science + technology news

Holographic discs set to smash storage records

January 23, 2009

Pioneering companies developing holographic data-storage devices could benefit from a new technique by storing at least 1000 gigabytes of data onto a standard disc.

A dual-layer Blu-ray disc can store 50 gigabytes.

In Case of Apocalypse Later, a Plan to Ensure America’s Regreening

August 9, 2007

The Millennium Seed Bank Project, run by the Royal Botanical Garden, in Kew, England, aims to collect seeds from 10 percent of the world’s flowering plant species and to stow them in a sort of climate-controlled Noah’s Ark against the possibility of depletion, whether by climate change, alien-species invasion, overdevelopment or apocalypse.

The project has received seeds from 100 countries and every imaginable ecosystem, from the palm forests of… read more

Small worlds come into focus with new Sandia microscope

June 12, 2012


Sandia’s new aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope (AC-STEM) is 50 to 100 times better than what came before, both in resolution and the time it takes to analyze a sample.

The AC-STEM delivers electron beams accelerated at voltages from 80 kV to 200 kV, allowing researchers to study properties of structures at the nanoscale — crucial for materials scientists working on everything from microelectronics to nuclear weapons.
High-clarity… read more

The Dream Factory

November 29, 2004

Neil Gershenfeld of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms and his students are cobbling together mobile manufacturing systems they call fabrication laboratories, or fab labs — miniature factories for the digital age.

The latest version consists of three Linux PCs, a laser cutter, a combination 3-D scanner and drill, a numerically controlled X-Acto knife, and a handful of RISC chips. You can crank out not only solid objects like… read more

China rocks Top 500 supercomputer list

November 15, 2010 has officially benchmarked the Chinese Tianhe-1A supercomputer system at 2.67 petaflops (quadrillion floating-point calculations per second), surpassing the former top achiever, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility’s Cray XT5 Jaguar system, which clocked in at 1.75 petaflops.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory plans to unveil the IBM Sequoia system in 2012, which will exceed 20 petaflops. Also that year, the DOE’s Argonne National… read more

Light-driven micromachines?

May 4, 2001

Scottish researchers have devised a way to use lasers to spin even the most delicate microscopic objects without damaging them. This system may give researchers an unprecedented amount of control for manipulating objects in living cells or components of micromachines.

“Our technique could be used to drive motors, mixers, centrifuges, and other rotating parts in cheap, tiny, automated technologies of the future,” said Science author Kishan Dholakia of St.… read more

Digging Deeper in Web Search

January 30, 2009

Surf Canyon’s browser add-on enhances individual searches on major search engines by evaluating which links you click on, and then instantly giving you revised search returns–including three sites that relate in some way to the site you clicked on, allowing for “real-time personalization.”

A Free Mesh Network for San Francisco

August 17, 2007

Meraki Networks, a wireless mesh-network company is bypassing San Francisco city hall, giving away some 200 wireless routers to city residents in the past couple of months.

The routers have been accessed by more than 6,000 city residents who can pick up the Wi-Fi signal. Meraki is now offering to expand the program to give away a few thousand routers, thereby building a free Wi-Fi mesh-network system from the… read more

New Way to Store Memory in Ferroelectric Nanodisks and Nanorods

December 9, 2004

University of Arkansas physicists have discovered a new phase in nanodisks and nanorods that may enable researchers to increase memory storage density.

The researchers studied ferroelectric materials at the nanometer scale. They found that the dipoles in nanomaterials form a new state when the temperature is lowered. Instead of polarization, the new phase creates a toroid moment, which rotates in a circular fashion like a vortex or a tornado.… read more

With Kinect Controller, Hackers Take Liberties

November 22, 2010

3D Video Capture with Kinect (YouTube)

Programmers, roboticists and tinkerers are getting the Kinect to do things it was not really meant to do, like create “holographic” video images that can be rotated on a computer screen (see video below).

Other creative uses of the Kinect involve drawing 3-D doodles in the air and then rotating them with a nudge of the hand,… read more

Nanotubes Fall into Line

May 25, 2001

Nanocrystal arrays of perfectly aligned nanotubes have been produced by a team from the University of Cambridge.

The team created pillars by depositing alternating layers of buckyballs and a nickel catalyst onto a substrate, patterning them with a ceramic mask attached to an atomic force microscope. The researchers then heated the pillars to 900 °C in the presence of a magnetic field. The result was a pattern… read more

Born believers: How your brain creates God

February 5, 2009

Scientists suggest various causes of the origin of religious belief, including:

- Religion is an evolutionary adaptation that makes people more likely to survive and pass their genes onto the next generation.

- The unique cognitive capacities that have made us so successful as a species also work together to create a tendency for supernatural thinking.

- Our brains have separate cognitive systems for dealing with living… read more

Bioprinted 3D liver-mimicking device detoxifies blood

May 16, 2014


Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a 3D-printed device inspired by the liver to remove dangerous toxins from the blood.

The device, which is designed to be used outside the body — much like dialysis — uses nanoparticles to trap pore-forming toxins that can damage cellular membranes and are a key factor in illnesses that result from animal bites and stings, and bacterial… read more

Sony Powers Walkman With Sugar-Based Battery

August 24, 2007

Sony has created an eco-friendly battery that produces electricity by breaking down sugar.

The bio cell, which measures 39 cubic millimeters, delivers 50mW — a world record for such a cell, according to the company.

In the bio cell sugar-digesting enzymes at the anode extract electrons and hydrogen ions from the glucose. The hydrogen ions pass through a membrane separator to the cathode where they absorb oxygen from… read more

Stem Cells Might Make Biological Pacemaker

December 21, 2004

Johns Hopkins researchers have found evidence that genetically engineered heart cells derived from human embryonic stem (ES) cells might one day be a biological alternative to the electronic pacemakers used by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

Human ES cells were grown in the lab and encouraged to become heart cells. The researchers then selected clusters of the cells that beat on their own accord, indicating the presence of… read more

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