Science & Technology

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Boeing develops drone that can be re-charged in mid-air, fly indefinitely

As drone technology continues to advance, Boeing has raised the bar even higher. The aerospace giant has received a patent for a UAV that could fly forever - recharging in mid-air via a tether attached to the ground.

The patent - filed in March 2013 and approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office last week - could revolutionize unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as we know them, foregoing the need to refuel or recharge on land.

According to the patent, the electrically-powered drone would have a retractable tether cable that would connect to a power source. When the drone was fully charged, it would automatically fly off to continue its task, and another UAV could then take its place at the charging station.

The drone could be connected to a number of sources, including land- and sea-based power supplies. It could even be connected to moving vehicles, allowing the drone to fly while charging.

Comment: Let's all congratulate Boeing for making it easier for governments to spy on its citizens! Good job guys, no more pesky landings and refuelings to worry about.

Cell Phone

Levi's & Google to design wearable technology weaving conductive threads into fabric

© Screenshot from YouTube user Google ATAP
Google has announced its cooperation with Levi's to design wearable technology by weaving touch-pad style capabilities into the fabric. The new technology would enable people to make phone calls and send messages just by swiping their clothes.

Items like jeans, sweaters, jackets, carpets and even furniture could potentially be turned into an interactive device, to be used like a trackpad or button, according to Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP), which is in charge of the development.

Project Jacquard - named after the inventor of a type of loom - was revealed during the internet giant's annual developers' conference in San Francisco on Friday.

"We are enabling interactive textiles," ATAP's Emre Karagozler said while showing off the new smart textiles. "We do it by weaving conductive threads into fabric."

Comment: "Not so smart clothes" might be a better name for this project. For more information listen to the latest Health and Wellness show on EMF Exposure to learn more about man-made sources of EMF, past study results, what you can do to measure your EMF exposure, and what steps you can take to minimize it.


Super Samurai: Robot beats Japanese master swordsman (VIDEO)

Japanese engineers have come up with a robot that can copy the moves of a samurai sword master and then beat his "teacher" in a fight. The samurai machine carries out hard-angled cuts with speed and precision - without breaking sweat.

Among the robot's most spectacular accomplishments is a party trick: being able to slice a runner bean lengthways.


The overlooked threats of gene editing

© unknown
It is often said that if it can be imagined, it will inevitably be done. And such a sentiment could not be any truer in terms of applying genetic engineering and synthetic biology to the genomes of our planet's organisms including humans themselves.

While the process of synthesizing and arranging genetic code has many processes, perhaps none has been as promising as the CRISPR-Cas system. From laboratory experiments to emerging software used to create code genetically almost as easily as code for a computer, gene editing has never been easier, opening the door to never-before-possible applications.

Perhaps no technology yet has been poised to change the world so profoundly. All life on Earth, every living organism, now stands the possibility of potentially being "edited" on the most basic genetic level, enhancing or degrading it, but forever changing it.


Blood scan reveals every virus you've ever had

© Thinkstock
Viruses in the bloodstream.
With conventional methodology, researchers typically examine a patient's blood for one type of infection at a time.

However, a new technology from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is now able to scan a blood sample for any of a subject's current and past infections from any known human virus, according to a new report in the journal Science.

The system, known as VirScan, can run a single test to figure out which viruses have infected an individual, as opposed to limiting their evaluation to explicit viruses. That impartial approach could discover unexpected factors impacting individual patients' health, while also growing opportunities to investigate and assess viral infections in large populations. The comprehensive evaluation can be conducted for around $25 per sample.


Galaxies in the neighborhood: Stunning Russian space agency video

© Roscosmos
An amazing video by Russian space agency Roscosmos shows the horizon with some celestial bodies like black holes very much closer to earth than they really are - and it's wonderful and eerie.

The animation demonstrates several galaxies and nebulas, and even a black hole and a supernova star as if they could be seen in the night skies, above our heads. The video is not a scientific simulation - a black hole or a supernova exploding star couldn't exist in such proximity of the Earth, or rather vice versa - but a splendid illustration of what celestial bodies look like, as documented by telescopes like Hubble.

Comment: The video lists the number of stars in each galaxy: can you imagine, how many planets could be inhabited out there? If we could live this close to galaxies, would our life be any different? Would we be ruled by another bunch of psychopaths coming from the galactic neighborhood?


Film of undiscovered deep sea creatures released after Puerto Rico ocean floor expedition


More than 100 species of fish, 50 deep-water corals and hundreds of invertebrates were filmed during the expedition
A team of scientists mapping the ocean floor off the coast of Puerto Rico have captured some amazing images of deep sea creatures, some of which have never been seen before.

Scientists from the US government-backed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used a remotely operated vehicle across 12 dives to explore the ocean floor to depths up to 20,000ft and then stream their discoveries online.

In the video taken from these expeditions and posted online by the website Quartz, an assortment of weird and wonderful creatures such as a fluorescent jellyfish and bright pink starfish can be seen.


Jurassic Park paleontologist wants to re-create a real dinosaur within 10 years

© Meet the media Guru/Flickr
Jack Horner, the paleontologist who worked on Jurassic World (and the rest of the Jurassic Park films), has plans to make a dinosaur.
Yes, this is for real.

No, there isn't dinosaur DNA trapped in amber, waiting to be replicated and cloned.

But that's not the only way to make a dino, said Jack Horner, the paleontologist who worked on "Jurassic World" (and the rest of the "Jurassic Park" films), and he wants to make it happen.

How did we get to this point, where Horner — one of the main inspirations for Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park" character Alan Grant — thinks we can make a live dinosaur within five to 10 years?

Comment: Jurassic Park comes true: How scientists are bringing dinosaurs back to life with the help of the humble chicken


DNA carries traces of past events meaning poor lifestyle can affect future generations

© Alamy
DNA faults caused by trauma, poor lifestyle can be passed down to future generations say scientists.
Genetic faults caused by trauma, poor lifestyle or environmental stress can be passed down to future generations, scientists at the University of Cambridge have discovered.

Previously large studies have shown that devastating events such as famine can scar future generations, making them more prone to obesity and diabetes.

However it is the first time that the biological mechanism for the effect has been seen.

Although the same genes are passed down through generations, scientists now know that our DNA is being altered all the time by environment, lifestyle and traumatic events. It is thought that these changes drive disease, premature ageing and early death.

However it was believed that these faults could not be passed on to future generations, with the slate essentially being wiped clean.

But now scientists at University of Cambridge have found that in some areas of DNA, including those linked to mental illness and obesity, some of the faults remain.

Card - VISA

March towards cashless society: Google receives major support for Android Pay

© REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Last week, Google announced that its mobile payment platform, Android Pay, will be available on Android tablets and smartphones. In the short time since its unveiling, the Apple Pay competitor has already received substantial support from a number of large companies, including several of the top credit card providers in America.

About Android Pay

Android Pay is similar to Apple Pay, Visa Checkout, PayPal, and the yet-to-be-released Samsung Pay. Through a free app on their phones or tablets, users can store credit card information, keep track of their purchases and pay for items on the go. Android Pay utilizes near field communications (NFC) to allow for swipe-free payments at NFC-enabled registers. Users just hold the phone up to the credit card machine to make a transaction.

According to the website, Android Pay will be accepted at "hundreds of thousands of stores" when it launches, including Subway, McDonald's, Petco, Whole Foods, Macy's, Coca-Cola, Staples and GameStop.

Android Pay supports cards from many of the nation's biggest banks and networks, such as American Express, Discover, Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America, USAA and U.S. Bank.

Comment: The march towards a cashless society continues. See also: