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Dating Site Creates Online Sperm and Egg Bank

June 22, 2010

The dating Web site 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.

A Portable Refinery Powered by Garbage

February 14, 2007

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.

When a light goes on during thought processes

October 2, 2008
Neuron action potentials can be recorded optically using a genetic calcium indicator that colors the cells in the brain of a living mouse. (Max Planck Institute for Medical Research)

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.

Nanoribbons for graphene transistors

July 22, 2010

A structural model and three-dimensional picture of the scanning tunneling microscope view of a zig-zag shaped graphene nanoribbon (Empa)

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

Refining Semiconductors, One Atom at a Time

April 8, 2004

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.

Signal found to enhance survival of new brain cells

Implications for treating neurodegenerative disease, mental illness
November 13, 2013

An illustration of parvalbumin-expressing interneurons delivering lifesaving chemical messengers to newborn neurons via tentacle-like synapses.<br />
Credit: Mingxi Max Song and Gerald Sun

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

Southampton research could lead to better treatments for cardiovascular disease

April 4, 2012


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

Hot Advance for Thermoelectrics

February 22, 2007

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.

Researchers Teach Computers to Search for Photos Based on Their Contents

October 9, 2008

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

Which oil-mopping technology will win $1.4m X prize?

August 2, 2010

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.

Author: Mission to moon and beyond will inspire humanity

April 16, 2004

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.

Physicist Predicts Gravitational Analogue Of Electrical Transformers

July 7, 2010

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

Virtual-Reality Video Game Helps Link Depression To Specific Brain Area

March 2, 2007

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.

Giant database plan ‘Orwellian’

October 16, 2008

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.”

Enzyme ‘Ink’ Shows Potential for Nanomanufacturing

April 23, 2004

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

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