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Archive for the 'Nanotechnology' Category

Seeing from London to New York

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Anyone for nano football? There would only be one good seat for watching robots smaller than a grain of salt face off in competition, in front of the microscope.

Speaking of robots, I found some video of the hopping robot I mentioned the other day.

This is really strange. An artist created a “Telectroscope” between London and New York. People can look through it and see people on the other side. I can think of a number of ways it could be done, but a tunnel isn’t one of them.

Here are six ‘uniquely’ human traits now found in animals. I thought the morality one was interesting.

I have said before I’m surprised there aren’t any beneficial viruses because it would make sense for a virus to protect the host therefore protecting itself. Now Asian researchers have created a self assembling artificial virus they intend to use for good causes.

I wrote about one of these before, but here is a list of color changing products.

My guess is aliens wouldn’t use radio to communicate for a lot of reasons. Here is an article suggesting they might use neutrinos.

This article points out the acid currents upwelling on the Pacific coast are from excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from fifty years ago. It’s only going to get worse.

Here are 13 of the best places to see the Northern Lights.

Check out these elaborate pieces of art created using eggs.

The surrealistic artwork of Jim Warren.

And finally, I got a chuckle out of this image of modest cats sunbathing.

Better Medicine Through Gaming

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Scientists have developed ‘nanoworms‘ which could be used to target tumor cells directly with drugs.

On the other hand, if you could get a virus to attack tumors as in the movie I am Legend you wouldn’t need a drug.

Seeing as though viruses need a host cell to reproduce, where did they come from in the first place?

By 2040, will we live in ageless bodies? And by ‘we’ I mean people younger than me. I wonder when that last bit of organic brain dies away and you become completely synthetic, will you feel any different? I can’t imagine the consequences of society changing so dramatically over a course of 32 years.

In the movie The Last Starfighter the main character discovers the video game he has been playing is actually a test to find talented fighters for a real space battle. A new free computer game called Foldit is trying the same trick in hopes of finding people who are talented at folding proteins. You can know the chemical makeup of a protein, but how it acts depends on its shape. People have developed computer programs to model protein folding, but the possibilities are endless. The creators of Foldit decided to make a game out of it. As the article implies, a talented gamer could win a Nobel prize in medicine.

Here are before and after pictures of the Myanmar Cyclone.

Here is a really cool cloud picture.

Someone created peel and stick solar cells.

I clicked on a link to the Kongamato expecting it was some kind of giant tomato. I realized I had recently watched part of a TV show where people were looking for the creature.

I have written about the Fermi paradox before. I’ll skip the math but the idea is the universe should be teeming with life, so where is everybody? This article at Seed makes the case our ability to stimulate our primitive minds might be our undoing. In other words, advanced cultures would get so wrapped up in their own virtual reality they wouldn’t come out. This guy makes more or less the same point. The Seed article assumes advanced societies would be mortal and need to reproduce to survive. Given the relatively close goal of immortality verses the rather far off goal of interstellar travel I’m not sure it’s a valid point. I mean the point above about ageless bodies in 32 years could be well off but no one is thinking we could travel the vast distances between stars for a very long time. I still think there might be other factors involved.

1. Aliens would probably use a method of communication so advanced we wouldn’t be able to pick up on it. Something like entangled photons instead of radio.

2. We wouldn’t be interesting to them.

3. We live in the backwaters of the Milky Way.

4. You think gas is expensive? Crossing the huge distance of space would require enormous energies which would probably be put to better use.

5. There is probably a really cool party going on out there somewhere in the galaxy.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this stunning collection of photos from National Geographic.

Tiny But (Possibly) Deadly

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

A nanometer is one millionth of a millimeter. Nanotechnology is the science of controlling matter on the atomic and molecular scale.

Nanotech is where breakthroughs are likely. Forget about just the cancer-detection and other advanced medical tools it’s midwifing and the next-gen consumer electronics such as super-bright displays. On a planet that’s on the cusp of catastrophic climate change, nano-engineered materials have the potential to make a real difference. Imagine solar power cells that are far cheaper and more efficient; batteries that allow for more efficient electric cars; components that make cleaner coal-fired power plants. These and other applications are hardly trivial–they’ll save energy, reduce pollution, and maybe go a little way to making sure Times Square won’t be under water for the next millennium celebration.

That was from Good News: No Nano News. Due to the extremely small size of nano-particles, they can easily move into cells, and as they point out in that article, cross the blood-brain barrier. So while the technology is poised to potentially transform the world in a good way, there are dangers.

Think the government would be out front on this incredibly promising but also potentially deadly technology? Read EPA’s Lousy New Nanotech Program.

Why would the EPA be so lame? U.S. environment scientists report political meddling.

I don’t even use anti-bacterial soap. It’s like plowing up your lawn to get at the weeds. Sure you will kill a few weeds but your lawn is now fertile ground for anything that wants to grow there. There is such a thing as good bacteria. Using anti-bacterial soap is like over using antibiotics, you’ll likely breed something bad. In Too much nanotechnology may be killing beneficial bacteria they talk about silver nanoparticles in socks and dispensed by high tech washing machines may destroy benign bacteria used to remove ammonia from wastewater treatment systems.

I’m pretty sure someday people will infuse themselves with artificial blood just because it makes them feel better. I guess I didn’t expect it to be made of plastic.

Check out this tiny electric car. It’s more like a motorcycle with an extensive cover.

Eric Grohe is an artist who does amazing wall murals. Be sure to look at the ‘before’ pictures.

Electric circuits are made up of resistors, capacitors, and inductors, until now; Scientists Create First Memristor: Missing Fourth Electronic Circuit Element. A memristor’s resistance depends on how much charge flowed through it previously.

Who would have guessed watering your tomatoes with diluted seawater makes them healthier. Since I live far from the ocean, I don’t think I’ll be trying that trick this year.

Frost on spider webs.

This is a strange story about Mazda having to build a facility to destroy thousands of brand new cars.

Finally, check out this stunning interactive 360 degree panorama from the top of Mount Everest.