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Gauging a Collider’s Odds of Creating a Black Hole

April 15, 2008

Some experts say too much hype and not enough candor on the part of scientists about the promises and perils of what they do could boomerang into a public relations disaster for science, opening the door for charlatans and demagogues.

Some in the public have fears about the Large Hadron Collider, centering on about creating black holes or hypothetical particles called strangelets, which critics said could transform the Earth… read more

Delving into the meaning of artificial life

March 21, 2006

Biologists have identified three critical principles that must be present in any living system: They must be self-creating, self-organizing and self-sustaining. The self-sustaining capability includes the ability to replicate components, process information and steadily consume energy from the environment. While electronic systems are highly adept at information processing, they are not self-replicating except at the software level, and they consume only one type of strictly defined electrical energy.

Synthetic… read more

Scientists lose track of time

June 12, 2003

What time is it? No one knows for sure. In a controversy reminiscent of the Year 2000 bug, experts can’t agree about whether to continue the long-standing practice of inserting occasional “leap seconds” into coordinated universal time, Nature reports today.

Since 1972, 32 leap seconds have been added to universal time to keep it in synch with the rotation of the Earth as it slows down, which is needed… read more

‘Holy Grail’ Of Cancer Therapy: Researchers Find Way To Protect Healthy Cells From Radiation Damage

October 22, 2009

A way to protect healthy tissue from the toxic effects of radiation treatment and also increase tumor death has been discovered by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

They found that blocking a molecule called thrombospondin-1 from binding to its cell surface receptor, called CD47, affords normal tissues nearly complete protection from both standard and very high doses of radiation,… read more

James Watson’s genome sequenced at high speed for under $1.5 million

April 18, 2008

454 Life Sciences has sequenced DNA pioneer James Watson’s genome for under $1.5 million in just four months, making his the first full genome to be sequenced using next-generation, rapid-sequencing technology.

J. Craig Venter’s genome was sequenced using previous-generation machines at a cost of $100 million.

A Rapture for the Rest of Us

April 5, 2006

Is the Singularity just a new religion? Or is religion just the pre-marketing department for the Singularity?

“Jihadists are strapping on suicide bombs today, in the hope of attaining the kind of environment that virtual reality will deliver in 20 years,” notes futurist Glenn Harlan Reynolds.

Improving control of quantum dots

June 25, 2003

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Renewal Energy Laboratory have reported a way to measure accurately the amount of laser light needed to shift the electrons in a particular type of quantum dot between two discrete states. This advance is another step toward the use of quantum dots as the “ones and zeros” for a superfast quantum computer.

The new technique measures the… read more

Breakthrough In Industrial-scale Nanotube Processing

November 3, 2009

Rice University scientists have unveiled a method for high-throughput industrial-scale processing of carbon-nanotube fibers, using chlorosulfonic acid as a solvent.

The process that could lead to revolutionary advances in materials science, power distribution and nanoelectronics.

The Body in Depth

April 22, 2008

The classic 25-volume “Stereoscopic Atlas of Human Anatomy” will soon be made available online by Stanford University’s school of medicine and eHuman, a company in Silicon Valley.

Eventually, it will be possible to see the images online in stereo.

Cybernetics: Merging machine and man

April 19, 2006

High-tech tools, implanted or attached to the human body, are bringing biology and technology together to repair, replace and augment human ability.

Microbe fuel cell packs more power

July 7, 2003

German researchers have created a prototype microbial fuel cell that generates ten times more energy from bacteria. It works by capturing energy produced by Escherichia coli as it feeds on sugar.

2012 Prophecies Sparking Real Fears, Suicide Warnings

November 10, 2009

Scenes from the motion picture "2012" (Columbia Pictures)

Amid the hype — including a viral marketing campaign for 2012, the disaster movie opening Friday, with bogus scientific organizations, press releases, and 2012 whistle-blowers –some people are developing “end times” anxiety that has experts seriously concerned.

NASA’s Nibiru and Doomsday 2012: Questions and Answers and 2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won’t End? web pages seek to debunk stories about the… read more

Safer Prenatal Testing

April 25, 2008
Fetal cell with three copies of chromosome 21, found in the mother

Sequenom and Biocept researchers have built noninvasive prenatal genetic tests that can detect defects with a simple blood-draw from the mother, rather than invasively sampling amniotic fluid.

They have adapted methods from Chinese University of Hong Kong scientists in finding free-floating nucleic acids to diagnose Down syndrome and Rh-encoding genes to diagnose HR incompatibility syndrome.

Biocept uses microfluidics and sticky antibodies to capture fetal cells that… read more

IBM uses atomic microscope for direct writing

May 3, 2006

IBM has unveiled a new method of direct writing (like an inkjet printer) to substrates that harnesses an atomic force microscope (AFM) to electronically control molecular-scale lithography.

For semiconductors, IBM’s new electronically controlled direct writing method uses AFM positioning accuracy to define complex patterns in a variety of materials with features down to 10 nanometers — five times smaller than today’s e-beam lithography equipment and 10 times smaller than… read more

Disabled patients mind-meld with robots

September 7, 2011

A semiautonomous robot can be controlled with the brain waves of paralyzed patients.

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) researchers have invented a new, noninvasive method for recording patterns of brain activity and using them to steer a partially autonomous robot so that “locked in” patients can interact with others and appear physically present — without a lot of effort and concentration.

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