Posts

October 15, 2014

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12:47 AM | Earth's magnetic field could flip within a human lifetime
Imagine the world waking up one morning to discover that all compasses pointed south instead of north. It's not as bizarre as it sounds. Earth's magnetic field has flipped – though not overnight – many times throughout the planet's history. Its dipole magnetic field, like that of a bar magnet, remains about the same intensity for thousands to millions of years, but for incompletely known reasons it occasionally weakens and, presumably over a few thousand years, reverses […]
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12:42 AM | Researchers develops ultra-fast charging batteries that last 20 years
Scientists at Nanyang Technology University (NTU) have developed ultra-fast charging batteries that can be recharged up to 70 per cent in only two minutes. The new generation batteries also have a long lifespan of over 20 years, more than 10 times compared to existing lithium-ion batteries. This breakthrough has a wide-ranging impact on all industries, especially for electric vehicles, where consumers are put off by the long recharge times and its limited battery life. […]

October 14, 2014

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7:47 PM | The neuroscience of holding it
Wherever you are right now: squeeze your glutes. Feel that? You just also contracted your pelvic floor too, whether you wanted to or not. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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6:12 PM | The exClone Project
exClone is a human-like dialogue system that encaptures a person’s expertise via digital cloning. Once the digital cloning is complete, an exClone is born and it has an independent, autonomous, and self-conscious life. It can learn from social conversations to improve its knowledge. It can also keep reading new material to get better following the directions and personality traits of its creator.
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6:02 PM | Unique catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells synthesized in ordinary kitchen microwave oven
Swedish and Chinese researchers show how a unique nano-alloy composed of palladium nano-islands embedded in tungsten nanoparticles creates a new type of catalysts for highly efficient oxygen reduction, the most important reaction in hydrogen fuel cells. Their results are published in the scientific journal Nature Communications. Subject:  Technology
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4:42 PM | Google Now scores higher than Siri and Cortana on massive knowledge quiz
Apple’s famous artificial intelligence agent is eating humble pie today. Ask Siri “Who is smarter, Siri or Google Now?” and Siri obligingly links to an article about a recent 3,086-question challenge that ranked Google Now as the top scorer. Subject:  Artificial Intelligence
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4:03 PM | Mars One (and done?)
MIT team independently assesses the technical feasibility of the proposed Mars One mission. In 2012, the “Mars One” project, led by a Dutch nonprofit, announced plans to establish the first human colony on the Red Planet by 2025. The mission would initially send four astronauts on a one-way trip to Mars, where they would spend the rest of their lives building the first permanent human settlement. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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3:51 PM | New device detects several types of cancer
Scientists have devised a way to detect microRNAs to screen for many cancers with one test in an affordable, accurate and non-invasive way.

October 13, 2014

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10:07 PM | 'Love hormone' controls sexual behaviour
A small group of neurons that respond to the hormone oxytocin are key to controlling sexual behaviour in mice, a team has discovered. The researchers switched off these cells which meant they were no longer receptive to oxytocin. This "love hormone" is already known to be important for many intimate social situations. Without it, female mice were no more attracted to a mate than to a block of Lego, the team report in journal Cell. READ MORE Subject:  Biology & […]
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9:36 PM | Why cancer researchers are excited about this amoeba
A type of amoeba that lives in soil has a gene that is very similar to a tumor-fighting gene found in humans. The human gene is called PTEN. When it’s healthy, it stops tumors from growing. But the gene is prone to mutations, and those mutations are linked to lots of cancers. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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9:15 PM | Elon Musk: Don't fall asleep at the wheel for another 5 years
Following Tesla's news that it's bringing autopilot to its electric sports cars, CEO Elon Musk says autonomous, self-driving cars aren't far off either. Elon Musk takes a cautious approach to artificial intelligence, but he's certainly not afraid of making our cars a little -- or even a lot -- smarter. After the Tesla Motors founder unveiled a new autopilot feature for the company's line of electric sports cars Thursday, he told Bloomberg Television that fully autonomous vehicles […]
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8:43 PM | Do we want an augmented reality or a transformed reality?
It seems we are headed towards a world where augmented reality (AR) systems will be as common as smartphones are today – it’s already about to revolutionise medicine, entertainment, the lives of Subject:  Technology
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8:33 PM | Paving the way for a fructose tolerance test
Increased consumption of table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup has been linked to rising rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the United States and throughout the world. Both sweeteners are commonly found in processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages, and both are made up of nearly equal amounts of two basic sugars, glucose and fructose. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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8:27 PM | Chemical derived from broccoli sprouts shows promise in treating autism
A small study led by investigators at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has found evidence that daily treatment with sulforaphane – a molecule found in foods such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage – may improve some symptoms of autism spectrum disorders. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:20 PM | How binge drinking alters your genes
Scientists say binge drinking causes epigenetic changes in histone structures in the liver. “Epigenetic alterations are changes in genes that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence or genetic code,” says Shivendra Shukla, a professor at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. Subject:  Genetics
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4:08 PM | A different gap
We’re often told that when facing philosophical problems, we should try to ‘carve them at the joints’. The biggest joint on offer in the case of consciousness has seemed to be the ‘explanatory gap’ between the physical activity of neurons and the subjective experience of consciousness. Now, in the latest JCS, Reggia, Monner, and Sylvester suggest that there is another gap, and one where our attention should rightly be focussed. Subject:  […]
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3:46 PM | Oral capsule as effective as invasive procedures for delivery of fecal transplant
A noninvasive method of delivering a promising therapy for persistent Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection appears to be as effective as treatment via colonoscopy or through a nasogastric tube. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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3:37 PM | Greek Bronze Age may have ended 100 years earlier than thought
Conventional estimates for the collapse of the Aegean civilization may be incorrect by up to a century, according to new radiocarbon analyses. Historical chronologies traditionally place the end of the Greek Bronze Age at around 1025 B.C., but research suggests a date 70 to 100 years earlier. Subject:  Anthropology
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1:23 AM | Quantum computing poised for new silicon revolution
A dramatic increase in the amount of time data can be stored on a single atom means silicon could once again play a vital role in the development of super-fast computers. The silicon chip revolutionised most aspects of everyday life since it was invented in the 1950s. It’s changed the way that we communicate with each other, and how we operate almost all everyday items, from cars to airplanes, fridges to televisions and our smart-phones and tablets. Subject:  […]

October 12, 2014

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10:56 PM | Rough Mandelbrot Sets
I’ve been reading up on Zdzisław Pawlak’s Rough Set Theory recently and wanted to play with them. They are used to address vagueness in data so fractals seem like a good subject. Super Quick Intro to Rough Sets: A rough set is a … Continue reading →
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5:50 PM | Texas health care worker tests positive for Ebola
A Dallas health care worker who provided care for the Ebola patient hospitalized there has tested positive for the virus in a preliminary test, Texas health officers said on Sunday, becoming the second person on U.S. soil to contract the deadly disease ravaging parts of Africa. The worker, based at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital where Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan eventually succumbed to the disease, reported a low grade fever Friday night and was isolated and referred […]
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3:58 PM | A giant step forward in the treatment of diabetes
Harvard stem cell researchers today announced that they have made a giant leap forward in the quest to find a truly effective treatment for type 1 diabetes, a condition that affects an estimated three million Americans at a cost of about $15 billion annually: With human embryonic stem cells as a starting point, the scientists are for the first time able to produce, in the kind of massive quantities needed for cell transplantation and pharmaceutical purposes, human insulin-producing […]
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3:38 PM | 'Good' fat that fights diabetes discovered
Scientists at the Salk Institute and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston have discovered a new class of molecules—produced in human and mouse fat—that protects against diabetes. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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3:22 PM | All the Cell’s a Stage
Brian Strahl, PhD, and his band of biochemists at the UNC School of Medicine, unravel the complicated mysteries of the epigenetic code to find a culprit in cancer development. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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3:17 PM | A case for including bioethics class in the high school curriculum
Over the course of scientific history, many research experiments have been conducted, and amazing discoveries have been made that have improved countless lives. However, not all of the work has been ethical, and in fact, some of it has been cruel. In such cases, the ends do not justify the means. Because science depends on public dollars to fund research, public trust is essential. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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3:11 PM | An official guide for demon hunters: helpful advice from philosophers and witch-hunters
Halloween is coming up, reminding us to confront the lurking evils around us, and to dispatch them to the sulfuric pits from whence they came. Up your game this year with real advice from history’s best demon hunters. These saints have been taking out the trash for millennia, and it’s time you had some of their mojo. Anthony of the Desert Subject:  Brain & Behavior

October 11, 2014

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6:25 PM | Hungry black hole found to eat faster than thought possible
As­tro­no­mers say they have found a black hole con­sum­ing a near­by star 10 times faster than pre­vi­ously thought pos­si­ble. It’s swal­low­ing a weight equiv­a­lent to 100 bil­lion bil­lion hot dogs a min­ute, they claim. A black hole is an ob­ject so compact that its gra­vity is over­whelm­ing, and pulls in an­y­thing that gets too near, in­clud­ing light. Al­though that […]
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3:17 PM | Dissolvable silicon circuits and sensors
Transient electronics that dissolve in water usher in next generation of devices, from green technologies to medical implants. Electronic devices that dissolve completely in water, leaving behind only harmless end products, are part of a rapidly emerging class of technology pioneered by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Subject:  Technology
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3:04 PM | What to do about the dwindling stock of antibiotics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that at least 2 million Americans are sickened by antibiotic resistant infections each year and survive. (Twenty-three thousand die.) These experiences leave deep impressions not just on the patients but on their family and friends. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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2:23 PM | Scientists capture images of elusive protein HIV uses to infect cells
New research has illuminated the movement and complete structure of the spikes on HIV that the virus uses to bind to the cells it infects. HIV is adept at eluding immune system responses because the protein it uses to infect cells is constantly changing. Now a team of researchers including scientists from Yale have stripped the cloak from this master of disguise, providing a high resolution image of this surface spike protein and monitoring how it constantly changes its shape, […]
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