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Squirrel and bird deception techniques inspire military-robot design

December 5, 2012

Deceptive Robots (credit: Arkin et al./Georgia Institute of Technology)

Using deceptive behavioral patterns of squirrels and birds, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed robots that are able to deceive each other.

The research is led by Professor Ronald Arkin, a Regents Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing, who suggests the applications could be implemented by the military in the future.

Animal deception tactics

Squirrels gather… read more

Exploding killer plasmonic nanobubbles!

Has potential for cancer (and other cell) and gene therapy, and bone-marrow transplantation
December 5, 2012

After the laser pulse, red-stained cells show evidence of massive damage from exploding nanobubbles, while blue-stained cells remained intact, but with green fluorescent dye pulled in from the outside (credit: Plasmonic Nanobubble Lab/Rice University)

Researchers at Rice University have found a way to kill some diseased cells, including cancer cells, and treat others at the same time. The process, activated by a pulse of laser light, leaves neighboring healthy cells untouched.

The process, which uses “tunable plasmonic nanobubbles” developed in the Rice lab of Dmitri Lapotko, shows promise to replace several difficult processes now used to treat cancer… read more

Next year’s 3D printers

December 5, 2012

Objet1000_Cart_RacingCar-h-res-1

The 3-D printing industry is on track to be a $3.1 billion business by 2016 and the innovations on display this week at Euromold, a manufacturing trade show, show its foundation is growing — both in revenue and in physical print size, Wired News reports.

Objet 1000

The big news out of Euromold is the new Objet 1000 3-D printer,… read more

High-energy physicists smash records for network data transfer

December 5, 2012

caltech-hep-supercomputing-traffic

Physicists led by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have smashed yet another series of records for data-transfer speed. The international team of high-energy physicists, computer scientists, and network engineers reached a transfer rate of 339 gigabits per second (Gbps) — equivalent to moving four million gigabytes (or one million full length movies) per day, nearly doubling last year’s record.

The team also reached a… read more

Biophysicists unravel cellular ‘traffic jams’ in active transport

December 5, 2012

This image depicts motor protein traffic along a single microtubule highway. Much like vehicular traffic in real life, kinesin motor traffic reduces the velocity of single motors. Multi-motor “cargos,” such as the quantum dot depicted, can stay attached to the microtubule much longer because they can add multiple motors. (Credit: Leslie Conway and Jennifer Ross/UMass Amherst)

UMass Amherst biophysicists, using a unique microscope, have improved upon earlier studies that used too-simple models not able to account for the densely crowded, dynamic conditions of a active transport in a real cell

Inside many growing cells, an active transport system runs on nano-sized microtubule tracks that resemble a highway, complete with motors carrying cargo quickly from a central supply depot to growing tips or wherever… read more

Automated drug design using synthetic DNA self-assembly

Reducing the time required to create and test cancer and other medications
December 6, 2012

A collection of pharmaceutical molecules is shown after self-assembly. The detail shows a single molecule, made up of strands of DNA, a therapeutic agent and other components that improve its ability to target cancer. (Credit: Parabon NanoLabs)

Using a simple “drag-and-drop” computer interface and DNA self-assembly techniques, Parabon NanoLabs researchers have developed a new automated method of drug development that could reduce the time required to create and test medications, with the support of an NSF Technology Enhancement for Commercial Partnerships grant.

“We can now ‘print,’ molecule by molecule, exactly the compound that we want,” says Steven Armentrout, the principal investigator… read more

Driverless vehicles to zip at full speed through intersections

December 6, 2012

intersection

Driverless vehicles will safely wiz through intersections at the full speed limit, according to researchers from Virginia Tech Transportation Research.

Autonomous vehicles will turn themselves over to an automated intersection controller, with the controller tweaking their trajectory to prevent crashes, explained Ismail Zohdy of Cairo, Egypt, a Ph.D. student in civil engineering at Virginia Tech, and Hesham Rakha, director of the Center for Sustainableread more

Chinese astronauts may grow vegetables on the Moon

December 6, 2012

800px-Kundasang_vegetables

Chinese astronauts may get fresh vegetables and oxygen supplies by gardening in extraterrestrial bases in the future, according to Deng Yibing, deputy director of the Beijing-based Chinese Astronaut Research and Training Center, Xinhua News reports.

Yibing said the experiment focused on a dynamic balanced mechanism of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water between people and plants in a closed system.

According to Deng, a cabin of 300 cubic meters… read more

See-through ‘MitoFish’ opens a new window on brain diseases

December 6, 2012

This is a confocal image of a zebrafish head showing labeling of sensory axon membranes (yellow), mitochondria (cyan), and autofluorescence (red) (credit: Leanne Godinho and Thomas Misgeld/TU Muenchen)

German scientists have developed a transgenic variety of the zebrafish, which is transparent in the early stages of its life: the “MitoFish,” which enables the scientists to see how brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disturb the transport of mitochondria, the power plants of the cell.

Background

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and MS (multiple sclerosis) are quite different in their effects on… read more

New technique to deliver stem cell therapy may help damaged eyes regain their sight

December 6, 2012

(Credit: Web MD)

University of Sheffield researchers have developed a new method for producing membranes to help in the grafting of stem cells onto the eye, mimicking structural features of the eye itself.

The technology has been designed to treat damage to the cornea, the transparent layer on the front of the eye, which is one of the major causes of blindness in the world.

Using a… read more

Discovery of 100 million-year-old regions of DNA could accelerate crop-science advances

December 6, 2012

warwick_plants

University of Warwick scientists have discovered 100 million-year-old regions in the DNA of several plant species that could hold secrets about how specific genes are turned on or off and accelerate the pace of research into crop science and food security.

By running a computational analysis of the genomes of the papaya, poplar, Arabidopsis, and grape species, scientists have uncovered hundreds of conserved non-coding sequences… read more

House approves resolution to keep Internet control out of UN hands

December 6, 2012

ITU_monitors

The House on Wednesday unanimously passed a Senate resolution introduced by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) that calls on the U.S. government to oppose United Nations control of the Internet, The Hill’s Floor Action Blog reports.

The 397-0 vote is meant to send a signal to countries meeting at a U.N. conference on telecommunications this week. Participants are meeting to update an international telecom… read more

Final stop in Ray Kurzweil’s How to Create a Mind book tour is tonight!

Rainy Day Books in Kansas City, MO at 7:00pm
December 6, 2012

Rainy Day Books book tour slide

Don’t miss the the final stop in Ray Kurzweil’s How to Create a Mind book tour is tonight! Presentation at Rainy Days Book in Kansas at 7:00pm.

Ray Kurzweil discusses his newly released New York Times bestseller, How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed: Ray presents a provocative exploration of the most important project in human-machine civilization, reverse engineering the brain to understand

read more

M 7.3 earthquake, off the east coast of Honshu, Japan

December 7, 2012

Earthquake is near Fukushima

An earthquake with magnitude 7.3 occurred near Sendai, Honshu, Japan at 08:18:20.00 UTC (03:18:20 EST) Friday December 7, 2012, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Japan earthquake tsunami warning issued — BBC at 04:23 EST

AP news: The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no risk of a widespread tsunami. … There were no problems at any of the nuclear plants operated… read more

Wearable silicon solar cells may soon become possible

December 7, 2012

A coiled strand of a meter-long solar-cell junction fiber, thinner than the width of a human hair, which has been created by a team of chemists, physicists, and engineers led by John Badding at Penn State University (credit: Badding lab/Penn State)

A silicon-based optical fiber with solar-cell capabilities has been developed, scalable to many meters in length. The research may allow for weaving together solar-cell silicon wires to create flexible, curved, or twisted solar fabrics.

The findings by an international team of chemists, physicists, and engineers, led by John Badding, a professor of chemistry at Penn State University, build on earlier work addressing the… read more

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