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Dec 21, 2016

Absence Seizures Could Be Prevented, Experimental Study Suggests

Posted by in categories: genetics, neuroscience

It may be possible to reduce, stop or even prevent absence seizures, the most common form of childhood epilepsy, according to a study published in the leading scientific journal Neuron.

Using an advanced technology called optogenetics and a rodent model, researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine showed that it is possible to trigger seizures by inducing synchronized, rhythmic activity within a particular structure in the brain called the thalamocortical tract. Importantly, they also demonstrated that disrupting this activity is sufficient to terminate the seizures.

For the study the team, led by Dr Jeanne Paz, inserted a gene that encodes for a light-sensitive cell-surface protein into a set of nerve cells situated in the thalamocortical tract of rat and mice models of absence seizures. This way, the scientists were able to prevent these cells from firing by shining a yellow light onto them.

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Dec 21, 2016

Molecular Velcro boosts microalgae’s potential in biofuel, industrial applications

Posted by in categories: biological, solar power, sustainability

Michigan State University scientists have engineered “molecular Velcro” into to cyanobacteria, boosting this microalgae’s biofuel viability as well as its potential for other research.

The findings, featured in the current issue of ACS Synthetic Biology, show how MSU researchers have designed a surface display system to attach cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, to yeast and other surfaces. The proof-of-concept may improve the efficiency of harvesting algae as well as open avenues to improve the construction of artificial microbial communities for sustainable biofuel production or other industrial projects.

“Inadequate cyanobacterial toolkits limited our ability to come up with biological solutions,” said Derek Fedeson, MSU graduate student and the study’s co-lead author. “So, we wanted to add another tool to the toolbox to expand the capacity of these bacteria, which can harness solar energy for the production of useful compounds.”

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Dec 21, 2016

Herbal medicine may make tuberculosis easier to treat

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

Herbs treating Tuberculosis.

A centuries-old herbal medicine, discovered by Chinese scientists and used to effectively treat malaria, may help treat tuberculosis and slow the evolution of drug resistance.

A new study shows the ancient remedy artemisinin stopped the ability of TB-causing bacteria, known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, to become dormant. This stage of the disease often makes the use of antibiotics ineffective.

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Dec 21, 2016

Q&A: Diamond in Quantum Applications

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, particle physics, quantum physics

Oh; there is a LOT more to they syndiamond story as it relates to some of the additional hardware and communications technologies that we’re developing and planning for the future.

What are the unique properties of diamond that make it a supermaterial?

Diamond has long been known to have exceptional properties, largely resulting from the symmetry of the cubic lattice made of light carbon atoms connected by extremely strong bonds. These exceptional properties include thermal conductivity five times higher than that of copper and the widest optical transparency of any material extending from the UV to the RF part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Additionally, diamond also has some interesting chemical properties as it is extremely inert, though it can become a conductor by adding boron. In this manner, one could leverage synthetic diamond for use in electrochemical incineration where existing electrode materials have only a limited lifetime.

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Dec 21, 2016

How graphene quantum dots can convert carbon dioxide into liquid fuels

Posted by in categories: climatology, quantum physics, sustainability

Researchers used nitrogen-doped graphene quantum dots to convert carbon dioxide into liquid hydrocarbons like ethylene and ethanol for use as fuel.

The wonder material known as graphene may have a new trick up its sleeve: converting carbon dioxide into liquid fuels. A team of researchers at Rich University in Texas used nitrogen-doped graphene quantum dots (NGQDs) as a catalyst in electrochemical reactions that create ethylene and ethanol, and the stability and efficiency of the material is close to common electrocatalysts such as copper.

In the fight to slow climate change, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere is crucial, and plenty of research is looking into how we can capture carbon at the source, using clay, engineered bacteria, metal-organic frameworks, or materials like the “Memzyme” and sequester it into rock and concrete. Other studies are focusing on converting the captured carbon into liquid hydrocarbons, which can be used as fuel.

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Dec 21, 2016

Scientists detect a quantum crystal of electrons and ‘watch’ it melt

Posted by in categories: materials, quantum physics

For the first time, MIT physicists have observed a highly ordered crystal of electrons in a semiconducting material and documented its melting, much like ice thawing into water. The observations confirm a fundamental phase transition in quantum mechanics that was theoretically proposed more than 80 years ago but not experimentally documented until now.

The team, led by MIT professor of physics Raymond Ashoori and his postdoc Joonho Jang, used a spectroscopy technique developed in Ashoori’s group. The method relies on electron “tunneling,” a quantum mechanical process that allows researchers to inject electrons at precise energies into a system of interest—in this case, a system of electrons trapped in two dimensions. The method uses hundreds of thousands of short electrical pulses to probe a sheet of electrons in a cooled to extremely low temperatures, just above absolute zero.

With their tunneling technique, the researchers shot electrons into the supercooled material to measure the energy states of electrons within the semiconducting sheet. Against a background blur, they detected a sharp spike in the data. After much analysis, they determined that the spike was the precise signal that would be given off from a highly ordered crystal of electrons vibrating in unison.

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Dec 21, 2016

Intel’s plan to give silicon chips a quantum leap of an upgrade

Posted by in category: computing

Can you imagine!

The world’s largest chip company sees a novel path toward computers of immense power.

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Dec 21, 2016

JILA atomic clock mimics long-sought synthetic magnetic state

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics, quantum physics


Using their advanced atomic clock to mimic other desirable quantum systems, JILA physicists have caused atoms in a gas to behave as if they possess unusual magnetic properties long sought in harder-to-study solid materials. Representing a novel “off-label” use for atomic clocks, the research could lead to the creation of new materials for applications such as “spintronic” devices and quantum computers.

JILA’s record-setting atomic clock, in which strontium atoms are trapped in a laser grid known as an , turns out to be an excellent model for the magnetic behavior of crystalline solids at the atomic scale. Such models are valuable for studying the counterintuitive rules of quantum mechanics.

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Dec 21, 2016

Scientist Who Faked Research to Receive Grants, Sentenced to 18-Months

Posted by in categories: computing, government, quantum physics

Doesn’t pay to fraud the government. The real question is why it took so long (4 years).

Defendant submitted false data and information instead of building and testing experimental components

OAKLAND – S. Darin Kinion, Ph.D., was sentenced today to 18 months’ imprisonment for submitting false data and reports to defraud the United States in connection with a quantum computing research program announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch, U.S. Department of Energy Special Agent in Charge of the Office of the Inspector General Scott Berenberg, and Inspector General of the Intelligence Community I. Charles McCullough III. The sentence follows a guilty plea entered June 14, 2016, in which Kinion acknowledged submitting false data and reports to the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (“IARPA”) of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in a scheme to defraud the government out of money intended to fund research.

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Dec 21, 2016

The White House’s Fix for Robots Stealing Jobs? Education

Posted by in categories: education, employment, robotics/AI

UM NOVO RELATÓRIO da Casa Branca alerta que milhões de postos de trabalho podem ser automatizado e deixar de existir nos próximos anos.

O relatório, publicado esta semana pelo Conselho de Assessores Econômicos do presidente, se junta a um crescente corpo de trabalho prevendo enormes perdas de empregos devido à automação e inteligência artificial.

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