science + technology news

Solar-powered sea slug harnesses stolen plant genes

November 25, 2008

Mary Rumpho of the University of Maine has discovered the sea slug runs on solar power by photosynthesis, using genes “stolen” from the algae it eats.

Solaris movie: slow-paced scifi

December 2, 2002

Solaris, a movie adapted from the brilliant scifi novel by Stanislaw Lem and set on a space station, features shape-shifting reality, a mysterious planet that reads minds, and replicants, but lapses into slow-paced, soporific gloom.


New York Times
Chicago Sun-Times

Soldier of the Future: Army Turns to Nanotechnology

March 18, 2002

Backed by a US Army grant of $50 million over five years, MIT has launched a new Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies.

The institute is tasked with innovating materials and designs that will reinvent soldiers’ uniforms, turning them into high tech gear that rivals the best science fiction.
Among the capabilities of the futuristic fabrics: morphing to improve camouflage, stiffening to splint broken limbs, and storing energy that can be… read more

Solid stops light

January 8, 2002

A crystal that holds light could facilitate quantum computing.
Researchers in the United States and Korea have brought light to a complete standstill in a crystal. The pulse is effectively held within the solid, ready to be released at a later stage.

This trick could be used to store information in a quantum computer.

Normal computers store information in simple binary form (1′s and 0′s) in electronic and… read more

Solid-state rotating molecular machines

July 15, 2012

Dynamics of Rings 1

University of Windsor researchers have shown that tiny interlocked molecules can function inside solid materials, providing a blueprint for future creation of solid-state molecular switches and molecular machines based on mechanically interlocked molecules, the researchers suggest.

“Until now, this has only ever been done in solution,” explained PhD student Nick Vukotic.

WDM-1, or University of Windsor Dynamic Material, a powdery substance that the team… read more

Solid-state terahertz devices could scan for cancer

July 11, 2012


Cornell researchers have developed a new method of generating terahertz signals on an inexpensive silicon chip, offering possible applications in medical imaging, security scanning and wireless data transfer.


Terahertz radiation, the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and infrared light, penetrates cloth and leather and just a few millimeters into the skin, but without the potentially damaging effects of X-rays.

read more

Solve for X: celebrating moonshot thinking

February 15, 2013


Last week, Google hosted its 2013 Solve for X event, where they gathered 50 experienced entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists from around the world who are taking on moonshots — proposals that address a huge problem, suggest a radical solution that could work, and use some form of breakthrough technology to make it happen, Megan Smith and Astro Teller, co-hosts/creators of… read more

Solve for X: radical ‘moonshot’ technology ideas for solving global problems

February 7, 2012


“We’d like to introduce Solve for X, an experiment to encourage individuals and groups to undertake “moonshot” technology projects to solve global problems,” says Google’s new Solve for X forum in a low-key announcement on Google+. It continues:

Solve for X is a place where people can go to hear and discuss radical technology ideas for solving global problems.

Radical in the sense that the solutions could… read more

Solving a 3.5 billion-year-old mystery

June 6, 2013

This artist's conception shows a young, hypothetical planet around a cool star. A soupy mix of potentially life-forming chemicals can be seen pooling around the base of the jagged rocks. Photo illustration by NASA.

A University of South Florida researcher is part of a team that determined that life-producing phosphorus was carried to Earth by meteorites.

USF Assistant Professor of Geology Matthew Pasek and researchers from the University of Washington and the Edinburg Centre for Carbon Innovation, revealed new findings that explain how the reactive phosphorus that was an essential component for creating the earliest life forms came to Earth.… read more

Solving the ‘cocktail party problem’: how we can focus on one speaker in noisy crowds

March 11, 2013

This is a cartoon illustrating the idea that at a cocktail party the brain activity synchronizes to that of an attended speaker, effectively putting them ‘on the same wavelength’ (credit: Zion-Golumbic et al./Neuron)

Researchers have demonstrated how the brain hones in on one speaker to solve the “cocktail party problem.”

Researchers discovered that the brain can selectively track the sound patterns from the speaker of interest and at the same time exclude competing sounds from other speakers.

The findings could have important implications for helping individuals with a range of deficits such as those associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,… read more

Some blind people ‘see’ spatially with their ears

March 17, 2011

(image credit: Saint-Justine Hospital Research Centre/PNAS)

The visual cortex, the part of the brain that normally works with our eyes to process vision and space perception, can rewire itself to process sound information instead, Dr. Olivier Collignon of the University of Montreal’s Saint-Justine Hospital Research Centre and Dr. Franco Lepore of the Centre for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognition have found.

The research builds on other studies that show that the blind have a heightened… read more

Some sweet news: Chocolate could be good for your memory

February 18, 2007

Flavanols found in unprocessed chocolate could boost brain power as well as in treating certain kinds of stroke and dementia, researchers suggest.

The chemicals stimulate an increase of blood flow to the brain, particularly in areas that light up during tasks that require alertness.

Some Technologies Will Annoy

November 9, 2005

If you’re waiting for the “home of the future,” filled with talking appliances and complex networks that let all our devices communicate with each other, prepare to keep holding your breath. It’s not that those things aren’t technically possible. It’s just that if we had them, they’d irritate us.

Professional futurists weigh in.

Someday your brain could brake for you

July 29, 2011

(Credit: Journal of Neural Engineering)

Electrical signals from the brain are seen 130 milliseconds before drivers actually hit the brakes, Technical University of Berlin researchers have found, as reported in the Journal of Neural Engineering.

Seated facing three monitors in a driving simulator called The Open Source Racing Car Simulator, each subject was told to drive about 18 meters behind a computer-driven virtual car traveling at about 60 miles per hour.

The… read more

Someone is learning how to take down the Internet

September 23, 2016

Submarine cable map (credit: TeleGeography)

“Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet,” according to a blog post by security expert Bruce Schneier.

“These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. It feels like a nation’s military… read more

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