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Aug 13, 2016

Synesthesia: How Neurons Can Let You Physically Feel What Others Experience

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Mirror neurons allow individuals to, in essence, feel what others are experiencing. These neurons fire when an individual experiences something and when they observe the same or similar act happen to another.

Synesthesia, a neurological trait with more than 80 forms and growing numbers of people who recognize it in themselves, is mostly associated with famous creatives who have possessed it–from Pharrell Williams to David Hockney and from Mary J. Blige to Marilyn Monroe.

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Aug 13, 2016

Why I prefer science fiction to general literature

Posted by in category: futurism

Marvin Minsky talks about his love of science fiction.

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Aug 13, 2016

‘Connected’ ink: Temporary tech tattoos transform skin into user interfaces (VIDEO)

Posted by in category: futurism

Temporary tattoos are getting the high tech treatment with a new product that transforms them into multifunctional on-skin user interfaces.

DuoSkin, created at the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Media Lab in partnership with Microsoft Research, allows people to control their mobile devices, display information, and store data all while looking stylish with a metallic like tattoo on their skin.

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Aug 13, 2016

Cubesat | MarCO

Posted by in category: space travel

Mars Cube One (MarCO) Mission Overview Engineers for NASA’s MarCO technology demonstration check out a full-scale mechanical mock-up of the small craft in development as part of NASA’s next mission to Mars. Mechanical engineer Joel Steinkraus and systems engineer Farah Alibay are on the team at NASA…

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Aug 13, 2016

How Nanotech Will Lead to a Better Future for Us All

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

How do we gain the immense benefits of advanced nanotechnology while avoiding its potential misuse?

This was Christine Peterson’s big question when she co-founded the Foresight Institute, a non-profit think tank focused on nanotechnology, three decades ago. And she says it’s still her guiding focus today.

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Aug 13, 2016

Meet the Reactors Accelerating Us Toward Fusion Energy

Posted by in categories: humor, nuclear energy, particle physics

The old joke about fusion is that it is 30 years from becoming a reality — and that’s been the case for the last 50 years or more. It’s a joke that may quickly be reaching its sell-by date.

And a good thing too. The promise of fusion is near-unlimited energy that produces almost no waste.

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Aug 13, 2016

Self-healing textiles not only repair themselves, but can neutralize chemicals

Posted by in categories: biological, materials

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Someday, chemically protective suits made of fabric coated in self-healing, thin films may prevent farmers from exposure to organophosphate pesticides, soldiers from chemical or biological attacks in the field and factory workers from accidental releases of toxic materials, according to a team of researchers.

“Fashion designers use natural fibers made of proteins like wool or silk that are expensive and they are not self-healing,” said Melik C. Demire l, professor of engineering science and mechanics. “We were looking for a way to make fabrics self-healing using conventional textiles. So we came up with this coating technology.”

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Aug 12, 2016

Scotland Covered an Entire Day’s Electricity Needs From Wind Power Alone

Posted by in category: energy

This is only the beginning.

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Aug 12, 2016

NASA’s Fermi mission expands its search for dark matter

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Dark matter, the mysterious substance that constitutes most of the material universe, remains as elusive as ever. Although experiments on the ground and in space have yet to find a trace of dark matter, the results are helping scientists rule out some of the many theoretical possibilities. Three studies published earlier this year, using six or more years of data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, have broadened the mission’s dark matter hunt using some novel approaches.

“We’ve looked for the usual suspects in the usual places and found no solid signals, so we’ve started searching in some creative new ways,” said Julie McEnery, Fermi project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “With these results, Fermi has excluded more candidates, has shown that dark matter can contribute to only a small part of the gamma-ray background beyond our galaxy, the Milky Way, and has produced strong limits for dark matter particles in the second-largest galaxy orbiting it.”

Dark matter neither emits nor absorbs light, primarily interacts with the rest of the universe through gravity, yet accounts for about 80 percent of the matter in the universe. Astronomers see its effects throughout the cosmos—in the rotation of galaxies, in the distortion of light passing through galaxy clusters, and in simulations of the early universe, which require the presence of dark matter to form galaxies at all.

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Aug 12, 2016

U.S. Air Force’s plan to improve radio communications? Plasma bomb the atmosphere

Posted by in categories: military, satellites


Radio communication is a weak point for most military operations — it is often not long enough or strong enough to adequately meet soldiers’ needs. The U.S. Air Force’s “go big or go home” solution to improve their long-distance calls? Supercharge the atmosphere by detonating aerial plasma bombs attached to tiny satellites, reports New Scientist.

The Air Force is asking for help in developing plasma bombs, which would be delivered to the atmosphere by tiny cube satellites and then detonated to release ions upon arrival. The Air Force is working with several research teams, each of which is tasked with coming up with their own design for the plasma bombs. The first stage of the project is theoretical, requiring researchers to come up with an atmospheric plasma delivery method. Selected researchers then will be invited to test their proposal in a vacuum chamber simulator and eventually on exploratory flights.

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