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Hydrogen Fuel from Formic Acid

May 15, 2008

New research at the Leibniz Institute of Catalysis (Germany) shows that formic acid could be used as a safe, easy-to-transport source of hydrogen for fuel cells–initially to power portable electronic devices, such as cell phones and laptops.

Top computer hangs on to its title

July 3, 2006

IBM’s BlueGene/L computer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, has once again been crowned world champion by the TOP500 list of the fastest supercomputers used for scientific applications, with a computing speed of 280.6 terraflops per second.

Horst Simon, associate laboratory director at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a member of the TOP500 team, said the next TOP500 champ would be a big jump to 500 or… read more

Plastic Electronics

August 25, 2003

Plastic chips could rival silicon sometime in the 2010s for wall-size television displays to ultra-tiny transistors. The potential has captivated some heavyweight companies in computers and consumer electronics.

Scientists improve chip memory by stacking cells

December 22, 2009

Scientists at Arizona State University have developed a way to create inexpensive, high-density data storage by stacking memory layers inside a single chip.

Vitamin D May Help Curb Breast Cancer

May 20, 2008

Mount Sinai Hospital (Toronto) researchers found that women with insufficient vitamin D were nearly twice as likely to have their cancer recur or spread over the next 10 years, and 73 percent more likely to die of the disease.

In another study, University of California San Diego researchers found an association between sun exposure and lowered breast cancer rates. (Ultraviolet B radiation in sunlight triggers production… read more

A ‘light switch’ in the brain illuminates neural wiring

April 10, 2013

Virus-induced optogenetic labeling of neurons. Right: closeup of rectangular area.  (Credit: Sheng-Jia Zhang et al./Science)

In a vivid example of how neuroscientists are meticulously tracing the microwiring of the brain, Norwegian researchers have used an optogenetic light switch to see (literally) which neurons communicate with each other in one small section of the brain.

The researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)’s Kavli Institute of Systems Neuroscience use a virus that acts as a… read more

Paint-on semiconductor outperforms chips

July 13, 2006

Researchers at the University of Toronto have created a semiconductor device that outperforms today’s conventional chips — and they made it simply by painting a liquid onto a piece of glass.

The Toronto team cooked up semiconductor particles a few nanometers across in a flask containing extra-pure oleic acid, the main ingredient in olive oil. They then placed a drop of solution on a glass slide patterned with gold… read more

Intel sampling first ICs made on 90-nm line

September 4, 2003

Intel Corp. is sampling the first microprocessors manufactured on its 90-nanometer process technology — the Prescott for desktop PCs and the Dothan, an improved version of the Pentium M chip for laptops.

Prescott, an upgrade over current Pentium 4 microprocessors, doubles the on-die Level 2 cache to 1 Mbyte with an expected 3.4-GHz frequency.

Building a Search Engine of the Brain, Slice by Slice

December 28, 2009

A “Google Earthlike search engine,” the first entirely reconstructed, whole-brain atlas with resolution all the way down to the level of single cells–2.5 petabytes of information– will be available at the Brain Observatory at U.C. San Diego to anyone who wants to log on.

Access to next-gen Internet may be uneven

May 23, 2008

Graham Finnie, chief analyst for the telecom research firm Heavy Reading, believes 13 percent of U.S. households will be connected to fiber by 2012. Since Verizon is the major builder, the vast majority of those will be in Verizon territory on the East Coast, Texas and California.

“A quarter of the U.S. is going to get one of the best networks in the world,” said Dave Burstein, editor of… read more

Meet the Remote-Control Self

July 21, 2006

Hiroshi Ishiguro, a senior researcher at ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories outside Kyoto, has created a machine in his own image — a robot that looks and moves exactly like him. It sits on a chair and gazes around the room in a very humanlike fashion, just like its creator.

Invisibility tiles can cloak any shape

October 27, 2011

Invisibility tiles

Oliver Paul at the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany and associates have revealed a practical way of making invisibility cloaks of any size and shape, The Physics ArXiv Blog reports.

Creating a cloak that exactly follows the shape of the object it is intended to hide is hard because curve cloaks are hard to make, so they approximated the shape using flat facets.

Ref: Oliver Paul,… read more

Ban cloning babies, demand world’s top scientists

September 23, 2003

Cloning babies should be banned worldwide by the United Nations, more than 60 of the world’s leading scientific academies demanded on Monday.

But the ban should not extend to therapeutic cloning, they added.

Where Did the Time Go? Do Not Ask the Brain

January 5, 2010

New research suggests why time seems to speed up or slow down.

In experiments, psychologists found that subjects underestimated how much time had passed by three months, but the more intervening related developments came to mind, the longer away the original event seemed.

They also found that when people were tricked into believing that more time had passed than was really the case, they assumed they must have… read more

Fruits, vegetables and teas may protect smokers from lung cancer

May 30, 2008

UCLA cancer researchers have found that smokers who ingested high levels of natural chemicals called flavonoids in their diet (from fruits, vegetables and tea) had a lower risk of developing lung cancer than other smokers.

Flavonoids are water-soluble plant pigments that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which can counteract damage to tissues.

The flavonoids that appeared to be the most protective included catechin (strawberries and green… read more

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