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Listening to cells: scientists probe human cells with ultrasound pulses

February 7, 2013

Generation and detection of picosecond strain pulses in an opaque thin film with ultrashort optical pulses (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Researchers from the University of Bordeaux in France used high-frequency sound waves to test the stiffness and viscosity of the nuclei of individual human cells to help answer questions such as how cells adhere to medical implants and why healthy cells turn cancerous.

“We have developed a new non-contact, non-invasive tool to measure the mechanical properties of cells at the sub-cell scale,” says Bertrand Audoin, a professor… read more

A Better Bug for Biofuels

September 25, 2009

Researchers are developing genetically engineered microbial sources of biofuels that do not rely on food sources or agricultural land, unlike ethanol made from corn or sugarcane.

Lasers could power drones in flight or launch rockets

August 15, 2011

Laser power beaming (credit: Lasermotive)

Researchers at LaserMotive have devised a way to beam lasers to power military bases and drones, possibly helping to save lives, since delivering fuel to battle zones can be a dangerous task in wartime.

Although still largely in the R&D stage, laser power beaming has many other potential uses, which include powering vehicles, replacing electric power wiring and transmission lines in difficult places, and even… read more

Life, Reinvented

January 10, 2005

MIT engineers have created the new field of synthetic biology.

Internet addiction is a psychiatric disorder

April 3, 2008

In the American Journal of Psychiatry, psychiatrist Jerald Block argues that internet addiction should be included in the next version of DSM, the US handbook of recognised psychiatric conditions.

The condition is characterized by excessive use of the Internet, anger or depression if computer access is lost, poor achievement and social isolation.

KurzweilAI.net MindX forum redesigned

July 25, 2001

The KurzweilAI.net MindX discussion forum interface has been redesigned for easier access.
The new design displays topics on a single page for easier access and in threaded (replies grouped under the parent post) or flat (chronological) order. A search feature has also been added, along with other user-interface enhancements.

MindX is a discussion forum for visitors to KurzweilAI.net. It is accessible from the Web site’s… read more

2B: the Era of Flesh Is Over film to premiere at Woodstock Film Festival

October 1, 2009

2B: The Era of Flesh Is Over, a science-fiction film set in the near future, will have its world premiere at the 10th anniversary Woodstock Film Festival in Woodstock, NY on Friday, Oct. 2, 2009.

A panel discussion, “Redesigning Humanity: the New Frontier,” moderated by bioethicist James J. Hughes, including Ray Kurzweil, 2B film executive producer Martine Rothblatt, and author Wendell Wallach and… read more

Mystery compound in beer fights cancer

January 20, 2005

Okayama University researchers have found that DNA damage to mice given heterocyclic amines — cancer causing agents — was reduced by up to 85% if the mice drank non-alcoholic beer instead of water.

The lead researcher Arimoto-Kobayashi thinks as-yet unidentified compounds in lager and stout prevent the amines binding to and damaging DNA. If these compounds can be identified, brewers might be able to produce beers particularly rich in… read more

Rare genetic mutations protect against hypertension

April 7, 2008

Yale University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have found that rare genetic variants can be associated with a dramatically lower risk of developing high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a condition that affects a billion people worldwide and contributes significantly to heart and kidney disease, and stroke. About 100 million people worldwide carrying the mutations are protected from high blood pressure.

That rare mutations may collectively… read more

MIT, HP to build quantum computer

August 20, 2001

Hewlett-Packard and MIT have announced a joint effort aimed at building quantum information systems.

Researchers at HP Labs will work with their counterparts in MIT’s Media Lab, including Neil Gershenfeld and Isaac Chuang, on a joint $2.5 million quantum computing project.

Foresight Institute Announces Feynman Prize Winners

October 8, 2009

The Foresight Institute has announced winners of the 2009 Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology.

The winner of the 2009 Feynman Prize for Theory is Robert A. Freitas Jr., in recognition of his pioneering theoretical work in mechanosynthesis, in which he proposed specific molecular tools and analyzed them using ab initio quantum chemistry to validate their ability to build complex molecular structures. This Prize also recognizes his previous work in systems… read more

‘Bio-barcoding’ promises early Alzheimer’s diagnosis

February 1, 2005

Combining magnetic and gold nanoparticles with strands of DNA could allow for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and even prevent symptoms from ever appearing.

Bio-barcoding, shown to be thousands of times more sensitive for protein detection than conventional tests, can test for proteins called amyloid-beta-derived diffusible ligands (ADDLs), which exist at elevated levels in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Dorgan: Study on oil potential in Bakken formation to be released

April 9, 2008

Sen. Byron Dorgan says the U.S. Geological Survey is slated to release a study Thursday on the oil potential of the area known as the Bakken formation in North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

In 1995, the Geological Survey estimated the amount of recoverable oil in the Bakken at 151 million barrels. Dorgan says technology has come far since then.

The nanoelectronic road ahead

September 17, 2001

The semiconductor industry has the potential for at least 20 more years of exponential progress ahead of us,” said James D. Meindl, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Microelectronics Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology in a paper published in the September 14 issue of the journal Science.Based on a comprehensive analysis of the fundamental, material, device, circuit and system limits on silicon semiconductors,… read more

Physicists Calculate Number of Universes in the Multiverse

October 16, 2009

The number of universes in the multiverse* is at least 10^10^10^7, based on quantum fluctuations in the state of the early universe being “frozen” during inflation, say Andrei Linde and Vitaly Vanchurin at Stanford University.

But the total amount of information that can be absorbed by one individual during a lifetime is about 10^16 bits, so a typical human brain can have 10^10^16 configurations and could never distinguish more… read more

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