May 02, 2016

Scientists create the world’s smallest thermometer out of DNA

posted by Larra Morris

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The world’s smallest thermometer is 20,000 times smaller than a single human hair. Oh, and it’s made out of genetic material.

Researchers from the Laboratory of Biosensors and Nanomachines at the University of Montreal report that they’ve created a thermometer out of DNA in a recent article in the journal Nano Letters.
via Mental Floss

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Apr 30, 2016

UC Irvine accidentally invents a battery that lasts forever

posted by Larra Morris

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What do Viagra, popsicles, Corn Flakes, Ivory soap, the kitchen microwave, and champagne have in common? They were all discovered by accident. Add ultra-long-lasting nanowire batteries to that list, thanks to a team of researchers at the University of California Irvine. The average laptop battery is rated anywhere from 300 to 500 charge cycles – completely full to completely empty to completely full again – longer if you don’t use it all up before recharging. The UCI nanobattery endured 200,000 charge cycles over three months “with 94–96% average Coulombic efficiency.” It was effectively still brand new at the end of the experiment.
via The Drive

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Apr 29, 2016

German city designs traffic lights for oblivious pedestrians

posted by Larra Morris

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The German city of Augsburg has taken a novel approach to dealing with pedestrians too buried in their smartphone screens to notice traffic signals. By embedding flashing red LEDs in the sidewalks at busy pedestrian crossings, the city has moved those signals right into their line of sight.
via Engadget

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Apr 29, 2016

Why do we forget what we’re doing the minute we enter a room?

posted by Larra Morris

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Left your keys on the kitchen counter again? No problem. Just go and get them. Walk through the house, into the kitchen, and—what was it you needed to do again? Why are you in here? In less than 30 seconds, you’ve managed to forget the entire purpose of your errand. But don’t worry. It’s not just you, and you’re not losing your marbles. It’s called the Doorway Effect, and it’s actually a sign that your brain is in fine working order. 

Scientists used to believe that memory was like a filing cabinet. You have an experience, and it gets its own little file in your brain. Then, later, you can go back and open the file, which is unchanged and where it should be. It’s a nice, tidy image—but it’s wrong. Your brain is much more complicated and sophisticated than that. It’s more like a super-high-powered computer, with dozens of tasks and applications running at once.
via Mental Floss

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Apr 28, 2016

These old black-and-white photos were colorized by artificial intelligence

posted by Larra Morris

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Researchers at Waseda University in Tokyo have created a way to realistically colorize black-and-white photos without any human intervention for the first time ever. The team's approach is based on convolutional neural networks — a type of machine learning originally inspired by the visual cortex of a cat.
via The Verge

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Apr 28, 2016

This musical time machine lets you become an aural world traveler

posted by Larra Morris

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If you’re someone who laments losing the days of radio past, you can now surf the dial of history in countries all around the world with a website called Radiooooo.

The service is as simple as this: Click on a country and a decade, and Radiooooo transports you sonically to that particular place and time.
via Mental Floss

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Apr 28, 2016

Stanford's humanoid robot diver explores its first shipwreck

posted by Larra Morris

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A group of underwater archaeologists exploring the sunken remains of King Louis XIV's flagship La Lune added a very special member to their dive team recently. OceanOne, a Stanford-developed humanoid diving robot with "human vision, haptic force feedback and an artificial brain," made its maiden voyage alongside human divers to recover 17th-century treasures from bottom of the Mediterranean.

Stanford's five-foot "virtual diver" was originally built for studying coral reefs in the Red Sea where a delicate touch is necessary, but the depths go well beyond the range of meat-based divers. The "tail" section contains the merbot's onboard batteries, computers and array of eight thrusters, but it is the front half that looks distinctly humanoid with two eyes for stereoscopic vision and two nimble, articulated arms.
via Engadget

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