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Universal translator for web browsers

September 8, 2009

A new Firefox plug-in identifies the language used on a web page and automatically provides a translation to the user’s preferred language, with Google Translate used if translations are not available.

Stanford researchers unmask proteins in telomerase, which enables cancer

March 20, 2008

Stanford University School of Medicine researchers and their colleagues have identified two new proteins that make up the telomerase complex–the protein conglomerate that maintains cells’ genetic material–providing potential new targets for cancer treatments.

Studying telomerase has been difficult because it’s available only in small quantities and no technology was sensitive enough to detect it at minute levels.

To get around the quantity problem, the researchers chopped it into… read more

E-Weapons: Directed Energy Warfare In The 21st Century

January 12, 2006

A new breed of weaponry, “directed-energy weapons,” may well signal a revolution in military hardware — perhaps more so than the atomic bomb.

Directed-energy weapons take the form of lasers, high-powered microwaves, and particle beams, according to J. Douglas Beason, author of the recently published book: The E-Bomb: How America’s New Directed Energy Weapons Will Change the Way Wars Will Be Fought in the Future,

Deadly Virus Effortlessly Hops Species

April 1, 2003

“A single genetic change could have created the deadly virus that has killed over 50 people and infected more than 1,600, a new study suggests….The [experiment] result strengthens the idea that the SARS coronavirus might have arisen when an animal and human virus met and swapped genes.”

Evidence Points To Conscious ‘Metacognition’ In Some Nonhuman Animals

September 15, 2009

(University at Buffalo)

There is growing evidence that some animals, notably dolphins and macaque monkeys, share functional parallels with human conscious metacognition — the ability to reflect upon, monitor or regulate their states of mind, says J. David Smith, Ph.D., a comparative psychologist at the University at Buffalo.

Smith explains that metacognition is a sophisticated human capacity linked to hierarchical structure in the mind (because the metacognitive executive control processes oversee lower-level… read more

Pushing the resolution and exposure-time limits of lensless imaging

A custom-built ultrafast laser that could image everything from semiconductor chips to cells in real time
September 25, 2015

ultrafast laser ft

Physicists at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany are pushing the boundaries of nanoscale imaging by shooting ultra-high-resolution, real-time images in extreme ultraviolet light — without lenses. The new method could be used to study everything from semiconductor chips to cancer cells, the scientists say.

They are improving a lensless imaging technique called “coherent diffraction imaging,” which has been around since the 1980s. To take a picture… read more

Self-Assembled Materials Form Mini Stem Cell Lab

March 28, 2008

Northwestern University researchers have built self-assembling thin-film sacs able to hold human stem cells for four weeks in culture, keeping the cells separated while allowing proteins to cross the membrane.

This new mode of self-assembly from a mix of peptide amphiphiles and biopolymers also can produce thin films whose size and shape can be tailored. The method could be used in cell therapy and other biological applications and in… read more

Molecular electronics bridge for carbon nanotubes

January 22, 2006

Columbia University scientists have developed a unique way to connect the ends of carbon nanotubes by forming robust molecular bridges between them. The Columbia team was able to combine the best qualities of carbon nanotubes and organic molecules in a single electronic switch.

This new method of wiring molecules into the gaps of single-walled carbon nanotubes employs oxidative cutting — a lithographic technique that makes each cut-end of the… read more

How to detect where pluripotent stem cells want to go

July 11, 2011

Researchers at the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute have discovered how human pluripotent stem cells (those capable of differentiating into many cell types) make decisions about what cell type to become: the destination is actually encoded by how their DNA is arranged, and this can be detected by specific proteins on the surface of the stem cells.

When they isolated stem cells with… read more

Booze to Fuel Gadget Batteries

April 18, 2003

A new breed of biofuel cell, fueled by ethyl alcohol (ethanol), may become the power source of choice for portable electronics.

Prior experiments have used methanol as fuel. Ethanol is not toxic like methanol, easier to deal with, easier to get hold off (straight out of the bottle), and more active than methanol in the presence of enzymes, which are used as catalysts.

A working prototype is expected… read more

Machines could ultimately match human intelligence, says Intel CTO

September 23, 2009

“It’s not inconceivable we’ll reach a point that machines do match human intelligence,” said Intel CTO Justin Rattner, referring to the concept of the technological Singularity.

Rattner said the fundamental technologies behind a future exaflop machine could be demonstrated by the middle of next decade, and — depending on government investment — the first exaflop machines could become operational in the second half of the decade, depending on overcoming… read more

No More Blind Spots: Drop Washes Away Cataracts

April 2, 2008

Chakshu Research engineer Rajiv Bhushan has invented eye drops that break up the oxidative-stress-caused accumulation of proteins and lipids that makes up cataracts in the lens.

Now in phase 3 clinical trials, the drops would be the first non-surgical treatment for cataracts.

New design for transistors powered by single electrons

February 3, 2006

Scientists have demonstrated the first reproducible, controllable silicon transistors that are turned on and off by the motion of individual electrons. The experimental devices, designed and fabricated at NTT Corp. of Japan and tested at NIST, may have applications in low-power nanoelectronics, particularly as next-generation integrated circuits for logic operations (as opposed to simpler memory tasks).

The transistors are based on the principle that as device sizes shrink to… read more

Robot film fest imagines a future filled with machines

July 19, 2011


The first Robot Film Festival was held this past weekend at the 3-Legged Dog Art and Technology Center in Manhattan.

Organizer Heather Knight, a roboticist at Carnegie Mellon University, hoped the 53 films accepted into the film festival would help us explore a future in which we are closely surrounded by robots.

A sampling:

The Machine: a man builds a robot that goes… read more

Einstein and Newton showed signs of autism

May 1, 2003

British scientists believe Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton may have suffered from Asperger syndrome — a form of autism.

The disorder causes deficiencies in social and communication skills and obsessive interests.

“Newton seems like a classic case. He hardly spoke, was so engrossed in his work that he often forgot to eat, and was lukewarm or bad-tempered with the few friends he had. If no one turned up… read more

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