science + technology news

Gene turn-off makes meek mice fearless

November 18, 2005

Deactivating the gene that codes for the protein stathmin transforms meek mice into daredevils, researchers have found. The team believe the research might one day enable people suffering from phobias or anxiety disorders to be clinically treated.

The protein is known to destabilise microtubule structures that help maintain the connections between neurons. This allows the neurons to make new connections, allowing the animal to learn and process fear experiences,… read more

The food you eat may change your genes for life

November 18, 2005

Normal rats have been made to behave differently just by injecting them with L-methionine, a common amino acid and food supplement. The change to their behavior was permanent. The amino acid altered the way the rat’s genes were expressed, raising the idea that drugs or dietary supplements might permanently halt the genetic effects that predispose people to mental or physical illness.

Can Earth’s seismic radio help predict quakes?

November 18, 2005

Scientists are studying possible earthquake precusors based on ultra low frequency (ULF) signals generated in the Earth and ionospheric disturbances between 3 and 30 kilohertz.

UN predicts ‘internet of things’

November 18, 2005

Changes brought about by the Internet will be dwarfed by those prompted by the networking of everyday objects, says a report by a UN body.

The study looks at how the use of electronic tags and sensors could create an “internet of things”.


E-Mail Is So Five Minutes Ago

November 18, 2005

Corporate workers are ditching e-mail in favor of other software tools that function as real-time virtual workspaces.

Among them: private workplace wikis (searchable, archivable sites that allow a dedicated group of people to comment on and edit one another’s work in real time); blogs (chronicles of thoughts and interests); Instant Messenger (which enables users to see who is online and thus chat with them immediately rather than send an… read more

Hyper-Entangled Photon Pairs

November 17, 2005

Physicists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated for the first time the entanglement of two objects not merely in one aspect of their quantum natures, such as spin, but in a multitude of other ways: energy, momentum, and orbital angular momentum.

For the purpose of quantum computing or communication it might be of some advantage if multiple quantum bits (or qubits) of information can be encoded… read more

Connective tissue cells from lungs fused with heart muscle to form biological pacemaker

November 17, 2005

Johns Hopkins scientists fused common connective tissue cells taken from lungs with heart muscle cells to create a safe and effective biological pacemaker whose cells can fire on their own and naturally regulate the muscle’s rhythmic beat.

“This work with fibroblasts could pave the way to an alternative to implanted electronic pacemakers,” says Eduardo Marban, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chief of cardiology at Hopkins and its Heart Institute. “Such… read more

Artificial and Biological Intelligence

November 17, 2005

If machines with consciousness are created, they would be living machines, that is, variations on life forms as we know them, says Subhash Kak, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Louisiana State University.

The material world is not causally closed, and consciousness influences its evolution. Matter and minds complement each other. At the level of the individual, even medical science that is strongly based on the machine paradigm has now… read more

Visionary Kurzweil Touts Technologies Of Tomorrow

November 17, 2005

Computer visionary Ray Kurzweil examined the effects of accelerating growth of technologies on the present and future of human technological innovation during a speech at the ninth annual CRN Industry Hall of Fame, held Tuesday in Santa Clara, Calif.

The bulk of human intelligence is pattern recognition, which Kurzweil said is the quintessential example of a self-organizing system. This will be instrumental in the development of future Web-based applications,… read more

World first trial grows blood vessels from patient’s own skin

November 17, 2005

Scientists have successfully implanted blood vessels grown entirely from a patient’s own cells.

The veins were created in a laboratory by scientists at Cytograft Tissue Engineering before being transplanted into patients undergoing kidney dialysis to test whether they could withstand high blood pressures.

The team is now about to embark on an unprecedented trial at Papworth hospital in Cambridge, which will see lab-grown blood vessels used in heart… read more

Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes

November 17, 2005

“Are you ready to see the Net privatized from the bottom to the top? Are you ready to see the Net’s free and open marketplace sucked into a pit of pipes built and fitted by the phone and cable companies and run according to rules lobbied by the carrier and content industries?

“Do you believe a free and open market should be ‘Your choice of walled garden’ or ‘Your… read more

Ultra-sensitive microscope reveals DNA processes

November 16, 2005

A new microscope sensitive enough to track the real-time motion of a single protein, right down to the scale of its individual atoms, has revealed how genes are copied from DNA.

Plastic diode could lead to flexible, low power computer circuits, memory

November 15, 2005

Ohio State University researchers have invented a new organic polymer tunnel diode, which could one day lead to plastic computer memory and plastic logic circuits on computer chips.

The diode design lends itself to easy, inexpensive manufacturing for smart cards and other memory devices.

Source: Ohio State University news release

Googling Your Genes

November 15, 2005

“Sergey Brin and Larry Page have ambitious long-term plans for Google’s expansion into the fields of biology and genetics through the fusion of science, medicine, and technology…. ‘Too few people in computer science are aware of some of the informational challenges in biology and their implications for the world,’ Brin says….,” in The Google Story by David A. Vise.

“‘The ultimate search engine,’ says Page, ‘would understand exactly what… read more

PET Imaging Reveals the Immune System at Work

November 14, 2005

Researchers at Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) at the University of California Los Angeles have taken a key step toward noninvasively viewing how a cell confronts disease by using positron emission tomography (PET) to observe key cells of the immune system as they responded to tumors in mice.

In their experiments, they were able to see the lymph nodes, which resided at some distance from the tumor, spring into… read more

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