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New fluorescent protein from eel revolutionizes key clinical assay

Saving human lives while preserving an endangered species
June 19, 2013

Fluorescence image of a transverse section of a formalin-fixed eel (credit: RIKEN)

Unagi, the sea-going Japanese freshwater eel, harbors a fluorescent protein that could serve as the basis for a revolutionary new clinical test for bilirubin, a critical indicator of human liver function, hemolysis, and jaundice, according to researchers from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute.

Best known as a culinary delicacy in Japan, the freshwater eel Unagi (Anguilla japonica) and related species have seen a worldwide decrease… read more

New Top 500 supercomputer sites list

November 14, 2006

The 28th TOP500 List of supercomputer sites for 2006 has been released.

IBM BlueGene/L system, installed at DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, retains the No. 1 spot with a Linpack performance of 280.6 teraflops (trillions of calculations per second, or Tflop/s).

The new No. 2 systems is Sandia National Laboratories’ Cray Red Storm supercomputer, only the second system ever to be recorded to exceed the 100… read more

China racing to expand data center capacity

December 29, 2011

China is building dozens, maybe hundreds of large data centers and vast “cloud cities” — industrial zones that aim to provide the foundations to support as many as 20 data centers — to support the needs of its fast-growing online population, estimated now at close to 500 million.

The data centers will help to meet escalating demand from telecom providers, and for services such as e-commerce, online banking and… read more

Unmaking Memories

December 29, 2003
Image: Paramount Pictures

In the sci-fi thriller movie Paycheck, an engineer has his memory erased after completing a sensitive reverse-engineering job. Scientific American.com spoke with a leading neurobiologist to find out just how close scientists are to controlling recall.

3D chip stacking to take Moore’s Law past 2020

March 12, 2010

3D Microchips

By combining 3D-stack-architecture of multiple cores with hair-thin, liquid-cooled microchannels, IBM and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich hope to extend Moore’s law for another decade or more.

3D chip stacks with interlayer cooling overcome the bandwidth bottleneck between core and cache memory and allow for systems with a much higher efficiency, so supercomputers won’t consume too much energy to be affordable.

To solve the… read more

How the Personal Genome Project Could Unlock the Mysteries of Life

July 22, 2008

George Church’s Personal Genome Project aims to make those correlations between particular genetic sequences and particular physical characteristics, including disease risk and personality, on an unprecedented scale.

Begun last year with 10 volunteers, it will soon expand to 100,000 participants and generate a massive database of genomes, phenomes, and even some omes in between.

A Smarter Computer to Pick Stocks

November 27, 2006

Wall Street is adopting nonlinear decision making processes akin to how a brain operates, including neural networks, and genetic algorithms, and other advanced computer-science techniques.

“Artificial intelligence is becoming so deeply integrated into our economic ecostructure that some day computers will exceed human intelligence,” Ray Kurzweil told fund managers at a recent conference. “Machines can observe billions of market transactions to see patterns we could never see.”

Squid May Inspire New Nanolights

January 13, 2004

A Hawaiian squid has a built-in flashlight made up of a previously unknown type of protein that could help researchers design novel nanoreflectors.

Glowing bacteria provide the light source, which is surrounded by stacks of reflective plates. The team notes that the reflectins are “a marked example of natural nanofabrication of photonic structures” and should inspire bottom-up synthesis of new spectroscopic and optic devices.

Invisibility cloak created in 3-D

March 22, 2010

Invisibility Cloak

Scientists at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have created the first device to render an object invisible in three dimensions.

The “cloak,” described in the journal Science, hid an object from detection using light of wavelengths close to those that are visible to humans.


NeuroVista, Emerging from Stealth Mode, Unveils Technology to Predict Epileptic Seizures

July 29, 2008

Researchers at NeuroVista are developing an implantable device designed to predict a seizure before it happens and warn a patient to get ready.

In their system, an implanted telemetry device receives brain wave data and transmits it to a receiver, where proprietary mathematical algorithms transform the information into a real-time warning system.

The device could also be a warning system for other neurological disorders that can have unpredictable… read more

High-speed customization of novel nanoparticles for drug delivery and electronics

July 3, 2013

mit_coated_nanoparticles

A new coating technology developed at MIT, combined with a novel nanoparticle-manufacturing technology developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, may offer scientists a way to quickly mass-produce tailored nanoparticles that are specially coated for specific applications, including medicines and electronics.

Using this new combination of the two existing technologies, scientists can produce very small, uniform particles with customized layers of material… read more

Physicists Find Tiny Particle With No Charge, Very Low Mass And Sub-nanosecond Lifetime

December 8, 2006

A tiny particle with no charge, a very low mass and a lifetime much shorter than a nanosecond, dubbed the “axion,” has been detected by Dr. Piyare Jain, University at Buffalo professor emeritus in the Department of Physics.

The axion has been seen as critical to the Standard Model of Physics and is believed to be a component of much of the dark matter in the universe.

Lie-detector glasses offer peek at future of security

January 21, 2004

A lie detector small enough to fit in the eyeglasses of law enforcement officers can tell whether a passenger is a terrorist by analyzing his answer to questions in real time.

The technology, developed by Nemesysco for military, insurance claim and law enforcement use, is being repackaged and retargeted for personal and corporate applications by V Entertainment.

A signal-processing engine, said to use more than 8,000 algorithms each… read more

Making the blind see: Gene therapy restores vision in mice

April 1, 2010

Scientists have used a non-viral, synthetic nanoparticle carrier to improve and save the sight of mice with retinitis pigmentosa.

Solar-Power Breakthrough

August 1, 2008

Daniel Nocera, a professor of chemistry at MIT, has made a major advance in chemistry that could lead to a cheap way to store energy from the sun, solving one of the key problems in making solar energy a dominant source of electricity.

He has developed a low-cost catalyst that can generate oxygen and hydrogen from water, and the hydrogen can then be burned or run through a fuel… read more

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