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Jul 23, 2018

Ytterbium: The quantum memory of tomorrow

Posted by in categories: encryption, internet, quantum physics, security

Quantum communication and cryptography are the future of high-security communication. But many challenges lie ahead before a worldwide quantum network can be set up, including propagating the quantum signal over long distances. One of the major challenges is to create memories with the capacity to store quantum information carried by light. Researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, in partnership with CNRS, France, have discovered a new material in which an element, ytterbium, can store and protect the fragile quantum information even while operating at high frequencies. This makes ytterbium an ideal candidate for future quantum networks, where the aim is to propagate the signal over long distances by acting as repeaters. These results are published in the journal Nature Materials.

Quantum cryptography today uses optical fibre over several hundred kilometres and is marked by its high degree of security: it is impossible to copy or intercept information without making it disappear.

However, the fact that it is impossible to copy the signal also prevents scientists from amplifying it to diffuse it over long distances, as is the case with the Wi-Fi network.

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Jul 23, 2018

Researchers design self-powered robots the size of human cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

The latest robots out of MIT are small enough to float “indefinitely” in the air. Researchers accomplished the feat by attaching 2D electronics to colloids — tiny particles measuring around one-billionth to one-millionth of a meter. All told, the devices are roughly the size of a human egg cell.

What’s more, the addition of photodiode semiconductors means the tiny individual systems are able to be self-powered, without the need for a battery. The system converts light into a small electrical charge that’s enough to keep the device’s on-board environmental sensors running, while storing on-board information.

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Jul 23, 2018

If only A.I. had a brain

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Digital computation has rendered nearly all forms of analog computation obsolete since as far back as the 1950s. However, there is one major exception that rivals the computational power of the most advanced digital devices: the human brain.

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Jul 23, 2018

Things You Never Knew About Elon Musk

Posted by in category: Elon Musk

Click on photo to start video.

“I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.”-Elon Musk.

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Jul 23, 2018

Material formed from crab shells and trees could replace flexible plastic packaging

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering, food, sustainability

From liquid laundry detergent packaged in cardboard to compostable plastic cups, consumer products these days are increasingly touting their sustainable and renewable origins.

Now researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have created a material derived from crab shells and tree fibers that has the potential to replace the flexible used to keep food fresh.

The new material, which is described July 23 in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, is made by spraying multiple layers of chitin from crab shells and cellulose from trees to form a flexible film similar to plastic packaging film.

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Jul 23, 2018

Intervening on mtDNA in Mice Reverses Skin Wrinkling and Hair Loss

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

In a study on murine mtDNA, scientists reversed skin wrinkles and hair loss.


In what appears to be a world first, scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have reversed two of the most common visual signs of aging—skin wrinkles and hair loss—in mice by turning off a gene responsible for mitochondrial dysfunction [1].

Study abstract

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Jul 23, 2018

Discovery Offers New Insights into Telomere Biology and Aging

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

Australian researchers have made a discovery about telomeres that may have implications for aging, heart disease, cancer, and other age-related diseases.

So, what are telomeres?

Each of the chromosomes that store our genetic information has a telomere at each end. This protective cap consists of a specific DNA sequence that is repeated thousands of times and has two purposes: firstly, it protects the coding regions of the chromosomes and prevents them from being damaged, and secondly, it acts as a clock that controls the number of replications a cell can undergo; this is thought to act as a quality control system to ensure that aged and potentially damaged cells do not remain in circulation.

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Jul 23, 2018

The 42 Biggest Questions About Life, the Universe, and Everything

Posted by in categories: physics, space

In a recent paper published to arXiv, the physicists Roland Allen and Suzy Lidstrom, of Texas A&M and Uppsala University, respectively, tackled the question about the Question by describing what they believe to be the 42 ultimate questions of life, the universe, and everything.


In a homage to ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,’ two physicists explain the biggest unknowns in science. I’ve summed them up as a tweetstorm.

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Jul 23, 2018

Spectacular revelations courtesy of Hubble

Posted by in category: space

After 28 years in space, the Hubble Space Telescope is sending back some of its most beautiful and revealing images from across the vast universe.

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Jul 22, 2018

Fastest-spinning manmade object clocks 60 billion rpm

Posted by in category: nanotechnology

The fastest-spinning manmade object has been created in a lab at Purdue University. This microscopic rotor is made up of two silica nanoparticles stuck together to form a “dumbbell,” and by hitting it with laser light the team has sent it spinning at a blistering 60 billion rpm.

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