science + technology news

Google Wave 101

October 12, 2009

The revolutionary new Google Wave communication platform attempts to bring together your favorite online communication options, combining the features of instant messaging, e-mail programs, the viral aspects of social media, Twitter, maps, and document sharing into one program.

Using nanotechnology to improve Li-ion battery performance

April 11, 2008

Chinese scientists have developed 500-nanometer lithium-ion-battery electrode materials using tin nanoparticles encapsulated in elastic hollow carbon-nanotube-based spheres, replacing conventional graphite.

The scientists have found that the new materials provide higher initial and long-term ampere-hours capacity, prolonging battery life.

Supercomputer builds a virus

March 14, 2006

One of the world’s most powerful supercomputers has built a computer model of the satellite tobacco mosaic virus.

The researchers say the simulation is the first to capture a whole biological organism in such intricate molecular detail.

Running on a machine at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Urbana, the program calculated how each of the million or so atoms in the virus and a surrounding drop of… 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.

Placebo effect caught in the act in spinal nerves

October 19, 2009

Using fMRI scanning of a section of the spinal cord, researchers at University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf have found that pain-related activity in the spinal cord is strongly reduced under placebo.

They speculate that higher brain areas affected by the placebo belief trigger the release of endogenous opioids that may reduce spinal cord activity.

A Bang, a Whimper, and Another Bang?

April 16, 2008

The relatively quiet black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy could one day reignite, spewing forth so much radiation that the sky would never darken.

That grim scenario has become more likely based on a new survey by Liverpool John Moores University astronomers. They used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to survey spectral lines from 360,000 relatively nearby galaxies. Nearly 20% showed active galactic… read more

New data transmission record — 60 DVDs per second

March 27, 2006

German and Japanese scientists recently collaborated to achieve a newworld record for data transmission.

By transmitting a data signal at 2.56 terabits per second over a 160-kilometer link, the researchers bettered the old record of 1.28 terabits per second held by a Japanese group. By comparison, the fastest high-speed links currently carry data at a maximum 40 Gbit/s, or around 50 times slower.

How the visual system constructs moving objects

August 15, 2011

Although our eyes record the word as pixels, the visual system is fantastic at giving us a world that looks like objects, not pixels, psychologists at Northwestern University have found.

It does this by grouping areas of the world with similar characteristics, such as color, shape, or motion, the researchers said.

The process is so seamless that we feel we’re taking it all in simultaneously. The… 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

Meet BigDog’s Two-Legged Brother

October 28, 2009

Petman, a bipedal bot that walks on two legs and can recover from a push (using the same balancing technology that allows BigDog to recover from a kick) has been developed by Boston Dynamics.

DNA ‘lock and key’ allows for precision drug delivery to target cancer and other cells

January 12, 2016

DNA nanopore ft

Scientists at University College London (UCL) and Nanion Technologies in Munich have developed synthetic DNA-based pores that control which molecules can pass through a cell’s wall, achieving more precise drug delivery.

Therapeutics, including anti-cancer drugs, are ferried around the body in nanoscale carriers called vesicles, targeted to different tissues using biological markers. The new DNA-based pore design is intended to improve that process.

DNA Lock-and-key drug delivery

In… read more

The new shape of music: Music has its own geometry, researchers find

April 21, 2008
(Dmitri Tymoczko, Princeton University)

Three music professors have developed a method called “geometrical music theory” that translates the language of musical theory into that of contemporary geometry.

They categorize sequences of notes, like chords, rhythms and scales into “families” that can be represented by points in complex geometrical spaces.

Nano-patterns guide stem cell development

April 9, 2006

Stem cells can be prompted to develop into bone, instead of muscle or cartilage tissue, if they are grown on a substrate etched with nanoscopic patterns – and no added chemicals, University of Glasgow researchers have found.

The discovery could lead to longer-lasting artificial implants that are nano-engineered to encourage suitable tissue to develop around them.

Precisely why these patterns affect stem cell growth is unclear, but the… read more

People imitate computer speech

June 30, 2003

Oregon Health & Science University researchers have discovered that when people converse with text-to-speech (TTS) computer systems, they substantially change their speech to sound like the computer — what’s known as speech convergence.

OHSU press release

Spoonful Of Sugar’ Makes The Worms’ Life Span Go Down

November 6, 2009

By adding just a small amount of glucose to the C. elegans worm diet, University of California, San Francisco and Pohang University of Science and Technology researchers found the worms lose about 20 percent of their usual life span, suggesting that a diet with a low glycemic index may extend human life span.

They trace the effect to insulin signals, which can block aquaporin channels that transport glycerol.… read more

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