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Apr 1, 2016

Successfully Engineering Water-loving Nanoparticle Diodes

Posted by in categories: computing, electronics, engineering

Nanoparticle diodes and devices that work when wet.

“Groundbreaking” research by Prof. Bartosz Grzybowski (School of Natural Science).
Nanoparticle Diodes and Devices That Work When Wet.

A new study by an international team of researchers, affiliated with UNIST has found a new way to produce electronic devices, such as diodes, logic gates, and sensors without the need of semiconductors.

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Apr 1, 2016

A programming language for living cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, engineering

MIT biological engineers have created a programming language that allows them to rapidly design complex, DNA-encoded circuits that give new functions to living cells.

Using this language, anyone can write a program for the function they want, such as detecting and responding to certain . They can then generate a DNA sequence that will achieve it.

“It is literally a for bacteria,” says Christopher Voigt, an MIT professor of biological engineering. “You use a text-based language, just like you’re programming a computer. Then you take that text and you compile it and it turns it into a DNA sequence that you put into the cell, and the circuit runs inside the cell.”

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Mar 31, 2016

Tesla finally unveils the Model 3: Its first car for the masses

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, sustainability, transportation

At long last, here’s our first look at the Tesla Model 3, the company’s debut mass-market electric car starting at $35,000 and (perhaps) launching next year.

Telsa CEO Elon Musk unveiled the vehicle to the press and relentless devotees during an event at the company’s design studio in Hawthorne, California this evening.

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Mar 31, 2016

Tesla Model 3 announced: release set for 2017, price starts at $35,000

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, sustainability, transportation

After ten years of waiting, Tesla has revealed the Model 3, the vehicle that CEO Elon Musk hopes will take the electric car to the masses.

At the unveiling of the Model 3 this evening at the company’s design studio in Hawthorne, California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the car will deliver at least 215 miles of range beginning at just $35,000 — that’s a bold claim, and an important one for Tesla to meet. Musk is “fairly confident” that deliveries will begin by the end of 2017, and “you will not be able to buy a better car for $35,000, even with no options.”

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Mar 31, 2016

Why Did The U.S. Spend 1.5 Million To Make Robotic Bats?

Posted by in categories: drones, robotics/AI

This bat-inspired drone has a longer battery life than drones with propellers, giving it the possibility of expanding into drone package delivery and beyond.

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Mar 31, 2016

On/off button for passing along epigenetic ‘memories’ to our children discovered

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

The duration of epigenetic responses underpinning transgenerational inheritance is determined by an active mechanism relying on the production of small RNAs and modulation of RNAi factors, dictating whether ancestral RNAi responses would be memorized or forgotten (credit: Leah Houri-Ze’evi et al./Cell)

According to epigenetics — the study of inheritable changes in gene expression not directly coded in our DNA — our life experiences may be passed on to our children and our children’s children. Studies on survivors of traumatic events have suggested that exposure to stress may indeed have lasting effects on subsequent generations.

But exactly how are these genetic “memories” passed on?

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Mar 31, 2016

Reports of Planet Earth’s Death Have Been Greatly … Underestimated

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

Are you really surprised?

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Mar 31, 2016

5 Questions For E.T

Posted by in category: alien life

Kind of a light-hearted end of week meditation on what questions we might first pose to an extraterrestrial intelligence, if they were willing to sit for an interstellar town hall. Hope you enjoy.

If extraterrestrial (E.T.) intelligent civilizations are out there, given the age of the cosmos they stand a chance of being millions, or even billions of years ahead of us in almost every way. Assuming that we were even able to start a cosmic dialogue with them, I’ve often wondered what humanity should first ask such an advanced civilization.

Here are five sample questions:

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Mar 31, 2016

Boeing CST-100: Next-Generation Spaceship

Posted by in category: space travel

The Boeing Co. is one of two companies funded by NASA to develop spacecraft for the International Space Station. Its CST-100 Starliner is expected to fly with an astronaut on board no earlier than 2017.

The firm is best known for its large passenger jets. In space, it has performed work on the space shuttle and the ISS, among other projects.

The CST-100 is similar in shape to the Apollo spacecraft, but should have electronics that are half a century more advanced. Its gumdrop shape also looks somewhat like the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle being constructed right now by Lockheed Martin and its partners. Orion is designed to carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit.

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Mar 31, 2016

Could ‘Planet X’ Cause Comet Catastrophes on Earth?

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

As astronomers track down more clues as to the existence of a large world orbiting the sun in the outer fringes of the solar system, a classic planetary purveyor of doom has been resurrected as a possible trigger behind mass extinctions on Earth.

Yes, I’m talking about “Planet X.” And yes, there’s going to be hype.

MORE: 9th Planet May Lurk in the Outer Solar System.

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