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Get Your Daily Plague Forecast

October 22, 2006

The new Healthmap website digests information from a variety of sources ranging from the World Health Organization to Google News and plots the spread of about 50 diseases on a continually updated global map, sortable by source, diseases, and country.

Next-gen GPS satellite upgrade: 3 feet accuracy

December 19, 2011

Block III GPS satellite (credit: Lockheed Martin)

Block III GPS satellites, which will begin replacing older orbiting GPS satellites in 2014 (part of a $5.5 billion upgrade), will improve the accuracy of military and civilian GPS worldwide to within three feet, compared with 10 feet now, AP reports.

Benefits: more accurate directions while driving, more reliable in covered areas (trees, skyscrapers, shopping malls), compatible with European and Russian systems, and more jamming-resistant.

Smart assistant will cut driver distraction

December 8, 2003

A smart assistant is being developed to help drivers cope with the increasing number of electronic devices in cars. It will decide — based on road conditions, car performance, and other factors — when it is too dangerous for a driver to be disturbed and will divert phone calls to voicemail, hide arriving emails, and lock the controls of the satellite navigation system, radio, CD player, and other devices.

Scientists Develop Financial Turing Test

February 26, 2010

Humans can reliably distinguish between real and random market data, researchers at AlphaSimplex, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and NorthEastern University found in an experiment.

Anyone can take the “financial Turing test” on their website.

Robots aim to top humans at air hockey

July 10, 2008

An upgraded robot developed by General Electric Fanuc and Nuvation Research can beat most human air hockey players, its developers claim.

A video system that tracks the puck’s position sends coordinates to a special PC board every 10 milliseconds. So far, the robot has defeated every human opponent when running in 32-bit mode, averaging three times as many goals as human players. The algorithm’s success resulted from… read more

Rerouting Brain Circuits with Implanted Chips

November 1, 2006

A new, implantable and wireless brain chip can create artificial connections between different parts of the brain, paving the way for devices that could reconnect damaged neural circuits.

University of Washington scientists say the chip sheds light on the brain’s innate ability to rewire itself, and it could help explain our capacity to learn and remember new information.

A nanowire endoscope for imaging inside a single cell

December 22, 2011

Endoscope Sensing

An endoscope that can provide high-resolution optical images of the interior of a single living cell, or precisely deliver genes, proteins, therapeutic drugs or other cargo without injuring or damaging the cell, has been developed by researchers from Berkeley Lab and the University of California (UC) Berkeley.

The researchers  attached a tin-oxide nanowire waveguide to the tapered end of an optical fiber to create a novel endoscope system. Light… read more

Red Sea Urchin Almost Immortal

December 17, 2003

The red sea urchin can last for more than 200 years with few signs of age-related disease, researchers have found. This could help scientists uncover the secret of longevity and aging.

MIT builds first sensor to detect single molecules produced by living cells

March 8, 2010

MIT researchers have built the first sensor array that can detect single molecules produced by living cells, using a carbon nanotube sensor array that can detect hydrogen peroxide molecules and could help scientists learn more about that molecule’s role in cancer.

The sensor consists of a film of carbon nanotubes embedded in collagen. Cells can grow on the collagen surface, and the collagen also attracts and traps hydrogen peroxide… read more

Obsessed Brains May Be Sluggish

July 18, 2008
Orbitofrontal cortex activity (Paul Wicks)

University of Cambridge researchers have found that patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have reduced activity in the orbitofrontal cortex, the region that helps people make decisions and keep compulsive behaviors in check.

The researchers took fMRI scans as participants engaged in a task (changing a habit–learning new pattern-matching rules) intended to stimulate the orbitofrontal cortex. Normal participants exhibited the expected activity, but those with OCD did not,… read more

Peak Oil Theory faulty: CERA report

November 16, 2006
Source: Cambridge Energy Research Associates

In contrast to a widely discussed theory that world oil production will soon reach a peak and go into sharp decline, a new report by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) finds that the remaining global oil resource base is actually 3.74 trillion barrels — three times as large as the 1.2 trillion barrels estimated by the theory’s proponents — and that the “peak oil” argument is based on… read more

Stanford online course on natural language processing

January 2, 2012

Stanford University is offering a course on Natural Language Processing free and online to students worldwide, January 23 to March 18.

Students will have access to screencast lecture videos, quiz questions, assignments and exams; receive regular feedback on progress; and can participate in a discussion forum, with a certificate of successful completion.

Taught by Professors Jurafsky and Manning, the curriculum… read more

Nanotube antennas boost signal reception

December 31, 2003

Antennas in the form of carbon nanotube transistors can dramatically enhance the reception of RF signals, according to a study by USC scientist Bart Kosko, a professor in the school’s Electrical Engineering Department.

The finding is based on a theory called “stochastic resonance” that claims noise, or unwanted signals, can actually improve the detection of faint electrical signals. Kosko’s graduate student, Ian Lee, generated a sequence of faint electrical… read more

Startups Focus on AI at South by Southwest

March 15, 2010

The Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator competition starts today at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive event, with many of the 200 startup companies focusing on social media and rapidly maturing areas of artificial intelligence.

Two panels of judges will select winners in four categories: innovative Web technologies, personal social media, business social media, and entertainment technology.

Also see: Where to Watch SXSW Online

First paper-based transistors

July 23, 2008

Portuguese researchers have created the first field effect transistors (FET) with a paper interstrate layer.

Possible applications include new disposable electronics devices, such as paper displays, smart labels, bio-applications, and RFID tags.

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