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Updating Prescriptions for Avoiding Worldwide Catastrophe

September 13, 2006

In a new book, scientist James E. Lovelock has come under attack from some environmentalists for his support of nuclear power as a way to avoid runaway “global heating” — his preferred alternative to “global warming.”

Personalized medicine for cancer patients in a new technology era

April 15, 2010

Published online Wednesday in Nature, a paper authored by over 200 members of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) describes a new era of personalized medicine for cancer patients.

“Given the tremendous potential for relatively low-cost genomic sequencing to reveal clinically useful information, we anticipate that in the not so distant future, partial or full cancer genomes will routinely be sequenced as part of the clinical evaluation of cancer… read more

Silicon sees the light

November 4, 2003

A new light detector made of silicon could fuse microelectronic and light-based information processors. Carved directly onto silicon chips, such devices could make circuits smaller, cheaper and more robust.

Running ‘can slow aging process’

August 12, 2008

Stanford University Medical Center researchers have found that running on a regular basis can slow the effects of aging for elderly joggers.

The runners were half as likely to die prematurely from conditions like cancer than non-runners, and enjoyed a healthier life with fewer disabilities and delayed onset of disability.

The researchers tracked 500 older runners for more than 20 years, comparing them to a similar group of… read more

Educational robots to introduce children to robotics, physics, programming

November 29, 2011

Thymio II robot (credit: EPFL)

EPFL scientists have developed an educational robot called Thymio II, designed to introduce children to technology in school and priced inexpensively (about 99 francs, or $110 U.S.).

Thymio II has sensors and associated LEDs, and can exhibit a wide range of behaviors that can be used in teaching physics and other subjects. Sensors include proximity sensors, ground-directed sensors (it can detect the edge of a table around… read more

Advance in dip-pen nanolithography promises miniaturized gene chips, nanoscale electronics

September 27, 2006

Northwestern University researchers have developed a 55,000-pen, two-dimensional array that allows them to simultaneously create 55,000 identical patterns drawn with tiny dots of molecular ink on substrates of gold or glass. Each structure is only a single molecule tall.

The parallel process paves the way for making DPN competitive with other optical and stamping lithographic methods used for patterning large areas on metal and semiconductor substrates, including silicon wafers.… read more

Don’t talk to aliens, warns Stephen Hawking

April 25, 2010

Hawking believes that contact with intelligent aliens could be devastating for humanity.

“I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach.”

He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is “a little too risky”. He said: “If aliens ever visit… read more

The New World of Tailored Treatments

November 11, 2003

Pharmacogenomics, or “personalized medicine,” which involves using genomic knowledge to tailor treatments that best suit the individual patient’s needs, could significantly improve treatments for cancer and other major killers.

Helping the deaf to ‘see sound’

August 18, 2008

Deaf children have been testing software called Lumisonic that enables them to see a visual representation of sound waves, using circles that radiate on a display.

Shape-shifting nanoparticles flip from sphere to net in response to tumor signal

May 30, 2013

Spherical nanoparticles labeled with red or green dye shift their shapes and accumulatte into netlike structures when they encounter a protease secreted by some kinds of cancerous tumors (credit:

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have designed tiny spherical particles to float easily through the bloodstream after injection, then assemble into a durable scaffold within diseased tissue.

An enzyme produced by a specific type of tumor can trigger the transformation of the spheres into netlike structures that accumulate at the site of a cancer, the team reports in the journal Advanced Materialsread more

MIT looks to give ‘group think’ a good name

October 11, 2006

The new MIT Center for Collective Intelligence hopes to address this central question: “How can people and computers be connected so that — collectively — they act more intelligently than any individuals, groups, or computers have ever done before?”

Self-Powered Flexible Electronics

May 3, 2010

Researchers at Samsung and Sungkyunkwan University in Korea have developed devices to capture power when a surface such as a touch screen flexes under a user’s touch or movement, allowing for future self-powering, foldable, stretchable, and wearable electronics systems.

Samsung’s experimental device sandwiches piezoelectric nanorods between highly conductive graphene electrodes on top of flexible plastic sheets.

Could I Get That Song in Elvis, Please?

November 24, 2003

Vocaloid software, due out in January from Yamaha, allows users to create synthesized songs in a life-like concert-quality voice.

To create the virtual performer’s “vocal font,” technicians record a singer performing as many as 60 pages of scripted phoneme articulations along with assorted pitches and techniques like glissandos and legatos.

The software may allow for “vocal reanimation” of celebrity singers, like Elvis.

Vocaloid could be used as… read more

Why we overeat as we age

August 22, 2008

A Monash University scientist has discovered that key appetite control cells in the human brain — POMC neurons — degenerate over time, causing increased hunger and potentially weight gain as we grow older.

POMC neurons are attacked by free radicals after eating, especially after meals rich in carbohydrates and sugars. People aged 25 to 50 are most at risk.

Source: Monash University news release

NVIDIA opens up CUDA platform, helping accelerate the path to exascale computing

December 15, 2011

NVIDIA CUDA LLVM-based compiler

NVIDIA has announced that it will provide the source code for the new NVIDIA CUDA LLVM-based compiler to academic researchers and software-tool vendors, enabling them to more easily add GPU support for more programming languages and support parallel-computing CUDA applications on alternative processor architectures. The move should help accelerate the path to exascale computing.

LLVM is a widely-used open source compiler infrastructure with a modular… read more

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