Posts

November 27, 2014

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6:10 PM | Scientists discover an off-switch for pain
In research published in the medical journal Brain, Saint Louis University researcher Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D. and colleagues within SLU, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other academic institutions have discovered a way to block a pain pathway in animal models of chronic neuropathic pain including pain caused by chemotherapeutic agents and bone cancer pain suggesting a promising new approach to pain relief. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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5:22 PM | Family is Adoption
Beautiful six minute short film on my family. The group that produced is trying to get people thinking about living lives of generosity. Check them at out here.
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5:02 PM | The artificial pancreas shown to improve the treatment of type 1 diabetes
The world's first clinical trial comparing three alternative treatments for type 1 diabetes was conducted in Montréal by researchers at the IRCM and the University of Montreal, led by endocrinologist Dr. Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret. The study confirms that the external artificial pancreas improves glucose control and reduces the risk of hypoglycemia compared to conventional diabetes treatment. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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4:57 PM | How our muscles work
Scientists led by Kristina Djinović-Carugo at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL) of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna have elucidated the molecular structure and regulation of the essential muscle protein α-actinin. The new findings allow unprecedented insights into the protein's mode of action and its role in muscle disorders. The findings, made in collaboration with King's College London (KCL), may lead to improved treatments, and are […]
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4:46 PM | Stroke damage mechanism identified
Researchers have discovered a mechanism linked to the brain damage often suffered by stroke victims--and are now searching for drugs to block it. Strokes happen when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off but much of the harm to survivors' memory and other cognitive function is often actually caused by "oxidative stress" in the hours and days after the blood supply resumes. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:44 PM | How to Explain net neutrality to your relatives: A Thanksgiving guide
Thanksgiving is almost here, and that means turkey, mashed potatoes, and getting peppered with questions about tech-related news stories because hey, you read a bunch of blogs and you even know what a yik-yak is! It's only a matter of time before they ask you "So what's up with that thing on the internets?" Subject:  Technology

November 26, 2014

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6:52 PM | Join the hunt to break the Higgs boson 'barrier'
Online volunteers are being asked to spot tiny explosions that could be evidence for new particles that will require new models of physics. Subject:  Technology
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6:00 PM | Artificial Intelligence and life beyond the algorithm: Alan Turing and the future of computing
Turing is not just a historical figure; his work is still crammed with relevance - and tricky questions. It's hard to choose where Alan Turing had the biggest impact on history. The British mathematician is known as the father of computing thanks to his work on what he called a universal machine - which provided the framework for development of digital computing - and he also helped significantly shorten the Second World War through his work with the codebreakers of Bletchley Park. […]
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5:47 PM | Do elderly brains learn too much?
A new study led by Brown University reports that older learners retained the mental flexibility needed to learn a visual perception task but were not as good as younger people at filtering out irrelevant information. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:35 PM | Protons fuel graphene prospects
Graphene, impermeable to all gases and liquids, can easily allow protons to pass through it, Univ. of Manchester researchers have found. Published in Nature, the discovery could revolutionize fuel cells and other hydrogen-based technologies as they require a barrier that only allow protons to pass through. In addition, graphene membranes could be used to sieve hydrogen gas out of the atmosphere, where it is present in minute quantities, creating the possibility of electric generators […]
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4:28 PM | Hacked email accounts spread spam faster
Spam spreads much faster and to more people when it is being propagated by hacked, or otherwise compromised, email accounts rather than legitimate accounts, according to research published in the International Journal of Security and Networks. Subject:  Computer Science
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4:23 PM | Converting human waste into rocket fuel
Buck Rogers surely couldn't have seen this one coming, but at NASA's request, University of Florida researchers have figured out how to turn human waste -- yes, that kind -- into rocket fuel. Adolescent jokes aside, the process finally makes useful something that until now has been collected to burn up on re-entry. What's more, like so many other things developed for the space program, the process could well turn up on Earth, said Pratap Pullammanappallil, a UF associate professor of […]
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3:56 PM | Jurassic World - Official Trailer
Steven Spielberg returns to executive produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World. Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure from a screenplay he wrote with Derek Connolly. Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley join the team as producers.
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12:31 AM | The search for dark energy just got easier
Since the early 20th century, scientists and physicists have been burdened with explaining how and why the Universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating rate. For decades, the most widely accepted explanation is that the cosmos is permeated by a mysterious force known as “dark energy”. In addition to being responsible for cosmic acceleration, this energy is also thought to comprise 68.3% of the universe’s non-visible mass. Subject:  […]
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12:13 AM | Efficiency breakthrough for thin-film solar devices
The large-scale deployment of solar energy has been severely hindered by the slow pace of advances in energy conversion efficiency of solar cells. This is defined as the ratio of energy output from the solar cell to input energy from the sun. To address this challenge, researchers at Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for Micro-Photonics (CMP) have successfully synthesised one-dimensional graphenised carbon nanofibre to demonstrate an efficiency breakthrough in […]

November 25, 2014

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11:18 PM | Novel type 1 diabetes treatment shown to work on human beta cells transplanted into mice
A chemical produced in the pancreas that prevented and even reversed Type 1 diabetes in mice had the same effect on human beta cells transplanted into mice, new research has found. GABA, or gamma-aminobutryic acid, is an amino acid produced by the same beta cells that make and secrete insulin. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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9:16 PM | Researchers shed new light on the genetics of memory performance
In the largest study of the genetics of memory ever undertaken, an international researcher team including scientists from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), have discovered two common genetic variants that are believed to be associated with memory performance. The findings, which appear in the journal Biological Psychiatry, are a significant step towards better understanding how memory loss is inherited. Subject:  Genetics
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4:25 PM | Study supports free 'super Wi-Fi'
Wireless data transmission largely takes place via WLAN networks, such as WiFi. However, these networks are currently limited to high frequency ranges at 2 GHz and above and, hence, have a limited range. The authors of the study, Arnd Weber of the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) of KIT and Jens Elsner, a former member of the staff of the KIT Communications Engineering Lab, propose to extend the frequencies for free communication to include lower ranges […]
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4:21 PM | Exo-Earths and the search for life elsewhere: a brief history
The criteria for life on other planets is the focus of the 4th Australian Exoplanet Workshop, hosted by the University of Southern Queensland this week. The first in this series on exoplanets looks at the story so far in the search for life elsewhere in the universe. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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4:04 PM | Scientists turn sawdust into gasoline
Researchers at KU Leuven's Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis have successfully converted sawdust into building blocks for gasoline. Using a new chemical process, they were able to convert the cellulose in sawdust into hydrocarbon chains. These hydrocarbons can be used as an additive in gasoline, or as a component in plastics. The researchers reported their findings in the journal Energy & Environmental Science. Subject:  Technology
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6:34 AM | Groundbreaking malware has been spying on computers since 2008
One of the most sophisticated pieces of malware ever seen has been discovered by researchers. Dubbed Regin, the tool has reportedly been spying on telecoms companies, governments, businesses, and individuals for at least the past six years, and appears to have been used by the UK’s intelligence services. Security company Symantec announced the existence of Regin yesterday, and the researchers say it is a "​groundbreaking and almost peerless" piece of malware “whose […]
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6:26 AM | Microsoft shows off robot security guards
Visitors to Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus had a close encounter with security guards earlier this month. But they weren't human security guards. In fact, if you passed one in the parking lot, you might have mistaken it for some sort of mini spaceship, or perhaps something from the Doctor Who universe. But these 300-pound, 5-foot-tall structures are meant to help you stay safe, and keep the baddies away. Subject:  Robotics
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5:32 AM | Boy moms more social in chimpanzees
Nearly four decades of observations of Tanzanian chimpanzees has revealed that the mothers of sons are about 25 percent more social than the mothers of daughters. Boy moms were found to spend about two hours more per day with other chimpanzees than the girl moms did. Chimpanzees have a male-dominated society in which rank is a constant struggle and females with infants might face physical violence and even infanticide. It would be safer in general to just avoid groups where aggressive […]

November 23, 2014

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4:54 PM | Accuracy of Generated Fractals
Note: I refer to the Mandelbrot set in general as the M-set for short. When I was writing the post on Rough Mandelbrot Sets I tried out some variations on the rough set. One variation was to measure the generated … Continue reading →

November 19, 2014

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4:34 PM | The Rosetta lander detects organic matter: the seeds of life?
Scientists working with data sent back by the now-slumbering Philae lander have announced the discovery of organic molecules on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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4:25 PM | High heels may enhance a man's instinct to be helpful
If it's help a woman needs, maybe she should wear high heels. That's the message from Nicolas Guéguen of the Université de Bretagne-Sud in France, after he observed how helpful men are towards women in high heels versus those wearing flat, sensible shoes. The study, published in Springer's journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, is the first ever to investigate how the height of a woman's shoe heel influences how men behave towards her. Subject:  Brain […]
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4:17 PM | How stress aids memory
Retrieving memory content under stress does not work very well. However, stress can be helpful when it comes to saving new information—especially those that are emotionally relevant in stressful situations. At the Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, a team of cognitive psychologists headed by Prof Dr Oliver T. Wolf study these correlations. The RUB's science magazine RUBIN reports on the results. Faked Job Interview Triggers Stress Subject:  Brain & Behavior […]
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4:13 PM | Giving LEDs a cozy, warm glow
When the 2014 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded this October to three Japanese-born scientists for the invention of blue light emitting diodes (LEDs), the prize committee declared LED lamps would light the 21st century. Now researchers from the Netherlands have found a novel way to ensure the lights of the future not only are energy efficient but also emit a cozy warmth. Subject:  Technology
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3:38 AM | A medium amount of physical activity can lower the risk of Parkinson's disease
A new study, published online in Brain: A Journal of Neurology today, followed 43,368 individuals in Sweden for an average of 12.6 years to examine the impact of physical activity on Parkinson's disease risk. It was found that "a medium amount" of physical activity lowers the risk of Parkinson's disease. Subject:  Health & Medicine

November 18, 2014

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9:56 PM | Japan has 500 km/h maglev train
While US infrastructure continues its slow but steady degeneration as politicians stay fixated on richer people paying less taxes and thus starving the government and making it unable to maintain even what we have now let alone make ambitious plans for improvements in the future, we have to look to other countries for the nice things that we cannot have. Subject:  Technology
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