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Feb 29, 2016

Quantum dot solids: a new era in electronics?

Posted by in categories: electronics, energy, quantum physics

Connecting the dots: Playing ‘LEGO’ at the atomic scale to build atomically coherent quantum dot solids (credit: Kevin Whitham, Cornell University)

Just as the single-crystal silicon wafer forever changed the nature of communication 60 years ago, Cornell researchers hope their work with quantum dot solids — crystals made out of crystals — can help usher in a new era in electronics.

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Feb 29, 2016

The case of the silent synapses: Why are only 20% of synapses active during neurotransmission?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Using a fluorescent molecule to track neurotransmission of dopamine in mouse synapses, scientists made a puzzling discovery. … (credit: Sulzer Lab/Columbia University Medical Center)

Columbia University scientists recently tested a new optical technique to study how information is transmitted in the brains of mice and made a surprising discovery: When stimulated electrically to release dopamine (a neurotransmitter or chemical released by neurons, or nerve cells, to send signals to other nerve cells), only about 20 percent of synapses — the connections between cells that control brain activity — were active at any given time.

The effect had never been noticed. “Older techniques only revealed what was going on in large groups of synapses,” explained David Sulzer, PhD, professor of neurobiology in Psychiatry, Neurology, and Pharmacology at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). “We needed a way to observe the neurotransmitter activity of individual synapses, to help us better understand their intricate behavior.”

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Feb 29, 2016

IS hacks UK solar firm site in revenge

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, solar power

I always caution folks to never say “never” especially around hacking and worst case scenarios relating to security. Granted there is a balance around not going too overboard. However, when it comes to being risk adverse and determining how much risk your company can absorb must be a core piece of your assessment. And, an attack like the one by ISIS in this article can not be allowed.

LONDON: ISIS terrorists hacked the website of a UK-based solar firm as revenge for the killing of one of their British Muslim members, a media report said on Sunday.

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Feb 29, 2016

Data breach lawsuits indicate a troubling trend for enterprises

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, robotics/AI

I see these growing exponentially in the next few years especially when companies introduce autonomous technologies. One must ponder how far will these go when the breach was inside a bank that is leveraging technology and/ or autonomous technologies from vendors.

A number of data breach lawsuits have been filed against major enterprises in recent years, which could lead to mounting data breach costs.

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Feb 29, 2016

Time travel a step closer as physicists say we live in a universe-sized ‘flicker book’

Posted by in categories: physics, space, time travel

TIME throughout the universe is like a giant ‘flicker book’ which can be broken into an almost infinite number of separate moments, scientists said today.

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Feb 29, 2016

I visited a church that wants to conquer death

Posted by in category: life extension

New story for Tech Insider on an Immortality Bus tour stop:

Conversations are centered on using technology to overcome death.

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Feb 29, 2016

MIT Technology Review Announces 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2016

Posted by in categories: food, internet

Annual list highlights the most important technology milestones.

Cambridge, MA – February 23, 2016: Today, MIT Technology Review publishes its annual 10 Breakthrough Technologies list ( The list identifies innovations from the past year that solve difficult problems or create powerful new ways of using technology. These are the breakthroughs that will matter for years to come.

Jason Pontin, Editor in Chief and Publisher, states, “Each year, our editors search the globe to create this important list. From Beijing, China, where researchers are creating fungus-resistant wheat and boosting rice crop yields, to Seattle, where a spin-off company of the University of Washington is commercializing “passive Wi-Fi,” making data connections using 1/10,000th as much power as existing Wi-Fi, the 10 Breakthrough Technologies represent the advancements we feel have the greatest potential to impact our lives for years to come.”

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Feb 29, 2016

The House of Four Winds — M.C. Escher

Posted by in category: media & arts


“George Escher, eldest son of the famous artist M.C. Escher, shares personal stories of growing up in Rome and witnessing his father at work in this short film, titled The House of Four Winds, by Filiz Efe McKinney, Uriah McKinney and Aaron Sarnat.” —

Link to film

Feb 29, 2016

NASA Venus Landsail Rover Could Launch In 2023

Posted by in categories: innovation, space

NASA’s study of a Venus landsail rover for possible launch as early as 2023 continues via its Innovative Advanced Concepts office. Geoffrey Landis, the rover’s study scientist fills me in on the latest. Ironically, the optimal landing site is near that of the Soviet Venera 10 lander.

NASA continues working towards a Venus landsail surface rover that could see launch as early as 2023 and mark the first time in a generation that any probe has landed on the planet’s hot, rocky surface. After a five month journey from Earth, the lander-rover — about the size of a windsurfing board — would begin a nominal 50-day surface mission.

If funded, NASA would launch this landsail “Zephyr” rover as a $400 million Discovery class mission with a coupled orbiter and lander. Once safely in Venus orbit, the rover-lander would detach for its journey through the planet’s thick atmosphere. Following an upright wheels-down landing, pyrotechnics would then cut the rover loose to explore the surface.

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Feb 29, 2016

Scientists discover that our brain waves can be sent by electrical fields

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Most biology students will be able to tell you that neural signals are sent via mechanisms such as synaptic transmission, gap junctions, and diffusion processes, but a new study suggests there’s another way that our brains transmit information from one place to another.

Researchers in the US have recorded neural spikes travelling too slowly in the brain to be explained by conventional signalling mechanisms. In the absence of other plausible explanations, the scientists believe these brain waves are being transmitted by a weak electrical field, and they’ve been able to detect one of these in mice.

“Researchers have thought that the brain’s endogenous electrical fields are too weak to propagate wave transmission,” said Dominique Durand, a biomedical engineer at Case Western Reserve University. “But it appears the brain may be using the fields to communicate without synaptic transmissions, gap junctions or diffusion.”

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