Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Science

Fusion power would allow electricty to be generated using the same processes taking place ...

While solar power harnesses energy produced by the Sun, fusion power seeks to harness the very process used by the Sun to generate a practically limitless supply of clean electricity. Despite decades of research and numerous breakthroughs, “net-gain” nuclear fusion is yet to appear. One of the hurdles is the so-called density, or Greenwald, limit that sees the plasmas within experimental fusion reactors (called tokamaks) spiraling apart and disrupting the fusion process. Now scientists have come up with a new theory as to why this occurs that, if proven, could provide a way to clear the density limit hurdle.  Read More

A previously hairless mouse following an implantation of bioengineered hair follicles recr...

Researchers lead by Professor Takashi Tsuji from the Tokyo University of Science have successfully induced the natural hair growth and loss cycle in previously hairless mice. They have achieved this feat through the implantation of bioengineered hair follicles recreated from adult-tissue derived stem cells. While these results offer new hope for curing baldness, the work has broader implications, demonstrating the potential of using adult somatic stem cells for the bioengineering of organs for regenerative therapies.  Read More

The University of Exeter's engineered zebrafish

Researchers at the University of Exeter have created a transgenic zebrafish which produces highly targeted green fluorescent signals when exposed to environmental estrogens.  Read More

Incunabulum of the Nurenberg Chronicle (1483), edited by Hartmann Schedel (Photo: I. Pilon...

Scholars, priests, historians, and followers of the da Vinci Files can now look toward the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (the Vatican library) with anticipation. In a five-year joint project with the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford, the Vatican Library will work to digitize and post online some 1.5 million pages from Greek manuscripts, 15th-century printed books (incunabula), Hebrew manuscripts and early printed books.  Read More

A recent study French has shown that a diet of  buckyballs dissolved in olive extends life...

Sometimes I (almost) envy mice, rats, and yeast - it seems that almost any aging research we carry out on them doubles their lifespan and returns semi-senescent (say, a human equivalent of about 60 years of age - not thinking of anyone in particular, of course) to youthful vigor. It now appears that dramatic anti-aging results are associated with dietary ingestion of buckyballs, more properly known as C-60 fullerene.  Read More

'X-ray' vision may soon be possible on cell phones by tapping into the terahertz band of t...

Those of us who envy Superman for his X-ray vision may soon get that ability - on our cell phones. Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have reported a new approach to harnessing the potential of the terahertz band in portable devices.  Read More

Researchers have developed a neuroprosthesis that restores hand movement in paralyzed monk...

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a neuroprosthesis that restores complex movement in the paralyzed hands of monkeys. By implanting a multi-electrode array directly into the brain of the monkeys, they were able to detect the signals that generate arm and hand movements. These signals were deciphered by a computer and relayed to a functional electrical stimulation (FES) device, bypassing the spinal cord to deliver an electrical current to the paralyzed muscles. With a lag time of just 40 milliseconds, the system enabled voluntary and complex movement of a paralyzed hand.  Read More

This carbon nanotube sponge can hold more than 100 times its weight in oil, which can be s...

Last week we looked at the development of “hydrate-phobic” surfaces that could assist in the containment of oil leaks in deep water. Now, by adding boron to carbon while growing nanotubes, researchers have developed a nanosponge with the ability to absorb oil spilled in water. Remarkably, the material is able to achieve this feat repeatedly and is also electrically conductive and can be manipulated with magnets.  Read More

An Australian soldier crab, key component of the crab computer (Photo: LiquidGhoul, CC 3.0...

Wouldn't your latest generation tablet be way cooler if it ran on live crabs? Thanks to Yukio-Pegio Gunji and his team at Japan’s Kobe University, the era of crab computing is upon us ... well, sort of. The scientists have exploited the natural behavior of soldier crabs to design and build logic gates - the most basic components of an analogue computer. They may not be as compact as more conventional computers, but crab computers are certainly much more fun to watch.  Read More

Biggest Atlas in world yours for $100,000

"My, Grandma - what a big atlas you have!" All the better to map the surface of the Earth to a frankly-ludicrous level of detail (this thing shows the location of shipwrecks), not to mention display beautiful photographs of world wonders across 6 ft (1.8 m) by 4.5 ft (1.4 m) double page spreads, my dear. This is the conversation that would almost certainly take place were Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother to blow her US$100,000 savings on the Earth Platinum Atlas - the largest Atlas in the world - published by Sydney-based Millennium House.  Read More

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