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Coronal mass ejection headed toward Earth

August 3, 2010


Early Sunday morning, the Sun’s surface erupted and blasted tons of plasma (ionized atoms) into interplanetary space directly toward us. When this coronal mass ejection arrives early in the day on August 4th, it could create a spectacular light show, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has reported.

When a coronal mass ejection reaches Earth, it interacts with our planet’s magnetic field, potentially creating a geomagnetic storm. Solar particles stream down… read more

John Doerr’s Advice for Barack Obama: Hire Bill Joy

November 7, 2008

Venture capitalist John Doerr has recommended that president-elect Barack Obama hire Bill Joy as chief technology officer of the United States (a new position that Obama is planning) to kick-start a huge amount of research and innovation in energy.

His other recommendations: Double the number of engineers who graduate from American universities each year to 60,000, bring more women into the field, encourage foreigners who study engineering here to… read more

The Next Human Genome Project: Our Microbes

May 2, 2007

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is now considering a project, dubbed the human microbiome, to sequence the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies.

The project could reveal whether different organisms are correlated with different health states, and could ultimately become a routine part of medical exams, perhaps used to diagnose different diseases.

Handheld Computer-Phone Is Here

July 27, 2004

T-Mobile USA and Hewlett-Packard will introduce the first-ever handheld computer that also works as a cell phone and can tap into the Internet using high-speed wireless hot spots next month.

Delivering a knockout

August 12, 2010

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in genetically engineering a rat by specifically removing a single gene,  reported online August 11 in Nature. The process is known to geneticists as “knocking out” a gene; in this case, the gene encodes a powerful anticancer protein known as p53.

Rats lacking the gene p53, which are likely to be used to study cancer and its treatment, will be available to researchers through… read more

Scientists fabricate first plasma transistor

November 13, 2008

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed a rugged microplasma transistor by integrating a conventional microcavity plasma device with an electron emitter.

The microplasma transistor could be used as an improved transistor in high-resolution displays for cell phones, portable DVD players, environmental sensors (producing plasmas in air samples and detecting light produced by pollutants) and biomedical diagnostics.

Scientists look high in the sky for power

May 10, 2007

Scientists are eyeing the jet stream, an energy source that rages night and day, 365 days a year, just a few miles above our heads. If they can tap into its fierce winds, the world’s entire electrical needs could be met, they say.

Dozens of researchers in California and around the world believe huge kite-like wind-power generators could be the solution.

Mayo Builds Toward Customized Medicine

August 9, 2004

Hoping to customize medical treatments to individual patients, Mayo Clinic and IBM are applying pattern recognition and data mining to the electronic records of about 4.4 million Mayo patients.

The goal is to find patterns–based on age, medical history, genetics, and other factors–related to how patients respond to various treatments and adapt care accordingly. The researchers will also search patient data for relationships among particular proteins, genetic makeup, and… read more

Mining Mood Swings on the Real-Time Web

August 24, 2010

This widget shows current sentiment toward competing Web browsers (Viralheat)

Social-media analytics startup Viralheat is now offering free, real-time access to the data it is collecting on attitudes toward particular topics or products. One of the first customers for this new service — called Social Trends — is ESPN, which plans to use Social Trends to show live popularity rankings for different NFL teams.

Viralheat uses natural-language processing and machine learning to sift through Twitter, Facebookread more

Microsoft Releases New Robot-Building Software

November 19, 2008

Microsoft has released Robotics Developer Studio 2008, a software program that enables users to create applications for robots.

Nanotube textile could make super-light armour

May 24, 2007

A breakthrough textile made from carbon nanotubes could make lighter bullet-proof clothing, wiring for aircraft and more efficient power transmission lines.

Language may shape human thought

August 23, 2004

Language may shape human thought, suggests a counting study in a Brazilian tribe whose language does not define numbers above two.

Writer Neal Stephenson unveils his digital novel The Mongoliad

September 1, 2010


Author Neal Stephenson has launched Subutai, which has developed the “PULP platform” for creating digital novels, using a new model for publishing books in which authors can add additional material like background articles, images, music, and video. There are also social features that allow readers to create their own profiles, earn badges for activity on the site or in the application, and interact with other readers..

Their first… read more

In an Age of Robots, One to Clean the House? Still but a Dream

November 25, 2008

Today’s experimental robots bear little physical resemblance to our fantasy androids, reflecting a larger truth in the field of robotics: the attempt to build thinking machines that can perceive the world around them and then act on that awareness.

Discovery raises hopes for levitating trains

June 4, 2007

University of Sherbrooke physicists have discovered a “quantum oscillation signature” that may be the key to figuring out what causes electrons in some special metals to switch to superconducting behavior.

With that insight, they expect to be able to tweak the structure at the microscopic level to trigger superconducting at room temperatures.

One of the most promising applications for such superconducting metals is in magnetic levitation trains, which… read more

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