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Faster, Cheaper DNA Sequencing

September 25, 2008

Oxford Nanopore Technologies has developed a new fast, inexpensive human-genome-sequencing system that uses “nanopore sequencing” to eliminate much of the time and expense of sample preparation, and eliminate the fluorescent molecules typically used to label DNA bases.

The researchers are aiming for the $1,000 genome by 2014. The hope is that by bringing the price of sequencing down to that range, individuals could afford to have their genomes recorded,… read more

The Top 100 Alternative Search Engines

January 30, 2007

Market research shows that people use four main search engines for 99.99 percent of their searches: Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and (in that order). But in that .01 percent lies a vast multitude of the most innovative and creative search engines you have never seen.

Touchscreen made from biggest graphene sheet

June 22, 2010

Researchers at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea have developed a new method to produce graphene sheets with a diagonal dimension of 76 centimeters — an order of magnitude larger than previously managed.

It could result in cheap, transparent electrodes that can be used in flexible displays or photovoltaic cells.

Seeing Pessimism, Not Science, as the Enemy

March 19, 2004

Bypassing restricted federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey has signed a law permitting stem-cell research. He also intends to provide $6.5 million as part of a five-year, $50 million plan to place New Jersey (and Rutgers University) at the forefront of state-sponsored stem cell studies.

Researchers use nanoparticles to deliver treatment for brain, spinal cord injuries

October 2, 2008

Purdue University researchers have developed a method of using nanoparticles coated with a polymer, polyethylene glycol (PEG) to deliver treatments to injured brain and spinal cord cells by sealing the injured area, reducing further damage.

In another study, the researchers added both PEG and hydralazine, an antihypertension drug, to mesoporous silica nanoparticles, which have pores that can hold the drug, which is later delivered to the damaged cells. The… read more

Apple investigating fuel-cell-powered MacBooks

December 27, 2011

Apple patent application

Apple could build new notebooks that are even smaller and lighter than current battery-powered devices by switching to fuel cells for power, Apple Insider reports.

Two patent applications published this week support that: “Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device” and “Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device.”

Mimicking How the Brain Recognizes Street Scenes

February 8, 2007
The Poggio model for object recognition takes as input the unlabled images of digital photographs from the Street Scene Database (top) and generates automatic annotations

A computational model of how the brain processes visual information in a complex, real world task has been applied to recognizing the objects in a busy street scene.

Scientists in Tomaso Poggio’s laboratory at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT “showed” the model randomly selected images so that it could “learn” to identify commonly occurring features in real-word objects, such as trees, cars, and… read more

Gorilla psychologists: Weird stuff in plain sight

June 29, 2010

In the book Six intuitions you shouldn’t trust, psychologists explain why they put a person in a gorilla suit in the middle of a basketball game — and why people don’t see it.

So far, no researcher has found anything that solidly predicts who is going to see it and who is not.

Health Concerns in Nanotechnology

March 29, 2004

Buckyballs can cause extensive brain and liver damage in fish, according to research presented yesterday at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

The nanoparticles, had not been coated, a process used to limit the toxicity of such materials in applications like drug delivery.

Homeland Security’s Space-Based Spying Goes Live

October 9, 2008

The Department of Homeland Security’s National Applications Office (NAO) plans to proceed with the first phase of a controversial satellite-surveillance program, using the military imagery and mapping tools of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).

It will provide federal, state and local officials “with extensive access to spy-satellite imagery–but no eavesdropping–to assist with emergency response and other domestic-security needs, such as identifying where ports or border areas are vulnerable to… read more

The Father of Quantum Computing

February 15, 2007

“The watershed moment with quantum computer technology will be when a quantum computer — a universal quantum computer — exceeds about 100 to 200 qubits,” according to Oxford University theoretical physicist David Deutsch. In practice, “that probably means several hundred, or perhaps 1,000 or more, physical qubits.”

He said the most important applications of quantum computing in the future are likely to be a computer simulation of quantum systems,… read more

A Step Closer to Perfect 3-D Data Storage

July 7, 2010


The ultimate in holographic (three-dimensional) data storage–a chemically pure crystal composed solely of fluorescent proteins that can be read and reversibly switched between at least two different states using nothing but light from lasers–is being developed in preliminary research by an international group of scientists.

Such a crystal would represent something approaching the theoretical limit of data density in a storage medium: each bit would be represented by a single… read more

A telescope for your eye

New contact lens design may improve sight of patients with macular degeneration, switches between magnified and normal vision
July 1, 2013

telescopic contact lens

An international team of researchers led by University of California San Diego Professor Joseph Ford has created a slim, telescopic contact lens that can switch between normal and magnified vision. With refinements, the system could offer age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients a relatively unobtrusive way to enhance their vision.

Visual aids that magnify incoming light help AMD patients see by spreading light around to undamaged parts of… read more

A Glimmer of Hope for Fading Minds

April 13, 2004

Scientists are uncovering clues that may eventually allow them to prevent, slow or even reverse Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers have found evidence suggesting that statins, drugs taken to lower cholesterol levels, may also protect against Alzheimer’s. Other researchers have hypothesized that medications that reduce inflammation might prove useful or that Alzheimer’s may result from “multiple hits” from a stroke, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Study finds contaminants in bottled water

October 16, 2008

Laboratory tests on ten brands of bottled water purchased in nine states and the District of Columbia detected bacteria and 38 pollutants often found in tap water, some at levels no better than tap water, a study released Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group found.

The pollutants identified include common urban wastewater pollutants like caffeine and pharmaceuticals, an array of cancer-causing byproducts from municipal tap water chlorination,… read more

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