LAURA KNIGHT-JADCZYK AND JOE QUINN
Science & Technology
Thu, 10 Apr 2014 06:33 CDT
Milky Way. The supernova remnant itself is very bright in X-rays, indicating it's still hot.
Tue, 08 Apr 2014 12:30 CDT
It's a computer - inside a cockroach. Nano-sized entities made of DNA that are able to perform the same kind of logic operations as a silicon-based computer have been introduced into a living animal.
The DNA computers - known as origami robots because they work by folding and unfolding strands of DNA - travel around the insect's body and interact with each other, as well as the insect's cells. When they uncurl, they can dispense drugs carried in their folds.
"DNA nanorobots could potentially carry out complex programs that could one day be used to diagnose or treat diseases with unprecedented sophistication," says Daniel Levner, a bioengineer at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University.
Levner and his colleagues at Bar Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel, made the nanobots by exploiting the binding properties of DNA. When it meets a certain kind of protein, DNA unravels into two complementary strands.
By creating particular sequences, the strands can be made to unravel on contact with specific molecules - say, those on a diseased cell. When the molecule unravels, out drops the package wrapped inside.
Every two years, Mars reaches a point in its orbit called "opposition," when the planet lies directly opposite the sun in Earth's sky, according to Astronomy magazine.
This means Mars rises near sunset and remains visible all night long as it moves nearly overhead across the night sky. It will be a bright burnt orange color, NASA's Mars Exploration Program reports, and almost 10 times brighter than the brightest stars in the sky.
Tue, 08 Apr 2014 02:02 CDT
A major new vulnerability called Heartbleed could let attackers gain access to users' passwords and fool people into using bogus versions of Web sites. Some already say they've found Yahoo passwords as a result.
The problem, disclosed Monday night, is in open-source software called OpenSSL that's widely used to encrypt Web communications. Heartbleed can reveal the contents of a server's memory, where the most sensitive of data is stored. That includes private data such as usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers. It also means an attacker can get copies of a server's digital keys then use that to impersonate servers or to decrypt communications from the past or potentially the future, too.
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 23:00 CDT
Researchers applied electrical stimulation to the spines of four people who had been paralyzed for more than two years. All four patients were able to flex their toes, ankles and knees again, and their movements improved further with physical rehabilitation, the research showed.
If proven effective in more people, the stimulation therapy could ultimately change the prognosis for people living with paralysis, researchers say.
"Spinal cord injury may no longer mean a lifelong sentence of complete paralysis," said Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, a director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., which funded the research.
"To my personal knowledge, I think this is the first report of four such individuals that have gained such substantial improvement, more two years after injury," Pettigrew told Live Science.
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 14:00 CDT
In actuality, expert soloists pick new violins over antiques in blind tests, the research finds. What's more, the soloists performed no better than chance at guessing whether a given violin is newly manufactured or more than a century old.
"This implies that whatever it is they are looking for in an instrument, it's not related to age, or for that matter, country of origin," said study researcher Joseph Curtin, who makes violins in Ann Arbor, Mich. "That is a very surprising conclusion."
Mon, 17 Feb 2014 05:09 CST
Instead of ending their email with "see ya!", they might suddenly offer you "kind regards". Instead of talking about "us", they might refer to themselves more. Would you pick up on it if they did?
These changes are important and could hint at a disgruntled employee about to go rogue. Our findings demonstrate how language may provide an indirect way of identifying employees who are undertaking an insider attack.
My team has tested whether it's possible to detect insider threats within a company just by looking at how employees communicate with each other. If a person is planning to act maliciously to damage their employer or sneak out commercially sensitive material, the way they interact with their co-workers changes.
Sat, 05 Apr 2014 13:45 CDT
Scientists have developed a new microparticle filled with oxygen that can be injected into the blood stream, keeping you alive even if you can't intake air into your lungs. The microparticles are actually tiny capsules (2-4 micrometers tiny) made of a single layer of lipids surrounding a small bubble of oxygen gas. The capsule is suspended in a liquid so that the bubbles don't get any bigger (which would make them deadly, FYI).
Tue, 01 Apr 2014 17:00 CDT
In July, a team of scientists organised by the American Museum of Natural History will dive 300 metres below the Atlantic Ocean's surface about 160km off the coast of New England. Among their goals: to find bioluminescent creatures - such as the dinoflagellates that make their own light, causing the ocean to glow - that they hope will offer clues for creating the next generation of medical imaging.
The right combination of molecules - a protein that can make light and another compound to serve as the light's fuel - may allow us to map brain activity to a new level of detail. This advance may some day give quadriplegics new ways to interact with the world.
Though it seems futuristic, the back story for this line of research began 50 years ago. In the early 1960s, a Japanese marine biologist named Osamu Shimomura isolated a protein from the crystal jellyfish. When blue light is shined on the creature, this protein absorbs it, changes its wavelength and emits a green light. It is called green fluorescent protein, or GFP.
"That single protein literally changed the course of biology," says Vincent Pieribone, a neurobiologist at Yale. It also won Shimomura a share of the 2008 Nobel prize in biochemistry.