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Sep 12, 2015

How curly nanowires can absorb more light to power nanoscale electronic circuits

Posted by in categories: electronics, energy, materials, nanotechnology, solar power, sustainability

This illustration shows a prototype device comprising bare nanospring photodetectors placed on a glass substrate, with metal contacts to collect charges (credit: Tural Khudiyev and Mehmet Bayindir/Applied Optics)

Researchers from Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, have shown that twisting straight nanowires into springs can increase the amount of light the wires absorb by up to 23 percent. Absorbing more light is important because one application of nanowires is turning light into electricity, for example, to power tiny sensors instead of requiring batteries.

If nanowires are made from a semiconductor like silicon, light striking the wire will dislodge electrons from the crystal lattice, leaving positively charged “holes” behind. Both the electrons and the holes move through the material to generate electricity. The more light the wire absorbs; the more electricity it generates. (A device that converts light into electricity can function as either a solar cell or a photosensor.)

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Sep 12, 2015

Our Aging World: Wave Goodbye To The Population Pyramid

Posted by in category: life extension

The young have always outnumbered the old, but as fertility rates drop and lifespans go up, this is starting to change.

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Sep 12, 2015

Introduction to Quantum Computers (2014, 1080p)

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

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Sep 12, 2015

Quantum Computing – Artificial Intelligence Is Here

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics, robotics/AI

Geordie Rose, Founder of D-Wave (recent clients are Google and NASA) believes that the power of quantum computing is that we can ‘exploit parallel universes’ to solve problems that we have no other means of confirming. Simply put, quantum computers can think exponentially faster and simultaneously such that as they mature they will out pace us. Listen to his talk now!

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Sep 12, 2015

Will Bitcoin End the Reign of Government?

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, government

When my daughter was just starting primary school, she would look inside a book for the pictures before reading the text. She was old enough to read without pictures, but she wanted to get a quick synopsis before diving in. “Look, Dad! a bunny is carrying a giant clock into a rabbit hole.”

White Rabbt-01This is my first article without pictures. At least none of Bitcoin, because the copper coin metaphors are tired and inaccurate. At the user level, owning bitcoin is simply your stake in a widely distributed ledger. Ownership exists only as strings of secret code and public code. There is no physical coin.

Since the only pictures in this post show a white rabbit with a big clock, let me give you the quick synopsis: The answer is “No”. Bitcoin will not end government, nor its ability to tax, spend—or even enforce compliance.

But there is an irony: Most lawmakers and regulators have not yet figured this out. They perceive a great threat to their national interests. That’s why Andreas M. Antonopoulos runs around the world. He briefs prime ministers, cabinets and legislators with the noble purpose of demystifying and de-boogieing Bitcoin.

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Sep 11, 2015

Polaroid’s Latest Instant Camera Doesn’t Need Ink — By Margaret Rhodes | Wired

Posted by in category: media & arts

PolaroidSnap_03-482x362

“The Snap—Ammunition’s third design for Polaroid, after last year’s Cube action camera and Zip instant mobile printer—is a decidedly modern instant camera. Unlike its predecessors, it doesn’t use ink cartridges. Instead, it uses inkless printing tech developed by a company called Zink. Heat from the printer reacts with dye crystals embedded in the photo paper to create the image.”

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Sep 11, 2015

The First Human Head Transplant Will Take Place in 2017

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, genetics, neuroscience

Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero grabbed the world’s attention this past winter when he announced his plans to perform the first human head transplant. Many doubted that such an outrageous procedure would ever see the light of day. Now, Canavero has a date on the books.

Thirty-year-old Russian computer scientist Valery Spiridonov is set to become the world’s first head transplant patient in December 2017. Spiridonov suffers from a rare genetic muscle-wasting condition known as Werdnig-Hoffmann disease. There’s currently no known treatment.

As you might not want to imagine, the procedure will be filled with challenges and uncertainties. There’s the hair-raising possibility that the head will reject the body or vice versa. The spinal cord might not fuse properly. Even if everything goes well, there’s no telling whether Spiridonov’s mental capacities or personality will remain the same. He’s embarking on totally uncharted medical territory.

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Sep 11, 2015

Spanish cancer patient gets a 3D-printed titanium rib cage

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical

Is there anything 3D printers can’t do? A 54-year-old Spanish man, who had a cancerous tumor in his chest wall, was recently fitted with a 3D printed sternum and rib cage. While the first-of-its-kind implant seems like a Marvel Comics experiment with Adamantium, in reality, it was an ingenious, life saving medical solution that used lightweight yet sturdy, Titanium. The metal printing technique gave the surgeons at the Salamanca University Hospital in Spain the flexibility they needed to customize the complex and unique anatomy of their patient’s chest wall.

They brought in Anatomics, a Melbourne-based company that manufactures surgical products, to help create and print the implant. Based on the patient’s high-resolution CT scan data, the Australian team first created a 3D reconstruction of the patient’s chest wall and tumor so that the surgeons could plan with precision. Next, they used the 3D digital CAD file detailing the patient’s anatomy to build the customized implant, layer by layer, on Arcam’s $1.3 million electron beam metal printer.

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Sep 11, 2015

Will Scientists Ever Solve the Mystery of Consciousness?

Posted by in categories: evolution, neuroscience

We still have no idea how the brain produces conscious awareness. In this excellent short video produced by The Economist, various experts are called upon to explain the “hard problem” that is consciousness, and how scientists might solve this profound mystery.

For the video, The Economist gathered together an impressive collection of philosophers and scientists, including David Chalmers, Daniel Dennett, Christof Koch, Janet Metcalfe, and Marcus Raichle. Topics discussed include the evolution of consciousness, the binding problem, and theory of mind.

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Sep 11, 2015

Gigantic Ice Slab Found on Mars Just Below the Planet’s Surface

Posted by in category: space

“The ice the scientists found measures 130 feet (40 m) thick and lies just beneath the dirt, or regolith, or Mars.

‘It extends down to latitudes of 38 degrees. This would be like someone in Kansas digging in their backyard and finding ice as thick as a 13-story building that covers an area the size of Texas and California combined,’ Bramson said.

Such an extensive ice sheet had never been seen at these latitudes.”

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