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Are We in the Peak of an Oil Bubble?

July 8, 2008

Since 2003, worldwide oil prices have quadrupled and according to a new study, the price of oil is rising at a faster-than-exponential rate, and cannot be sustained.

In other words, we’re in the midst of an oil bubble, say researchers at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai, China.

Since it appears that the supply-demand balance has only a small effect… read more

160-lumen white power LED lighting

October 25, 2006

New LED lamps capable of 70 lumens per watt may cut our light-based electrical bill ultimately by more than 90 percent.

And Toyota has said that replacing a car’s lights with LEDs would be equivalent to getting an extra 20 percent mileage through reducing vehicle weight.

NEC claims world’s smallest transistor

December 10, 2003

NEC said it has developed the world’s smallest transistor, a breakthrough that could lead to the production of a supercomputer the size of a desktop PC.

The design is 1/18th the size of current transistors and has a gate width of only 5 nanometers.

A typical semiconductor chip will be able to hold 40 billion of the NEC transistors inside a chip measuring one square centimeter, more than… read more

Robots to rescue soldiers

March 1, 2010

The Pentagon is asking inventors to come up with designs for a robot with strong, dexterous arms and grippers to rescue injured troops, with little or no help from outside, and that can cooperate with swarms of similar machines for mass rescues.

Sneeze-sensing software gives avatars a good laugh

July 14, 2008

Software that can automatically recognize “non-linguistic” sounds such as laughter and generate an appropriate facial animation sequence, could improve the quality of web-based avatars or computer-animated movies.

University of Bath and University of Cardiff scientists used optical motion capture to record the facial expressions of four participants as they performed a number of laughs, sobs, sneezes and yawns. The researchers also recorded the participants’ voices during their performances. They… read more

Zapping sleepers’ brains boosts memory

November 7, 2006

Applying a gentle electric current to the brain during sleep can significantly boost memory, University of Luebeck researchers report.

They believe this is due to the pattern of the applied current mimicking that seen in naturally occurring deep sleep, where memory consolidation is thought to take place.

Body handles nanofiber better

December 18, 2003

Researchers from Purdue University have made a discovery that may hold promise for tissue regeneration: carbon nanofibers are surprisingly compatible with human tissue.

Their experiments showed that increasing the amount of carbon nanofibers in a polycarbonate urethane composite implant increased the functions of nerve and bone-forming cells and decreased the function of scar-tissue formation.

Carbon nanotubes also have strong electrical properties. “These carbon nanofibers also interact with neurons,… read more

Fiber-wireless (Fi-Wi) to provide ultra-high-speed, short-range communication

March 10, 2010

fiberwireless

“Fiber-wireless” (Fi-Wi) networks are overcoming problems with wireless congestion, providing high-speed connectivity (faster than 1 Gb/s) by combining fiber (for connection to a central office) and 60 GHz signals (for local high-speed wireless inside a house or office), Christina Lim from the University of Melbourne and her coauthors explain.

Google and the Real Search for Meaning on the Web

July 18, 2008

Google has been publishing a series of posts about how its search engine works with meaning, going beyond page rank.

How neural stem cells create new and varied neurons

June 21, 2013

fly_larval_brain

A new study examining the brains of fruit flies reveals a novel stem cell mechanism that may help explain how neurons form in humans.

“The question we confronted was ‘How does a single kind of stem cell, like a neural stem cell, make all different kinds of neurons?,’” said Chris Doe, a biology professor.

Researchers have known for some time that stem cells are capable of producing… read more

Colon cancer stem cells identified

November 21, 2006

Scientists have identified a population of human colon cancer stem cells that can initiate tumor growth and differentiate into mature tumors, according to two reports in Nature.

These cells, representing just two to three percent of the overall tumor, should be the focus of cancer therapies, according to Ruggero De Maria, research director, Department of Hematology and Oncology, Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Rome, who led one of the two… read more

Defining words, without the arbiters

January 3, 2012

Wordnik

When you search for the definition of a word in Wordnik, a vast online dictionary, it shows the information it has found on the Internet, with no editorial tinkering.

When readers ask about a word, Wordnik provides definitions on the left-hand side of the screen, callling on the┬ámore than six million words it has found so far. Example sentences on the right-hand side provide further understanding of… read more

‘Smart Bomb’ delivery destroys tumors in mice

January 6, 2004

Weizmann Institute scientists have destroyed malignant tumors in mice using allicin, a chemical that occurs naturally in garlic.

To zero in on the targeted tumor, scientists took advantage of the fact that most types of cancer cells exhibit distinctive receptors on their surfaces. An antibody that is “programmed” to recognize the tumor’s characteristic receptor is chemically bound to the enzyme alliinase. Injected into the bloodstream, the antibody seeks out… read more

Nanocomposite said to boost lithium batteries by 5X

March 17, 2010

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed nanocomposites that boost the capacity of lithium ion batteries by five times by hanging nanometer-sized silicon particles on trees of carbon black, which then self-assemble into porous micron-sized spheres.

The resulting electrode remains stable due to the durable carbon-superstructure that prevents cracking, but benefits from the increased surface area afforded by the smaller silicon nanoparticles.

Discovery may boost statin safety

July 25, 2008

University of Oxford researchers have found a gene mutation that is the major cause of a rare but serious side effect of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

They found that a variation in the DNA code of a gene called SLC01B1 was responsible for 60% of the myopathy (severe muscle pain and weakness) cases in people taking high dose statin therapy.

The discovery could lead to a simple test to… read more

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