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The hidden costs of a ‘dirty bomb’ attack in L.A.

April 26, 2012


Initial damage and psychological effects of a dirty bomb attack on downtown L.A.’s financial district would cost nearly $16 billion over a decade and psychological effects could persist for a decade, according to a study by internationally recognized economists and decision scientists in the current issue of Risk Analysis.

The study monetized the effects of fear and risk perception and incorporated them into a state-of-the-art macroeconomic model.… read more

The High and Low Notes of the Universe

November 3, 2003

The 10-micron-long Cornell nano-guitar, first built in 1997 but only now played for the first time, twangs at a frequency of 40 megahertz, some 17 octaves (or a factor of 130,000) higher than a normal guitar.

There is no practical microphone available for picking up the guitar sounds, but the reflected laser light could be computer processed to provide an equivalent acoustic trace at a much lower frequency. The… read more

The highest-resolution immersive visualization facility ever built

November 21, 2012


Stony Brook University (SBU) recently unveiled its new Reality Deck, with 1.5 billion pixels total on 416 super-high-resolution screens in a four-walled surround-view theater — the highest-resolution  immersive display ever built — and driven by a 220 TFLOPs graphic supercomputer.

Its purpose and primary design principle is to enable scientists, engineers, and physicians to tackle current problems that require the visualization of vast amounts of… read more

The hivemind Singularity

What if the Singularity is a giant slime-mold-like overmind, and the "posthuman" isn't a cyborg, but instead, a cell in this giant's body?
July 18, 2012

New Model Army

 In New Model Army, a near-future science fiction novel by Adam Roberts,  human intelligence evolves into a hivemind that makes people the violent cells of a collective being, says Alan Jacobs in The Atlantic.

New Model Army raises a set of discomfiting questions: Are our electronic technologies on the verge of enabling truly collective human intelligence? And if that happens, will we like the results?

Roberts… read more

The Holes in Our Genomes

September 19, 2008

New microarray tools should generate a more complete picture of the genetic root of common diseases by screening for “copy number variations” (deletions, duplications, and rearrangements of stretches of DNA ranging in size from one thousand to one million base pairs).

The home of the future takes one step closer as AlertMe smart home tech partners with British Gas

May 22, 2012


AlertMe, the smart home tech company has sealed a deal with British Gas to provide a personalized energy efficiency advice service to UK customers with smart meters.

Smart meters will have a display that shows customers how much energy they are using. The AlertMe service breaks down the information for comparison with similar households, actionable recommendations (like getting insulation or double glazing to… read more

The hormone of darkness: melatonin could hurt memory formation at night

November 16, 2007

Gregg W. Roman, assistant professor in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Houston, has found that melatonin directly inhibits memory formation at night, based on experiments with zebrafish.

The experiments also suggest that the use of melatonin receptor antagonists may allow for retaining the beneficial effects of melatonin’s antioxidant properties without the negative cognitive effects. Such benefits include fighting free radical damage to slow some… read more

The hot tech gig of 2022: data scientist

January 9, 2012

By the end of the decade, 50 billion devices will be emitting information nonstop. The deluge of data will create demand for “data scientists” — one part mathematician, one part product-development guru, one part detective — who will help manage it all.


The Hulk vs. nanobots

June 23, 2003

The just-released movie “The Hulk” features scientists “studying the effects of gamma radiation on nanomeds,” a.k.a. “nanobots,” according to the Official site.

Predictably, à la the novel Prey, the experiment gets out of control and a scientist is exposed to gamma radiation from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Gamma Sphere that activates a “dormant genetic mutation” and gives a whole new meaning to “Green Goo.” (The actual… read more

The human body, searchable in 3-D

May 11, 2011

BodyMaps, a 3-D visual search tool, showing inner brain (credit: Healthline and GE Healthyimagine)

The first online 3-D interactive search tool for the human body has been developed by Healthline Networks, a company that provides medical information to consumers online, and GE Healthyimagination, a web-based platform.

BodyMaps, a web-based 3-D visual search tool, allows users to view and navigate the human anatomy, male or female, down to the finest detail — from the muscles and deep muscles to the… read more

The human brain is on the edge of chaos

March 21, 2009

Human brain dynamics exist at a critical point on the edge of chaos or self-organized criticality, allowing us to switch quickly between mental states to respond to changing environmental conditions, Cambridge researchers have found.

The researchers used state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques to measure dynamic changes in the synchronization of activity between different regions of the functional network in the human brain.

Computational networks showing these characteristics have also… read more

The Human Brain Project has officially begun

Scientists from the 135 partner institutions meeting in Switzerland this week
October 7, 2013


On Monday, October 7, 2013, scientists from the 135 partner institutions of the Human Brain Project — “the world’s most ambitious neuroscience project”— met at EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), the coordinating institution, in Switzerland.

Over the course of the coming week, neuroscientists, doctors, computer scientists, and roboticists will fine-tune the project’s details.

Six months after its selection by the EU as one… read more

The Human Genome in 3-D

October 9, 2009


DNA molecules appear to form a polymer structure known as a fractal globule, in which segments that are close to each other in the linear sequence are also close in the three-dimensional globule, researchers have found.

The Human Genome: Yours for $48,000

June 12, 2009

A $48,000 genome-sequencing service has been launched by Illumina.

While $48,000 is still out of reach for most consumers, the price reflects an exponential drop in the cost of sequencing technologies in recent years.

The human genome’s breaking points

February 3, 2011

Distribution of SVs on chromosome 10 (Nature)

A detailed analysis of data from 185 human genomes sequenced in the course of the 1000 Genomes Project has identified the genetic sequence of an unprecedented 28,000 structural variants (SVs) — large portions of the human genome that differ from one person to another.

The work, published today in Nature, could help find the genetic causes of some diseases and also begins to explain why certain parts of the… read more

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