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MIT gestural computing makes multitouch look old hat -- Engadget

The display consists of alternating LCD and visual sensor elements. Each LCD element alternates between displaying an image and emitting a pattern which reflects off any nearby surface (such as a hand) and is detected by the sensing elements. Using this approach, the group was able to develop a demonstration of gesture-based computing.

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BBC News - Making the first computer virus

Dr. Fred Cohen created the first computer virus more than 26 years ago before pioneering ways to fight malicious code. As a student he that a neighbouring university had created a Trojan, but immediately realized that if he could make the code self-replicating it could infect spread itself. He approached a computer security expert at the university with his idea and a request to build one to verify the idea. After creating the virus, he spent the next five years trying to figure out ways to protect computers from the very thing he knew others would soon create.
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the physics arXiv blog » Blog Archive » Memristors made into low cost, high density RRAM (Resistive Random Access Memory)

University of California researchers have determined that low-cost, high-density memristor-based memory is feasible with current technology. Current research is focused on figuring out which substances work best.

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This concept PC takes the idea of scribbling an idea on a napkin a step farther by making the "napkin" a touch-sensitive e-paper sheet RF-linked to a nearby receiver as shown in this image. The base station can then be linked to a regular computer so that multiple base stations can be linked. Multiple napkins can be linked to make a larger writing surface. The RF link is inductive so the napkin doesn't need a transmitter, and using e-paper means the display is passive, not active so requires minimal power.
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Follow the link to see a Youtube video of a demonstration of the resilience of the Asus LS201 monitor. After attempting to hammer nails into the screen they shoot it with a crossbow.
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A new optical modulator, more than 100 times smaller than previous designs, may allow optical routing between components on a single chip. The modulator converts a continuous laser into optical pulses that match an input signal. This could be used to connect multiple  processor cores on a single chip, allowing them to communicate 100 times faster, and using 10 times less energy, than current multi-core systems that use wires. 
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Last week, a security flaw was discovered in Passport Canada's online application site. The breach was discovered when an applicant, out of curiosity, changed a letter in the URL and found that he was able to see confidential information from another applicant, including social insurance and driver's license numbers. He informed Passport Canada who closed down the site until the source of the problem could be determined. They reported that the breach was fixed as of Friday.
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Among the stories in today's tech post: believing gossip over truth, synthesizing God, relating Alzheimers and Diabetes, bionic nerves, conducting your own virtual orchestra, the dangers of mixing acetaminophen and coffee, a gene switch for Schizoprenia, a neural link to anorexia, easy online photo resizing, and the affects of marriage on testosterone levels.
Reuters: Science
Gossip more powerful than truth, researchers say - Gossip is more powerful than truth, a study showed on Monday, suggesting people believe what they hear through the grapevine even if they have evidence to the contrary. (see also: Gossip more powerful than facts in shaping opinion: study)
Scientists Deliver 'God' Via A Helmet - Scientific American is reporting on scientific work done to map the euphoric religious feelings within the brain. As a result, it's now quite possible to experience 'proximity to God' via a special helmet. During the three-minute bursts of stimulation, the affected subjects translated this perception of the divine into their own cultural and religious language — terming it God, Buddha, a benevolent presence or the wonder of the universe.
Alzheimer's Could Be a Third Form of Diabetes - Insulin, it turns out, may be as important for the mind as it is for the body. Research in the last few years has raised the possibility that Alzheimer's memory loss could be due to a novel third form of diabetes. Scientists at Northwestern University have discovered why brain insulin signaling — crucial for memory formation — would stop working in Alzheimer's disease.
Technology Review Feed - Tech Review Top Stories
New Tricks for Online Photo Editing - A site called Rsizr (pronounced "resizer") has added a feature that isn't even in the newest version of Photoshop: the ability to shrink or enlarge pictures--horizontally and vertically--with relatively little distortion. For instance, Rsizr can compress a photo of students in a classroom without sacrificing resolution by removing the pixels between desks. Likewise, Rsizr can expand the picture to fill, say, an entire computer screen by adding extra pixels in certain places.
PhysOrg.com - latest science and technology news
'Bionic' nerve to bring damanged limbs and organs back to life - University of Manchester researchers have transformed fat tissue stem cells into nerve cells — and now plan to develop an artificial nerve that will bring damaged limbs and organs back to life.
Baton charge: Do-it-yourself conductors take over classical music - Instead of wielding a baton, the "conductor" wears an eWatch, a computer the size and shape of a large wristwatch that contains accelerometers and tilt sensors. Software then translates those actions into commands which tell a virtual orchestra -- a 3-D replication of a real-life performance by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra -- to play faster or slower, louder or softer.
Science Blog
How schizophrenia develops: Major clues discovered - Schizophrenia may occur, in part, because of a problem in an intermittent on/off switch for a gene involved in making a key chemical messenger in the brain, scientists have found in a study of human brain tissue. The researchers found that the gene is turned on at increasingly high rates during normal development of the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain involved in higher functions like thinking and decision-making – but that this normal increase may not occur in people with schizophrenia.
Unmarried men rule -- when it comes to testosterone - A fascinating new study is the first outside of North America to observe lower testosterone levels among married men. Supporting a growing body of research, the study reveals that even married men who are considered aloof spouses and provide minimal parenting have much lower testosterone levels than single, unmarried men.
Anorexic women taste different - Although anorexia nervosa is categorized as an eating disorder, it is not known whether there are alterations of the portions of the brain that regulate appetite. Now, a new study finds that women with anorexia have distinct differences in the insulta – the specific part of the brain that is important for recognizing taste – according to a new study by University of Pittsburgh and University of California, San Diego researchers currently on line in advance of publication in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
Acetaminophen, caffeine mix may harm liver - Consuming large amounts of caffeine while taking acetaminophen, one of the most widely used painkillers in the United States, could potentially cause liver damage, according to a preliminary laboratory study reported in the Oct. 15 print issue of ACS’ Chemical Research in Toxicology.
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Among the stories in today's post: Energy-harvesting mechanical fish, the world's smallest radio, the benefits of swearing at work, and soy's affects on sperm count.
New Scientist - Energy and Fuels
Mechanical 'fish' could tap turbulence for energy - Devices that harvest energy from swirling wakes surrounding buildings are being developed by US researchers. Their novel designs – inspired by fish – could generate electricity using eddies, something that conventional turbines cannot do.
Multi-touch display can 'see' objects too - A computer screen that also acts as a two-handed touch interface and a crude infrared camera has been developed by researchers at Microsoft's labs in the UK. The technology – dubbed ThinSight – was developed by adding an extra layer of electronics behind a normal laptop screen. This adds a couple of centimetres to the overall thickness, but completely transforms its abilities. The screen "sees" by using a grid of paired infrared sensors and transmitters that sit just behind the backlight of the laptop's LCD panel. The sensors can form crude images when infrared light bounces off an object (see images, right). This could allow the screen to identify hand gestures or to see objects, and let them interact with onscreen images.
Physics Org
Look, Ma, no batteries: Powering nanoelectronics with light - Scientists have developed solar cells 200 hundred times thinner than a human hair that they believe will power the nanoscale gadgetry of tomorrow, according to a study released Wednesday. Virtually invisible to the naked eye, a single strand can crank out up to 200 picowatts. Two hundred billionths of a watt may not seem much, but at nanoscale it is enough to provide a steady output of electricity to run ultralow power electronics, including some that could be worn on -- or even inside -- the body.
Toward world's smallest radio: nano-sized detector turns radio waves into music - Researchers in California today report development of the world’s first working radio system that receives radio waves wirelessly and converts them to sound signals through a nano-sized detector made of carbon nanotubes. The “carbon nanotube radio” device is thousands of times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. The development marks an important step in the evolution of nano-electronics and could lead to the production of the world’s smallest radio, the scientists say.
National Geographic News
Gene-Altered Plant, Tree Can Suck Up Toxins - Two types of genetically modified plants can remove toxic compounds from the environment, according to research by a pair of independent groups. One group developed Arabidopsis plants—small plants related to cabbage and mustard—that can clean up soil contaminated with cyclonite, or RDX. The widely used explosive is highly toxic and carcinogenic. The other team modified a poplar tree to soak up a host of cancer-causing compounds from soil, groundwater, and air.
Swearing at Work is Bleeping Good For You - This is the kind of news that your HR folks don't want to hear, but researchers today said letting workers swear at will in the workplace can benefit employees and employers. The study found regular use of profanity to express and reinforce solidarity among staff, enabling them to express their feelings, such as frustration, and develop social relationships, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia (UES).
How the U.S. Became Switchboard to the World - A lucky coincidence of economics is responsible for routing much of the world's internet and telephone traffic through switching points in the United States, where, under legislation introduced this week, the U.S. National Security Agency will be free to continue tapping it. ...International phone and internet traffic flows through the United States largely because of pricing models established more than 100 years ago... The United States, where the internet was invented, was also home to the first internet backbone. Combine that architectural advantage with the pricing disparity inherited from the phone networks, and the United States quickly became the center of cyberspace as the internet gained international penetration in the 1990s.
Purpose of Appendix Believed Found - Some scientists think they have figured out the real job of the troublesome and seemingly useless appendix: It produces and protects good germs for your gut. That's the theory from surgeons and immunologists at Duke University Medical School, published online in a scientific journal this week.
ABC News: Technology & Science
Study: Eating Soy May Slash Sperm Count - Men who eat just half a serving of soya a day have drastically fewer sperm than those who do not consume such foods, according to a small, preliminary study. The study's researchers say larger trials are needed to determine whether men hoping to conceive a child should try to avoid soya foods, such as tofu, tempeh and soya milk. However, soya industry representatives caution that the new findings contradict earlier studies that have shown no impact on sperm count from soya-based products.
BBC News | Science/Nature | World Edition
Gene-block birth control 'on way' - An American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference was told a technique called "RNA interference" could stop sperm entering the egg. However, the new "Pill" is at least a decade away - and may have its own side-effects.
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Physics Org
Beyond a 'speed limit' on mutations, species risk extinction - Harvard University scientists have identified a virtual "speed limit" on the rate of molecular evolution in organisms, and the magic number appears to be 6 mutations per genome per generation -- a level beyond which species run the strong risk of extinction as their genomes lose stability.
Are women being scared away from math, science, and engineering fields? - Have you ever felt outnumbered? Like there are just not that many people like you around? We’ve all felt outnumbered in one situation or another and walking into a situation in which you sense the possibility of being ostracized or isolated can be quite threatening. One group that may experience this kind of threat is women who participate in math, science, and engineering (MSE) settings- settings in which the gender ratio is approximately 3 men to every 1 woman. Mary Murphy argues that the organization of Math, Science and Engineering environments themselves plays a significant role in contributing to this gap. Murphy contends that situational cues (i.e. being outnumbered) may contribute to a decrease in women’s performance expectations, as well as their actual performance.
Negativity is contagious, study finds - Though we may not care to admit it, what other people think about something can affect what we think about it. This is how critics become influential and why our parents’ opinions about our life choices continue to matter, long after we’ve moved out. But what kind of opinions have the most effect" An important new study in the Journal of Consumer Research reveals that negative opinions cause the greatest attitude shifts, not just from good to bad, but also from bad to worse.
New plastic is strong as steel, transparent - By mimicking a brick-and-mortar molecular structure found in seashells, University of Michigan researchers created a composite plastic that's as strong as steel but lighter and transparent. (see also: Mother-of-pearl inspires super-strong plastic)
Scientific American
How Do Artists Portray Exoplanets They've Never Seen? - Stargazers have yet to lay eyes on any of the nearly 240 planets detected outside our solar system. These so-called exoplanets are too faint for current telescopes to distinguish from the stars they orbit*; instead astronomers rely on indirect methods to infer their existence. Yet popular news accounts, supplied by space agency press services, overflow with bold, almost photo-realistic images of distant worlds.
washingtonpost.com - Technology
Online Videos May Be Conduits for Viruses - Online videos aren't just for bloopers and rants _ some might also be conduits for malicious code that can infect your computer. As anti-spam technology improves, hackers are finding new vehicles to deliver their malicious code. And some could be embedded in online video players, according to a report on Internet threats.
Physics Org
Software 'Chipper' Speeds Debugging - Computer scientists at UC Davis have developed a technique to speed up program debugging by automatically "chipping" the software into smaller pieces so that bugs can be isolated more easily.
Driverless Truck Lurches Out of Lab - Oshkosh Truck chief engineer John Beck programs a mission route into TerraMax, a military-vehicle prototype that can navigate traffic and avoid obstacles without a driver, at a test track near the company. During a recent test on property owned by manufacturer Oshkosh Truck Co., TerraMax barreled down a dusty road with its driver seat empty. It stopped at a four-way intersection and waited as staged traffic resolved before obediently lurching on its way. If the Defense Department gets its way, vehicles like TerraMax - about as long as a typical sport utility vehicle and almost twice as high - could represent the future of transportation for the military's ground forces.
ABC News: Technology & Science
Blind People: Hybrid Cars Pose Hazard - Gas-electric hybrid vehicles, the status symbol for the environmentally conscientious, are coming under attack from a constituency that doesn't drive: the blind. Because hybrids make virtually no noise at slower speeds when they run solely on electric power, blind people say they pose a hazard to those who rely on their ears to determine whether it's safe to cross the street or walk through a parking lot. Officials with the Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind are quick to point out that they're not advocating a return to gas guzzlers. They'd just like the fuel-efficient hybrids to make some noise.
Can Creativity Survive in Hollywood? - Researchers at Vanderbilt University concluded a couple of years ago that creative persons are likely to live somewhere between normalcy and schizophrenia. They may be socially awkward, adept at finding new uses for old tools, but they are not sick. The researchers even gave the condition a name: schizo-type. But, that's on an individual level. Can personal creativity survive large-scale collaboration? Is it possible for a bunch of highly creative people, working together on a single project, to produce a product that is more creative than the sum of its parts?
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Peru Links Illness to Supposed Meteorite - A supposed meteorite that crashed in southern Peru over the weekend has caused hundreds of people to suffer headaches, nausea and respiratory problems, a health official said Tuesday. But meteor expert Ursula Marvin, cast doubt on that theory, saying, "It wouldn't be the meteorite itself, but the dust it raises."

Technology Review Feed - Tech Review Top Stories
Solar-Powered Laser - A new kind of efficient, solar-powered laser has been developed by researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in Japan. They hope to use the laser to help them realize their goal of developing a magnesium combustion engine. The idea, says Takashi Yabe, a professor of mechanical engineering and science at the Tokyo Institute, is to make a powerful laser capable of combusting the magnesium content of seawater. In the process, large amounts of heat and hydrogen are given off.

New Scientist Tech - Technology
'Pulp-based computing' makes normal paper smart - Boxes that sense the weight of their contents and books that talk back when pages are turned could be developed using technology being tested by researchers at MIT in the US. They are making paper with wires, sensors, and computer chips embedded, a technology dubbed 'Pulp-based' computing.

The Globe and Mail - Science News
Men may have personal stem-cell trove - It is an idea that may make many men cross their legs. But researchers in the United States say stem cells harvested from a man's testicles could one day be used to repair his damaged heart, kidneys or even his brain. The scientists have found a way to easily identify stem cells in the testicles of adult mice, and to coax them to become brain cells, muscle cells, heart cells, blood cells and even blood vessels. The next step is to see if they can do the same thing in humans.

BBC News | Science/Nature | World Edition
Northwest Passage opens - The most direct shipping route from Europe to Asia is fully clear of ice for the first time since records began, the European Space Agency (Esa) says.

Physics Org
Artists 'draw on air' to create 3D illustrations - By putting on a virtual reality mask, holding a stylus in one hand and a tracking device in the other, an artist can draw 3D objects in the air with unprecedented precision. This new system is called “Drawing on Air,” and researchers have designed the interface to be intuitive and provide the necessary control for artists to illustrate complicated artistic, scientific, and medical subjects.
Can't Take My Eyes Off You: New Study Shows The Power Of Attraction - Whether we are seeking a mate or sizing up a potential rival, good-looking people capture our attention nearly instantaneously and render us temporarily helpless to turn our eyes away from them, according to a new Florida State University study.
Chronic fatigue syndrome linked to stomach virus - Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as ME (myalgic encephalitis), is linked to a stomach virus, suggests research published ahead of print in Journal of Clinical Pathology.
Micro-dust could tame hurricanes: study - Seeding a hurricane with microscopic dust could sharply reduce its force, according to a study which calculated that the technique might have spared New Orleans from the devastating power of Katrina in 2005.

NASA Building Massively Heat-Resistant Chips - Silicon Carbide (SiC) chips can operate in 600 degrees Celsius or 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit where conventional silicon-based electronics -- limited to about 350 C -- would fail.In the past, integrated circuit chips could not withstand more than a few hours of high temperatures before degrading or failing. This chip exceeded 1,700 hours of continuous operation at 500 degrees Celsius - a breakthrough that represents a 100-fold increase in what has previously been achieved, NASA said.
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Physics Org
Breakup event in the main asteroid belt likely caused dinosaur extinction 65 million years ago - A joint U.S.-Czech team from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Charles University in Prague suggests that the parent object of asteroid (298) Baptistina disrupted when it was hit by another large asteroid, creating numerous large fragments that would later create the Chicxulub crater on the Yucatan Peninsula as well as the prominent Tycho crater found on the Moon.
Hot Ice to Lubricate Artificial Joints - A recent simulation has shown that thin layers of ice could persist on specially treated diamond coatings at temperatures well above body temperature, which could make ice-coated-diamond films an ideal coating for artificial heart valves, joint replacements, and wear-resistant prosthetics.
Discovery may help defang viruses - Researchers may be able to tinker with a single amino acid of an enzyme that helps viruses multiply to render them harmless, according to molecular biologists who say the discovery could pave the way for a fast and cheap method of making vaccines.
Pressure sensors in the eye - Sensors can monitor production processes, unmask tiny cracks in aircraft hulls, and determine the amount of laundry in a washing machine. In future, they will also be used in the human body and raise the alarm in the event of high pressure in the eye, bladder or brain.
Right breakfast bread keeps blood sugar in check all day - If you eat the right grains for breakfast, such as whole-grain barley or rye, the regulation of your blood sugar is facilitated after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was previously not known that certain whole-grain products have this effect all day. This is due to a combination of low GI (glycemic index) and certain type of indigestible carbohydrates that occur in certain grain products.
Texas Startup Says It Has Batteries Beat - An Austin-based startup called EEStor promised "technologies for replacement of electrochemical batteries," meaning a motorist could plug in a car for five minutes and drive 500 miles roundtrip between Dallas and Houston without gasoline. EEStor's secret ingredient is a material sandwiched between thousands of wafer-thin metal sheets, like a series of foil-and-paper gum wrappers stacked on top of each other. Charged particles stick to the metal sheets and move quickly across EEStor's proprietary material. The result is an ultracapacitor, a battery-like device that stores and releases energy quickly.

Schizophrenia genes 'favoured by evolution' - The genes that underpin schizophrenia may have been favoured by natural selection, according to a survey of human and primate genetic sequences. The discovery suggests that genes linked to the debilitating brain condition conferred some advantage that allowed them to persist in the population — although it is far from clear what this advantage might have been.

Technology Review Feed - Tech Review Top Stories
Is a Virus Behind the Honeybee Plague? - Scientists have identified a likely culprit underlying the massive and mysterious plague that has killed off tens of millions of bees in the United States over the past year. By sequencing the DNA of every microbe inhabiting the bees, researchers have pinpointed a novel virus strongly linked to infected hives. The findings could help beekeepers protect their colonies. The research also suggests an effective new method for identifying infectious pathogens, be they from bees or humans.
Animation for the Masses - Computer-generated effects are becoming increasingly more realistic on the big screen, but these animations generally take hours to render. Now, Adobe Systems, the company famous for tools like Photoshop and Acrobat Reader, is developing software that could bring the power of a Hollywood animation studio to the average computer and let users render high-quality graphics in real time. Such software could be useful for displaying ever-more-realistic computer games on PCs and for allowing the average computer user to design complex and lifelike animations.
The Invisible Hearing Aid - Hearing aids help millions of people, but many resist them because they think wearing one carries a social stigma. Hearing aids also have serious lifestyle limitations: the hearing impaired can't wear them while showering or swimming, and most models are hard to wear while sleeping. Now, a new kind of hearing aid that aims to overcome these problems is in clinical trials. It's invisible and waterproof because all of its circuitry--including its battery and microphone--is in the user's head.
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Physics Org
DNA used as a template for nanolithography - Adam Woolley and Héctor Becerril have developed a method to use DNA molecules as templates to define patterns on substrates. The researchers deposit metal films over DNA molecules aligned on a substrate. The DNA molecules essentially act as nanostencils to define sub-10-nm-sized patterns on the substrate. The researchers call this process “DNA shadow nanolithography” because the metal film is deposited at an angle and the shadow cast by the DNA molecules defines the dimensions of the features on the substrate.

Zero-G Stresses Immune Organs - Scientists conducted an experiment with mice that simulated zero-gravity on the ground and showed that a protein called osteopontin (OPN), a stress hormone connected with bone loss in space, may also be connected with the dangerous wasting of the spleen and thymus organs. Although Denhardt isn't uncertain how the process works, his team found that lifting up mice's hind legs--a stressful simulation of weightlessness--for three days caused about a 70 percent reduction in spleen and thymus tissue, compared to normal mice. The breaking down of organ tissue, called atrophy, also occurred in mice that were stressed out due to isolation.

Arsenic patent keeps drug for rare cancer out of reach of many - For thousands of years, arsenic has been known to have medicinal properties. It has been used at various times to treat syphilis and sleeping sickness, or occasionally to poison unsuspecting rats and husbands. In the past few decades, some scientists have discovered arsenic's ability to cure acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a rare and fatal cancer that strikes relatively young people. But despite its abundance and long history, arsenic treatment is inaccessible to all but the richest of people—because an American company holds the patent on a drug called Trisenox, a soluble form of arsenic trioxide.
Flying insects threaten to deafen Japan - A cicada known as the kumazemi is descending on Japan en masse, deafening the citizens and wreaking havoc on the country's fibre-optic system. From the past three years' data, the scientists calculate that this year will be the four-year peak, with nearly 2.5 times as many cicadas as in 2006. The noise level is also set to climb. Measured at 90.4 decibels at another Osaka park last year, this year the same spot is expected to hit 94 decibels. The kumazemi are also cutting households off from their Internet. Apparently mistaking fibre-optic cables for withered branches, they have been punching their one-millimetre-diameter ovipositors into the cables and laying eggs.

Wired Science
Nanotech Discovery Could Lead to Spiderman Suit - A team of Italian scientists says their latest nanotech discovery is the secret to the wall-scaling Spiderman suit. Professor Nicola Pugno, an engineer and physicist at Polytechnic of Turin, Italy, has created a hierarchy of adhesive forces he claims are strong enough to suspend a person’s full body weight against a wall or on a ceiling. The adhesive is also easy to detach, according to the paper.
Scientists Study Out-Of-Body Experiences - Researchers in England and Switzerland have figured out ways to confuse the sensory signals received by the brain, allowing people to seem to be standing aside and watching themselves. seated volunteers were fitted with head-mounted video displays that allowed them to view themselves from behind, using a pair of video cameras, one for each eye. A researcher would stand behind them and extend a plastic rod which they could see toward the area just below the cameras. At the same time another plastic rod, which they could not see, touched their chest.The volunteers said they experienced the feeling of being behind their own body watching. Many found it "weird" and seemingly real, though not scary.
Fungi Make Biodiesel Efficiently at Room Temperature - Scientists at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology have found a much better way to make biodiesel. Their new method could lower the cost and increase the energy efficiency of fuel production. Instead of mixing the ingredients and heating them for hours, the chemical engineers pass sunflower oil and methanol through a bed of pellets made from fungal spores. An enzyme produced by the fungus does the work -- making biodiesel with impressive efficiency.

The New York Times
Rule to Expand Mountaintop Coal Mining - The Bush administration is set to issue a regulation on Friday that would enshrine the coal mining practice of mountaintop removal. The technique involves blasting off the tops of mountains and dumping the rubble into valleys and streams. The new rule would allow the practice to continue and expand, providing only that mine operators minimize the debris and cause the least environmental harm, although those terms are not clearly defined and to some extent merely restate existing law.

Technology Review Feed - Tech Review Top Stories
Two-Sided Touch Screen - Researchers at Microsoft and Mitsubishi are developing a new touch-screen system that lets people type text, click hyperlinks, and navigate maps from both the front and back of a portable device. A semitransparent image of the fingers touching the back of the device is superimposed on the front so that users can see what they're touching.
E-paper with Photonic Ink - Scientists in Canada have used photonic crystals to create a novel type of flexible electronic-paper display. Unlike other such devices, the photonic-crystal display is the first with pixels that can be individually tuned to any color. P-Ink works by controlling the spacing between photonic crystals, which affects the wavelengths of light they reflect.
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Physics Org
NASA Undersea Mission Begins - Three astronauts and a Constellation Program aerospace engineer began a 10-day NASA mission in the ocean depths off the Florida coast Aug. 6. They will test lunar exploration concepts and a suite of long-duration spaceflight medical objectives.
Phoenix Heads for Mars - A Delta II rocket lit up the early morning sky over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida as it carried the Phoenix spacecraft on the first leg of its journey to Mars. The Phoenix Mars lander's assignment is to dig through the Martian soil and ice in the arctic region and use its onboard scientific instruments to analyze the samples it retrieves.
Gore: Polluters Manipulate Climate Info - Research aimed at disputing the scientific consensus on global warming is part of a huge public misinformation campaign funded by some of the world's largest carbon polluters, former Vice President Al Gore said Tuesday. Gore likened the campaign to the millions of dollars spent by U.S. tobacco companies years ago on creating the appearance of scientific debate on smoking's harmful effects.
Scientists Make Flexible, Polymer-Based Data Storage - The future of the electronics industry is believed by many to lie in organic materials – polymers that conduct electricity. Because they are ultra lightweight, flexible, and low-cost, they may lead to a whole new class of electronic technologies. As part of this movement, scientists recently developed a polymer-based, flexible type of data storage that displays promising information-storing characteristics.

New Scientist - Energy and Fuels
Buoys flex artificial muscles for renewable energy - Artificial muscles are being used to turn the ocean's waves into electrical power in a novel pilot project off the coast of Florida, US. The "muscles" produce electricity as they bob up and down attached to buoys. Although they only generate enough power to light a small light bulb currently, the scientists involved see it as a first step to implementing a new, cheap technology for harvesting renewable energy from the ocean.

New Scientist Tech - Weapons Technology
Bush's push for new nuclear weapons - A statement just submitted to Congress by the Secretaries of Energy, Defense, and State argues that if the "Reliable Replacement Warhead" plan isn't approved, the US might have to re-test cold war stocks, breaching its moratorium. Critics say the new nukes are not needed and will antagonise other countries. So far, Congress has sided with the critics, slashing the proposed budget and calling for detailed preliminary studies.

National Geographic News
Russia Plants Underwater Flag, Claims Arctic Seafloor - Russia has laid claim to the seafloor at the North Pole, planting its national flag underwater in the hopes of securing the Arctic's potential motherlode of natural resources. In an unprecedented dive beneath the ice, two three-person submersibles descended 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) to the bottom, where one symbolically dropped a titanium capsule containing a Russian flag.
Photo Gallery: Ancient Rome Reborn in 3-D - In a view fit for the ancient gods, the buildings and monuments of Rome sprawl across the countryside circa A.D. 320, arguably the height of the city's glory as the capital of the Roman Empire. The scene is part of a recently completed project called Rome Reborn, a detailed digital reconstruction said to be the world's largest computer simulation.
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Backlight - Backlight is a demonstration of electroless metal plating by Tony Wurman of New York–based Wunderwurks. In contrast to conventional electrolytic processes, electroless plating uses a nongalvanic chemical plating method involving multiple reactions in an aqueous solution without external electrical power. Electroless plating can provide decorative and protective finishes for many materials, including metal, wood, glass, plastic, stone, fiberglass, ceramics, and even fabrics.

ABC News: Technology

Scientists Find Gene for Emotional Memory - Research, published Sunday in the journal Nature Neuroscience, found that those with a certain common genetic variation tend to more readily remember emotionally charged events, for better or for worse.
'Camera on Every Corner': Protection or Invasion? - Fourteen-year-old Roberto Duran loved computers and soccer, but his dreams ended in a roar of gunfire on a quiet Chicago block earlier this summer. Roberto's alleged killers, who had mistaken him for a rival gang member, were eventually arrested thanks to police surveillance cameras that captured the getaway. But critics worry more surveillance will mean less privacy for Americans.
Explosion Kills 3 at Mojave Airport - An explosion that killed three at a Mojave Desert airport during testing of a new space tourism vehicle has shaken a small community that prides itself as the hometown of the first private space launch. The blast Thursday at a remote test facility belonging to Scaled Composites LLC critically injured three other employees working on a propellant system for the vehicle.

The Globe and Mail

Author sees happy ending without humans - In his new book Alan Weisman imagines the Earth after polluters, proselytizers and the rest of us disappear
Are your friends making you fat? - Researchers who have studied “networks” of obesity think so: they found that if someone's friend becomes obese, that person's chances of becoming obese increase by more than half. Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers said their findings show that obesity is contagious — not like a virus is contagious, but in a social sense.

New Scientist - Energy and Fuels

Flying windmills could harness the jet stream - Flying windmills tapping jet stream wind currents may sound far fetched, but groups in the US, Netherlands and Canada say such devices may soon be within reach. If successfully developed, they could harness an enormous amount of reliable, renewable energy.

Physics Org

New aerogels could clean contaminated water, purify hydrogen for fuel cells - Argonne materials scientists Peter Chupas and Mercouri Kanatzidis, along with colleagues at Northwestern and Michigan State universities, created and characterized porous semiconducting aerogels at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source (APS). The researchers then submerged a fraction of a gram of the aerogel in a solution of mercury-contaminated water and found that the gel removed more than 99.99 percent of the heavy metal. The researchers believe that these gels can be used not only for this kind of environmental cleanup but also to remove impurities from hydrogen gas that could damage the catalysts in potential hydrogen fuel cells.
Lithium and bone healing - Researchers have described a novel molecular pathway that may have a critical role in bone healing and have suggested that lithium, which affects this pathway, has the potential to improve fracture healing.
Web Site Archives the Dead of MySpace - Somewhere deep in cyberspace, where reality blurs into fiction and the living greet the dead, there are ghosts. They live in a virtual graveyard without tombstones or flowers. They drift among the shadows of the people they used to be, and the pieces they left behind.
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I tried to post this last night before the power went down on LJ's servers.

New Scientist Tech - Nanotechnology
Nanotubes strengthen artificial muscles - BEST known as the ultra-strong material that might one day form the cables of a "space elevator" capable of raising people into Earth orbit, carbon nanotubes also have a springy side. The discovery that nanotubes keep bouncing back after being compressed repeatedly means this exotic form of carbon may be just the thing to give artificial muscles some extra strength

New Scientist - Energy and Fuels
Exfoliation produces lighter, cheaper solar cells - An ultra-thin solar cell that could provide a cheaper, lighter alternative to existing devices has been created by researchers in the US. James Zahler from Aonex Technologies, together with colleagues from Harry Atwater's group at the California Institute of Technology and researchers at EMCORE PhotoVoltaics made the device by replacing the relatively thick semiconductor substrate normally used in solar cells with a thin "wafer-bonded" substrate. This means the new device is considerable cheaper and lighter than conventional solar cells.

New Scientist - Genetics
Genetic variation may lower HIV load by 90% - A small genetic mutation in the section of human DNA that codes for immune proteins appears able to reduce the amount of HIV in the body by an average of 90%, new research suggests. Scientists say the finding points to new ways in which vaccines might one day help boost immune protection against the virus

Technology Review Feed - Biotech Top Stories
A Better Brain Scanner - New brain scanners promise to deliver images of higher resolution than any now available from a commercial instrument. By using multiple sensors placed close to the head, the device can generate accurate images in less time, which could ultimately aid in the diagnosis of diseases such as Alzheimer's and epilepsy. Medical imaging giant Siemens is developing a commercial version of the technology.
Saving Neurons and Memories - Scientists have shown that a gene called SIRT1 and a plant compound found in red wine called resveratrol can protect against neuron degeneration in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The researchers demonstrated that activating SIRT1 and injecting resveratrol, which have both been previously associated with life-span extension in lower organisms, can also prevent cognitive problems in the mice.

National Geographic News
Queen Bees "Brainwash" Workers With Chemicals - A new study suggests the domineering matriarch regulates her daughters' brain activity to ensure her own survival. One of the parts of the pheromone is homovanillyl alcohol (HVA). It interacts with a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which is found in the brains of insects and animals. In a mechanism that's still not understood, the pheromone may be able to block dopamine and prevent the young worker bees from avoiding negative stimuli. Worker bees - which surround and dote on the queen - are all female, and drone bees are male.

ABC News: Technology
Parents Steal Children's Identities - On paper, Randy Waldron Jr. was $2.5 million in debt and a convicted felon. He owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to credit card companies, owed back taxes to the state of Florida, and had liens and civil actions against him. In reality, Waldron was a 17-year-old high school junior living in New Hampshire, who in 1998 couldn't get a student loan for college or a credit card because his Social Security number had been stolen when he was just 1 year old. Making matters worse, the man who stole Waldron's identity was his father.
Jetson-Like Flying Car in Production - Moller International, a company founded by a UC Davis professor devoted to developing a flying car, announced in a statement recently that it has begun production for its "Jetsons-like M200G Volantor, a small airborne, two passenger, saucer-shaped vehicle that is designed to take off and land vertically."

Physics Org
Scientists work to create nanogenerator - U.S. scientists are developing a nanogenerator -- a tiny device that produces electricity from flowing blood, pulsating blood vessels, or a beating heart.

BBC News | Science/Nature | World Edition
Antique engines inspire nano chip - The blueprint for a tiny, ultra-robust mechanical computer has been outlined by US researchers. The energy-efficient nano computer is inspired by ideas about computing first put forward nearly 200 years ago. Chips based on the design could be used in places, such as car engines, where silicon can be too delicate.
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New Scientist
Create a back-up copy of your immune system - (Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] _luaineach ) Imagine having a spare copy of your immune system on ice, ready to replace your existing one should you fall victim to AIDS, an autoimmune disease, or have to undergo extensive chemotherapy for cancer. An Anglo-American company called Lifeforce has received permission from the US Food and Drug Administration to do just that.

Technology Review Feed - Nanotech Top Stories
Denser Data Storage - Scientists have produced a novel type of nanoparticle that they say could make it possible to dramatically increase magnetic-based data storage on future generations of computer hard drives. The researchers at Brown University and Sandia National Laboratories have announced new ways to create iron-platinum nanorods and nanowires. The materials can potentially provide a way to make far denser magnetic media. In doing so, the new materials could make possible devices that do not have the limits that many scientist anticipate conventional magnetic storage technologies will soon encounter.
Don't I Know You? - It only takes a millisecond to recognize celebrities on TV while flipping through the channels: Rachel Ray hawking coffee, David Hasselhoff judging a talent show, or Charles Gibson relaying the latest tragedy in Iraq. While it seems easy, recognizing those faces is a cognitively complex task. Your brain must identify the object you're seeing as a face, regardless of the size or angle; interpret the expression encoded by the particular arrangement of eyes and mouth; and access the memory part of the brain to determine if the face is familiar. By combining two of the most important tools in neuroscience--brain imaging and electrical recordings from single brain cells--scientists are poised to finally understand how the brain performs these complex computations.

BBC News | Science/Nature | World Edition
Russia eyes vast Arctic territory - Russian geologists say they have data that would support a claim to about 1.2m sq km (463,000 sq miles) of energy-rich territory in the Arctic.

The Globe and Mail - Science News
Rideau Canal named a global gem - It is the world's largest skating rink, the regular inclusion on tourist ‘must-see' lists, and it is now officially one of Canada's global gems. The Rideau Canal has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, putting it in the esteemed company of the Rocky Mountains, Gros Morne National Park, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Old Quebec and the Waterton Glacier. But the Canadian treasure, which turns 175 this year, is not on the list because of national iconography or winter fun. UNESCO says the Rideau Canal is no less than a witness to the violent struggle to control the entire North American continent.
'Fat-shaping' could have health benefits - Researchers have figured out how to remove fat from one part of the body and make it grow in another part — at least in mice — and say their findings could benefit health as well as beauty. Their findings also shed light on how and why stressed-out people so often gain weight.
We're both the chatty sex - Men talk every bit as much as women do, U.S. researchers say after painstakingly counting every word that 400 volunteers spoke. Their study, published on Thursday in the journal Science, challenges the common wisdom that women are somehow biologically programmed to talk more – but the researchers said people do often fulfill gender roles when it comes to subject matter."Women and men both use on average about 16,000 words per day, with very large individual differences around this mean," the researchers, led by psychologist Matthias Mehl of the University of Arizona, wrote.

Reuters: Science
Gene trick reverses retardation in mice: study - Researchers said they have partially reversed in mice a common cause of autism and mental retardation, and said it might be possible to design a drug that would do the same thing for people.They found that by blocking a normal enzyme, they could reverse some of the brain abnormalities associated with the inherited condition, called Fragile X Syndrome, and correct some of the symptoms in the mice.
Tummy bugs may have deep-sea ancestors: experts - Some of the nastiest bacteria that thrive in the human gut and make us sick may have evolved from hardy ancestors living deep under the sea, a group of Japanese scientists found.
Daily morsel of dark chocolate cuts blood pressure - A nibble a day of dark chocolate helped lower blood pressure without packing on the pounds, German researchers said on Tuesday.Prior studies have shown foods rich in cocoa like dark chocolate offer heart benefits, but researchers have worried the added sugar, fat and calories would cancel out any good the chocolate might do.Now it seems just a 30-calorie (0.126 kilojoule) bite of dark chocolate -- equivalent to 6.8 grams or a quarter ounce -- can lower blood pressure without weight gain or other negative side effects.
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From New Scientist - Nanotechnology
Replacing glass with vacuums speeds up chips - Vacuum-filled polymer tubes better insulate computer chips than glass, resulting in increased speed and efficiency
'Energy harvesting' can boost optoelectronic efficiency - Fast silicon chips that use both light and electricity to process data can be made more efficient – the technique also solves a tricky problem for chip makers
Nano-generator could power tiny devices - The day when you can charge your cell phone or iPod just by going for a stroll around the block could be a step closer, thanks to a "nano-generator"

From Physics Org
Nanotube adhesive sticks better than a gecko's foot - Mimicking the agile gecko, with its uncanny ability to run up walls and across ceilings, has long been a goal of materials scientists. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Akron have taken one sticky step in the right direction, creating synthetic "gecko tape" with four times the sticking power of the real thing.

From Technology Review - NanoTech
Nanocurry vs. Cancer - Researchers hope that curcumin encapsulated in nanospheres will spice up clinical trials for Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis, and cancer.
See-Through Transistors - Transparent transistors made from nanowires could mean bright and clear OLED displays.

From Transmaterial
Multi-Touch Interaction - Developed by Jefferson Han at New York University, Multi-Touch Interaction offers a wide variety of application scenarios and interaction modalities that utilize multi-touch input information. These go far beyond the "poking" actions you get with a typical touch screen, or the gross gesturing found in video-based interactive interfaces.

January 2010

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