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Boutique gin boasts all the flavor of 62 forest ants

By - May 20, 2015 2 Pictures
Not so long ago the only things that came in a bottle of alcohol (beside the alcohol itself) were the occasional odds and ends that fell in as it was being made, or some fruit that was deliberately shoehorned in to make it look decorative. Today there seems to be a craze for all sorts of objects jammed into bottles of spirit – scorpions, worms, and other creepy crawlies being particularly common. Actually distilling the essence of an insect to make an alcoholic beverage rather than just pickling it in a bottle, however, is a different prospect altogether. But now a company in the UK has done just that, by using an extract from ants to create a special type of gin. Read More
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Toxin-absorbing nanosponges could be used to soak up localized infections

By - May 20, 2015 1 Picture

Back in 2013, we heard that nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diago (UC San Diego) had successfully used nanosponges to soak up toxins in the bloodstream. Fast-forward two years and the team is back with more nanospongey goodness, now using hydrogel to keep the tiny fellas in place, allowing them to tackle infections such as MRSA, without the need for antibiotics.

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Juvenile plasticity returned to adult mice brains

By - May 20, 2015 1 Picture

By enabling the rigid brains of adult mice to return to the high levels of plasticity found in juvenile brains, scientists are opening new pathways to the treatment of brain injuries such as stroke. Back in 2013, researchers from Yale University reported the discovery of a molecular switch that achieved this result, and now scientists at the University of California, Irvine, have managed to make an old brain young again using a different approach.

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World's smallest beamsplitter paves way toward computing at the speed of light

By - May 18, 2015 2 Pictures

Silicon photonics is an emerging technology that incorporates electronic circuits using photons of laser light rather than electrons to transmit, receive, and manipulate information. As such, a silicon photonic CPU could potentially process information at the speed of light – millions of times faster than computers available today. In a step towards this goal, engineers working at the University of Utah have developed an ultra-compact photonic beam-splitter so small that millions of these devices could fit on a single silicon chip.

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New air inlet system for aircraft takes out top Intel prize

By - May 18, 2015 2 Pictures

A 17-year-old Canadian has earned first place at Intel's 2015 International Science and Engineering Fair, which the company claims is the biggest high school science competition in the world. Raymond Wang's system to improve air quality in airplane cabins scooped the US$75,000 top prize ahead of a low-cost HIV testing device and a new containment enclosure for undersea oil wells.

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Williams demonstrates sodium-ion-powered proof-of-concept e-bike

By - May 15, 2015 3 Pictures

Although lithium-ion batteries perform far better than alkalines, they're also relatively costly, the lithium salts used in them aren't widely available, and they sometimes catch fire. That's why some scientists are suggesting sodium-ion batteries as an alternative. To that end, Williams Advanced Engineering recently demonstrated that they could be used to power an electric bike.

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