June 22, 2010
The dating Web site BeautifulPeople.com has launched a fertility-introduction service to allow “beautiful people” to find (or help) someone who matches their “procreation interests” to create a made-to-order child.
Researchers at Purdue University have led development of a portable “tactical” biorefinery for the U.S. Army that turns a variety of waste streams into a mixture of ethanol and methane gas, which are burned in a modified diesel engine to produce electricity.
Scientists at Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg have succeeded in optically detecting individual action potentials in the brains of living animals.
They introduced fluorescent indicator proteins into the brain cells of mice via viral gene vectors. The light indicates which neurons are communicating with each other.
In Nature July 22, 2010, scientists from Empa and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research report how they have managed for the first time to grow graphene ribbons that are just a few nanometres wide, using a simple surface-based chemical method.
Graphene ribbons are considered to be hot candidates for future electronics applications because their properties can be modified by adjusting width and edge shape. Scientists from Empa, the… read more
A physicist has succeeded in controlling semiconductor doping precisely at the atomic level, allowing for eventually extending Moore’s Law and creating custom-designed molecular circuit elements.
In the experiment, reported in the journal Science, Michael F. Crommie, a professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley, and his group used a scanning tunneling microscope to add seven potassium dopant atoms to a buckyball molecule, one by one.
A specialized type of brain cell, parvalbumin-expressing interneuron, suppresses stem cell activity by instructing nearby stem cells not to divide, by releasing a chemical signal called GABA. Paradoxically, in the process, it actually encourages the survival of the stem cells’ progeny, Johns Hopkins researchers report.
Understanding how these brain cells “decide” whether to live or die and how to behave is of special interest because changes in… read more
Scientists at the University of Southampton have discovered a new process that controls the ability of arteries to constrict, which could lead to a better understanding of the causes of cardiovascular disease and the development of new treatments.
In a study funded by the British Heart Foundation, researchers showed that polyunsaturated fats, which are converted into fat-like molecules called eicosanoids in order to make arteries constrict, are… read more
By trapping organic molecules between a gold surface and the ultrafine gold tip of a scanning tunneling microscope, researchers have shown that the molecules could be used to generate electricity.
“Thermoelectric devices” based on the molecules could prove to be an important source of power.
Penn State researchers have developed a statistical approach called Automatic Linguistic Indexing of Pictures in Real-Time (ALIPR) that one day could make it easier to search the Internet for photographs.
ALIPR works by teaching computers to recognize the contents of photographs, such as buildings, people, or landscapes, rather than by searching for keywords in the surrounding text.
They started by manually tagging 60,000 photos with keywords that describe… read more
The X Prize Foundation is offering $1.4 million in prize money for new technologies to clean up oil spills. Competitors will be invited to test their technologies in 2011 in a 203- by 20-metre tank owned by the US government’s Minerals Management Service.
Human exploration of the moon, Mars and beyond will move humanity past terror and war, much like earlier voyages found a new world for Europeans mired in conflict 500 years ago, science fiction author Ray Bradbury told a presidential commission Thursday.
John Swain at Boston University suggests we can translate the simple idea of Faraday’s electrical transformer into the gravitational domain. A beam of particles traveling in a circle would generate a “magnetogravitic flux” that can be picked up by a secondary winding, essentially a giant loop antenna.
It’s possible that the orbit of matter close to a black hole might provide the right kind of mass-energy currents. He suggests… read more
Scientists are using a virtual-reality, three-dimensional video game that challenges spatial memory as a new tool for assessing the link between depression and the hippocampus, the brain’s memory hub.
The proposed Communications Data Bill (2008) for a central U.K. database of all mobile phone and Internet traffic, stored for two years, has been condemned as “Orwellian.”
Enzymes can be used to create nanoscale patterns on a gold surface, Duke University engineers have demonstrated, representing an important advance in nanomanufacturing.
They used an enzyme called DNase I as an “ink” in a process called dip-pen nanolithography (for nanoscale etching or writing). The dip-pen allowed them to inscribe precise 100-nanometers-wide stripes of DNase I ink on a gold plate, which they had previously coated with a thick… read more