Category: Science and technology

Scientists create a neural implant that improves the brain function of monkeys

September 16, 2012

Scientists create a neural implant that improves the brain function of monkeysScientists at Wake Forest University, the University of Kentucky at Lexington and the University of Southern California at Los Angeles, developed a neural implant that helped rhesus monkeys matching skills.  While it is a long road between animal experimentation and humans, this could point the way to a method of helping people with various forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s.

A resurrected LiftPort is kickstarting its space elevator project

August 28, 2012

A resurrected LiftPort is kickstarting its space elevator projectActually the Kickstarter project is only raising money to build a proof of concept experiment that is called the “Climb to the Sky-A Tethered Tower”.  The idea is to build a robot that will then climb up two kilometers to the high altitude balloon platform. 

Robotic Shark looks for lost ships in the Arctic

August 27, 2012

Robotic Shark looks for lost ships in the ArcticA University of Victoria (UVic) team will use an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to look for ships lost 167 years ago in the Arctic.  The ill fated Franklin expedition went down in 1845 looking for the Northwest Passage. 

Fish go to the ISS

July 29, 2012

Fish go to the ISSThe unmanned Japanese cargo ship, Kounotori3, delivered a freshwater aquarium to the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday.  The Aquarium known as the “Aquatic Habitat” or AQH for short, was built by the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA).  A number of studies will be conducted on the Medaka (Oryzias latipes) fish it contains.

CERN discovers an illusive “Higgslike” particle

July 5, 2012

Cern discovers an illusive "Higgslike" particleIn 1964 six physicists including Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh, Tom Kibble of Imperial College, London; Carl Hagen of the University of Rochester; Dr. Guralnik of Brown University; and François Englert and Robert Brout, both of Université Libre de Bruxelles developed the theory of the Higgs bosun.  The Higgs bosun was conceived as a “manifestation of an invisible force field, a cosmic molasses that permeates space and imbues elementary particles with mass.”  But until now no one has been able to show that it really existed.

Google builds a neural network that can identify a cat

June 26, 2012

Google builds a neural network that can identify a catGoogle, the company that gave us Googling, Chrome, Android, and augmented reality glasses, has now built a 1,000 computer based neural network.  That neural network was able to figure out what a cat looks like from YouTube videos.

Fat cells could lead to better bone grafts

June 11, 2012

Fat cells could lead to better bone graftsEverybody has to have some fat in their body or they will literally die.  But for many of us that isn’t the issue.  It’s an over abundance of fat.  While nothing will make being overweight healthy, fat may actually have a use in healing.  Purified fat stem cells can be used to grow new bone that is better quality than using other stem cells.

You can track the Dragon orbiter’s voyage to the ISS with Star Walk and Solar Walk

May 23, 2012

You can track the Dragon orbiter's voyage to the ISS with Star Walk and Solar WalkYesterday SpaceX launched its unmanned Dragon space capsule aboard its Falcon Rocket. The Dragon capsule is carrying supplies and experiments to the International Space Station (ISS) and is the first such mission using a private company.  For everyone who wants to watch the progress of the Dragon mission, there are two apps, Star Walk and Solar Walk you can use.  Both apps will work with the iPhone or iPad.  Both apps will cost you but that’s a small price to pay to watch a little history and learn a bit about our solar system.

For a longer life take buckyballs in olive oil

May 19, 2012

For a longer life take buckyballs in olive oilYes, that may actually be the secret to a doubled lifespan if it works as well in people as it does in rats.  Of course the process is very complicated and requires huge amounts of equipment so if it does turn out that it works on humans like it works on rats, expect it to cost a fortune.

SpaceX will fly to Bigelow’s inflatable space habitats

May 13, 2012

SpaceX will fly to Bigelow's inflatable space habitatsThe International Space Station (ISS) is expected to continue operating until 2020, which is four years longer than the previous estimate.  But the ISS is getting long in the tooth and with the decommissioning of the Space Shuttle fleet, the United States, at least is looking to private companies like SpaceX to take over resupply and astronaut travel to and from the ISS.  Soon a private company, Bigelow Aerospace will be providing inflatable habitats that are larger than the ISS and can be leased for a variety of purposes.

Vacations from email improve productivity

May 3, 2012

Vacations from email improve productivityWhile email is a vital source of information for many of us, it is also a stressor and a distraction.  According to a study conducted by the University of California, Irvine, restricting access to email reduced stress and improved focus.

If you want to do research on the ISS, CASIS is looking for you

April 25, 2012

If you want to do research on the ISS, CASIS is looking for youThe Space Shuttles have all been retired. The International Space Station (ISS) is expected to be decommissioned in 2020.  Research on the ISS slowed with the end of the Space Shuttle era. With the new SpaceX Dragon capsule, NASA wants to increase the research taking place in space.  NASA picked the non-profit Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to recruit and manage half of the research on the ISS.

New solar cell creates more electricity by lighting up

April 19, 2012

New solar cell creates more electricity by lighting upWhile solar cell efficiency is theoretically able to reach 33.5 percent efficiency, so far solar cells have only been able to reach 26 percent until now.  Eli Yablonovitch, principal researcher and UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering has developed a new solar cell that will achieve 28.3 percent efficiency and it does so by emitting light.

Flashback Trojan hits over 500,000 Macs

April 6, 2012

Flashback Trojan hits over 500,000 MacsFor years one of the many selling points of buying an Apple computer was the fact that they rarely got a virus or a trojan.  Unfortunately for at least 550,000 Mac owners worldwide, they have computers that are infected with the Flashback Trojan.  Apple already knows about it and has already sent out a fix but that doesn’t mean that the infected computers are fixed.  It’s a bit like shutting the barn door after the horse has gotten out.

Blind man goes for a spin in Google’s self-driving car

April 3, 2012

Blind man goes for a spin in Google's self-driving carLegally blind Steve Mahan got to take Google’s self-driving car out for a spin.  He sat in the drivers seat and never used the pedals or the steering wheel, still he was able to run errands.  True there was someone else in the car with him holding a laptop but neither Steve nor his passenger ever touched the driving controls.

Peel is the smallest new old car in the world

March 19, 2012

Peel is the smallest new old car in the worldThe Peel Engineering Company made cars  in the early to mid 1960’s and were the smallest production cars ever created.  Fast forward 50 years and they are making a comeback hence the new car status.  The diminutive P-50 and slightly larger trident look like they must be children’s pedal cars but they aren’t.  They are actual street legal cars that have made it into Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums and the Guinness World Book of Records.

NEC creates an ultrathin organic battery

March 12, 2012

NEC creates an ultrathin organic batteryNEC has developed a 0.3mm thin organic battery.  The battery has the capacity of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries used in mobile phones.  Batteries this small could really revolutionize electronics.  The “you can never be too thin” adage works for electronics as well.


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