(CNN) - If you take Adam Harvey’s advice, here’s what you might wanna wear to a party this weekend: A funny hat, asymmetrical glasses, a tuft of hair that dangles off your nose bridge and, most likely, a black-and-white triangle taped to your cheekbone. Optional:…
New research published online in the FASEB Journal suggests that a specific enzyme, called 5-lipoxygenase, plays a key role in cell death induced by microgravity environments, and that inhibiting this enzyme will likely help prevent or lessen the severity of immune problems in astronauts caused by spaceflight. Additionally, since space conditions initiate health problems that mimic the aging process on Earth, this discovery may also lead to therapeutics that extend lives by bolstering the immune systems of the elderly.
“The outcomes of this space research might be helpful to improve health in the elderly on Earth,” said Mauro Maccarrone, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Teramo in Teramo, Italy. “In fact, space conditions [cause problems that] resemble the physiological process of aging and drugs able to reduce microgravity-induced immunodepression might be effective therapeutics against loss of immune performance in aging people. 5-lipoxygenase inhibitors, already used to curb human inflammatory diseases, may be such a group of compounds.”
Bloom, a decade-old company, is usually secretive about its technology, its financials and its overall plans. But the company, in a rare video interview, tells GigaOM about its next-generation technology, which includes a 200 kW fuel cell that has double the power in the same footprint as its older 100 kW system. The new 200 kW fuel cell is 20 percent more efficient than the older fuel cell, and Bloom began shipping this technology at the beginning of 2012. For a detailed look and interview with the company watch our video!
Remember how graphene, the single-atom thick layer of carbon was so slick it was
going to change everything? Well it looks like silicene is here to steal the spotlight. Researchers have just made the first sheet of single-atom thick silicon.
Silicene has been a work in progress for years, but they think they’ve finally got it down now, and it represents a tremendous breakthrough. Graphene is awesome, but it’s proven a bit tricky to work it into components. Because silicene is made of silicon, which most chips are already made of, the integration process could be much simpler.
Patrick Vogt of Berlin’s Technical University in Germany, along side researchers at Aix-Marseille University in France managed to create silicene by condensing silicon vapor onto a silver plate to form a single layer of atoms. They then tested the sheet and found that it closely matched the properties silicene was theorized to exhibit. The next (challenging) step will be to grow silicene on insulating substrates so that it can be fully tested and evaluated for potential future uses in electronics. Looking forward to see what they do with this stuff. [New Scientist]
A proposal is being put forward by the Robot Companions for Citizens (CA-RoboCom) consortium has [sic] the aim of giving a robot to every citizen in the European Union (EU).
Someone with a particular willingness to believe in conspiracy theories might see this as a plot to build a robot army and infiltrate our homes in preparation for the inevitable robot uprising, and by someone I of course mean me.
gh this is not the first time I heard/saw something on Watson, some things really became clear only at his keynote. Namely: what is really the central paradigm that made the question answering mechanism so successful in the case of Watson? Well… query answering in Watson is not some sort of a deterministic algorithm that turns a natural language question into a query into a huge set of data. This approach does not work.”
He continues, “Instead, a question is analyzed and, based on search in various set of data, a large set of possible answers is extracted. These ‘candidate’ answers are analyzed separately along a whole series of different dimensions (geographical or temporal dimensions, or, which I found the most interesting, putting back candidate answers into the original question and search that again against various sources of information to rank them again). The result is a vector of numerical values representing the results of the analysis along those different dimensions. That ‘vector’ is summed up into one final value using a weight values for each dimension. The weights themselves are obtained through a prior training process (in this case using a number of stored Jeopardy question/answers). Finally, the answer with the highest value (I presume over a certain threshold value) is returned.”
Physicists have discovered a possible solution to a mystery that has long baffled researchers working to harness fusion. If confirmed by experiment, the finding could help scientists eliminate a major impediment to the development of fusion as a clean and abundant source of energy for producing…
A certain well-known engineer has a product to add to the mix. Here’s a hint: He rides a Segway. Dean Kamen, who invented the Segway and several groundbreaking medical devices, has put a decade of work into a water purifier that he calls the “Slingshot.” The name is a reference to the story of David and Goliath — to Kamen, waterborne disease is a Goliath of a problem, and technology is the slingshot [source: Richardson]. Read on to learn how the purifier works.
From the outside, the water purifier looks like a black box. It’s about the size of a dormitory refrigerator. Inside, there’s a system for purifying water that’s actually quite old and common. Drug companies use the same method to purify water for use in medicines [source: MECO]. The U.S. Navy has used the method to desalinate drinking water [source: MECO].
Drug company and submarine versions aren’t practical for developing countries, though. They’re too big to move and need technicians on call. The Slingshot is simpler and more portable.
All of these purifiers work by vapor compression distillation. Kamen once ran down a partial list of what this process can purify: the ocean; water laced with arsenic, poison, heavy metals, viruses and bacteria; liquid at a chemical waste site; or the contents of a latrine [source: Comedy Partners]. Remarkably, all it takes is boiling and re-liquefying water at precise temperatures. Let’s see how it works.
Kamen’s black box first connects to an electricity source. Next, you hook it up to a water source by dropping the hose in some water. The dirty water gets sucked into the system, where it warms to its boiling point (212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Celsius). Then, it enters an evaporator, where it’s heated a little more and boils [source: Pacella]. Already, some contaminants are lost. Anything that boils at hotter than 212 degrees F (100 degrees C) — stones, dirt, salt — stays in the evaporator and is drained out. Bacteria, viruses, eggs and spores get hit twice: They don’t rise with the steam in the evaporator and are pasteurized by the heat in the purifier.
The world’s first transgenic sheep produced via a simplified cloning technique, known as handmade cloning (seriously), is here. Peng Peng, named for the two principal scientists doing the cloning (who happen to have the same name), was successfully delivered back on March 26 and is developing…
Scientists have discovered proof that the evolution of intelligence and larger brain sizes can be driven by cooperation and teamwork, shedding new light on the origins of what it means to be human. The study appears online in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B and was led by scientists at Trinity College Dublin: PhD student, Luke McNally and Assistant Professor Dr Andrew Jackson at the School of Natural Sciences in collaboration with Dr Sam Brown of the University of Edinburgh.
The researchers constructed computer models of artificial organisms, endowed with artificial brains, which played each other in classic games, such as the ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’, that encapsulate human social interaction. They used 50 simple brains, each with up to 10 internal processing and 10 associated memory nodes. The brains were pitted against each other in these classic games.
The game was treated as a competition, and just as real life favours successful individuals, so the best of these digital organisms which was defined as how high they scored in the games, less a penalty for the size of their brains were allowed to reproduce and populate the next generation of organisms.
By allowing the brains of these digital organisms to evolve freely in their model the researchers were able to show that the transition to cooperative society leads to the strongest selection for bigger brains. Bigger brains essentially did better as cooperation increased.
Buckminster fullerene molecules, the naturally occurring spheres made up of 60 carbon atoms, have long been suspected to have biological benefits. Now, a study that set out to establish if they were toxic when administered orally has proven quite the opposite—they almost doubled the lifespan…
The most accurate study so far of the motions of stars in the Milky Way has found no evidence for dark matter in a large volume around the Sun.
According to widely accepted theories, the solar neighborhood was expected to be filled with dark matter, a mysterious invisible substance that can only be detected indirectly by the gravitational force it exerts. But a new study by a team of astronomers in Chile has found that these theories just do not fit the observational facts. This may mean that attempts to directly detect dark matter particles on Earth are unlikely to be successful.
A team using the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, along with other telescopes, has mapped the motions of more than 400 stars up to 13 000 light-years from the Sun. From this new data they have calculated the mass of material in the vicinity of the Sun, in a volume four times larger than ever considered before.
“The amount of mass that we derive matches very well with what we see — stars, dust and gas — in the region around the Sun,” says team leader Christian Moni Bidin (Departamento de Astronomía, Universidad de Concepción, Chile).
“But this leaves no room for the extra material — dark matter — that we were expecting. Our calculations show that it should have shown up very clearly in our measurements. But it was just not there!”’
A new 3D printing process developed at the Univ. of Glasgow could revolutionize the way scientists, doctors and even the general public create chemical products. Prof. Lee Cronin believes his research could lead to the development of home chemical fabricators which consumers could use to design…
The wild success of the badly-written BDSM sexcapade Fifty Shades of Grey proves that what women really want is to be smacked around a bit more in bed—at least, so say certain members of the chattering class. This has (of course) prompted professional contrarian Katie Roipheto shriek in glee over how mad all the feminists must be about this. Which has (of course) prompted all the feminists to roar in anger over how wrong Roiphe gets it, and how much they just adore rape play. It’s all fairly typical—of Roiphe, of bloggers, of how women’s sexuality gets covered, of our insipid online media cycle—and also fairly interesting, if you’re into this sort of thing. Which I am. Which is why I’d like to introduce something into the conversation that’s been largely ignored this time around: Science. Neuroscience, to be more specific—and how the brains of both men and women are wired for bothsexual dominance and sexual submission.
Researchers at Rice University and Penn State University have discovered that adding a dash of boron to carbon while creating nanotubes turns them into solid, spongy, reusable blocks that have an astounding ability to absorb oil spilled in water.
That’s one of a range of potential innovations for the material created in a single step. The team found for the first time that boron puts kinks and elbows into the nanotubes as they grow and promotes the formation of covalent bonds, which give the sponges their robust qualities.
For many space advocates, their ultimate goals go beyond reducing the cost of space access, opening new markets, and creating new uses for space. For decades, their long-term goal has been to enable humans to live in space permanently: space colonization or, more recently, space settlement (avoiding the negative historical connotations of “colonization”). It sounds fanciful and far-fetched to many, but has the endorsement—albeit a rhetorically inelegant one—from President Obama, who spoke at the Kennedy Space Center two years ago this month of a long-term goal “for people to work and learn and operate and live safely beyond the Earth for extended periods of time, ultimately in ways that are more sustainable and even indefinite.”
Before humans can live and work in space for those “indefinite” periods, researchers need to tackle a variety of issues, from affordable and reliable transportation to the economics of space settlement. A new initiative announced last week by a venerable space organization seeks to address those issues, starting with a biomedical topic of literally some gravity.