Science & Technology
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:27 UTC
But, nearly 400 years later, technological advances in machines that can read our thoughts mean the privacy of our brain is under threat.
Now two biomedical ethicists are calling for the creation of new human rights laws to ensure people are protected, including "the right to cognitive liberty" and "the right to mental integrity".
Scientists have already developed devices capable of telling whether people are politically right-wing or left-wing. In one experiment, researchers were able to read people's minds to tell with 70 per cent accuracy whether they planned to add or subtract two numbers.
Facebook also recently revealed it had been secretly working on technology to read people's minds so they could type by just thinking.
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 17:22 UTC
Scientists found that baby humpbacks avoid the attention of predators while communicating with their mothers by using intimate grunts and squeaks.
The quiet noises enable the young to keep track of their parents during long and precarious migrations without being overheard by killer whales and sexually aggressive male humpbacks looking for an opportunity to mate.
Researchers collected their groundbreaking data by directly attaching microphones via suction caps to whales that were swimming near Australia.
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 00:03 UTC
Perhaps one of the most concerning aspects about CRISPR-Cas9 was the inability for scientists to turn off the gene altering sequence. The potential for wrong genes to be snipped away and the consequential introduction of rogue genetic changes in human or animal DNA into the gene pool was (and still is) rather terrifying. Now, however, scientists claim that they have found a way to hopefully mitigate this tremendous risk. In a new study, researchers say that they have found a tiny protein that can actually turn off Cas9 and prevent it from creating unwanted gene alterations. They say that the protein works on human cells — at least if they are in a petri dish.
Welcome to the Matrix - Artificial wombs successfully pass 1st test, human trials could begin within 3yrs
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:12 UTC
Lambs born at the equivalent point of 23 weeks into the human gestation period have been kept alive in a transparent vessel, or 'biobag,' that serves as both a womb and incubator for periods of up to four weeks after their initial, premature birth.
The research was conducted by a team of doctors and scientists led by Alan Flake, a fetal surgeon at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The team's findings were published in the journal Nature on Tuesday.
"If we can support growth and organ maturation for only a few weeks, we can dramatically improve outcomes for extremely premature babies," said Flake when speaking to the media.
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 00:00 UTC
The wax worm, the larvae of the common insect Galleria mellonella, or greater wax moth, is a scourge of beehives across Europe. In the wild, the worms live as parasites in bee colonies. Wax moths lay their eggs inside hives where the worms hatch and grow on beeswax - hence the name.
A chance discovery occurred when one of the scientific team, Federica Bertocchini, an amateur beekeeper, was removing the parasitic pests from the honeycombs in her hives. The worms were temporarily kept in a typical plastic shopping bag that became riddled with holes.
Bertocchini, from the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria (CSIC), Spain, collaborated with colleagues Paolo Bombelli and Christopher Howe at the University of Cambridge's Department of Biochemistry to conduct a timed experiment.
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 20:56 UTC
"They show that by using genetics, you can really show what was going on as [breeders] were making these breeds," says Elinor Karlsson, a computational biologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester who was not involved with the work.
The News Tribune
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 20:45 UTC
Using Lidar technology, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources has mapped a good third of the state revealing the smallest of details hidden beneath trees, buildings and other obstructions.
The grooves, carved by ancient glaciers, can be seen from Whidbey Island to south of Olympia. Tacoma is etched with a series of subtle pattern of north-south lines. The grooves become most prominent around Lake Tapps.
Toggling between "Bare Earth" and "Top Surface" is the best way to view the map.
Sun, 23 Apr 2017 00:00 UTC
An alternative approach to innovation, biomimicry's goal is to create sustainable solutions to human challenges by echoing nature's patterns and strategies. The approach involves creating products, processes, and polices that are well-adapted to life on earth for generations to come.
Hard to envision what this would look like? Check out these four incredible tech innovations that have been inspired by biomimicry:
Comment: It makes so much sense to work with and learn from nature rather than seeking to exploit our natural resources because of the greed of psychopaths in power. We can see in these examples, human creativity and innovation at work and how technology, instead of being used to oppress people and advance warfare, can be used for the betterment of humanity.
For more on some of the designs, in particular the Dewpoint water collector, see this video.
And this is what Wanda Lewis, the designer of the leaf-inspired bridge, had to say about her ambitious project:
A new generation of indestructible bridges could be possible, thanks to research from the University of Warwick.
Emeritus Professor Wanda Lewis in the School of Engineering has taken a design process called 'form-finding', inspired by the natural world, to another level.
Form-finding enables the design of rigid structures that follow a strong natural form - structures that are sustained by a force of pure compression or tension, with no bending stresses, which are the main points of weakness in other structures.
This could, for the first time, lead to the design of bridges and buildings that can take any combination of permanent loading without generating complex stresses.
Such structures will have enhanced safety, and long durability, without the need for repair or restructuring.
For 25 years Professor Lewis has been studying forms and shapes in nature: the outlines of a tree or a leaf, the curve of a shell, the way a film of soap can suspend itself between chosen boundaries. In all of these natural objects, Professor Lewis observed that they develop simple stress patterns, which help them to withstand forces applied to them (such as wind hitting a tree) with ease.
Professor Lewis has been developing mathematical models that implement nature's design principles and produce simple stress patterns in structures. The principles behind her mathematical models are illustrated using physical form-finding experiments involving pieces of fabric or chains, for example.
A piece of fabric is suspended, and allowed to relax into its natural, gravitational, minimum energy shape; then that shape is frozen into a rigid object and inverted. She finds the coordinates of this shape through computation by simulating the gravitational forces applied to the structure. This produces a shape (a natural form) that can withstand the load with ease.
Professor Lewis argues that "nature's design principles cannot be matched by conventional engineering design."
While classical architectural designs are appealing to the eye, they aren't necessarily structurally sound: "aesthetics is an important aspect of any design, and we have been programmed to view some shapes, such as circular arches or spherical domes as aesthetic. We often build them regardless of the fact that they generate complex stresses, and are, therefore, structurally inefficient," says Professor Lewis.
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:03 UTC
Researchers at the University of Exeter in the UK and the University of Alberta in Canada found large quantities of the protein Rab32 in brain tissue samples taken from people who had MS but was almost entirely absent in those without the condition.
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:03 UTC
An international team of researchers led by Franziska Lechleitner from the Geological Institute at ETH Zurich has proven for the first time that the migration of the tropical rain belt is quite sensitive to even small changes in global temperatures. The team's findings have been published in the journal Scientific Reports, where they present the most comprehensive reconstruction of rainfall patterns within the Intertropical Convergence Zone for the past 2000 years.
Lower temperatures worldwide
In the past, scientists have only studied the migration of the tropical rain belt over very long timespans, such as glacial and interglacial cycles over tens of thousands of years, with correspondingly sizeable temperature differences of several degrees. "So far, however, scientists have not investigated the past two millennia on a global scale, when temperature changes have been far less pronounced," explains the climate geologist.
The ETH researcher and her colleagues have now managed to demonstrate how the tropical weather system shifted a good way south between 1450 and 1850, a period known as the Little Ice Age. "This migration is linked to the lower global temperatures during this time," explains Lechleitner.
The latest climate reconstructions show that the average temperatures during this period were around 0.4 degrees Celsius lower than before and after the Little Ice Age. The migration of the tropical rain belt also caused substantial changes in the tropical and subtropical climate during this time, affecting the areas of drought and heavy rainfall.