Category Archives: Science/Technology

Large Hadron Collider Rap (Hot video embed)

For physics nerds, CERN fans, and others who just like rap!

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Vertical WindSpire Turbine (video embed)

This is an interesting idea…only time will tell if it is a good idea. The WindSpire is manufactured by Mariah Power.

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Robot controlled with living brain tissue! (New Scientist-video embed)

This is nothing short of amazing!

According to an article in New Scientist (see video embed below), a robot has been developed which is controlled by a mass of disembodied rat neurons. The brain cells (about 300,000 of them) live (“IT’S ALIVE!!!”)…

inside a small pot containing a pink broth of nutrients and antibiotics. Inside that pot…neurons have made – and continue to make – connections with each other.

As they do so, the disembodied neurons are communicating, sending electrical signals to one another just as they do in a living creature. We know this because the network of neurons is connected at the base of the pot to 80 electrodes, and the voltages sparked by the neurons are displayed on a computer screen.


To create the “brain”, the neural cortex from a rat fetus is surgically removed and disassociating enzymes applied to it to disconnect the neurons from each other. The researchers then deposit a slim layer of these isolated neurons into a nutrient-rich medium on a bank of electrodes, where they start reconnecting. They do this by growing projections that reach out to touch the neighbouring neurons. “It’s just fascinating that they do this,” says Steve Potter of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, who pioneered the field of neurally controlled animats. “Clearly brain cells have evolved to reconnect under almost any circumstance that doesn’t kill them.”


Like a creature with no limbs or senses, the cut-down brain is simply bursting out of boredom, says Whalley. “With no structured sensory input the hypothesis is that you get arbitrarily random and quite often detrimental activity because all these cells are asking for some kind of direction.”

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“Portal to mythical Mayan underworld found!” (Reuters via MSNBC)

Very interesting discovery (article by Miguel Angel Gutierrez, Reuters via MSNBC)…

Mexican archeologists have discovered a maze of stone temples in underground caves, some submerged in water and containing human bones, which ancient Mayans believed was a portal where dead souls entered the underworld.

Clad in scuba gear and edging through narrow tunnels, researchers discovered the stone ruins of eleven sacred temples and what could be the remains of human sacrifices at the site in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Archeologists say Mayans believed the underground complex of water-filled caves leading into dry chambers — including an underground road stretching some 330 feet — was the path to a mythical underworld, known as Xibalba.

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Scientists Say Invisibility Cloak Now Possible (Updated 8/13)

UPDATE 8/13/2008 at 7:58 AM: Here is a follow-up article at BBC that provides some additional information on this topic… Invisibility cloak ‘step closer’. And here is the original article by Xiang Zhang in NatureThree-dimensional optical metamaterial with a negative refractive index (there is a fee to access the entire article in Nature).

Original Posting on 8/11/2008

This is a huge step forward.

From (excerpt and link)…

People can see objects because they scatter the light that strikes them, reflecting some of it back to the eye. Cloaking uses materials, known as metamaterials, to deflect radar, light or other waves around an object, like water flowing around a smooth rock in a stream.

Metamaterials are mixtures of metal and circuit board materials such as ceramic, Teflon or fiber composite. They are designed to bend visible light in a way that ordinary materials don’t. Scientists are trying to use them to bend light around objects so they don’t create reflections or shadows.


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Australian scientists create chip that increases internet speed dramatically (60X faster)

Scientists from the University of Sydney have developed a thumbnail-sized integrated circuit using fiber optics that increases internet speed by 60 times (100X speeds in near future).

Also, the chip is inexpensive to make.

Can the Singularity be far behind? 😉

Here’s the link…Popular Science.

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“New drug Rember brings ‘unprecedented’ Alzheimer’s treatment advance”–Times UK

This would be a Godsend for many! Excerpt and link…

New drug Rember brings ‘unprecedented’ Alzheimer’s treatment advance

Times UK
July 30, 2008
by David Rose

A new drug could prove at least twice as effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease as current medications and significantly slow the progression of dementia, researchers say.

The research team at the University of Aberdeen concluded that the drug, Rember, slows progression of the disease by up to 81 per cent.

Sufferers taking the drug three times a day for 50 weeks showed a slower decline in blood flow to the parts of the memory that are vital to the memory.

Experts hailed the study as a major development in the fight against Alzheimer’s, which affects an estimated 350,000 people in Britain and more than 26 million people worldwide.

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