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Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes

November 10, 2008

Miniature nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos National Labs.

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion. Their goal: 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world at a cost of approximately $25 million each. For a community with 10,000 households, that’s $250 per home.

‘Solar funnel’ concentrates solar energy 100 times

September 13, 2010

This filament containing about 30 million carbon nanotubes absorbs energy from the sun as photons and then re-emits photons of lower energy, creating the fluorescence seen here. The red regions indicate highest energy intensity, and green and blue are lower intensity. (Geraldine Paulus)

Using carbon nanotubes, MIT chemical engineers have found a way to concentrate solar energy 100 times more than a regular photovoltaic cell. Such nanotubes could form antennas that capture and focus light energy, potentially allowing much smaller and more powerful solar arrays.

Solar cells are usually grouped in large arrays, often on rooftops, because each cell can generate only a limited amount of power. However, not every… read more

Disaster Movie Makes Waves

June 1, 2004

The Day After Tomorrow eco-disaster film’s premise that human activity could trigger a sudden ice age is unlikely, say scientists.

Bacteria vs. Humans: Score One for Us

April 6, 2007

Biochemist Floyd Romesberg of the Scripps Research Institute has discovered a molecule that inhibits a specific gene’s ability to cause mutations and slips easily into a bacterial cell.

Taken in combination with antibiotics, it would prevent the bugs from mutating in response to the antibiotics, thereby preventing resistant strains from developing. The drug could also be used to restore the effectiveness of older antibiotics that have been rendered almost… read more

‘Elixir of youth’ drug could fight HIV and ageing

November 14, 2008

TAT2, a drug that boosts telomerase and that is extracted from the Astragalus plant (used in Chinese medicine), has helped immune cells fight HIV and raises the possibility of slowing the aging process in other parts of our bodies, UCLA scientists have found.

SIA boosts forecast, touts nano effort

June 11, 2004

The U.S. electronics industry’s long-term prospects could dim unless a national effort to boost nanoelectronics gets underway, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.

Many believe that the higher leakage currents that come with scaling CMOS devices will force the industry to adopt new technologies by 2020.

John Kelly, senior vice president for IBM’s Technology Group, called for the creation of a National Research Institute to lead a “massive,… read more

Post Mortal Syndrome

April 16, 2007

COSMOS Magazine On-line has posted the first of 56 episodes of POST MORTAL SYNDROME, an sf thriller about life- and intelligence-extension by Damien Broderick and Barbara Lamar, available for free download.

“It’s allegorical rather than scientifically exact, a sort of optimistic answer to ‘Flowers for Algernon,’ and is an attempt to reach (and entertain) a large non-specialist audience with some upbeat transhumanist ideas,” Broderick told… read more

Hunting for a Brainy Computer

November 20, 2008

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded a $4.9 million grant to five universities and IBM Research for the first phase of an ambitious research venture in cognitive computing, an emerging field that lies at the outer edge of artificial intelligence and is based on advances in computing, nanotechnology and neuroscience.

The leader of IBM’s cognitive computing program, Dharmendra Modha, describes the research as “the quest to engineer… read more

Nanostructuring Technology Creates Energy-Efficient, Ultra-Small Displays

September 29, 2010

Schematic of color filters made of plasmonic nano-resonators (L. Jay Guo of University of Michigan)

University of Michigan scientists have created the smallest pixels available that will enable LED, projected, and wearable displays to be more energy-efficient with more light manipulation possible, all on a display that may eventually be as small as a postage stamp.

This latest nanostructuring technology for the Air Force includes a new color filter made of nano-thin sheets of metal-dielectric-metal stack, which have perfectly-shaped slits that act as resonators.… read more

Corporate Servers Spreading IE Virus [Updated]

June 28, 2004

ZDNet is reporting that corporate web servers are infecting visitors’ PCs.

The combination of two unpatched IE security holes and hacked corporate websites is apparently distributing malware via several high-credibility sites. ZDNet says users have “few options” other than alternative browsers or platforms.”

A reader points out Microsoft’s What You Should Know page. Here’s the short version for avoiding this Critical severity attack: you must install add-on software,… read more

Practical Holographic Video

April 24, 2007

Researchers have designed a cheap and small holography system that will work with PCs and gaming consoles.

Regenerating Neurons in Eyes

November 25, 2008

Cells in the retina of mice can be coaxed to create new neurons following an injury, suggesting it may be possible to replace cells that are lost in diseases like macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, according to new research from the University of Washington.

Controllable nano-diode created

July 9, 2004

A more efficient nano-diode (linking together two carbon nanotubes) has been created by GE, marking another step towards practical atomic electronics.

The new process uses electric fields rather than doping to modify the diode properties. This allows for more adaptable types of nano-circuitry, since the electric fields can be varied to alter the properties of the diode, while doping is a fixed process.

Numerous obstacles must still be… read more

New Technique Weighs Single Living Cells

May 1, 2007

MIT researchers have found a way to measure the mass of single cells with high accuracy.

The new technique, which is based on a micromechanical detector, could allow researchers to develop inexpensive, portable diagnostic devices and might also offer a unique glimpse into how cells change as they undergo cell division.

Efficient Thin-Film Solar Cells

December 4, 2008
(Lirong Zeng)

MIT researchers have unveiled a new type of silicon solar cell that could be 15% more efficient and cost less than currently used solar cells.

It combines a highly effective reflector on the back of a solar cell with an antireflective coating on the front. This helps trap red and near-infrared light, which can be used to make electricity, in the silicon.

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