science + technology news

Researchers Find a Type of Stem Cell May Have the Ability to Repair the Brain

February 20, 2004

Neural stem cells, whose function has been a mystery, may have the potential to repair brain damage or disease, scientists reported in Nature, Feb. 19.

The cells form ribbons of astrocytes, which produce different types of brain cells, including neurons. Found in the lining of two fluid-filled pockets near the front of the head, they may turn out to serve no purpose or may migrate to other parts of… read more

Japan eyes ‘mind-reading’ devices, robots by 2020

April 23, 2010

Brain-machine interfaces that send text messages composed by thought alone and robots that know when an elderly or physically disabled person needs help carrying a heavy load are among planned developments in a new Japanese initiative, a partnership between the government and the private sector.

Helping the deaf to ‘see sound’

August 18, 2008

Deaf children have been testing software called Lumisonic that enables them to see a visual representation of sound waves, using circles that radiate on a display.

March of the consumer robots

January 15, 2007

Home robotics is a growing trend at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Dating in the multiverse

January 29, 2012


In Nick Payne’s new play, Constellations, universe-crossing lovers repeat a scene over and over with different outcomes in different parallel universes, New Scientist Culture Lab reports.


Experts Say New Desktop Fusion Claims Seem More Credible

March 3, 2004

Scientists are again claiming they have made a Sun in a jar, offering perhaps a revolutionary energy source based on sonoluminescence.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists used ultrasonic vibrations to shake a jar of liquid solvent. They squeezed tiny gas bubbles in the liquid so quickly and violently that temperatures reached millions of degrees and some of the hydrogen atoms in the solvent molecules fused, producing a flash of… read more

Heart operation performed with robotic arm

April 30, 2010

The world’s first heart operation to use a remote-controlled robotic arm has been carried out at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, U.K.

The technique, designed to cure irregular heart beats, involved using a Remote Catheter Manipulation System (RCMS) to steer catheters into blood vessels at the top of the groin and into the heart.

The procedure, which can take over six hours, is currently carried out by surgeons who… read more

Why we overeat as we age

August 22, 2008

A Monash University scientist has discovered that key appetite control cells in the human brain — POMC neurons — degenerate over time, causing increased hunger and potentially weight gain as we grow older.

POMC neurons are attacked by free radicals after eating, especially after meals rich in carbohydrates and sugars. People aged 25 to 50 are most at risk.

Source: Monash University news release


January 23, 2007

Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran believes that “other awareness” may have evolved first and then, counterintutively, the same ability was exploited to model ones own mind–what one calls self awareness. He also suggests that a specific system of neurons called mirror neurons are involved in this ability.

Darpa’s Far-Out Dreams on Display

March 15, 2004

Darpa is planning for a blimp three times the size of Goodyear’s that would keep watch over an entire city. Another project involves materials that grow or heal themselves.

Molecular Computations: Single Molecule Can Calculate Thousands of Times Faster Than a PC

May 10, 2010

An experimental demonstration of a quantum calculation by researchers in Japan has shown that a single molecule can perform Fourier transform operations thousands of times faster than any conventional computer.

Solar Map: More Than 30 Utility-Scale Solar Plants in the U.S.

August 29, 2008

A Google map shows more than 30 utility-scale solar power plants one megawatt or larger in various stages of development in the U.S.

Maxwell’s Demon Becomes Reality

February 5, 2007

University of Edinburgh researchers have created an molecule-sized device — known as Maxwell’s Demon, inspired by Maxwell’s thought experiment in 1867 — that could trap molecules as they move in a specific direction, powered by light.

As stated in Nature (subscription required), this molecule, known as a rotaxane, consists of a ring threaded onto a linear unit and held in place by two bulky chemical groups (stoppers).… read more

Boosting memory by electrically stimulating the brain

February 9, 2012

UCLA neuroscientists have demonstrated that they can strengthen memory in human patients by stimulating the entorhinal cortex. in the brain. The finding could lead to a new method for boosting memory in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease.

Considered the doorway to the hippocampus, which helps form and store memories, the entorhinal cortex plays a crucial role in transforming daily experience into lasting memories.

Dr.… read more

Mr. Otis, Call Your Office: A Nano-Elevator Is Built

March 23, 2004

In an elegant bit of nanoscale engineering, chemists at the University of California, Los Angeles have designed and built what must be the world’s tiniest elevator, a molecular platform on legs that can be raised or lowered on command.

The device, created by Dr. J. Fraser Stoddart, a professor of organic chemistry, and colleagues from rotaxane molecules, is about 2.5 nanometers high, and the platform moves less than a… read more

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