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Unlocking the Brain’s Secrets

August 1, 2003

An international team of six scientists has been involved in scanning thousands of images of the brains of people of all ages with a range of conditions, in the hopes of creating a “map” that would reveal the mysteries of how the brain controls everything from language to movement.

Consciousness resolves competing muscle demands, study finds

October 1, 2009

The primary roles of consciousness are to bring together competing demands on skeletal muscle and decide which action “wins” and is carried out, and to allow individuals to adapt their actions in the future, according to San Francisco State University Assistant Professor of Psychology Ezequiel Morsella, lead author of a new study.

The study finds that we are only aware of competing actions that involve skeletal muscles that voluntarily… read more

Stem cell superpowers exposed

June 16, 2006

Biologists say they are close to finding a cellular elixir of youth: a cocktail of proteins that can convert adult cells into embryonic stem cells that are able to grow replacement tissues, according to two studies published in Nature June 14.

If found, this recipe could leapfrog the intense controversy involved in extracting stem cells from a human embryo, which is destroyed in the process.

Instead, doctors might… read more

One third of dementia risk attributable to small vessel disease

April 7, 2008

University of Washington researchers studying autopsies have found that for a third of people who became demented before death, the cause was small blood vessel disease–the cumulative effect of multiple small strokes caused by hypertension and diabetes.

A person with this disease experiences no sensation or problems until the cumulative effect reaches a tipping point. However, methods for preventing complications of hypertension and diabetes are currently available.… read more

The New Diamond Age

August 12, 2003

Diamond microchips could handle higher temperatures than today’s microprocessors, allowing them to run at speeds that would liquefy ordinary silicon.

“If Moore’s law is going to be maintained, processors are going to get hotter and hotter,” says Bernhardt Wuensch, an MIT professor of materials science. “Eventually, silicon is just going to turn into a puddle. Diamond is the solution to that problem.”

Two startups are developing multicarat, gem-quality… read more

Nerve cells live double lives

October 7, 2009

A new neural circuit in the retina responsible for both the detection of approaching objects and night vision has been identified by Scientists at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research.

The results demonstrate that the capacity of the nervous system to process information is increased many times when different types of nerve cells are involved in multiple perceptions.

Mother Nature’s Design Workshop

June 28, 2006

Scientists find the inspiration for the latest in surveillance and defense technologies by studying insects and other small creatures.

The Office of Naval Research has developed a Bio-Inspired Autonomous Undersea Vehicle, or BUAV, which draws on the principles behind fly wings and fish fins in its propulsion and maneuvering. UC Berkeley scientists have developed an artificial compound eye, inspired by the eyes of dragonflies or houseflies.

Surprising twist in debate over lab-made H5N1

March 11, 2012

H5N1 virus (credit: Lennart Nilsson)

A researcher who created one of the H5N1 mutants and a leading U.S. health official say the threat has been blown out of proportion, offering what they said were clarifications and “new data” to better gauge the risk it presents.

Contrary to widespread reports, the researcher, Ron Fouchier of Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, revealed that the virus made in his lab does not kill ferrets infected by… read more

Social networking sites to go 3D

April 9, 2008

Vivaty of Menlo Park, California, is creating a hybrid of conventional social networking sites such as Facebook and virtual worlds like Second Life.

To be offered to Facebook users, Vivaty users will get access to a virtual room where they can adorn the walls with photos, watch a virtual television that plays YouTube, invite friends over to join them, and chat via 3D avatars.

Kurzweil debates ‘law of accelerating returns’ with Denton, Tuomi

August 21, 2003

Ray Kurzweil, noted inventor, software developer and futurist, will present his work on “the law of accelerating returns” and debate its merits with biologist Michael Denton and innovation theorist Ilkka Tuomi at Accelerating Change ’03.

Twenty-four prominent thinkers will offer their insights from across a broad spectrum of cutting edge disciplines, such as biological computing, nanotech, cosmology, and futurism.

John Koza (Genetic Programming IV: Human-Competitive Machine… read more

TRANSCENDENT MAN film debuts at AFI film festival in Hollywood

October 15, 2009

TRANSCENDENT MAN will make its west coast festival debut on November 5th at 4:00 p.m. at the American Film Institute’s 2009 Film Festival at the Mann Chinese 6 Theatre in Hollywood.

The feature-length documentary film by director Barry Ptolemy chronicles the life and controversial ideas of Ray Kurzweil, exploring the social and philosophical implications of the profound changes ahead and the potential threats they pose to human… read more

DVD uses bug protein to store data

July 9, 2006

DVDs coated with a layer of protein made from genetically altered microbe proteins, could allow DVDs and other external devices to store 50 terabytes of data.

Galileo to spearhead extension of worldwide search and rescue service

March 14, 2012

Galileo GNSS

The global reach of Europe’s Galileo navigation system is being harnessed to pinpoint distress calls for rapid search and rescue.

Satellites locate the source of distress calls from radio beacons on ships and aircraft, then local authorities are alerted.



Cancer Therapy Without Side Effects Nearing Trials

April 15, 2008

A promising new cancer treatment that may one day replace radiation and chemotherapy is edging closer to human trials.

Kanzius RF therapy attaches gold or carbon nanoparticles to cancer cells identified by recognition molecules, and then “cooks” tumors inside the body with harmless radio waves.

IBM finds ally for supercomputer-on-a-chip

August 28, 2003

IBM and the University of Texas at Austin plan to collaborate on building a processor capable of more than 1 trillion calculations per second–faster than many of today’s top supercomputers–by 2010.

Prototypes are expected to be running in the lab by December 2005, capable of 32 billion operations per second, theoretically.

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