Away

February 8, 2007

Harvard University researchers have halted a pulse of laser light in its tracks and revived it a fraction of a millimeter away.

They stopped it in a cloud of supercold sodium atoms, known as a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), and then restarted it in a second, distinct BEC as though the pulse had spookily jumped between the two locations.

The technique may someday be used in optical communications or… read more

Too High for Love: Lost Your Drive?

March 29, 2004

In “Why We Love,” authors Helen Fisher and psychiatrist James Thomson Jr. argue that certain antidepressants could be blocking chemical pathways in the brain that were paved by evolution to help us meet and keep mates.

Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft already carry warnings that they can suppress the libido and interfere with sexual functioning. But Fisher and Thomson argue that the problem may… read more

Researchers Use Facebook App to Create Zombie Army — Update

September 7, 2008

Computer researchers have built a tool to demonstrate how hackers could silently turn Facebook users into a powerful zombie army that could attack other websites or scout for vulnerable sites on the net.

All that is necessary to create the Facebook Botnet is to have users choose install a rogue Facebook application written by an outside developer — in this case, one called Photo of the Day.

Silicon Valley Meets ‘American Idol’ With Prizes to Inspire Inventors

February 16, 2007

A fund-raiser at Google on March 3 is intended to raise a chunk of $50 million to operate the X Prize Foundation, a nonprofit group that already has awarded $10 million to designers of a private spacecraft.

The foundation plans to use the money to develop prizes in fields like medicine, poverty reduction and fuel-efficient cars. But the foundation’s next stage of prize-giving will also include partnerships with venture… read more

Graphene-based chips a step closer

February 20, 2012


Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a new method for chemically altering graphene, a development that could be a step toward the creation of faster, thinner, flexible electronics.

Graphene is a one-atom-thick, honeycomb-shaped lattice of carbon atoms with exceptional strength and conductivity. Many experts believe it could rival silicon, transforming integrated circuits and leading to ultra-fast computers, cellphones and related portable electronic devices.

But… read more

After the Double Helix: Unraveling the Mysteries of the State of Being

April 13, 2004

DNA discoverer Dr. Francis Crick and Dr. Christof Koch, a professor of computation and neural systems at the California Institute of Technology, are exploring the neural correlates of consciousness” (N.C.C.’s) — the neuronal states and processes associated with conscious awareness.

Koch and his graduate students are gaining experimental evidence for what Crick had termed the “awareness neurons” that enable us to see.

While many scientists assume that consciousness… read more

Nanoporous Particles Deliver Novel Molecular Therapies to Tumors

May 27, 2010

Using nanoporous silicon particles, two teams of investigators have created drug delivery vehicles capable of ferrying labile molecular therapies deep into the body, creating new opportunities for developing innovative anticancer therapies.

IEEE readies launch of gigabit Wi-Fi project

September 14, 2008

A 1Gbps wireless local area network (WLAN) standard is being developed by the IEEE Very High Throughput (VHT) Study Group.

VHT would use two frequency bands: high-frequency 60GHz for relatively short ranges (a few rooms) and under-6GHz for ranges similar to that of today’s WLANs in the 5GHz band (about 70 meters indoors), allowing “a corporate or home user to roam from high-throughput dense cells to wider area networks… read more

Xerox Inkless Printer

February 26, 2007

Xerox is developing a new printing technology which does not require ink of any kind. The new technology includes reusable paper that can be printed and erased dozens of times and has the potential to revolutionize printing.

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