science + technology news

Antioxidants may help avoid heat stroke

April 4, 2008

University of Rochester researchers and colleagues have discovered that antioxidants may protect against some forms of heat stroke.

When mice with the malignant hyperthermia (MH) mutation were given the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC), they had a marked reduction in sensitivity to heat stress.

MH reactions occur in one in 10,000 adult patients undergoing general anesthesia, resulting in severe hyperthermia.

University of Rochester Medical Center News Release

Rats in a Maze Take a Moment to Remember, but in Reverse

February 14, 2006

When rats pause in running through a maze, they play back their memory of points along their route, but in reverse order.

The discovery may provide a deep insight into how memory works in humans. The reverse replay mechanism seems to be part of a neural editing process in which memories are selected, combined and stored as a set of edited movies, as it were, of important experiences in… read more

Using glucose meters to measure other target molecules in blood, serum, water, or food

July 25, 2011

Coupling functional DNA sensors and glucose meters for fast, easy, portable detection of drugs, toxins, disease markers, and other molecules in blood, water, or food (credit: Li Huey Tan, Yu Xiang, and Yi Lu)

Glucose meters can be used as simple, portable, inexpensive meters for a number of target molecules in blood, serum, water or food, researchers at the University of Illinois have found.

To use glucose meters to detect a target other than glucose, the researchers coupled them with a class of molecular sensors called functional DNA sensors. Functional DNA sensors use short segments of DNA that bind to specific… read more

Companies Bet Their Money On Nano’s Workhorse: The Quantum Dot

May 7, 2003

The potential for quantum dots –- semiconductor nanocrystal particles that confine electrons in their cores — is wide open.

Applications include customizable tags for cell or tissue analysis (the largest market), solar energy, flat-panel displays, light sources, and security tags for currency or other valuable objects.

A sprinkling of nanotubes makes plants shoot up

October 5, 2009

Tomato seeds planted in growth medium that contained carbon nanotubes germinated sooner and seedlings grew faster, University of Arkansas researchers have found.

The nanotubes appear to penetrate the thick seed coat, which would allow water to enter the dry seeds more rapidly.

Stem cells made to mimic disease

April 8, 2008

Harvard Medical School and Nottingham scientists have taken skin cells from patients with eight different diseases and turned them into stem cells, moving one step closer to using stem cells from patients themselves to treat disease.

3D plasma shapes created in thin air

February 28, 2006

The night sky could soon be lit up with gigantic three-dimensional ads, thanks to a Japanese laser display that creates glowing images in thin air.

The display uses an ionization effect which occurs when a beam of laser light is focused to a point in air.

Scientists build battery in a nanowire

August 1, 2011

A schematic shows nanoscale battery/supercapacitor devices in an array, as constructed at Rice University. The devices show promise for powering nanoscale electronics and as a research tool for understanding electrochemical phenomenon at the nanoscale (credit: Ajayan Lab/Rice University)

Researchers at Rice University have packed an entire lithium ion energy storage device into a single nanowire.

The researchers first reported the creation of three-dimensional nanobatteries last December. In that project, they encased vertical arrays of nickel-tin nanowires in PMMA (Plexiglas) that served as an electrolyte and insulator. They grew the nanowires via electrodeposition in an anodized alumina template atop a copper substrate.

In that… read more

A Spy Machine of DARPA’s Dreams

May 21, 2003

Going beyond the controversial Total Information Awareness database project, DARPA is currently asking businesses and universities for research proposals for its LifeLog research project, intended to gather every bit of information about a person’s life and activities, index it, and make it searchable.

LifeLog would combine this information with information gleaned from a variety of sources: a GPS transmitter to keep tabs on where that person went, audio-visual sensors… read more

One small step for neurons, one giant leap for nerve cell repair

October 8, 2009

Nerve cells will grow and generate synapses with an artificial component, in this case, plastic beads coated with a substance that encourages adhesion and attracts the nerve cells, McGill University researchers have found.

This approach bypasses the need to force nerve cells to artificially grow long distances and eliminates the demand for two neurons to make a synapse.

“We believe that within the next five years we will… read more

IBM creates working racetrack memory device

April 11, 2008

A “racetrack” memory device, a new type of computer memory that could provide faster, cheaper and higher capacity storage than RAM or hard disk storage, has been demonstrated by IBM researchers.

Bits in racetrack memory are stored in the tiny magnetic domains of a very thin U-shaped wire. A magnetic field is used to write data to the domains. Pulsing current through the wire pushes those domains along the… read more

Far Out, Man. But Is It Quantum Physics?

March 13, 2006

“What the Bleep, Down the Rabbit Hole,” a new sequel to the popular new-age film, “What the #$!%* Do We Know!?,” argues, based on the insights of modern quantum physics, that reality is just a mental construct that we can rearrange and improve.

The films raise a disturbing question about the muddled intersection between science and culture: do we have to indulge in bad physics to feel good?

Discovery points way to graphene electronic circuits

August 8, 2011

Graphene Alloy

Materials scientists at Rice University have made a fundamental discovery that could make it easier for engineers to build electronic circuits out of graphene.

The scientists have found a way to precisely control the electronic properties of alloys that contain both white and black graphene.

The researchers said that they can precisely predict the electronic properties of the final product based solely upon chemical potential… read more

Taking Technology to Extremes

June 5, 2003

Ever-lighter electronics, GPS satellites, and a network of programmers, tinkerers and trekkers have brought real-time connectedness to the world’s most remote places.

Recently, North Pole explorer Ben Saunders rigged up an iPaq digital assistant, pocket-size Global Positioning System locator, satellite phone, and digital camera to remotely update his Web site,

Smallest Electronic Component: Researchers Create Molecular Diode

October 19, 2009

(Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University)

Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute researchers and collaborators have found a way to make single-molecule diodes, which could surpass silicon limits.

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