science + technology news

Cornell researchers create DNA buckyballs for drug delivery

August 29, 2005

Cornell University researchers have made DNA buckyballs that could be used for drug delivery and as containers for chemical reactions.

The buckyballs are made from a specially prepared, branched DNA-polystyrene hybrid. The hybrid molecules spontaneously self-assemble into hollow balls about 400 nanometers in diameter.

Source: Cornell University news release

Corn Primed for Making Biofuel

April 16, 2008

Researchers have created three strains of genetically modified corn to manufacture enzymes that break down the plant’s cellulose into sugars that can be fermented into ethanol.

Incorporating such enzymes directly into the plants could reduce the cost of converting cellulose into biofuel.

Cord blood yields ‘ethical’ embryonic stem cells

August 17, 2005

Hopes for treating disease with stem cells from umbilical cord blood has received a major boost following the discovery of primitive cells with clinical potential matching that of far more controversial embryonic stem cells (ESCs).

The newly discovered human cells, named “cord-blood-derived embryonic-like stem cells” or CBEs, are not quite as primitive as embryonic stem cells, which can give rise to any tissue type of the body. But they… read more

Coral reveals ancient origins of human genes

December 16, 2003

A study of coral found that about 500 gene sequences out of 1300 had matches in gene databases.

Of these 500, 90% were present in humans, and about 10% were found in humans but not in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster or the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. This finding suggests that many genes thought to be vertebrate-specific may in fact have much older origins, and have been lost during the… read more

Copper-gold nanoparticles convert CO2, may reduce greenhouse gas emissions

April 12, 2012

An electron microscopy image of hybrid gold/copper nanoparticles (credit: Zhichuan Xu)

MIT researchers have come up with a way to reduce the energy needed for copper to convert carbon dioxide: nanoparticles of copper mixed with gold.

They coated electrodes with the hybrid nanoparticles and found that much less energy was needed for these engineered nanoparticles to react with carbon dioxide (converting it to methane or methanol), compared to nanoparticles of pure copper.

Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli of MIT’s Hamad-Schifferli Group says the… read more

Copper film could lower touch-screen, LED, and solar-cell costs

September 26, 2011

Copper Nanowires

Duke University chemist Ben Wiley and his graduate student have developed a technique to organize copper atoms in water to form long, thin, non-clumped nanowires that are transformed into transparent conductive films and coated onto glass or plastic.

These new nanostructures could drive down the costs of displaying information on cell phones, e-readers and iPads, and also help engineers build foldable electronics and improved solar… read more

Copper Circuits Help Brain Function; Could Tweaking the Circuits Make Us Smarter?

September 26, 2006

The flow of copper in the brain has a previously unrecognized role in cell death, learning and memory, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine.

The researchers’ findings suggest that copper and its transporter, a protein called Atp7a, are vital to human thinking. They speculate that variations in the genes coding for Atp7a, as well as other proteins of copper homeostasis, could partially account for differences in… read more

Cooperative Cybercars: A Question Of Priorities

August 27, 2009

European researchers in the CyberCars2 project have developed new control systems that let driverless vehicles (“cybercars”) exchange data and coordinate their movements — a atep toward high-throughput, efficient automated transportation systems that could be deployed in traffic-free zones.

Cooperation and the evolution of intelligence

April 13, 2012


Trinity College researchers have constructed an artificial neural network model that demonstrates that human intelligence evolved from the need for social teamwork.

The high levels of intelligence seen in humans, other primates, certain cetaceans, and birds remain a major puzzle for evolutionary biologists, anthropologists and psychologists.

It has long been held that social interactions provide the selection pressures necessary for the evolution of advanced cognitive abilities (the “social… read more

Cool Web front-end for multiple virtual world entry

October 12, 2007

inDuality has developed a Web browser-based front-end for different virtual worlds.

Cool or fool? Which of these news stories are fake?

April 1, 2012


OK, we admit it may not always be obvious, but KurzweilAI does not make up its news items. Really. Well … except this time. Your mission: figure out which of these stories are fake or real. (No fair Googling, or clicking “REVEAL” until you answer in Comments below!) — Ed.

1. Bonobos to communicate with humans via robots and the Internet 

Using large touchscreen… read more

Cool New Ideas to Save Brains

February 10, 2004

A “cool helmet” and a corkscrew device that removes clots in blood vessels are among radical new technologies for stroke treatment.

Cool electrons enable transistors with low energy consumption

September 12, 2014

A chip, which contains nanoscale structures that enable electron cooling at room temperature, is pictured (credit: UT Arlington)

UT Arlington researchers have discovered a way to cool electrons to -228 °C at room temperature, which could lead to a new type of transistor that can operate at extremely low energy consumption levels.

The process involves passing electrons through a quantum well to cool them and keep them from heating. The team detailed its research in Nature Communications (open access) on Wednesday, Sept. 10.

“We… read more

Cooking nanomaterials in a microwave oven to make tomorrow’s solid-state air conditioners and refrigerators

January 11, 2012

cooking nanomaterials

Here’s how to make highly efficient refrigerators and cooling systems requiring no refrigerants and no moving parts: simply cook nanoscale thermoelectric materials with sulfur in a standard microwave oven, according to engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

Thermoelectric refrigerators using solid-state cooling systems have been available for more than 20 years, but they are still small and highly inefficient because the materials are expensive… read more

‘Cooking’ carbon nanotubes like spaghetti

May 1, 2006

Scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a technique to force a variety of enzymes to self-assemble layer-by-layer on carbon nanotubes with the help of noodle-like polymer molecules.

In “A biosensor layered like lasagna,” the researchers say that this technique can be applied to a wide range of applications. In particular, it will be possible to build other biosensors “that react specifically with other biological chemicals,… read more

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