Apr 17, 2014

First Earth-size planet that may hold water confirmed

posted by Laura Domela

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Just as real-estate prices in parts of North America have started to get expensive again, NASA says it has confirmed for the first time the existence of an Earth-like planet that may hold liquid water.

The planet is Kepler-186f and was discovered with NASA's Kepler telescope, originally launched in 2009 and recently crippled, but not before gathering enough data that researchers are still analyzing it and making discoveries like this.

Yes, this is kind of a big deal, as it's the "first validated Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of another star," as Elisa Quintana of the SETI Institute at NASA's Ames Research Center explained in a press conference Thursday.

"Some people call these habitable planets, which of course we have no idea if they are," San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane, a member of the discovery team, said in a release. "We simply know that they are in the habitable zone, and that is the best place to start looking for habitable planets."
via cnet

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Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

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Apr 17, 2014

Artificial blood 'will be manufactured in factories'

posted by Laura Domela

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It is the stuff of gothic science fiction: men in white coats in factories of blood and bones.

But the production of blood on an industrial scale could become a reality once a trial is conducted in which artificial blood made from human stem cells is tested in patients for the first time.

It is the latest breakthrough in scientists’ efforts to re-engineer the body, which have already resulted in the likes of 3d-printed bones and bionic limbs.

Marc Turner, the principal researcher in the £5 million programme funded by the Wellcome Trust, told The Telegraph that his team had made red blood cells fit for clinical transfusion.

Prof Turner has devised a technique to culture red blood cells from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells – cells that have been taken from humans and ‘rewound’ into stem cells. Biochemical conditions similar to those in the human body are then recreated to induce the iPS cells to mature into red blood cells – of the rare universal blood type O.
via The Telegraph

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Image: Production of blood on an industrial scale could become a reality  Photo: Alamy

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Apr 17, 2014

Digital mirror reveals what lies under your skin

posted by Laura Domela

Several months ago, at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Paris, a couple wandered in front of a set of dark screens. Staring back at them was an image of themselves – but with the skin stripped away, revealing organs, bones and muscle. Surprised, the woman gasped and covered her breasts, trying to shield herself from view.

She was looking into a "digital mirror", a 3D installation that recreates what your body might look like on the inside.

Here's how it works: an individual undergoes a PET scan, X-ray and MRI scan to capture high-resolution images of their bones and organs. Altogether, it takes about three-and-a-half hours to collect this data. Then when you step in front of the mirror, a Microsoft Kinect's motion-capture camera tracks the movement of two dozen different joints, including the knees, elbows and wrists. That means the medical images can be animated with the help of graphical processing units so you can see your body inside out in real time. The mirror will go on show later this month at the Computer-Human Interaction conference in Toronto, Canada.
via New Scientist

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Apr 17, 2014

The Trio Fantastique: A robot band from the 1950s

posted by Larra Morris

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Once upon the 1950s there was a robot band who rocked the rivets off the competition for only a nickel a song, a band called the Trio Fantastique who were created and managed by a mad scientist engineer named Zenon Specht (no relation).

The Trio Fantastique consisted of Wink on guitar, Blink on drums, and Nod who rocked the saxophone, and they were the house band for Antwerp’s Robot Club, also making appearances in various fairs and departments stores around France between 1954 and 1959.

They were made of shiny metal, they played songs via piano roll technology, and they could Bebop with the best of 'em because they actually played their instruments!
via Neatorama

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Apr 17, 2014

A patient’s bizarre hallucination points to how the brain identifies places

posted by Larra Morris

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Dr. Pierre Mégevand was in the middle of a somewhat-routine epilepsy test when his patient, a 22-year old man, said Mégevand and his medical team looked like they had transformed into Italians working at a pizzeria — aprons and all. It wasn’t long, the patient said, before the doctors morphed back into their exam room and business-casual attire. But that fleeting hallucination — accompanied by earlier visions of houses, a familiar train station and the street where the patient grew up — helped verify that a certain spot, in a certain fold in the brain, is a crucial node in the brain’s process of recognizing places.
via Wired

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Image: Mégevand et.al.

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Apr 17, 2014

3D printing drastically reduces development costs of blood recycling machine

posted by Larra Morris

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During surgery, patients' blood is often "spilt." Such blood can be returned to the body, so long as it has been properly processed to ensure that it is not tainted. The Brightwave Hemosep autotransfusion machine can do this – and its prototyping costs have been cut by 96 percent via 3D printing.
via Gizmag

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Image: Stratasys

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Apr 16, 2014

Bioengineers inject cockroaches with DNA nanobots

posted by Laura Domela

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It seems to be universal knowledge that if were ever invaded by aliens, cockroaches would most likely survive. Cockroaches will probably survive anything apocalyptic as proven in Fallout 3 after having to fight off those oversized nightmares. However, scientists thought it would be a swell idea to inject cockroaches with DNA nanobots.

The nanobots are also called “origami robots” because they fold and unfold strands of DNA. The cockroaches should be able to function like little computer and perform various simple tasks. The DNA nanobots have been programmed to interact with each other and move around inside of the cockroaches. So far as we can tell, these super cockroaches are meant for dispensing drugs.
via Geekosystem

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image via Jeremy Page

Tags : robots, future tech,    0 comments  
Apr 16, 2014

A list of people who disappeared mysteriously

posted by Laura Domela

This is a list of people who disappeared mysteriously, and whose current whereabouts are unknown or whose deaths are not substantiated, as well as a few cases of people whose disappearance was notable and remained mysterious for a long time, but was eventually explained.

via Boing Boing

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Apr 16, 2014

How well I understand orbital mechanics (xkcd)

posted by Laura Domela

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Who says video games aren’t educational? This low-key endorsement from Randall Munroe at xkcd (who is a former NASA roboticist) will probably do more for the game Kerbal Space Program than all the splashy ads they could buy.  
via Neatorama and xkcd 

Tags : video games, physics, comics,    0 comments  
Apr 16, 2014

Google's new modular phone may be the last you'll need to buy

posted by Laura Domela

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At the Project Ara Developer’s Conference in Santa Clara, California, the moment of unveiling was a bit of a letdown. When project lead Paul Eremenko got ready for the big reveal — finally showing off Google’s vision for a modular phone with working, user-interchangeable components — he had to dampen expectations from the enthusiastic crowd. “You should temper your applause,” he warned, explaining that the device had been damaged the previous day. “We did crack the screen, and the phone doesn’t quite boot.” A disappointment, sure, but it did little to actually temper anything.

Project Ara is Google’s attempt to reinvent the cellphone as we know it. Instead of a slab of glass and metal that you have no ability to upgrade, save for buying a new device, it’s an attempt to launch a phone where all of the main components are interchangeable via modules that click in and out, attaching via electro-permanent magnets. Despite being highly customizable, it will only come in three main sizes, helping to eliminate the kind of device fragmentation that currently plagues Android. Google plans to roll out a “gray model,” a very basic device that costs as little as $50, as well as higher-end handsets that could go for as much as $500 and up. The former will be released first — around this time next year if all goes according to plan — and will likely be a smaller, Wi-Fi-only version. This bare-bones model will be followed by the higher-end ones eventually. But Google’s initial objective is to ramp up a hardware ecosystem that moves at the same pace as the software it runs.
via Wired

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Photo: Norman Chan/Tested.com

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