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White House announces ‘We the Geeks: Asteroids’ Google Hangout Friday

May 29, 2013

asteroid

This Friday, an asteroid nearly three kilometers wide is going to pass by the Earth-Moon system.

To mark the event, on Friday, May 31st at 2pm EDT, the White House will host the second in a series of “We the Geeks” Google+ Hangouts to talk asteroids with experts, according to a White House annoncement.

The President’s new budget calls for increased efforts by NASA to detect and… read more

Pentagon aircraft, missile defense programs target of China cyber threat

May 29, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

New revelations that China used cyberattacks to access data from nearly 40 Pentagon weapons programs and almost 30 other defense technologies have increased pressure on U.S. leaders to take more strident action against Beijing to stem the persistent breaches, The Washington Post reports.

The disclosure, which was included in a Defense Science Board report released earlier this year, but is only now being discussed publicly, comes as… read more

Wanted for the Internet of Things: ant-sized computers

May 29, 2013

freescalex299.jpg

A computer two millimeters square that contains almost all the components of a tiny functioning computer is the start of an effort to make chips that can put computer power just about anywhere for the vaunted “Internet of Things,” MIT Technology Review reports.

The KL02 chip, made by Freescale, is shorter on each side than most ants are long and crams in memory,… read more

How to create models of biomolecules using x-rays

Most of the two million proteins in the human body can’t be crystallized without destroying them, so they can't be visualized. That's about to change.
May 29, 2013

Fluctuation x-ray scattering is the basis of a new technique for rapidly modeling the shapes of large biological models, here demonstrated (gray envelopes) using existing diffraction data superposed on known high-resolution structures. Top left, lysine-arginine-ornithine (LAO) binding protein; top right, lysozome; bottom left, peroxiredoxin; and, bottom right, Satellite Tobacco Mosaic Virus (STMV).

Berkeley Lab researchers and their colleagues have created a new way to model biological molecules using x-rays.

Existing methods for solving structure largely depend on crystallized molecules, and the shapes of more than 80,000 proteins in a static state have been solved this way.

Most of the two million proteins in the human body can’t be crystallized, however, so  even their low-resolution structures are… read more

Foldable electronics with inkjet-printed graphene

May 28, 2013

inkjet-printed graphene lines

Northwestern University researchers have developed a graphene-based ink that is highly conductive and tolerant to bending, and they have used it to inkjet-print graphene patterns that could be used for extremely detailed, conductive electrodes.

The resulting patterns are 250 times more conductive than previous attempts to print graphene-based electronic patterns and could be a step toward low-cost, foldable electronics.

“Graphene has a unique combination… read more

Atomic-scale semiconductor devices

May 28, 2013

Molybdenum sulfide atomic image

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for creating high-quality semiconductor thin films at the atomic scale — meaning the films are only one atom thick.

The technique can be used to create these thin films on a large scale, sufficient to coat wafers that are two inches wide, or larger.

“This could be used to scale current semiconductor technologies… read more

Low-cost self-driving cars expected by 2016

May 28, 2013

audi_mobileye

Mobileye Vision Technologies has created a self-driving system for an Audi A7 car, John Markoff writes in The New York Times.

It is capable only of driving in a single lane at freeway speeds, as well as identifying traffic lights and automatically slowing, stopping and then returning to highway speeds.

But by blending advanced computer-vision techniques with low-cost video cameras, the company is… read more

Innovation promises flexible solar cells, transistors, displays

May 28, 2013

Electron microscope images show a new material for transparent electrodes that might find uses in solar cells, flexible displays for computers and consumer electronics, and future "optoelectronic" circuits for sensors and information processing. The electrodes are made of silver nanowires covered with graphene. (Credit: Birck Nanotechnology Center/Purdue University)

Purdue University researchers have created a new type of transparent electrode that might find uses in solar cells, flexible displays for computers and consumer electronics, and future optoelectronic circuits for sensors and information processing.

The electrode is made of silver nanowires covered with graphene, an extremely thin layer of carbon. The hybrid material shows promise as a possible replacement for indium tin oxide, or ITO, used in… read more

Scientists discover origin of a giant synapse

May 28, 2013

The calyx of Held (orange) is a type of giant synapse, which synapses onto MNTB neurons (green) and relays excitatory information to these neurons. The neurons in turn send inhibitory outputs to a number of targets in the auditory brain stem and thus act as a master source of well-timed inhibition for the lower auditory system. (Credit: University of Colorado School of Medicine)

EPFL scientists have revealed a mechanism responsible for the creation of giant synapses in the brain that allow us to efficiently process auditory information.

Humans and most mammals can determine the spatial origin of sounds with remarkable acuity. To accomplish this small daily miracle, the brain has developed a circuit that’s rapid enough to detect the tiny lag that occurs between the moment the auditory information reaches one of… read more

IQ predicted by ability to filter visual motion

May 28, 2013

University of Rochester students participate in photo illustrating a news release. A simple visual task that measures the brain’s unconscious ability to suppress motion predicts IQ, according to a new study. photo taken in Rush Rhees Library May 15, 2013. // photo by J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

Individuals whose brains are better at automatically suppressing background motion perform better on IQ tests, according to a new University of Rochester.study.

The test is the first purely sensory assessment to be strongly correlated with IQ and may provide a non-verbal and culturally unbiased tool for scientists seeking to understand neural processes associated with general intelligence.

“Because intelligence is such a broad construct, you can’t… read more

Warrior Web to augment soldiers’ endurance

May 27, 2013

(credit: DARPA)

DARPA‘s Warrior Web program seeks to create a soft, lightweight under-suit that would help reduce injuries and fatigue common for soldiers, who often carry 100-pound loads for extended periods over rough terrain.

DARPA envisions Warrior Web augmenting the work of soldiers’ own muscles to significantly boost endurance, carrying capacity and overall warfighter effectiveness — all while using no more than 100W of power.… read more

Slowing the aging process using only antibiotics

May 27, 2013

Lightmatter_lab_mice

Why is it that within a homogeneous population of the same species, some individuals live three times as long as others?

EPFL researchers investigated this question and found the mechanism responsible for aging hidden deep within mitochondria.

The were able to dramatically slow aging down in worms by administering antibiotics to the young, achieving a lifespan extension of 60 percent.

Mitochondia: biological timekeepersread more

How to convert an iPhone into a handheld biosensor

May 27, 2013

University of Illinois researchers developed a cradle and app for the iPhone to make a handheld biosensor that uses the phone’s own camera and processing power to detect any kind of biological molecules or cells. (Credit: Brian T. Cunningham?University of Illinois

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed a cradle and app for the iPhone (Android version in the works) that uses the phone’s built-in camera and processing power as a biosensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other molecules.

Having such sensitive biosensing capabilities in the field could enable on-the-spot tracking of groundwater contamination,  map the spread of pathogens (using the phone’s GPS),… read more

Privacy challenges of wearable computing

May 27, 2013

EyeTap (credit: Steve Mann)

“I’ve experienced both sides” of the privacy debate on Google Glass, Nick Bilton writes in The New York Times.

But other gadgets have plenty of privacy-invading potential too, he says. Memoto, a tiny, automatic camera that looks like a pin you can wear on a shirt, can snap two photos a minute and later upload it to an online service.

Apple is… read more

Google to use blimps to provide wireless in Africa, Southeast Asia

May 27, 2013

(Credit: Google)

Google plans to build and help run wireless networks in emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, connecting a billion or more new people to the Internet.

The goal is to provide Internet access to dwellers outside of major cities where wired Internet connections aren’t available, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

As part of the plan, Google has also worked on making special balloons or… read more

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