science + technology news

How to Find That Needle Hopelessly Lost in the Haystack

September 29, 2003

Tags equipped with microchips and tiny antennas should make it cheaper and more efficient to track goods but they raise privacy issues.

Neuroengineers silence brain cells with multiple colors of light

January 7, 2010

MIT neuroscientists have developed a way to turn off abnormally active brain cells using multiple colors of light.

This research could prove useful for managing disorders including chronic pain, epilepsy, brain injury and Parkinson’s disease.

New, flexible computers use displays with any shape

June 3, 2008

The “Organic User Interface” will allow next-generation computers to take on flexible forms we’ve never imagined–like pop cans with browsers displaying RSS feeds and movie trailers, respond to our direct touch, and even change their own shape to better accommodate data, by folding up like a piece of paper to be tucked into our pockets, for example.

Imaging nanoparticles in action, scientists discover nanoscale tidal waves

The hidden effects of nanoparticles on human health seen at unprecedented atomic resolution
April 29, 2013

EM image of gold nanorods in liquid indicate the presence of high-resolution features. The gold lattice spacing of 2 Angstroms (.2 nm) can be identified in the image. Scale bar, 7 nm. (Credit: Madeline J. Dukes et al./Chemical Communications)

The macroscopic effects of certain nanoparticles on human health have long been clear to the naked eye. What scientists have lacked is the ability to see the detailed movements of individual particles that give rise to those effects.

Now, scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have invented a technique for imaging nanoparticle dynamics with atomic resolution as these dynamics occur in a liquid… read more

Hutter Prize for Lossless Compression of Human Knowledge

August 14, 2006

Marcus Hutter has announced the 50,000 Euro Hutter Prize for Lossless Compression of Human Knowledge by compressing the 100MB file Wikipedia ‘enwik8′ file to less than the current record of 18MB.

The intent of this prize is to encourage development of intelligent compressors/programs.

“Being able to compress well is closely related to intelligence,” says the Prize for Compressing Human Knowledge” website.

“While intelligence is a… read more

Electric multicopter flies manned for the first time

November 7, 2011

The e-volo electric multicopter has been taken on its first manned test flight by inventors Thomas Senkel, Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel in Karlsruhe, Germany.

The e-volo prototype measures approximately 5×5 meters and allows for a payload of about 80 kg. 16 propellers provide it with the necessary uplift, and it can be landed safely even with a malfunction of up to four eco-friendly electrical… read more

Free science journal hits press

October 10, 2003

The Public Library of Science has launched a free magazine for scientists, PLoS Biology.

The magazine charges researchers $1,500 to publish a paper, rather than readers.

Needling Molecules

January 14, 2010

Hongkun Park

Beds of vertical silicone nanowires can act as a method for delivering molecules into cells for a variety of applications, including stem-cell reprogramming and drug screening, Harvard researchers have found.

Plan for quake ‘warning system’

June 6, 2008

Researchers at NASA Ames Research Center have found evidence suggesting that fluctuation in the density of electrons and other electrically charged particles in the ionosphere are correlated with certain earthquake.

They are developing a proposal for a low-cost, space-borne earthquake early warning system based on at least three satellites.

Brave new world in life sciences

August 23, 2006

The authors of the 2006 report, “Globalization, Biosecurity, and the Future of Life Sciences,” propose a “web of protection” that bolsters the development of robust defenses without restricting the free flow of scientific information.

Source: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Tiny tubes squeeze electricity from water

October 21, 2003

An entirely new way of generating electricity has been discovered.

How it works: you squeeze water through fine channels. The surface of the channel walls becomes charged, which builds up a charge on opposite ends of the channel, generating an electrical current when connected.

Smart mud could be the new plastic

January 21, 2010

A mixture of clay and 98 per cent water forms thin sheets of a strong hydrogel that is transparent, elastic, and self-healing, researchers at the University of Tokyo have found.

Dual action Alzheimer’s drug hope

June 12, 2008
Plaques, formed of long pieces of amyloid beta protein, break down communications between brain cells

Mayo clinic researchers have developed a new class of “gamma-secretase modulator” (GSM) drugs that lower levels of the protein that forms the sticky clumps associated with Alzheimer’s, and boost levels of shorter pieces of the same protein, helping inhibit clump-formation of longer pieces.

Ethical Acts in Robotics

September 7, 2006

Dresden University of Technology philospher Bernhard Irrgang has raised questions about what happens when robots are untethered from human control.

Processing at the Speed of Light

October 30, 2003

Lenslet, an Israeli startup, has developed a processor that uses optics instead of silicon.

It performs 8 trillion operations per second, equivalent to a supercomputer and 1,000 times faster than standard processors, with 256 lasers performing computations at light speed.

Target applications include high-resolution radar, electronic warfare, luggage screening at airports, video compression, weather forecasting and cellular base stations.

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