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No More Human Guinea Pigs

September 9, 2003

DARPA’s “Virtual Soldier” program plans to create an army of digital test subjects that can be subjected to new drugs, new medical procedures—even new weapons—without using soldiers as human guinea pigs. The “Virtual Soldier” will be an exact, computerized copy of every part of a person’s body.

Scientists discover a controller of brain circuits

December 29, 2009

A Johns Hopkins neuroscientist has found that semaphorin proteins regulate the number of synapses and their distribution in the part of the brain involved in conscious thought, which could have an impact on how scientists think about the early origins of autism, schizophrenia, epilepsy and other neurological disorders.

Placenta-on-a-chip models the vital mother-fetus placental barrier

Will help in studies on preterm birth
July 25, 2016

The flash-drive-sized device contains two layers of human cells that model the interface between mother and fetus. Microfluidic channels on either side of those layers allow researchers to study how molecules are transported through, or are blocked by, that interface. (credit: University of Pennsylvania)

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed the first placenta-on-a-chip that can fully model the transport of nutrients across the placental barrier — part of a nationwide effort sponsored by the March of Dimes to identify causes of preterm birth and ways to prevent it.

Prematurely born babies may experience lifelong, debilitating consequences, but the underlying mechanisms of this condition are not well understood due in part to… read more

Scientists Announce Top 10 New Species In Last Year

May 27, 2008

The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University and an international committee of taxonomists has just announced the top 10 new species described in 2007.

On the list are an ornate sleeper ray, with a name that sucks: Electrolux; a 75-million-year-old giant duck-billed dinosaur; a shocking pink millipede; a rare, off-the-shelf frog; one of the most venomous snakes in the world; a fruit bat; a mushroom; a… read more

Nanofactory Collaboration website launched

July 26, 2006

Nanotechnologists Robert A. Freitas, Jr. and Ralph C. Merkle have launched a “Nanofactory Collaboration” website.

“This is the first and only dedicated international research effort with the explicit objective of building a working diamondoid nanofactory, by slowly and methodically working through the possible technical roadblocks one by one,” Freitas told

There are 23 individual research participants on the site so far. Most noteworthy: the general… read more

How to see out from under an invisibility cloak

October 31, 2011

Invisibility cloak designs make it impossible for anyone hiding under the cloak to see what’s going on in the outside world. Now Nanjing University researchers have come up with a solution: make a tiny tear in the cloak, then stitch the hole with two types of materials chosen to effectively cancel each other out when seen from the outside, while still allowing light to enter —… read more

The Genetically Modified Bomb

September 24, 2003

Anybody who’s part of a group with a shared genetic profile may be at risk in the future from “genetic bombs,” a virus or bacteria designed to kill people who fit a certain genotype for purposes of mass genocide or social control.

Study links vitamin D, race and cardiac deaths

January 6, 2010

Vitamin D deficiency may contribute to a higher number of heart and stroke-related deaths among black Americans compared to whites, according to a University of Rochester Medical Center study.

How to harvest solar power? Beam it down from space!

June 2, 2008

Skyrocketing oil prices, a heightened awareness of climate change, and worries about natural resource depletion have recently prompted a renewed interest in beaming extraterrestrial energy back to Earth.

A 2007 report released by the Pentagon’s National Security Space Office encouraged the U.S. government to spearhead the development of space power systems.

“A single kilometer-wide band of geosynchronous Earth orbit experiences enough solar flux in one year to nearly… read more

Discovery of wound-healing genes in flies could mitigate human skin ailments

April 26, 2013

Puncturing a Drosophila embryo with the enzyme trypsin activates genes throughout the epidermis that help in wound healing, shown in green. Credit: Rachel Patterson, UC San Diego

Biologists at UC San Diego have identified eight genes never before suspected to play a role in wound healing that are called into action near the areas where wounds occur.

Their discovery, detailed this week in the open-access journal PLOS ONE (open access), was made in the laboratory fruit fly¬†Drosophila. But the biologists say many of the same genes that regulate biological processes in the… read more

Apocalypse soon

August 10, 2006

The Israel-Hezbollah conflict has convinced many premillennialists that God, working through Israel, is steering the world toward its final days and the return of the Messiah, Jason Boyett says in

Meanwhile, Shiite Muslims believe the time is now for the return of the Hidden Imam and a final battle, possibly on August 22 this year, Iranian President Ahmadinejad has hinted, Princeton professor emeritus Bernard Lewis points… read more

Japanese supercomputer blisters 10 quadrillion calculations per second

November 7, 2011

The Japanese supercomputer “K” broke its own record this week by hitting 10 quadrillion calculations per second (10.51 petaflops), exceeding its previous speed of 8.162 petaflops, which had placed the system in first place on the TOP500 supercomputer list published June 2011, Network World Layer 8 reports.

The supercomputer¬† consists of 864 racks, comprising a total of 88,128 interconnected CPUs and has a theoretical calculation speed of… read more

Is Life the Key to New Tech?

October 8, 2003

DNA computing has the potential to perform trillions of calculations at once and the size and the ease of interfacing with living material may make them ideal for use in medicine. But bio-molecular computers must await a breakthrough in designer enzymes.

Longevity Genes May Protect against Alzheimer’s

January 13, 2010

A genetic variation known as CETP previously linked to longevity may also protect against the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, according to findings by the Einstein Aging Study, an ongoing examination of a diverse group of people age 70 and older living in the Bronx.

The new research found that those with two copies of the protective variant had a 70 percent lower chance of… read more

Team hopes to use new technology to search for ETs

June 5, 2008

Astronomers from Johns Hopkins and the SETI Institute plan to optimize prospects of finding civilizations on other star systems by concentrating on the intersection of the ecliptic plane (the imaginary plane containing the Earth’s orbit around the Sun) and the galactic plane (the Milky Way Galaxy band in the sky), using the new Allen Telescope Array.

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