science + technology news

U.S. Lifts Moratorium on New Solar Projects

July 3, 2008

Under increasing public pressure over its decision to temporarily halt all new solar development on public land, the Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday that it was lifting the freeze, barely a month after it was put into effect.

See also: Citing Need for Assessments, U.S. Freezes Solar Energy Projects

Solving a 3.5 billion-year-old mystery

June 6, 2013

This artist's conception shows a young, hypothetical planet around a cool star. A soupy mix of potentially life-forming chemicals can be seen pooling around the base of the jagged rocks. Photo illustration by NASA.

A University of South Florida researcher is part of a team that determined that life-producing phosphorus was carried to Earth by meteorites.

USF Assistant Professor of Geology Matthew Pasek and researchers from the University of Washington and the Edinburg Centre for Carbon Innovation, revealed new findings that explain how the reactive phosphorus that was an essential component for creating the earliest life forms came to Earth.… read more

Gold mine holds life untouched by the Sun

October 19, 2006

The first known organisms that live totally independently of the sun have been discovered deep in a South African gold mine, raising hopes of finding similar creatures on other planets.

Uranium and other radioactive elements in the rock emit radiation that shatters water molecules, producing high-energy hydrogen gas that is able to cleave chemical bonds.

The bacteria exploit this hydrogen gas to turn sulphate (SO4) molecules from the… read more

Bio-assembling in 3D with magnetic levitation

December 16, 2011

n3d_bioassembler

Replacing petri dishes, a new technology pioneered by Houston-based n3D Biosciences promises to float cells in a 3D matrix, using nanoparticles and magnetism, Technology Review Mim’s Bits reports.

They’ve managed to tune this effect until it can create a “BioAssembler” that leads to “rapid formation of levitated 3D cell cultures.” The system is an alternative to bioprinting, in which layers of cells are… read more

Cal researchers advance goal of artificial muscles

December 5, 2003

University of California at Berkeley researchers have taken a significant step in the development of synthetic muscles for patients who experience significant muscle loss due to injury or to diseases such as muscular dystrophy.

Common drugs may combat aging disease

July 10, 2008

University of Oviedo (Spain) researchers have found that two common drugs–statins (used to reduce cholesterol) and bisphosphonates (used to curb osteoporosis)–have reversed the effects in mice of progeria, a rare genetic disease that causes premature aging.

Progeria accelerates aging from early childhood and is usually fatal before puberty. It is caused by gene mutations that disrupt production of the protein prelamin A, found inside the nuclei of cells. The… read more

Nanotube Computing Breakthrough

November 1, 2006

A method for sorting nanotubes by electronic properties could help make widespread nanotube-based electronics a reality.

The new process separates metallic and semiconducting nanotubes. It also segregates them by diameter (another important parameter for reliable computer chips) and eliminates contaminants, such as other forms of carbon.

Nanowire sensors to allow instant medical tests

December 17, 2003

A silicon nanowire sensor has the potential to detect diseases never before possible with conventional tests, according to researcher Charles M. Lieber, a professor of chemistry at Harvard.

An array of sensors could ultimately be configured to a handheld PDA-type device or small computer, allowing almost instant test results during a doctor’s visit or possibly even at home by a patient. It could potentially be used to screen for… read more

Study: Low-carb diet best for weight, cholesterol

July 17, 2008

A low-carb diet and a Mediterranean-style regimen helped people lose more weight than a traditional low-fat diet in one of the longest and largest studies to compare the dueling weight-loss techniques.

The study was conducted by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and will be published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The low-fat diet — no more than 30 percent of calories from fat… read more

Charging Batteries without Wires

November 15, 2006

MIT researchers have worked out a theoretical scheme for a wireless-energy transfer that could charge or power devices within a couple of meters of a small power “base station” plugged into an electrical outlet.

The power base station would emit low-frequency electromagnetic radiation in the range of 4 to 10 megahertz. A receiver within a gadget–such as a power-harvesting circuit–could be designed to resonate at the same frequency emitted… read more

The Fantasy and Reality of 2004

December 30, 2003

Experts say what they’d like to see happen in 2004 and what they think will happen.

Howard Rheingold, author and virtual community pioneer:

“I wish an interdisciplinary investigation (PDF) of human cooperation and collective action would begin to emerge in 2004, bringing together scientists, scholars and practitioners in self-organizing Internet politics, peer-to-peer computation, the sociology of managing common pool resources, the economics of open-source production, the… read more

Broadband Trojan Horse

March 15, 2010

The Federal Communications Commission is set to unveil a “national broadband plan” Tuesday that is opposed by industry and without any of the five commissioners voting on it.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is moving to increase the reach of his agency and expand government control of the Web, with “open access” regulations. And he recommends forcing major broadband providers like Time Warner Cable and Qwest to share their high-speed… read more

Human-frog hybrids aid autism investigations

July 23, 2008

University of California, Irvine researchers have made human-frog hybrid cells that can be used to directly study neurotransmitter signaling of brain-cell membranes from people who had autism, epilepsy, or other neurological disorders.

Brain cell membranes (taken from brain tissue samples of deceased patients with a particular disease) contain neurotransmitter receptors and channels to let molecules through the membranes. When the membranes are fused with frog eggs, the receptors and… read more

Still Waiting for Personalized Medicine

November 28, 2006

Pharmacogenomics–a field whose researchers aim to let doctors tailor prescriptions to their patients’ genetic makeups–is one of the most tantalizing promises of the genomic era: quick and easy tests that tell you which drugs to take or what dose is right for you.

A few tests have been developed for specific diseases, such as cancer–most notably a genetic test that predicts which lung cancer patients will respond to some… read more

Today’s wearable computers help you sleep, not tweet

January 5, 2012

Lark

New wearable devices are helping to promote wellness by helping people understand health issues before they became problems, New York Times Bits reports.

Lark, a start-up based in Mountain View, Calif., makes a wearable sleep tracking monitor that tracks more than 3,000 micro data points each night through a wrist device users put on before going to sleep.

Lark’s software, which runs on a smartphone, then parses through… read more

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