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A super antioxidant based on material used in vehicle catalytic converters

Could help treat traumatic brain injury, cardiac arrest, and Alzheimer’s patients, guard against radiation-induced side effects suffered by cancer patients, perhaps even slow the effects of aging
October 22, 2013


Scientists at Rice University are enhancing the natural antioxidant properties of cerium oxide, used in vehicle catalytic converters, to make it useful for medical applications.

Rice chemist Vicki Colvin led a team that created small, uniform spheres of cerium oxide and gave them a thin coating of fatty oleic acid to make them biocompatible.

The researchers say their discovery has… read more

Bouncing beads outwit Feynman

June 14, 2010

University of Twente researchers have built a machine that harnesses energy from the random motion of bouncing beads to perform work, challenging physicist Richard Feynman’s dictum that work can’t be extracted from such a system.

Newly created machine from Science News on Vimeo.

Reading ‘to go’ for blind people

June 22, 2006

The K-NFB, the latest product to be developed by inventor Ray Kurzweil, is a portable scanning device that reads text to visually impaired people.

It will help with ad-hoc reading of documents such as bills and receipts, instructions on food packaging or medication or emergency evacuation notices in hotels.

Ray Kurzweil is also inventor of the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind and other landmark… read more

Faster, Cheaper DNA Sequencing

September 25, 2008

Oxford Nanopore Technologies has developed a new fast, inexpensive human-genome-sequencing system that uses “nanopore sequencing” to eliminate much of the time and expense of sample preparation, and eliminate the fluorescent molecules typically used to label DNA bases.

The researchers are aiming for the $1,000 genome by 2014. The hope is that by bringing the price of sequencing down to that range, individuals could afford to have their genomes recorded,… read more

Touchscreen made from biggest graphene sheet

June 22, 2010

Researchers at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea have developed a new method to produce graphene sheets with a diagonal dimension of 76 centimeters — an order of magnitude larger than previously managed.

It could result in cheap, transparent electrodes that can be used in flexible displays or photovoltaic cells.

New search tool to unlock Wikipedia

March 29, 2012


Would you like to ask Wikipedia tougher questions than today’s simple keyword searches allow? A prototype plug-in that can do just that will be demonstrated at the World Wide Web conference in Lyon, France, next month.

Called Swipe (“searching Wikipedia by example”), the software aims to let users of the online encyclopedia answer complex questions that most search engines would stumble over. For example, trying to figure… read more

Top computer hangs on to its title

July 3, 2006

IBM’s BlueGene/L computer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, has once again been crowned world champion by the TOP500 list of the fastest supercomputers used for scientific applications, with a computing speed of 280.6 terraflops per second.

Horst Simon, associate laboratory director at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a member of the TOP500 team, said the next TOP500 champ would be a big jump to 500 or… read more

Researchers use nanoparticles to deliver treatment for brain, spinal cord injuries

October 2, 2008

Purdue University researchers have developed a method of using nanoparticles coated with a polymer, polyethylene glycol (PEG) to deliver treatments to injured brain and spinal cord cells by sealing the injured area, reducing further damage.

In another study, the researchers added both PEG and hydralazine, an antihypertension drug, to mesoporous silica nanoparticles, which have pores that can hold the drug, which is later delivered to the damaged cells. The… read more

Quantum entanglement in photosynthesis and evolution

July 22, 2010

Physicists have suggested that entanglement (the quantum interconnection of two or more objects like photons, electrons, or atoms that are separated in physical space) could be occurring in the photosynthetic complexes of plants, particularly in the pigment molecules, or chromophores. The quantum effects may explain why the structures are so efficient at converting light into energy — doing so at 95 percent or more.

In a paper in The Journalread more

Plastic Electronics

August 25, 2003

Plastic chips could rival silicon sometime in the 2010s for wall-size television displays to ultra-tiny transistors. The potential has captivated some heavyweight companies in computers and consumer electronics.

Signal found to enhance survival of new brain cells

Implications for treating neurodegenerative disease, mental illness
November 13, 2013

An illustration of parvalbumin-expressing interneurons delivering lifesaving chemical messengers to newborn neurons via tentacle-like synapses.<br />
Credit: Mingxi Max Song and Gerald Sun

A specialized type of brain cell, parvalbumin-expressing interneuron,  suppresses stem cell activity by  instructing nearby stem cells not to divide, by releasing a chemical signal called GABA. Paradoxically, in the process, it actually encourages the survival of the stem cells’ progeny, Johns Hopkins researchers report.

Understanding how these brain cells “decide” whether to live or die and how to behave is of special interest because changes in… read more

Gorilla psychologists: Weird stuff in plain sight

June 29, 2010

In the book Six intuitions you shouldn’t trust, psychologists explain why they put a person in a gorilla suit in the middle of a basketball game — and why people don’t see it.

So far, no researcher has found anything that solidly predicts who is going to see it and who is not.

Paint-on semiconductor outperforms chips

July 13, 2006

Researchers at the University of Toronto have created a semiconductor device that outperforms today’s conventional chips — and they made it simply by painting a liquid onto a piece of glass.

The Toronto team cooked up semiconductor particles a few nanometers across in a flask containing extra-pure oleic acid, the main ingredient in olive oil. They then placed a drop of solution on a glass slide patterned with gold… read more

Homeland Security’s Space-Based Spying Goes Live

October 9, 2008

The Department of Homeland Security’s National Applications Office (NAO) plans to proceed with the first phase of a controversial satellite-surveillance program, using the military imagery and mapping tools of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).

It will provide federal, state and local officials “with extensive access to spy-satellite imagery–but no eavesdropping–to assist with emergency response and other domestic-security needs, such as identifying where ports or border areas are vulnerable to… read more

Growing Organs and Helping Wounds Heal

August 2, 2010

(ACS/ Nano Letters)

A stretchy new fabric made by linking together fibronectin – the proteins found in muscle tissue — could provide a scaffold for growing new organs. It could also be used as a coating for bandages to help wounds heal quickly and with less scarring.

The fabric was made in the laboratory of Kevin Kit Parker, a professor at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. By building… read more

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