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By amplifying cell death signals, scientists make precancerous cells self-destruct

August 18, 2008

Rockefeller University scientists have figured out a way in mice to amplify the signals that tell precancerous cells to die, by inactivating the IAP protein (stands for “inhibitor of apoptosis protein”), which normally helps cells avoid self-destruction.

So much space, so little time: why aliens haven’t found us yet

January 19, 2007

Rasmus Bjork, a physicist at the Niels Bohr institute, believes he may have solved the Fermi paradox.

Using a computer simulation of our own galaxy, he found that even if the alien ships could hurtle through space at a tenth of the speed of light, it would take 10 billion years to explore just 4 percent of the galaxy.

Life After Moore’s Law

May 3, 2010

“We have reached the limit of what is possible with one or more traditional, serial central processing units, or CPUs,” says Bill Dally, chief scientist and senior vice president of research at NVIDIA, citing the failure of power scaling (energy consumed by each unit of computing would decrease as the number of transistors increased).

“It is past time for the computing industry–and everyone who relies on it for continued… read more

In search of the deep Web

March 10, 2004

The next generation of Web search engines will do more than give you a longer list of search results. They will disrupt the information economy.

The search engines now under development are exploring methods for penetrating the terabytes of data hidden from search engines in databases — some 500 times more data than the surface Web.

How to Travel at a Million Files a Minute

August 22, 2008

For faster surfing, upgrade to a higher-tier Internet access, add more RAM to your computer, switch to Firefox, and use Google Web Accelerator (for Windows).

Fuel cell automatically throttles its power

January 29, 2007

A fuel cell that efficiently regulates its own power output based on the amount of hydrogen it is fed has been developed. The simple control mechanism could extend the range of devices that can practically be powered using fuel cells.

Lining Up

May 11, 2010

Magnetic "nanodots" made of nickel could help improve the capacity of memory chips (Jay Narayan)

A new technique developed by researchers at North Carolina State University makes it possible to arrange magnetic “nanodots”–particles around six nanometers wide–in orderly arrays, making it easier to use them to store bits of information magnetically.

A nanodot chip measuring one centimeter square could, in theory, store a terabit of data–50 times more than flash, the densest form of memory currently available.

Hello, is there anybody out there?

March 19, 2004

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen announced a gift of $13.5 million to begin construction of an unprecedented new radio astronomy telescope in Northern California primarily dedicated to SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. The gift is in addition to his earlier donation of $11.5 million.

The Allen Telescope Array will be a state-of-the-art network of 350 small radio-frequency dishes spread across about 2.5 acres of land. It will allow… read more

Neutralizing Fluorocarbons

August 29, 2008

Researchers at Brandeis University have found a catalyst that breaks the carbon-fluorine bond at room temperature, promising easier and more effective disposal of pollutants.

Imaging Deception in the Brain

February 7, 2007

FMRI-based lie-detection systems seek to assess a direct measure of deceit: the level of activity in brain areas linked with lying.

Studies have shown that the brain appears more active when someone is telling a falsehood, especially the brain areas involved in resolving conflict and cognitive control. Scientists think that lying is more cognitively complex than telling the truth, and therefore it activates more of the brain.

Teaching robots some manners

May 18, 2010

Roboticists are attempting to program robots with socially acceptable behavior.

University of Washington researchers have developed an algorithm that allows a virtual robot to navigate a crowd like a human instead of plowing directly through.

Methane poses Mars life puzzle

March 29, 2004

Methane has been found in the Martian atmosphere, which means it’s from either active volcanoes (none have yet been found on Mars) or present-day microbes.

Serious Potential in Google’s Browser

September 4, 2008

Google’s minimalist Chrome browser is built for a future that blurs the lines of Web and desktop.

oogle argues that current Web browsers were designed before so many of the developments that characterize today’s Web: video everywhere, scams and spyware, viruses that lurk even on legitimate sites, Web-based games and ambitious Web-based programs like Google’s own Docs word processor.

As Google’s blog puts it, “We realized that the… read more

RFID ‘Powder’ — World’s Smallest RFID Tag

February 15, 2007

The world’s smallest and thinnest RFID tags have been introduced by Hitachi, measuring just 0.05 x 0.05 millimeters.

The new “powder type” chips have a 128-bit ROM for storing a unique 38 digit number and could be worked into any product to assure theft of consumer goods would be practically impossible.

These devices could also be used to identify and track people. For example, suppose you participated in… read more

Sound-blasting chips for on-the-spot forensics

May 26, 2010

By using surface acoustic waves (SAWs) to manipulate biological samples on a “lab-on-a-chip,” rapid, on-the-spot chemical analysis and diagnosis of disease has moved closer to reality.

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