science + technology news

Seats of emotional intelligence found in the brain

January 13, 2010

Head injuries sustained by Vietnam veterans have revealed parts of the brain vital for two types of emotional intelligence.

The dorsolateral ventromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain is related to “experiential” emotional intelligence (the capacity to judge emotions in other people), while the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is related to “strategic” emotional intelligence (the ability to plan socially appropriate responses to situations).

Damage to these regions didn’t affect cognitive… read more

Giant telescopes could be built from Moon dust

June 5, 2008

Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have created a concrete-like substance using a mixture of carbon nanotubes, epoxy and a crushed rock material, and built a 3-meter dish.

Then they added more liquid epoxy to its surface and spun it, coating it with aluminium in a vacuum. They believe the process could be scaled up to produce 20- to 50-meter-wide telescopes on the Moon.

The technique could… read more

Spying an intelligent search engine

August 21, 2006

While most would agree that Google has set the current standard for Web search, some technologists say even better tools are on the horizon thanks to advances in artificial intelligence.

Society for Neuroscience 2011 meetups

November 11, 2011

Dr. Randall Koene is planning several meetups at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2011, in Washington, D.C., starting on Saturday Nov. 12 with a Whole Brain Emulation Social (see for details).

Bush’s Advisers on Biotechnology Express Concern on Its Use

October 17, 2003

The President’s Council on Bioethics has issued an analysis of how biotechnology could lead toward unintended and destructive ends, called “Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Concerns include selecting the sex of children, prescribing mood-changing drugs (such as Ritalin for children), and extreme longevity (“The pursuit of an ageless body may prove finally to be a distraction and a deformation”).

Physicists develop 3D metamaterial nanolens that achieves super-resolution imaging

January 19, 2010

A research team from Northeastern University has developed a new nanolens that can beat the diffraction limit to achieve so-called super-resolution imaging, better than can be achieved by current technology.

The nanolens is made from arrays of nanowires also called as metamaterials — manufactured materials not found in nature — and has superior imaging capabilities compared to current imaging technologies.

‘Party chat’ brain filter discovered

June 10, 2008

Researchers conducting brain scans of people listening to multiple sounds, say that the secondary auditory cortex — located in the temporal lobe at the side of the head — does much of the work in filtering out a single thread of conversation from a tangle of similar background noises (the “cocktail party effect”).

‘Augmented reality’ glasses tackle tunnel vision

September 1, 2006

Superimposing computer-generated images over real scenes can dramatically help people with visual impairment, say Harvard Medical School researchers.

Their device puts a cartoon on top of a person’s regular view. It sketches out what the wider field of view looks like and superimposes that on the person’s usual view.

Zillions of Universes? Or Did Ours Get Lucky?

October 28, 2003

Cosmologists debated the controversial anthropic principle* at a recent conference, “The Future of Cosmology,” at Case Western Reserve University.

* An attempt to explain why the fundamental constants of physics and chemistry are fine-tuned to allow the universe and life at we know it to exist.

Scientists achieve first rewire of genetic switches

January 26, 2010

University of Manchester researchers have successfully carried out the first rewire of genetic switches, creating what could be a vital tool for the development of new drugs and even future gene therapies.

They rewired the genetic switches of bacteria so they are activated by a synthetic molecule instead of naturally occurring molecules found in cells.

CamSpace Creates a Wii For Everyone (Minus the Nintendo Console)

June 17, 2008

CamTrax’s CamSpace software converts nearly any object into an input device, using an ordinary PC webcam to track up to four objects–as small as 5mm–in real-time and with high accuracy and reliability.

Big Brother is shouting at you

September 18, 2006

Middlesbrough has fitted loudspeakers on seven of its 158 cameras, publicly berating bad behaviour and shaming offenders into acting more responsibly.

Carbon nanotube forest camouflages 3-D objects

November 22, 2011

Scanning electron microscope images show a tank etched out of silicon, with and without a carbon nanotube coating (top row). When the same structures are viewed under white light with an optical microscope (bottom row), the nanotube coating camouflages the tank structure against a black background. (credit: L. J. Guo et al., University of Michigan)

University of Michigan researchers are taking advantage of the unique low refractive index of carbon nanotubes’ low-density aligned nanotubes to demonstrate a new application: making 3-D objects appear as nothing more than a flat, black sheet.

The refractive index of a material is a measure of how much that material slows down light, and carbon nanotube “forests” have a low index of refraction very close… read more

Finally, the plaque-buster?

November 6, 2003

Apo A-1 Milano, a synthetic form of HDL or “good cholesterol,” appears to reverse years of coronary plaque build-up in a few weeks. It may lead to a long-sought complement to cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Malleable Maps, Artistic Robots and Bubble Interfaces

February 2, 2010

The Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’10) conference was held in Cambridge, MA, this week. Technologists and designers from around the world gathered to demonstrate projects exploring the blurring of physical and digital user interfaces.

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