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January 23, 2007

Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran believes that “other awareness” may have evolved first and then, counterintutively, the same ability was exploited to model ones own mind–what one calls self awareness. He also suggests that a specific system of neurons called mirror neurons are involved in this ability.

New Tooth Cavity Protection: Nanoparticles Make Surface Too Slippery For Bacteria To Adhere

December 22, 2008

Clarkson University Center for Advanced Materials Processing scientists have discovered a new method of protecting teeth from cavities by ultrafine polishing with silica nanoparticles.

Quantum ‘weirdness’ used by plants, animals

November 8, 2010

Bird navigation, plant photosynthesis and the human sense of smell all represent ways living things appear to exploit the oddities of quantum physics, according to Seth Lloyd, a professor of quantum mechanical engineering at MIT.

That means humans might be able to develop technology for more accurate sensors or far more efficient solar cells by mimicking the way living things use quantum physics, he said.

In the case… read more

Cells Induced to ‘De-Differentiate’ Back into Stem Cells

March 16, 2004

For the first time, researchers have induced differentiating cells to revert to being stem cells. The achievement with the fruit fly Drosophila suggests that de-differentiation should be explored as yet another route to generating stem cells for therapeutic purposes.

The researchers reported their findings in the March 14, 2004, advanced online edition of the journal Nature.

Jeff Han on a Better Interface

July 5, 2007

The inventor of the multitouch screen that influenced the iPhone displays his work in a video, “TOUCHING MIRROR WORLDS.”

Maxwell’s Demon Becomes Reality

February 5, 2007

University of Edinburgh researchers have created an molecule-sized device — known as Maxwell’s Demon, inspired by Maxwell’s thought experiment in 1867 — that could trap molecules as they move in a specific direction, powered by light.

As stated in Nature (subscription required), this molecule, known as a rotaxane, consists of a ring threaded onto a linear unit and held in place by two bulky chemical groups (stoppers).… read more

Six Images of Nano-scale Worlds

December 30, 2008
(Michael Oliveri)

In his recent “Innerspace” project, University of Georgia digital media professor Michael Oliveri explores the landscapes of nanoscale worlds created from nanowires and other nanomaterials.

Scientists create fifth form of carbon

March 24, 2004

Researchers at the Australian National University in Canberra have created a new form of carbon: an intersecting web of nanosize carbon tubes formed at temperatures of around 10,000 degrees C.

“Nanofoam” could one day help treat cancer by absorbing infrared heat and enhance MRI scans because of its magnetic properties.

Is Google’s data grinder dangerous?

July 12, 2007

Having successfully become our personal librarian, Google now wants to be our personal oracle. It wants to learn all about us, know us better than we know ourselves, to transform itself from a search engine into a psychoanalyst’s couch or a priest’s confessional.

The next stage is a personalized Web service called iGoogle, a tightly-knit suite of services — personalized homepage, search engine, blog, e-mail system, mini-program gadgets, Web-browsing… read more

Stanford’s free online iPhone & iPad course is baaack — with peer-to-peer help

June 20, 2012


Stanford’s popular free iPhone and iPad apps online course opens June 25 with a new feature: help and inspiration 24×7 via Piazza, a peer-to-peer social learning site — a first for Stanford online courses and on iTunes U.

Whazzit: your questions are answered by course instructors (“course captains”) and by fellow online learners.

When: June 25 to Aug. 27. Registration opens June 19 and ends July 6.… read more

Afternoon naps may boost heart health

February 13, 2007

A study of nearly 24,000 people found that those who regularly took midday naps were nearly 40 percent less likely to die from heart disease than non-nappers.

Researchers suggest that siestas might protect the heart by lowering levels of stress hormones.

Fuel from Coal-Eating Microbes

January 8, 2009

Luca Technologies has raised $76 million to scale up a process that uses coal-digesting microorganisms to convert coal into methane.

The process is designed to operate underground, inside coal mines. Methane, the key component of natural gas, can then be pumped out and used to generate electricity or power vehicles.

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

November 24, 2010

Students have always faced distractions and time-wasters. But computers and cellphones, and the constant stream of stimuli they offer, pose a profound new challenge to focusing and learning.

Researchers say the lure of these technologies, while it affects adults too, is particularly powerful for young people. The risk, they say, is that developing brains can become more easily habituated than adult brains to constantly switching tasks — and less… read more

Insanely Destructive Devices

April 5, 2004

If we can’t defend against an attack, perhaps the rational response is to reduce the incentives to attack, says Lawrence Lessig.

Rather than designing space suits, maybe we should focus on ways to eliminate the reasons to annihilate us. Rather than stirring up a hornet’s nest and then hiding behind a bush, maybe the solution is to avoid the causes of rage. Crazies, of course, can’t be reasoned with.… read more

Each Wore a Tiny Trench Coat

July 23, 2007

According to the Iranian newspaper Resalat, “A few weeks ago, 14 squirrels equipped with espionage systems of foreign intelligence services were captured by [Iranian] intelligence forces along the country’s borders. These trained squirrels, each of which weighed just over 700 grams, were released on the borders of the country for intelligence and espionage purposes.

“Fixing GPS devices, bugging instruments and advanced cameras in the bodies of trained animals like… read more

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