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Counting on Distant Worlds: Math as an Interstellar Language

May 9, 2003

We cannot count on the universality of mathematics for interstellar communication, says Physicist and philosopher Sundar Sarukkai of National Institute of Advanced Studies in India. He suggests that mathematics on other worlds may differ considerably from ours.

“If we begin with the assumption that the extraterrestrial folks have radio telescopes, then we are making an assumption about processes of their thought more than their language or even their technology.”

How your brain sees virtual you

November 9, 2009

MRI brain scans of 23-hours-a-week players of the online fantasy world World of Warcraft game reveal that areas of the brain involved in self-reflection and judgement — the medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex — seem to behave similarly when someone is thinking about their virtual self as when they think about their real one, Dartmouth University researchers have found.

Atom Wires

March 1, 2006

Physicists have built the world’s thinnest wires, one atom wide, by evaporating a puff of gold atoms onto a silicon substrate which has first been cleared of impurities by baking it at 1200 degrees Kelvin.

The crystalline surface was cut to form staircase corrugations. Left to themselves, the atoms then self-assemble into wires (aligned along the corrugations) of up to 150 atoms each.

Maps Point the Way to Fighting the Flu Virus

April 24, 2008

An international team of researchers from Cambridge, Los Alamos, and Erasmus Medical Center has built influenza-tracking “antigenic cartography” software that tracks and maps influenza strains and immune system responses to them.

By being able to integrate data from around the world on immune system responses to influenza strains, researchers can improve surveillance and vaccine selection.

Influenza kills more than 250,000 people annually.

Army and M.I.T. Unveil Futuristic Soldier Center

May 23, 2003

MIT has won a $50 million Army contract to form a center that develops combat gear using nanoscale materials.

The high-tech gear that would allow soldiers to become partially invisible, leap over walls, and treat their own wounds on the battlefield.

Robo-Rehab at Home

November 13, 2009

(Biomedical Mechatronics Laboratory, Northeastern University)

Northeastern University researchers have developed portable robotic devices for the knee, wrist, pelvis, and ankle that are portable and cheap enough to allow continuation of the rehabilitation process at home.

Bird flu could reach North America this spring

March 14, 2006

One day in the next few weeks, flocks of wild birds from Asia will wing northeast across the Bering Strait to Alaska, where they’ll join other birds heading north from their winter homes in the United States and points south.

As they embark on their annual spring migration, Asian ducks and geese may be carrying some unwelcome baggage –the highly virulent H5N1 avian-flu virus — that they could pass… read more

New Properties Discovered for Nanotube Sheets

April 28, 2008
(University of Texas at Dallas)

Specially designed carbon nanotube sheets (“buckypaper”) can increase in width when stretched or increase in both length and width when uniformly compressed, nanotechnologists at The University of Texas at Dallas an collabotators in Brazil have found.

These unexpected but highly useful properties could have applications such as making composites, artificial muscles, gaskets or sensors. The team’s findings are reported in the April 25 issue of the journal… read more

Deadly spread of cancer halted

June 6, 2003

Metastasis of cancers through the body could be halted by targeting a protein named galectin-3 that helps cells latch on to each other, reveals a new study in Clinical Cancer Research June issue.

A Central Nervous System for Earth: HP’s Ambitious Sensor Network

November 20, 2009

HP Labs has announced a project that aims to be a “Central Nervous System for the Earth” (CeNSE): a R&D program to build a planetwide sensing network, using billions of tiny accelerometers that detect motion and vibrations, and later, ones for light, temperature, barometric pressure, airflow and humidity.

The nodes could be stuck to bridges and buildings to warn of structural strains or weather conditions and along roadsides to… read more

Here’s an Idea: Let Everyone Have Ideas

March 27, 2006

Co-founders of Rite-Solutions, a software company that builds advanced command-and-control systems for the Navy, have created an internal “stock market” of ideas where any employee can propose that the company acquire a new technology, enter a new business or make an efficiency improvement.

These proposals become stocks, complete with ticker symbols, discussion lists and e-mail alerts. Employees buy or sell the stocks, and prices change to reflect the sentiments… read more

Scientists make chemical cousin of DNA for use as new nanotechnology building block

April 30, 2008
(Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University)

Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute scientist John Chaput and his research team have made the first synthetic self-assembled nanostructures, composed entirely of glycerol nucleic acid (GNA), a synthetic analog of DNA.

With GNA, the five carbon sugar commonly found in DNA (deoxyribose) is substituted by glycerol, which contains just three carbon atoms.

Unlike DNA and proteins, which have evolved to exist only as right-handed, the GNA… read more

New noninvasive scanning technique allows for optical biopsies

June 16, 2003

A new noninvasive microscopy technique that could lead to optical biopsies without removal of tissue is being reported by biophysical scientists at Cornell and Harvard universities.

The researchers have demonstrated the new imaging technique by making live-tissue intrinsic fluorescence scans of autopsy samples from the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and by imaging mammary gland tumors in mice that serve as models of human cancer.

Scans can… read more

Western diets turn on fat genes

December 1, 2009

A diet high in fat and sugar switches on genes that ultimately cause our bodies to store too much fat, adding to the already difficult task of converting high-fat and high-sugar foods to energy, according to a study published online in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal.

Nanopore Method Could Revolutionize Genome Sequencing

April 7, 2006

A team led by physicists at the University of California, San Diego has shown the feasibility of a fast, inexpensive technique to sequence DNA as it passes through tiny pores. The advance brings personalized, genome-based medicine closer to reality.

The paper, published in the April issue of the journal Nano Letters, describes a method to sequence a human genome in a matter of hours at a potentially low cost,… read more

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