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The Guts of a Cell, Frozen in Time

December 17, 2007

A new twist on a technique called cryo-electron tomography offers a closer-than-ever look inside a human skin cell: it generates a 3-D image with resolution fine enough to distinguish the structures of proteins.

The new method, which involves freezing a cell and slicing it into thin sections, will allow scientists to probe how proteins organize and interact deep within a cell without disturbing them from their native states. The… read more

The Healing Power of Light

January 21, 2011

Broken polymer chains reform to repair a crack (Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Carnegie Mellon University)

A new polymer material created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Kyushu University that can repeatedly heal itself at room temperature when exposed to ultraviolet light presents the tantalizing possibility of products that can repair themselves when damaged.

Self-healing materials have been made before, mainly polymers and composites. But most of those have relied on tiny capsules that are filled with a healing agent. When the polymer cracks,… read more

The Health Effects of Social Networking

February 25, 2009

Two British scientists have recently suggested that spending all day, and much of the night networking on a computer might in fact be bad for your body and your brain.

Susan Greenfield, a neuroscientist at the University of Oxford, said her fear is that “these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small… read more

The Healthcare System: An Apple Tablet’s Biggest Opportunity

January 26, 2010

Apple’s “iTablet” could be destined to transform our care delivery system in a major way.

The promise of improved clinical information systems, based on real-time information updates across patient touchpoints could be a workflow game changer. If the tablet becomes the tool that is carried with a nurse or doctor on their travels from patient to patient, it will save time, money and lives by enabling the first “always… read more

The Healthy Promise of Biochips

January 23, 2004

Tracking the human genome was just the beginning. Now, biochips can be used to study many genetic aspects of a disease — and possibly a cure.

In a typical experiment, a drug researcher places a sample of diseased tissue that has been tagged with a fluorescent dye onto a gene-laden chip. A scanner then reads the chip, and if the DNA in the sample matches any of the genes… read more

The Healthy Skinny Pill

November 5, 2008

Sirtris Pharmaceuticals has developed a new compound, SRT1720, that blocks weight gain, obesity-related disorders, and insulin resistance in mice; it also increases muscle stamina and improves cholesterol.

The heat is on for sodium-manganese oxide rechargeable batteries

June 8, 2011

Manganese Oxide

Researchers at the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and visiting researchers from Wuhan University, China, have developed a method that improves the electrical capacity and recharging lifetime of sodium ion rechargeable batteries.

It’s a potentially cheaper alternative for large-scale uses, such as storing energy on the electrical grid.

The team mixed two different kinds of manganese oxide atomic building blocks: one whose… read more

The helmet that could turn back the symptoms of Alzheimer’s

January 30, 2008

An experimental helmet that could reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is to be tried out on patients.

It follows a study at the University of Sunderland that found infrared light can reverse memory loss in mice. Dr. Gordon Dougal, a director of Virulite, a medical research company, claims that only ten minutes under the hat a day is enough to have an effect.

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

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