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Mark Bruce has been at 1 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
NASA2,318,709The most advanced robot ever sent to another world is set to land on Aug. 5, 2012 (PDT). Will you be watching? Mars Science Laboratory will deliver the Curiosity rover to the surface of Mars at approximately 10:31 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT and 5:31 a.m. UTC on Aug. 6). Curiosity, carrying laboratory instruments to analyze samples of rocks, soil and atmosphere, will investigate whether Mars has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. NASA TV will broadcast live from mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., during Curiosity’s critical entry, descent and landing phase. Two live feeds of video during key landing activities from mission control rooms at JPL will be carried on NASA TV, NASA TV online http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html and Ustream http://www.ustream.tv/ between 8:30 and 11:00 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5 (11:30 p.m. Aug. 5 to 2:00 a.m. Aug. 6 EDT), and between 12:30 and 1:30 a.m. PDT on Aug. 6 (3:30 to 4:30 a.m. EDT). The NASA TV Public Channel and http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl will carry a feed including commentary and interviews. The NASA TV Media Channel and http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2 will carry an uninterrupted, clean feed. Follow the mission on Facebook and on Twitter at http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity.NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Landing2012-08-06 02:00:002199  

Mark Bruce has been shared in 211 public circles

You can see here the 50 latest shared circles.
If this is your profile, you can check your dashboard to see all shared circles you have been included.

AuthorFollowersDateUsers in CircleCommentsReshares+1Links
Simon Weiner6,3271.22 High Quality New Active Engager Circle. Enjoy:) #circle   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circles   #sharingcircles #sharedpubliccircles #sharedcircleoftheday #circlesunday #share #shared #followers #addcircles #publicsharedcircles #share #addpeople #addcircle #addfriends #circle #socialmedia #hillaryclinton   #president   #hillary2016  2015-04-18 05:38:07346011
Singularity Utopia5,944I've noticed some people doing #sharedcircles recently on G+, which was a handy thing when I first started using G+, thus for newcomers here is my contribution. This circle includes a mixture of people and pages. The general theme is science, technology, thinkers; people who may have a #Singularity interest.2015-04-09 10:20:04273000
Volkan DOBRİCELİ26Mobile PhotographersMobile Photography -- or as I call it  #Mobilography  -- is an artform that, happy to report, has flourished here on Google+. This circle of mobile photographers is not food and cats. It is art, it is creativity, it is beauty and content. Some of the individuals in this circle are film and DSLR photographers as well. The phone camera though is a regular and equally legitimate camera to use in their photography and documentation of their worlds.If you have been notified of this post, you are in the circle.Crowd SourcingI am taking suggestions for people to add to this circle for the future. If you are a mobile photographer, or know a mobile photographer, that isn't in this circle, please mention them here and include a link to a gallery of work.You are not required to share this circle to get into it. I can't stand that gimmick. Share it if you want people to know about our work.#MobilePhotography   #Mobilography   #Mobilographers   #MobilePhotographers   #CircleShare   #SharedCircle  2015-03-26 15:02:264711217
Camila Pedraza0Great people who love to like and have friends,this is my elite circle and i want to shared with you.2015-03-22 13:48:15110002
Robert Best2,685Google+ Relevance CircleWhat people of "relevance" do we have in common? Care to share?This big shared circle contains my most "relevant" circles according to G+. It also only contains people/profiles who post publicly (Either occasionally or prolifically).Do you recognize others in the list? (I think the probability is high)As far as I know, the visual beside the "Add people" button below shows you the 8 people from this circle who are most "relevant" to you. Also, if you click that add people button, the list inside is ordered by "relevance".Some people in this circle I know very well... others I haven't met at all (Besides interfacing with what they share publicly on G+) I'm curious, what circles do we share of high relevance? Give a few people shout outs! Let's have a random chat.You were likely notified of this post... I normally don't share to any of my specific circles, so as to avoid sending out unwanted notifications... But since I have you and your attention here... HELLO! Have we talked before? Why do you think I have you circled? What's of relevance for you? (Besides people on G+) If we do know each other... Have we been in touch lately? If not, let's please catch up!2015-03-03 01:03:39455111
Noah Wesley20,488Great circle to find many interesting and interactive people!!! If you received a notification, please reshare to your circlesIf you’d like to be added to the next circle share: • +1 this circle • Share this circle to PUBLIC • Include me in your circles • Comment on this post#circle #circleshare #uk #business #unitedkingdom #ireland #publiccircles #sharedcircles #sharedpubliccircles #ukcircles #irishcircles #sharedpubliccircles #sharedcircle #sharedcircles #sharedpubliccircles #circleshare #hk #china #face #book #link #travel #circlesharing #fullcircleshare #topsharedcircle #circleoftheday #sharedcircle2015-02-25 08:21:55498331651
Charles Payet6,779A VERY Rare Shared Circle: My Absolute Favorite PlussersAs many of those whom I know on Google+ are aware, it can be kind of daunting at times to keep up with a G+ Stream when you follow several thousand people.  Thanks to the wonderful education by people in the +Plus Your Business! Academy last year, I did learn a lot more on how to manage my Stream, but I still need to work more on refining my Circles.  Still, I've made some slight progress.  Obviously, +Circloscope is a very helpful tool for this.But for whatever reason, I decided to Share this Circle.  This is my ONLY Notification Circle, to avoid Notification Overload.  :-)  Some of them are quite prolific posters, some are moderate, and some only post rarely.  They generally fall into the following categories:(1) Social media(2) Deep thinkers(3) Science(4) Photography(5) Curmudgeon (had to include this category specifically for Vincent LOL  But he's my kind of curmudgeon.)There are obviously a LOT more people worth following on G+, and by no means do I intend any slight to anyone not included.  I had to be VERY picky about this list.+Chrysta Rae +Sanjiv Manifest +Vincent Messina +Lauri Novak +Craig Szymanski +Gina Fiedel +Kalebra Kelby +Alexandra Riecke-Gonzales +Mark Metternich +Don Komarechka +Athena Carey +Mark Bruce +2015-02-22 14:31:3519000
Crazy Cats29 Public #circleshare   January 20, 2015Hope that you have been having a great week on Google+. Thank you for sharing and promoting this and for connecting up with all the great accounts I have included. Great With This #cirlce  !!!***************************************************************Boost your visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!Boost your visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!Follow me here : http://goo.gl/7rWIEVTo be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 Include me in your circles2 Click add people and create your circle3 +1 this circle4 Publicly share this circle to public, your circles and extended circles. ( dont forget share the circle and include yourself )5 If possible, leave a comment on this circle so I know you have done the three steps above (I say "if possible" as my circle comments more often than not hit the 500 comment limit).6  So I can easily find your share, always publicly share my original shared circle. You'll know if you're sharing the original one because you won't see "Jason Levy originally shared" above here. If you do see it, click on "originally shared" and it will bring you to this post.Special Invite :+A Tech Buzz +Axel Kratel +Andrea Gervasi +Andrew Sowerby +Anette Mossbacher +Brett Szmajda +Andrew Sowerby +Irina Sadokhina +Sean Carroll +Michael Sonntag +Mighty Dragon Studios +Eric Delcour +2015-02-01 10:25:324744412
Circles Circles Circles49,036SCIENCE CircleDo you want more science in your life? Then, be sure to add these fascinating pages and people who dwell on science daily and are actively engaging.  Enrich your stream.If you are a scientist or someone who primarily posts about science and would like to be included in this circle please make a request in the comments section below.If you have someone or an organization's G+ page to recommend please add their name in the comments section below.Note: To those included in the circle, you were added by the generous recommendation of others  -- their help is deeply appreciated. Your add back and re-share would be also deeply appreciated as it would help spread the word about science.Current Circles  Published Mondays ORIGINAL CONTENT CREATORS: http://goo.gl/fVX5bZPublished Wednesdays:BLOGGERS & THEIR BLOGS: http://goo.gl/GNkGJhPublished Thursdays:WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS : http://goo.gl/s9RkeEMEN ARE FROM MARS : http://goo.gl/W8VDbBPublished Fridays:A CIRCLE TO PAY IT FORWARD: http://goo.gl/5mr38oOthers CirclesCREATIVES: http://goo.gl/9c5A3XSCIENCE: http://goo.gl/4UAeINTECHNOLOGY: http://goo.gl/whvLzNG+ Pages: http://goo.gl/jNZdWf#circleshare   2015-01-22 16:19:121067218
Natasha Velicia475Get More Google+ Follower with  +TubeDEVILZ  January 15, 2015*****************************************************************HERE'S OF MY SHARED PUBLIC CIRCLE*****************************************************************Hope that you have been having a great week on Google+. Thank you for sharing and promoting this and for connecting up with all the great accounts I have included. Great With This Cilcle!!,Boost your visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!Boost your visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 Include me in your circles2 Click add people and create your circle3 +1 this circle4 Publicly share this circle to public, your circles and extended circles. ( dont forget share the circle and include yourself )5 If possible, leave a comment on this circle so I know you have done the three steps above (I say "if possible" as my circle comments more often than not hit the 500 comment limit).6  So I can easily find your share, always publicly share my original shared circle. You'll know if you're sharing the original one because you won't see "Jason Levy originally shared" above here. If you do see it, click on "originally shared" and it will bring you to this post.**************************************Follow Me Here : http://goo.gl/c18bpxAnd Subcribe : http://goo.gl/NT0MCkSpecial Invitation (Please +1 and Share) :+Alfina Dewi +Agus Septiann +Dini Ashanti +Amy Cesario +Sergii Daniloff +Danis Sanju +Lieven Damman +dini iftita +Lincoln Harrison +Riskhha Nur Hayati +Nanang Hendro +Hanste2015-01-16 20:15:35473419
Xtreme Videos0#CircleSharing#SharedCircles#Circle#CircleOfTheDay#SHARE#SharedPublicCircles#TeamElite#circlesdiscovery#Shared#ADD#Friends#Google#PublicCircle#teamelitecircle#teameliteengagercircle#dontconfusethecircles#SocialMedia#SocialMediaMarketing#EliteInnerCircle#Engagement#love#couple#cute#adorable#TagsForLikes#kiss#kisses#hugs#romance#forever#girlfriend#boyfriend#gf#bf#bff#together#photooftheday2015-01-16 16:26:1950161410
Ryan Johnson23,295This circle contains people who are very active on Google+If you received a notification, please reshare to your circlesIf you’d like to be added to the next circle share: • +1 this circle • Share this circle to PUBLIC • Include me in your circles • Comment on this post#circle #Sharedcircles #circleshare  #sri_lanka #colombo #australia #adelaide #australia #cairns #australia #darwin #australia #hobart #new_zealand #auckland #new_zealand #wellington #papua_new_guinea #papua_new_guinea #awesome #AwesomePeople #AwesomeCircle #addmetoyourcircles #addcircle #addpeople #circlemeup #circlesdiscovery #circleshare #circlesharing #publiccircle #publicsharedcircles #SharedCircles #weeklyreview #sharedcircle #topsharedcircle #circleoftheday 2015-01-16 13:00:35472313051
RuMuZ NeYiMe1,336good morningadd friends list..#addcircle #addcircles #addpeople #awesomecircle #awesomecircles #awesomepeople #besharable #besocial #bestcircle #bestcircles #bestengagers #circleadd #circleall #circleme #circlemenow #circlemeup #circlenetwork #circleplus #circlesdiscovery #circleshare #circleshares #circlesharing #circleup #circleyoushare #coolpeople #engagerscircle #engagerscircles #findcircle #findcircles #follow4follow #followback #followme #fullcircleshare #influencermarketing #internetmarketing #morefollowers #networkcircle 2015-01-12 08:56:27466107
John Sean10,506This circle contains people who really are interesting and active people on Google Plus.If you would like to be included in the next Circle Share, you only have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles2 - Share the circle (Publicly)3 - Add +1 to the post.4 - Leave a comment if you like.I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#publiccircle #circleshare #circlesharing #philadelphia #phoenix #san_antonio #san_diego #san_francisco #san_jose #seattle #tampa #washington #american_samoa #american_samoa #pago_pago #fiji #fiji #nadi #fiji #suva #argentina #argentina #buenos_aires #argentina #cordoba #argentina #iguaza #argentina #mendoza #argentina #rosaio #argentina #san_carlos_de_bariloche #bolivia #bolivia #cochabamba 2015-01-12 06:41:19465171630
Backup of Natural Remedies for High Blood Pressure2,529Share this Circle of passionate people and grow your network. 2014-12-08 20:18:364787312
STEM on Google+ Community18,387The STEM Community Active User Circle!Here's the latest circle of people who are Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fans.  Some post great original material, some are great commenters, and some re-post interesting things from others into the community. There are a good number of newer G+ users here, and if you add them they will likely add you back.  Share this circle with people you know like science topics!While this circle has been selected based on activity and topic, there's no guarantee you will like everyone.  It's advised to add any new circle to a 'temporary name' circle and browse the content for a few weeks.  Add the people/pages that you find interesting to other circles you maintain as you go.  This makes deleting the rest easier in the future! #STEM   #sciencecircle   #publicsharedcircles   #science   #technology   #engineering   #math   #community   #welcometogplus   #newtogoogleplus   #curatedcircle  2014-12-05 10:44:062018111
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov2,751SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FRIENDS : Circle V.1.11. Link to my own scientific research topic: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4212005/  To be included in future circle-editions, please ENGAGE: add me to your own circles/+1/re-share/comment on the original circle-post, or on some of the other science-related posts on my wall (this is needed since the number of people that could be circled is limited from Google – and therefore I am forced to keep included just the most active users). Currently featured science-related GOOGLE PLUS post:https://plus.google.com/115938908270684192009/posts/8LU6LVz75jxI would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science   #Research   #Technology   #NASA    #Space   #Innovation   #Engineering   #nutrition    #ScienceSunday   #Sundayscience   #Science   #Research   #Tech #GameTech   #GameTechnology    #Microsoft #MicrosoftResearch    #innovation   #Inflammation   #Brain #mindcontrol   #photography   #tech   #socialmedia   #googleplus #naturalproduct   #artists   #foodies   #cars   2014-11-27 06:30:22451423271
Amaresh Singh11Circle Of the DayTo be considered for this circle, please:1- Share this circle in your stream.2- Ask to be included in the comments section of the original post.3- Make sure you've added our page to your circles.4- You must post your own original work in your stream.2014-11-21 09:58:32238231124
Circles Circles Circles45,721SCIENCE CircleDo you want more science in your life? Then, be sure to add these fascinating pages and people who dwell on science daily and are actively engaging.  Enrich your stream.If you are a scientist or someone who primarily posts about science and would like to be included in this circle please make a request in the comments section below.If you have someone or an organization's G+ page to recommend please add their name in the comments section below.Note: To those included in the circle, you were added by the generous recommendation of others  -- their help is deeply appreciated. Your add back and re-share would be also deeply appreciated as it would help spread the word about science.Current Circles   Published Mondays ORIGINAL CONTENT CREATORS: http://goo.gl/pOzhN7Published Wednesdays:BLOGGERS & THEIR BLOGS: http://goo.gl/mlXh9WPublished Thursdays:WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS : http://goo.gl/DgeQIAMEN ARE FROM MARS : http://goo.gl/hhJPlSPublished Fridays:A CIRCLE TO PAY IT FORWARD:  http://goo.gl/Ik2RfOOthers CirclesCREATIVES: http://goo.gl/Ahy2X9SCIENCE: http://goo.gl/pzaC4yTECHNOLOGY: http://goo.gl/a1jWG6G+ Pages: http://goo.gl/9v2o43        #sciencecircle   #circleshare   #sharingcircles  2014-11-19 18:04:3510610933
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov1,950SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY + FRIENDS : CIRCLE V.8; maintained by +Atanas Georgiev Atanasov  ; You can learn more about my personal scientific research at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25083916   To be added to the circle, please +1/reshare/comment/add me to your circles. I would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science   #Research   #Technology   #NASA    #Space   #Innovation   #Engineering   #NIAC   #nutrition   #Entrepreneur   #Commercial #ScienceSunday   #Sundayscience   #Science   #Research   #Tech #GameTech   #GameTechnology   #Gaming   #VideoGaming   #Microsoft #MicrosoftResearch    #innovation   #Inflammation   #Brain #mindcontrol   #photography   #tech   #socialmedia   #googleplus #naturalproduct   2014-11-17 05:24:2236226837
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov1,746SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY + FRIENDS : CIRCLE V.7; maintained by +AtanasGeorgievAtanasov ; You can learn more about my personal scientific research at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25083916   To be added to the circle, please +1/reshare/comment/add me to your circles. I would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science   #Research   #Technology   #NASA    #Space   #Innovation   #Engineering   #NIAC   #nutrition   #Entrepreneur   #Commercial #ScienceSunday  #Sundayscience   #Science   #Research   #Tech #GameTech  #GameTechnology   #Gaming   #VideoGaming   #Microsoft #MicrosoftResearch   #innovation   #Inflammation   #Brain #mindcontrol  #photography   #tech   #socialmedia   #googleplus #naturalproduct  #artists   #foodies   #cars2014-11-13 05:47:40346607
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov1,550SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY + FRIENDS of it : CIRCLE V.6; maintained by +AtanasGeorgievAtanasov ; You can learn more about my personal scientific research here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25083916   To be added to the circle, please +1/reshare/comment/add me to your circles. I would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science   #Research   #Technology   #NASA    #Space   #Innovation   #Engineering   #NIAC   #nutrition   #Entrepreneur   #Commercial #ScienceSunday  #Sundayscience   #Science   #Research   #Tech #GameTech  #GameTechnology   #Gaming   #VideoGaming   #Microsoft #MicrosoftResearch   #innovation   #Inflammation   #Brain #mindcontrol  #photography   #tech   #socialmedia   #googleplus #naturalproduct  #artists   #foodies   2014-11-10 06:22:16330123
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov1,294SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY + FRIENDS of it : CIRCLE V.5; maintained by +AtanasGeorgievAtanasov ; You can learn more about my personal scientific research here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25083916   To be added to the circle, please +1/reshare/comment/add me to your circles. I would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science   #Research   #Technology   #NASA    #Space   #Innovation   #Engineering   #NIAC   #nutrition   #Entrepreneur   #Commercial #ScienceSunday  #Sundayscience   #Science   #Research   #Tech #GameTech  #GameTechnology   #Gaming   #VideoGaming   #Microsoft #MicrosoftResearch   #innovation   #Inflammation   #Brain #mindcontrol  #photography   #tech   #socialmedia   #googleplus #naturalproduct  #artists   #foodies   2014-11-06 08:10:3436954038
Sharon Caroline1,691Hello my friends, good morning/evening for you all!Boost Your visibility On Google+!Shared and be shared. :)Thank you for sharing and promoting this.#circleshare #sharedcircles #sharingcircles #sharedcircleoftheday2014-11-05 08:31:58463203
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov1,228SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY + FRIENDS of it : Circle V.3, maintained by +AtanasGeorgievAtanasov To be added to the circle, please +1/reshare/comment/add me to your circles. I would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   You can learn a bit more about my personal scientific research from these links: https://plus.google.com/115938908270684192009/posts/MGt3zvEtTgq  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25083916   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science  #Research #Technology #NASA  #Space #Innovation  #Engineering #NIAC #nutrition #Entrepreneur #Commercial #ScienceSunday #Sundayscience #Science #Research #Tech #GameTech #GameTechnology #Gaming #VideoGaming +Microsoft #MicrosoftResearch  #innovation #Inflammation #Brain #mindcontrol #photography #tech #socialmedia #googleplus #naturalproduct #artists #foodies 2014-11-05 07:02:42362626
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov1,127Science and Technology +Friends: Circle 2014 V.2 To be added to the circle, please +1/reshare/comment. I would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   You can learn a bit more about my personal scientific research from these links: https://plus.google.com/115938908270684192009/posts/MGt3zvEtTgq  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25083916   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science  #Research #Technology #NASA  #Space #Innovation  #Engineering #NIAC #nutrition #Entrepreneur #Commercial #ScienceSunday #Sundayscience #Science #Research #Tech #GameTech #GameTechnology #Gaming #VideoGaming +Microsoft #MicrosoftResearch  #innovation #Inflammation #Brain #mindcontrol #photography #tech #socialmedia #googleplus #naturalproduct #artists #foodies #cars 2014-11-04 06:51:44407103
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov1,054Science and Technology Circle 2014 To be added to the circle, please +1/reshare/comment. I would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   You can learn a bit more about my personal scientific research from these links: https://plus.google.com/115938908270684192009/posts/MGt3zvEtTgq  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25083916   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science  #Research #Technology #NASA   #Space #Innovation   #Engineering #NIAC #nutrition #Entrepreneur #Commercial #ScienceSunday #Sundayscience #Science #Research #Tech #GameTech #GameTechnology #Gaming #VideoGaming #Microsoft #MicrosoftResearch   #innovation #Inflammation #Brain #mindcontrol #photography #tech #socialmedia #googleplus #naturalproduct #artists 2014-11-02 08:37:19453526
Becky Collins17,500Top Active Engager's Circle :Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia  #media  #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing  #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-10-13 05:05:404783111
John Nuntiatio48,007#newcircle   #sharedcircles #circlesharing #circle #bestcircle #news #bestofcircles #bestcircleshare #share #tech #business #sport #small #smallcircle #photography #health2014-10-12 14:20:47149011
RokSimec.com7,554To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - include me in your circles2 - Click add people and create your circle3 - share the circle (include yourself)4 - add +1 to the post*More you share more you get!*#circle                    2014-10-01 11:44:4749811814
RokSimec.com7,248 To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - include me in your circles2 - Click add people and create your circle3 - share the circle (include yourself)4 - add +1 to the post*More you share more you get!*#circle                    2014-09-26 10:33:5149814920
Becky Collins16,609Science Circle :Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia  #media  #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing  #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-09-16 05:24:00459104
Amazing Circles790Amazing BigCircle updated. 2014-09-01 19:35:12500123
Carlos Esteban50,970ENGAGERS and other INTERESTING PEOPLE Here you will find a sample of recent and repeat engagers, people that include me in shared circles, and people that publish interesting, useful or amusing posts. Add the circle and check them out. Maybe you like some of them! Feel free to re-share the circle :) Have a great week!2014-08-11 15:57:3149910779158
Circles Circles Circles37,983SCIENCE CircleDo you want more science in your life? Then, be sure to add these fascinating pages and people who dwell on science daily and are actively engaging.  Enrich your stream.If you are a scientist or someone who primarily posts about science and would like to be included in this circle please make a request in the comments section below.If you have someone or an organization's G+ page to recommend please add their name in the comments section below.Note: To those included in the circle, you were added by the generous recommendation of others  -- their help is deeply appreciated. Your add back and re-share would be also deeply appreciated as it would help spread the word about science.Current Circles  Published Mondays ORIGINAL CONTENT CREATORS : http://goo.gl/o82s0mPublished Wednesdays:BLOGGERS & THEIR BLOGS: http://goo.gl/IkCTLPPublished Thursdays:WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS : http://goo.gl/nFCsGwMEN ARE FROM MARS :  http://goo.gl/tID4ZmPublished Fridays:A CIRCLE TO PAY IT FORWARD:  http://goo.gl/E6v81LOthers CirclesSCIENCE: http://goo.gl/xXWLPtTECHNOLOGY: http://goo.gl/z3z8lh#science       #scienceeveryday       #sciencecircle       #circlesharing  2014-07-17 04:08:1710691432
khairul efendi0 Keep this simple!1. ADD the circle2 Share the post3. Plus the post.4. Comment to be added. BAM that is all easy right!? #circleshare  #circlesharing #sharedpubliccircles #snowballcircle #hyberballcircle #publicsharedcircles      #ownsocialmedia   #socialmediamarketing   #circlesharingpages   #sharingcircles   #whatshot   #followers   #googleplustips #CircleSharing #CircleShare #CircleOfTheDay #Circle #SharedCircles #Google #Google+ #GooglePlusTips #AddCircle #ADD #SharedPublicCircles #SharedCircle #Circles #Shared #Friends #Blogging #SharingCircles #CircleofFriends #Blogger #Engagers2014-06-20 07:31:49501215
Circles Circles Circles35,732SCIENCE CircleDo you want more science in your life? Then, be sure to add these fascinating pages and people who dwell on science daily and are actively engaging.  Enrich your stream.If you are a scientist or someone who primarily posts about science and would like to be included in this circle please make a request in the comments section below.If you have someone or an organization's G+ page to recommend please add their name in the comments section below.Note: To those included in the circle, you were added by the generous recommendation of others  -- their help is deeply appreciated. Your add back and re-share would be also deeply appreciated as it would help spread the word about science.Current Circles  Published Mondays ORIGINAL CONTENT CREATORS : http://goo.gl/RPEbdlPublished Wednesdays:BLOGGERS & THEIR BLOGS: http://goo.gl/fmOadpPublished Thursdays:WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS : http://goo.gl/Oyg8RBMEN ARE FROM MARS :  http://goo.gl/9NT51gPublished Fridays:A CIRCLE TO PAY IT FORWARD:  http://goo.gl/5mT3s0Others CirclesSCIENCE: http://goo.gl/AV4WvdTECHNOLOGY: http://goo.gl/YANzuo#science     #scienceeveryday     #sciencecircle     #circlesharing  2014-06-19 02:05:331065924
Maria Morisot32,548Moan Lisa's All Kinds of People Shared Circle15 June, 2014RESHARE if you want to be includedmoanlisa.org2014-06-15 11:11:532988283105
John Nuntiatio38,202#circles #sharedcircles #circlesharing #circle #bestcircle #news #bestofcircles #bestcircleshare #share #tech #business #sport #small #smallcircle #photography #health2014-06-15 06:01:32319368
DEVILZART2,249 This circle will add great, amazing, wonderful, and awesome content to you feed plus your page will receive massive engagement and +1 'sBoost your visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles2 - Click add people and create your circle3 - share the circle (include yourself)4 - add +1 to the post +DevilzArt More you share more you get!#circle   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circleshared   #share   #sharedcircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #engagers   #engagerscircle   #engagerspeople   #engagersshowcasecircle   #publicsharedcircles   #wordpress   #seo   #affiliatemarketing    #googleplus   #googleplusupdate   #blogger   #bloggers   #blogging     #internet   #socialmedia   #socialmediatips   #socialnetworking   #internetmarketing   #seo   #seotips   #bloggingtips   #bloggingforbusiness   #bloggingforbusiness   #bloggingtipsandtricks   #googleplustips   2014-06-15 02:13:005014415
Becky Collins10,439Super Science Circle :Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia  #media  #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing  #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-05-31 05:09:154901211
Circles Circles Circles33,758SCIENCE CircleDo you want more science in your life? Then, be sure to add these fascinating pages and people who dwell on science daily and are actively engaging.  Enrich your stream.If you are a scientist or someone who primarily posts about science and would like to be included in this circle please make a request in the comments section below.If you have someone or an organization's G+ page to recommend please add their name in the comments section below.Note: To those included in the circle, you were added by the generous recommendation of others  -- their help is deeply appreciated. Your add back and re-share would be also deeply appreciated as it would help spread the word about science.Current Circles  Published Mondays ORIGINAL CONTENT CREATORS : http://goo.gl/WbY7NSPublished Wednesdays:BLOGGERS & THEIR BLOGS: http://goo.gl/XPSnHVPublished Thursdays:WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS : http://goo.gl/itFj7ZMEN ARE FROM MARS : http://goo.gl/uBBxgdPublished Fridays:A CIRCLE TO PAY IT FORWARD: http://goo.gl/f1wz2IOthers CirclesSCIENCE: http://goo.gl/MOGsxGTECHNOLOGY: http://goo.gl/bDcYF4#science     #scienceeveryday     #sciencecircle     #circlesharing  2014-05-28 20:17:02102101219
Farid Shaikh171Google Friends! - You're in this   #Circle   -   #Share the circle *'"*:•:••:*:•-:¦:* Share and Be   #Shared   :¦:-•::••-:•:''''*                                              This is a super   #Circle   and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   #Google + users that share unique and original contents.#Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:#boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 -   #Follow   your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)Thanks!#circles       #circleshare       #circlesharing       #sharedcircles                 #addcircles     #addpeople       #addcircle     #addfriends      2014-05-18 17:00:275015012
Farid Shaikh171No strings attached circle!If you want to be in the #circle  then let us know if you want to be in the circle! That's it! If you got notified, then you are in this one!2014-05-18 02:16:335017310
Farid Shaikh65Google Friends! - You're in this  #Circle   -  #Share   the circle *'"*:•:•* •-::-•:*:•-:¦: Share and Be  #Shared   :¦:-•:*:•.::• •-:•:''''*                                              115This is a super  #Circle   and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   #Google + users that share unique and original contents.#Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:#boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 -  #Follow   your dreams and smile to life.More you share more you get! :)Thanks!#circles      #circleshare      #circlesharing      #sharedcircles                #addcircles    #addpeople      #addcircle    #addfriends      2014-05-17 06:20:0550110811
Circles Circles Circles32,435SCIENCE CircleDo you want more science in your life? Then, be sure to add these fascinating pages and people who dwell on science daily and are actively engaging.  Enrich your stream.If you are a scientist or someone who primarily posts about science and would like to be included in this circle please make a request in the comments section below.If you have someone or an organization's G+ page to recommend please add their name in the comments section below.Note: To those included in the circle, you were added by the generous recommendation of others  -- their help is deeply appreciated. Your add back and re-share would be also deeply appreciated as it would help spread the word about science.Current Circles  Published Mondays ORIGINAL CONTENT CREATORS : http://goo.gl/Hev5GIPublished Wednesdays:BLOGGERS: http://goo.gl/Nqll1yPublished Thursdays:WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS : http://goo.gl/olCV0EMEN ARE FROM MARS : http://goo.gl/l58RRiPublished Fridays:A CIRCLE TO PAY IT FORWARD: http://goo.gl/oIXG1ROthers Circles:SCIENCE: http://goo.gl/voKgBxTECHNOLOGY: http://goo.gl/bDcYF4#science   #scienceeveryday   #sciencecircle   #circlesharing  2014-05-16 02:10:07103141426
Carlos Esteban45,152ENGAGERS and other INTERESTING PEOPLE Here you will find a sample of recent and repeat engagers, people that include me in shared circles, and people that publish interesting, useful or amusing posts. Add the circle and check them out. Maybe you like some of them! Feel free to re-share the circle :) Have a great week! #circles #circlethis #circleyoushare #sharedcircles #addcircle #sharedpubliccircles #growfollowers #circleshare #publicsharedcircles #circleoftheweek #circlesharing #publiccircle #findcircles #circlemeup #sharedcircle #circleshare  #thursdaycircle   #thursdaycircleshared   #circlethursday #circle 2014#82014-05-12 13:43:52499150111187
Charles Barouch5,184G|+|ost Town #1 Circle of Awesome!http://www.hdwpbooks.com/books/g+ost-town/2014-05-03 06:56:1143416
Adam Black6,732Transhumans CircleBy popular Demand,  I am sharing some of my Circles. This is +Mark Bruce  Transhumans Circle  Plus Others Ive been adding.If you are tagged,  you are in it.Web Link for Mobile https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AdamBlack/posts/6iQmLpEj1Zm #sharedcircles   #GeekCulture   #ScienceSunday #Transhumans #Transhumanism #HumanPlus  2014-04-13 06:25:0424521733
steph wanamaker101,611#followfriday   #australianpeeps  thanks very much to paul sneddon for sharing his circle with me ! any australians I didn't include let me know!Happy Friday!2014-04-11 20:35:49202407

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Most comments: 42

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2015-02-18 10:44:27 (42 comments, 0 reshares, 36 +1s)Open 

Caffeine Abstinence. 

I've only had caffeine once in the last two and a half weeks. This from a usual routine of two cups of coffee each day and a coke most nights. But I hadn't been sleeping well: difficulty falling asleep, a long time to fall asleep, very light sleep and easily woken, waking up earlier than expected and earlier than the alarm. Insomnia at some point along the spectrum. 

I have generally good sleep hygiene - good room environment - but knew it had to be something. I've also been rather paranoid about getting enough sleep ever since reading this study about sleep being critical for cleaning the brain of waste products and maintaining good mental health http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/index.cfm?id=3956. First thing to try was cutting out caffeine; cold turkey. 

Within days I was sleeping solidly again and have only had one badnig... more »

Most reshares: 51

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2015-03-25 10:30:14 (37 comments, 51 reshares, 125 +1s)Open 

I've Been Wearing These Every Night for Two Weeks.

A couple of weeks ago I started a little experiment with the light exposure my eyes received before going to bed. I can't remember exactly what the trigger was but I recall an article loosely about the effect of blue light before going to sleep and the impact that had on the quality of sleep and sleep hygiene in general. 

The theory is that the blue light emitted by artificial lighting before bed, such as from the screens of electronic devices including TVs, computers, and phones, stimulates the brain like early-morning light, triggering alertness and altering fundamental circadian rhythms. Over the last few years I have become hypervigilant about pursuing healthy sleep hygiene habits and quality uninterrupted sleep, because bad sleep results in a build-up of molecular waste products in the brain, poor / handicapped... more »

Most plusones: 180

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2015-02-22 08:02:14 (22 comments, 42 reshares, 180 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 08/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/autonomous-atom-assembly-human.html

Autonomous atom assembly, Auto face detection, Human epigenome map, DNA data storage, UberBlox modular tools, Ultrasound vs brain barrier, Strong limpet teeth, Measuring synaptic transmission, Early cancer tests, Silicon nanofiber batteries. 

1. Autonomous Assembly of Atoms into Nanostructures
NIST researchers have developed a new system that enables the computer-controlled autonomous assembly of individual atoms into precisely defined nanostructures on a copper surface using a scanning tunnelling microscope http://www.nist.gov/cnst/automated_atom_assembly.cfm. The system first scans the surface to determine the precise locations of the atoms available for assembly, calculates the coordinate transformations necessary to... more »

Latest 50 posts

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2015-05-05 11:32:19 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Uploading: Gradual Replacement VS Scan-and-Copy

For as long as I can remember I've always had a preference for the gradual mind-uploading scenario: replacing each individual neuron and its connections with an improved synthetic equivalent, neuron-by-neuron, region-by-region, while the brain continues to process information normally without missing a beat and so preserving continuity. 

At the same time I've always known, deep down, intellectually, logically, that there is no meaningful difference to the scan-and-copy mind uploading scenario: solidify the brain to preserve all relevant information, slice, scan, slice, repeat, stitch and replicate the information on a suitable substrate. And despite my emotional knee-jerk aversion to the scenario I think if it came to the crunch I could rationally convince myself to undertake it. Fear of loss of continuity here is little... more »

Here's a slightly shorter, less reference heavy, op-ed version of our recent mind uploading paper (currently under journal review), published by IEET. Both versions are coauthored by myself and Randal Koene.

http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/wiley20150502___Uploading: Gradual Replacement VS Scan-and-Copy

For as long as I can remember I've always had a preference for the gradual mind-uploading scenario: replacing each individual neuron and its connections with an improved synthetic equivalent, neuron-by-neuron, region-by-region, while the brain continues to process information normally without missing a beat and so preserving continuity. 

At the same time I've always known, deep down, intellectually, logically, that there is no meaningful difference to the scan-and-copy mind uploading scenario: solidify the brain to preserve all relevant information, slice, scan, slice, repeat, stitch and replicate the information on a suitable substrate. And despite my emotional knee-jerk aversion to the scenario I think if it came to the crunch I could rationally convince myself to undertake it. Fear of loss of continuity here is little different to fearing your loss of continuity when you fall asleep and lose consciousness at night; except that in the latter you wake up with a slightly different connectome than what you fell asleep with. And if you believe in or advocate cryogenic preservation then any and all hypothetical differences evaporate. 

This is a good piece by +Keith Wiley and +Randal Koene that seeks to add a little more rigor to the equivalence of the gradual replacement VS scan-and-copy mind uploading scenarios and well worth anyone's time who is interested in these topics. 

#transhumanism   #mind   #uploading  

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2015-05-04 15:26:28 (10 comments, 9 reshares, 28 +1s)Open 

Trying to Ensure Benevolent Machine Superintelligence.
Would an evolutionary solution help?

I finally watched this recent TED talk by Nick Bostrom tonight and it's a good one, What happens when our computers get smarter than we are? Nick squeezes a lot into his 18 minutes and a number of parts include possibly the clearest exposition of the complex issues inherent in this topic. Issues like machine intelligence scales the the trivial IQ gap between the stupidest and smartest humans, intelligence as an optimisation process, the unboxable nature of superintelligence, and appropriate value-loading of seed superintelligences. 

The thing that stayed with me after the talk, the thing that I pondered the most, was the question of, basically, whether value-loading a superintelligence is the same as boxing a superintelligence? Nice in principle but impossible in practice? There... more »

A new TED talk by Nick Bostrom! "The potential for superintelligence kind of lies dormant in matter, much like the power of the atom lay dormant throughout human history — patiently waiting there until 1945."___Trying to Ensure Benevolent Machine Superintelligence.
Would an evolutionary solution help?

I finally watched this recent TED talk by Nick Bostrom tonight and it's a good one, What happens when our computers get smarter than we are? Nick squeezes a lot into his 18 minutes and a number of parts include possibly the clearest exposition of the complex issues inherent in this topic. Issues like machine intelligence scales the the trivial IQ gap between the stupidest and smartest humans, intelligence as an optimisation process, the unboxable nature of superintelligence, and appropriate value-loading of seed superintelligences. 

The thing that stayed with me after the talk, the thing that I pondered the most, was the question of, basically, whether value-loading a superintelligence is the same as boxing a superintelligence? Nice in principle but impossible in practice? There is quite a large body of work on value-loading seed AIs and superintelligences that I won't go into. 

If this is true - and I have no idea if it is or not and people smarter than me like Nick think it is not - but if it is then what alternatives are there? What other means to ensure a positive outcome for our species in future, both individually and collectively?

As is often the case in these situations my mind turns to evolution, a mindless process that nevertheless appears to produce superintelligent solutions to problems. If we can't box it indefinitely, and if we can't indefinitely imbue values that are always valid, then why not give our superintelligent heirs the best values we can manage and possibly house them in the best box we can manage, and knowing both efforts are bound to be inadequate . . . 

. . . also enforce a hard rule such that any expanding superintelligence emerging from these seeds will split in half - replicating - after a certain growth phase and with the copy being birthed with a set of altered parameters for how that superintelligence works, perhaps even different parameters for boxing and value-loading and a range of other measures. In this way there might quickly exist an ecosystem of evolving superintelligences, some cooperating, some competing, and differentiating to exploit different niches. Any one entity that emerged with values that were detrimental to humans, e.g. repurpose the Earth and destroy everything our species individually and collectively values, then this would also be detrimental to the ecosystem of AIs that would respond to restrict, blunt, and contain the offender. 

Like the evolution of life such a system wouldn't be perfect. There would still be disasters and suffering in places. But the ecosystem would survive and flourish. With niches in which we humans might even do the same, as symbionts or parasites on those larger hosts who were "willing."

The point is: might an enforced evolutionary process produce a superintelligent solution to the problem of superintelligence that we humans would, by definition, never be able to come up with? 

Possibly a stupid idea but worth throwing out there anyway. 

Via +Gideon Rosenblatt 

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2015-05-03 08:53:07 (16 comments, 34 reshares, 64 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 18/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/05/whole-brain-staining-chemogenic-neural.html 

Whole brain staining, Chemogenic neural switching, Neuronal secrets, Single electron radio, Remote immersive telepresence, Aural parsing machines, Novel materials scaleup, Self-guided bullets, Logistical automation robots, New visual prosthesis. 

1. Whole-Brain Staining for Whole-Brain Mapping
A complex new brain-staining method called BROPA is the first of its kind able to stain an entire brain including all neurons and synaptic connections http://www.mpg.de/9161585/connectome-diagram-brain. This now raises the distinct possibility of using the now-standard block-face scanning electron microscope technique to image an entire brain, slice by slice, and stitch these images together into a complete brainco... more »

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 18/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/05/whole-brain-staining-chemogenic-neural.html 

Whole brain staining, Chemogenic neural switching, Neuronal secrets, Single electron radio, Remote immersive telepresence, Aural parsing machines, Novel materials scaleup, Self-guided bullets, Logistical automation robots, New visual prosthesis. 

1. Whole-Brain Staining for Whole-Brain Mapping
A complex new brain-staining method called BROPA is the first of its kind able to stain an entire brain including all neurons and synaptic connections http://www.mpg.de/9161585/connectome-diagram-brain. This now raises the distinct possibility of using the now-standard block-face scanning electron microscope technique to image an entire brain, slice by slice, and stitch these images together into a complete brain connectome map. Until now brain-staining techniques have only been useful for small sections of brain tissue, which could be scanned to produce connectomes but piecing these together into whole-brain maps was infeasible. So far the technique has only been demonstrated for mouse brains and the group plan to produce a complete mouse connectome comprising 40 petabytes, but it is yet to be seen if the technique can scale to human level.

2. Chemogenic Switching of Neurons
A newly developed chemogenic technique allows neurons to be controllably switched on and off http://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2015/april/new-brain-initiative-technology-can-switch-behavior-2018on2019-and-2018off2019. The chemogenic technique essentially represents an improved DREADD technology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Receptor_activated_solely_by_a_synthetic_ligand) in which neural cell-wall receptors were modified and engineered to be sensitive to specific synthetic molecules or drugs. Subsequently, these receptors - and the firing of the neurons they adorn - could be activated or deactivated by adding or removing the synthetic molecule from the animal’s system, and in this case two different receptors were introduced to mature mice via viral-administered gene therapies. In different tests both voracious feeding and drug addiction behaviour could be switched on and off at will.

3. A Duo of Fundamental Neuron Function Discoveries
The first of these sheds new light on exactly how neurons form connections and memories at the molecular and cellular level http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2015/04/new-insight-into-how-brain-makes-memories/; a specific signalling protein called Asef2 that actively promotes synapse formation by promoting outgrowths of actin from the neual cytoskeleton - its lack can lead to a range of disorders. The second shows that neurons make methylation alterations to their DNA on a regular and on-going basis http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/neurons_constantly_rewrite_their_dna; this is believed to be important for maintaining consistent synaptic signalling activity by modulating the activity of key signalling proteins. 

4. Detecting Radio Waves from a Single Electron
For the first time radio waves have been detected from a single spinning electron http://news.sciencemag.org/physics/2015/04/physicists-detect-radio-waves-single-electron via new ultra-sensitive experimental techniques that involve trapping single electrons ejected by radioactive samples in cusomised wave-guides. As cool as this is the group ultimately hope to use the technique to perform the most accurate measurements to date for determining the mass of a neutrino. I wonder about the reverse: using a similar setup to influence and control a single electron . . . or a neutrino. 

5. Towards True Immersive Telepresence
An Oculus-linked robotic system is edging towards the first true immersive remote telepresence system in which a user can wear a VR headset and receive binocular video input from a distant, remote robotic system that mimics the movement of the users body and head http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/upenn-dora-platform. The key to maintaining the feeling of immersion and presence in the remote location is minimal and unnoticeable lag between you moving your head, the robot moving its “head” in exactly the same way, and an updated video feed from the cameras arriving on the headset. 20ms lag is not perceptible and 60ms is considered an upper limit; the group currently have 70ms but hopes to drop this in the near future. 

6. Deep Learning and Aural Parsing
Software arising from deep neural networks has now been demonstrated able to separate human voices from background noise in a wide range of songs (often referred to as the cocktail party problem after the ease with which humans can do the same) http://www.technologyreview.com/view/537101/deep-learning-machine-solves-the-cocktail-party-problem/. The promise here isn’t just a next-gen karaoke machine able to remove the vocals from any and all songs of choice. This should also help make better hearing aids, bluetooth headsets, video transcripts, and other applications we haven’t thought of yet. 

7. Scaling-Up Novel Materials: Semiconductors & Metallic Glass
A couple of interesting scale-up advances this week. First, a new fabrication technique called metal organic chemical vapour deposition can successfully produce wafer-scale atomically-thin (3 atoms) films of molybdenum disulfide or tungsten diselenide for high-performance semiconductor applications http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/materials/novel-process-promises-atomically-thin-semiconductors-for-electronics. Second, a new manufacturing process allows spinel (magnesium aluminate) to be produced in sheets up to 30 inches wide http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2015/transparent-armor-from-nrl-spinel-could-also-ruggedize-your-smart-phone; spinel is a transparent mineral that is much tougher, stronger, and harder than glass - think display screens, camera lenses, building and car windows, etc. 

8. The Latest Self-Guided Bullets from DARPA
DARPA’s new EXACTO bullet is a self-guided 0.50 caliber round that can adjust its trajectory mid-flight http://gizmodo.com/watch-darpas-scary-self-guided-bullets-swerve-to-hit-mo-1700601163. In the demonstration video you can see the bullet not only move to allow a trained sniper to hit a moving target, and not only move to allow a novice shooter to hit a moving target but, indeed to move and swerve mid flight to hit a target that starts moving after the bullet has been fired. I’m just imagining swarms of military drones that shoot and never miss. 

9. Another Industrial Automation Entrant
This week Fetch Robotics announced a duo of new robots called Fetch and Freight to tackle the logistics market http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/industrial-robots/fetch-robotics-introduces-fetch-and-freight-your-warehouse-is-now-automated. The duo are intended to form a team in a warehouse, with the slower Fetch and its mobile manipulator shelf-picking arm confined to zones, and Freight a faster smaller unit zipping around between Fetches and a loading point. It’s good to see competition heating up in this space with the likes of Kiva and to a lesser extent ReThink for example. I also can’t resist a call-out to Stanford’s microtug robots able to 2,000 times their weight via novel controllable adhesive technology http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/04/tiny-bots-can-drag-2000-times-their.html. 

10. A Vision Implant Powered by Light
A company called Pixium Vision is launching a new visual prosthetic that is powered by light and enables the blind to see http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/biomedical/bionics/blind-patients-will-soon-try-a-new-bionic-eye. The core of the system is based on a small chip that is implanted behind the retina and which includes pixels that have both a photodiode and retina-stimulating electrode; the person wears video glasses that capture the view in front of them and convert this into an infrared version that is beamed into the persons eyes which serves to both provide power and stimulate the retina. Tests in rats confirm restoration of 20/250 vision and they hope to soon achieve 10/120, below the limit of legal blindness. 

Archive: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/05/whole-brain-staining-chemogenic-neural.html___

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2015-05-01 12:31:29 (12 comments, 18 reshares, 67 +1s)Open 

WTF, Evolution?!

I recently stumbled across what has become my favourite tumblr blog - WTF, Evolution?! http://wtfevolution.tumblr.com/ 

I like it because:

1. I get to be amazed by an extraordinarily diverse and baffling array of different creatures that I never knew could exist, let alone existed. 

2. The conversational commentary between the blogger and the "entity" that is evolution is pretty humorous at times :) E.g. criticising evolution for seemingly stupid design choices. 

* The latest entry on the comb duck reminds me of the bizarre head ornaments sported by the duck-billed dinosaurs. 

* An example of entries includes trap-door ants, penis-fencing flatworms, anus-dwelling pearlfish, sea-spiders with digestive organs in their legs. 

BUT IF YOU ONLY DO ONE THING TODAY: Watch the giant red leechhavin... more »

WTF, Evolution?!

I recently stumbled across what has become my favourite tumblr blog - WTF, Evolution?! http://wtfevolution.tumblr.com/ 

I like it because:

1. I get to be amazed by an extraordinarily diverse and baffling array of different creatures that I never knew could exist, let alone existed. 

2. The conversational commentary between the blogger and the "entity" that is evolution is pretty humorous at times :) E.g. criticising evolution for seemingly stupid design choices. 

* The latest entry on the comb duck reminds me of the bizarre head ornaments sported by the duck-billed dinosaurs. 

* An example of entries includes trap-door ants, penis-fencing flatworms, anus-dwelling pearlfish, sea-spiders with digestive organs in their legs. 

BUT IF YOU ONLY DO ONE THING TODAY: Watch the giant red leech having a meal: http://wtfevolution.tumblr.com/post/98726965887/wait-what-is-that-giant-red-leech-doing-is-it

#evolution   #wtf   #wondrous  ___

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2015-04-30 13:52:25 (5 comments, 8 reshares, 62 +1s)Open 

Best Microscope Videos of the Year.

Nikon's Small World in Motion competition never fails to fill me with amazement and delight at the microscopic phenomena that some people manage to capture. This year we had:

1st Place: Cellular Development of Zebrafish Lateral Sense Organ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pP9mRMKjXK0

2nd Place: Crystallisation of Caffeine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ6u3qYsRNY 
The GIF for this post. 

3rd Place: Oil Film on Water
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf657r3BgPU

Via http://gizmodo.com/these-are-the-best-microscopic-videos-of-the-year-1700614278

The most recent 2014 photomicrography gallery is also worth a look - lots of really fascinating structures: http://www.nikonsmallworld.com/galleries/photo/2014-photomicrography-competition

#microscopy   ... more »

Best Microscope Videos of the Year.

Nikon's Small World in Motion competition never fails to fill me with amazement and delight at the microscopic phenomena that some people manage to capture. This year we had:

1st Place: Cellular Development of Zebrafish Lateral Sense Organ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pP9mRMKjXK0

2nd Place: Crystallisation of Caffeine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ6u3qYsRNY 
The GIF for this post. 

3rd Place: Oil Film on Water
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf657r3BgPU

Via http://gizmodo.com/these-are-the-best-microscopic-videos-of-the-year-1700614278

The most recent 2014 photomicrography gallery is also worth a look - lots of really fascinating structures: http://www.nikonsmallworld.com/galleries/photo/2014-photomicrography-competition

#microscopy   #video   #photography  ___

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2015-04-28 13:32:40 (8 comments, 4 reshares, 55 +1s)Open 

Live Video of Earth from the International Space Station.

I spent more time than I expected just watching this streaming live video feed of our planet rolling slowly under the ISS while experiencing a funny mix of emotions. The project and live feed can be found here http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/917.html and I'd recommend you do as I did: expand to full-screen and grab the highest resolution your connection will allow. 

This video feed will soon be upgraded to 4K video at 30fps, see http://gizmodo.com/youll-be-able-to-watch-hi-def-24-7-feeds-from-the-iss-1699981439. 

Thanks to +Matthew J Price for pointing this out and I do like the idea of using this as a display live wallpaper / background. 

Live Video of Earth from the International Space Station.

I spent more time than I expected just watching this streaming live video feed of our planet rolling slowly under the ISS while experiencing a funny mix of emotions. The project and live feed can be found here http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/917.html and I'd recommend you do as I did: expand to full-screen and grab the highest resolution your connection will allow. 

This video feed will soon be upgraded to 4K video at 30fps, see http://gizmodo.com/youll-be-able-to-watch-hi-def-24-7-feeds-from-the-iss-1699981439. 

Thanks to +Matthew J Price for pointing this out and I do like the idea of using this as a display live wallpaper / background. ___

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2015-04-26 07:14:34 (7 comments, 34 reshares, 63 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 17/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/04/human-embryo-crispr-more-accurate.html

Human embryo CRISPR, More accurate CRISPR, Programmable DNA photonics, DNA logic gates, Multifunctional neural probes, MRI Temporal boost, Protein structure algorithms, Emotionally aware machines, Invisible perceptual illusions, Single molecule switches. 

1. CRISPR to Modify Human Embryos
Biggest news of the week goes to the Chinese team who used CRISPR methods to produce genetically modified human embryos http://www.nature.com/news/chinese-scientists-genetically-modify-human-embryos-1.17378. The group used non-viable (extra chromosomes), pre-implantation embryos from local fertility clinics and used CRISPR-Cas9 to edit and replace a defective ß-thalassemia gene that typically causes a blood disorder. The groupac... more »

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 17/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/04/human-embryo-crispr-more-accurate.html

Human embryo CRISPR, More accurate CRISPR, Programmable DNA photonics, DNA logic gates, Multifunctional neural probes, MRI Temporal boost, Protein structure algorithms, Emotionally aware machines, Invisible perceptual illusions, Single molecule switches. 

1. CRISPR to Modify Human Embryos
Biggest news of the week goes to the Chinese team who used CRISPR methods to produce genetically modified human embryos http://www.nature.com/news/chinese-scientists-genetically-modify-human-embryos-1.17378. The group used non-viable (extra chromosomes), pre-implantation embryos from local fertility clinics and used CRISPR-Cas9 to edit and replace a defective ß-thalassemia gene that typically causes a blood disorder. The group achieve low conversion rates and noted a large number of off-target mutations that resulted. However, several commentators noted that the group used an older version of CRISPR (newer versions are far more accurate) and these non-viable cells are probably not an optimal model. 

2. Engineering Even Greater Accuracy into CRISPR
In closely related news newer, accurate versions of CRISPR have been made 25-times even more accurate http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-04/hu-iai042315.php. The new CRISPR is depended on a specific molecule to be active, which is provided to the cells of interest for a relatively short period of time, and so ensures that the CRISPR system is only active for a short period of time. This severely limits the chances of off-target modifications. This work builds on prior studies to create CRISPR systems that require longer (and hence more specific) genetic sequences to recognise and seeks to more subtly alter the cellular equilibrium dynamics of CRISPR-Cas9 enzymes. The team predict that further improvements will lead to CRISPR systems that induce chance mutations at a rate below the level of natural chance mutations that the cell produces on a daily basis anyway. 

3. Programmable Matter with DNA Origami
A new modification to self-assembled DNA origami technology delivers the ability to create programmable, tunable fluorescent arrays http://phys.org/news/2015-04-cradle-silver-nanoclusters-synthetic-dna.html. This is achieved via two parts, (i) generating DNA nanotubes with defined positioning sites; in this case with spacings of 7nm, and (ii) generating silver nanoclusters bound to complementary DNA strands that bind the nanoclusters to the nanotube. The nanoclusters all have the same number of atoms and depending on the preparation and binding of DNA the number of atoms can be controlled to produce clusters tuned to fluoresce at different wavelengths of light, from green-blue to infrared.

4. Fuzzy & Boolean Logic Gates Made of DNA
In related news self-assembled DNA origami structures have been demonstrated that can sense two environmental signals (different oligonucleotides and miRNAs) and produce fluorescent outputs corresponding to Boolean logic gates AND, NAND, OR, NOR, XOR, NXOR http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=39795.php. There are a few different labs pursuing DNA computation in this way and good to see competition heating up. Possible applications for this particular embodiment include programmed biosensors that enter cells and only deliver a lethal drug payload if they successfully detect one or more cancer biomarkers for example. 

5. Multifunctional Neural Probes for Interfacing the Brain
Neural probes are becoming increasingly sophisticated as evidenced by these fibers and probes that are able to carry light, sense-collect-and-transmit electricity, and also deliver drugs http://www.technologyreview.com/photoessay/536806/a-swiss-army-knife-for-neuroscience/. Such fibers can both stimulate the brain in various ways and also record the resulting activity and allows researchers to controllably alter activity in different ways to see what the effect is. The fabrication process for the probes is quite innovative and involves forming different polymers in the desired pattern and then extruding and shrinking these into tiny fibers. 

6. Boosting Temporal Resolution for MRI
Recent advances in MRI technology provide a boost in temporal resolution that allows image capture at 100 frames per second - this can facilitate for example the detailed capture of the complex anatomical coordination that is necessary for a person to sing http://beckman.illinois.edu/news/2015/04/new-super-fast-mri-technique. Such dynamic real-time recordings offering both high spatial and temporal resolution hasn’t been possible until now, and in this application offers new insights into the complex dynamics of the neuromuscular system and larynx in order to better understand changes that occur due to various influences such as aging and disease. 

7. Improved Algorithms for Generating 3D Structures from 2D Images
A new image-processing algorithm results in a 100,000-fold speedup in determining 3D structures for proteins from sets of 2D images http://www.technologyreview.com/view/536976/an-algorithm-set-to-revolutionize-3-d-protein-structure-discovery/. The technique utilises (i) electron cryomicroscopy in which a purified protein solution is is frozen into a thin-film one molecule thick, and (ii) transmission electron microscopy in which the film is bombarded with electrons and those that pass through generate images or “shadowgrams” of the molecules in the film. The molecule structure is unknown and orientation is random. Generating the 3D structure from up to 200,000 images used to take two weeks on 300 cores, but now can be done in under 24 hours on a single workstation. 

8. Adapting to Machines that Know How You Feel
Wired had a good piece this week covering Affectiva and the coming ubiquity of computers that know and can respond to your emotional state http://www.wired.com/2015/04/computers-can-now-tell-feel-face/. Affectiva is offering its system to developers to help create a broad range of applications predominantly (for now) based on determining fine emotional nuances on faces. The promise here includes dynamic entertainment that responds to your emotions to give you a different experience to someone with different emotions, assisting those with emotion-identification handicaps to better understand people, automatically determine the emotional content of video, assist wearers of HUDs to determine a person’s emotion they may be trying to hide, targeting advertising to people based on their emotional state, and many many others.

9. The Perceptual Illusion of an Invisible Body
An interesting new psychological experiment explores the perceptual illusion on participants of having an invisible body http://ki.se/en/news/scientists-create-the-sensation-of-invisibility. Participants were instructed to look downwards as they wore a stereoscopic head mounted display, which received video input from a pair of binocular cameras that were pointed downwards towards the floor. A researcher then simultaneously touched the person’s body with a brush while touching the corresponding areas in empty space under the cameras with another brush. In less than a minute most people had altered body-maps and perceived the brush-touching-empty-air as actually touching themselves, and this was confirmed via measured stress response when a surprise knife was thrust into the same spot of empty space. I’m always fascinated by how easily malleable our sense of embodiment is. 

10. Towards Single Molecule Switches
A new candidate molecule approximately 3nm in size has been demonstrated to function as a single-molecule electronic switch http://www.hzdr.de/db/Cms?pOid=44032&pNid=0. The molecule possesses two stable states, one of which is an insulator and the other a conductor. The group was able to successfully switch the molecule into the “on” conductive state via light, which allowed current to flow between the two nanowire electrodes it was connected to. They can’t yet switch the molecule back to the “off” insulating state but are confident of achieving this in future.

Archive: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/04/human-embryo-crispr-more-accurate.html ___

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2015-04-22 13:57:52 (5 comments, 2 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

Three Days into Insanity Max:30.

I've been doing the original Insanity interval training comprising cardio and resistance workouts for about two years now, with a couple of one - two month breaks caused by big holidays. These workouts typically comprise sessions 40 - 60 minutes long that include 2 - 3 circuits of 4 different exercises done over 2 - 3 minutes and repeated 3 times per circuit with a 30 second break in between. I've been doing these about 5 times per week for longer than I can remember. 

I am honestly in the best shape of my life and certainly the fittest I've ever been. But I do tend to indulge in nice food, drinks, and chocolate that I mostly burn off and there is always room for improvement. 

Shaun T's latest workout package Insanity Max:30 recently came out and we quickly snapped it up and started the program on Monday. Thesew... more »

Three Days into Insanity Max:30.

I've been doing the original Insanity interval training comprising cardio and resistance workouts for about two years now, with a couple of one - two month breaks caused by big holidays. These workouts typically comprise sessions 40 - 60 minutes long that include 2 - 3 circuits of 4 different exercises done over 2 - 3 minutes and repeated 3 times per circuit with a 30 second break in between. I've been doing these about 5 times per week for longer than I can remember. 

I am honestly in the best shape of my life and certainly the fittest I've ever been. But I do tend to indulge in nice food, drinks, and chocolate that I mostly burn off and there is always room for improvement. 

Shaun T's latest workout package Insanity Max:30 recently came out and we quickly snapped it up and started the program on Monday. These workouts are different, done 5 - 6 times per week, and comprise intense 30 minute sessions of a myriad of different exercises with 30 second breaks every 5 minutes or so. And these are intense: you move much quicker than the other Insanity program and the idea is you keep going at high intensity until you physically can't any more and need to take a short break to get your breath back - referred to as your "Max Out" point. 

On Monday I maxed-out at 8:30 but tonight made it through to 12:30. 5 mins in you start to sweat, 15 mins in you are drenched in sweat, 20 mins in you are wanting it to end, watching the clock, pushing pushing pushing yourself to higher levels of exertion and not wanting to give up. 

The new program also comes with a new diet and nutrition plan. We tried the original diet plan last year for a couple of months and it worked really well; to my surprise my abs really started to appear. This time we've started the new plan, which is based on portion control over protein, carbohydrates, fats, fruit, and vegetables each day and correlated to your weight. Only 3 days in I'd say it has been more than manageable but I think I've been ever-so-slightly hungry for quite a bit of those 3 days. Energy levels and alertness are good but discipline is required. I don't want to go overboard and only want to drop maybe 2, at most 3 kilograms and get more definition again. 

Then indulge in chocolate, cheese, and wine as a reward :-P

This thing isn't for everyone. But if you're like me and can't be bothered going to a gym, would prefer not to run every day or two, but still want to maintain a decent level of fitness, you might well want to give it a shot. If you do then remember one thing for me: these programs are intense and potentially dangerous depending on your level of fitness and status of injuries. If you start from a low fitness base then go slow, and slowly work your way up. Always follow correct form; as soon as your body starts doing exercises with poor form it is time to take a break and recover - otherwise you risk injury.

Remember: Form over speed. Dig deeper. Breathe. 

Those who do vigorous exercise on a regular basis tend to live longer, healthier lives. See:
* https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2015/04/vigorous-activity-correlates-with-lower-mortality-rate.php and
* https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2015/04/efforts-to-quantify-the-benefits-of-different-levels-of-exercise.php 

#insanity   #exercise   #aging  ___

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2015-04-21 15:20:21 (6 comments, 6 reshares, 29 +1s)Open 

I Just Discovered the Amazing Light Flow App.
My phone's vibration and Android silent mode have sucked for a while now.

One of my biggest gripes and I believe one of the stupidest design decisions with Android Lollipop is the simple lack of a basic "silent mode." This was a "feature" present in previous versions of Android and simply pressing the volume down button from silent stopped all sounds and vibrations that may have arose from all notifications and calls. Simple and useful in lots of different situations. 

Ever since having an Android Wear smart watch strapped to my wrist I haven't really bothered with a phone ringtone at all and just preferred the wrist-based notifications. But with no silent mode my Nexus 6 would just vibrate all the time anyway; it's a powerful little vibrator and actually quite loud, which kinda... more »

I Just Discovered the Amazing Light Flow App.
My phone's vibration and Android silent mode have sucked for a while now.

One of my biggest gripes and I believe one of the stupidest design decisions with Android Lollipop is the simple lack of a basic "silent mode." This was a "feature" present in previous versions of Android and simply pressing the volume down button from silent stopped all sounds and vibrations that may have arose from all notifications and calls. Simple and useful in lots of different situations. 

Ever since having an Android Wear smart watch strapped to my wrist I haven't really bothered with a phone ringtone at all and just preferred the wrist-based notifications. But with no silent mode my Nexus 6 would just vibrate all the time anyway; it's a powerful little vibrator and actually quite loud, which kinda defeats the purpose. 

I think being in this state for a decent while has worn out the internal vibration unit. The vibrations don't seem as crisp and clean as they used to, and it has honestly become incredibly frustrating at times  - just shut up already! - and even tapping away on the keyboard with vibration enabled was becoming unpleasant an annoying. 

They tried to "fix" this with the 5.1 update but the settings are still unintuitive and confusing when they used to be so simple. This is probably one of the worst cases of UI design in Lollipop that comes to mind and at times beggars belief. 

Today I finally dug into the issue deeper, figured out that vibration needs to be disabled in each individual app separately (which I think is stupid), and almost have a very quiet, vibration-free phone again. I also discovered Light Flow, which is a wonderful little App https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rageconsulting.android.lightflow&hl=en for providing finer notification controls, and particularly linking notifications to the coloured LED on your device. On the Nexus 6 you need Root to do this. 

I now have subtle, quiet, unobtrusive notifications that are individually colour-coded to different apps, and that emit light through the tiny LED behind the Nexus 6 speaker grill. Green is for Hangouts, Blue for SMS, Purple for Email, and Red for missed call - but there are many other options and possibilities too. I've only really scratched the surface with Light Flow and it has sound and vibration controls for apps that I haven't properly explored yet.  

Very happy that the phone feels like a newer, snappier, more intimate device again. ___

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2015-04-19 10:49:28 (5 comments, 34 reshares, 59 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 16/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/04/bigger-immune-responses-probabilistic.html 

Bigger immune responses, Probabilistic computer vision, Self-powered camera, Quantum bits in silicon, CRISPR controls epigenetics, Laser perovskites, Multi-cameras, Metamaterial energy harvesting, Lots of robots, Accessible cell therapies. 

1. Engineering a Broader Immune Response Against Cancer.
A new discovery allows a much broader immune response to be generated against different types of cancer than was previously possible http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/using-entire-immune-system-halts-tumor-growth-0414. This works by activating both the adaptive and the innate immune systems at the same time by conjugating interleukin 2 molecules to antibodies that target specific cancer cells. In tests tumoursdi... more »

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 16/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/04/bigger-immune-responses-probabilistic.html 

Bigger immune responses, Probabilistic computer vision, Self-powered camera, Quantum bits in silicon, CRISPR controls epigenetics, Laser perovskites, Multi-cameras, Metamaterial energy harvesting, Lots of robots, Accessible cell therapies. 

1. Engineering a Broader Immune Response Against Cancer.
A new discovery allows a much broader immune response to be generated against different types of cancer than was previously possible http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/using-entire-immune-system-halts-tumor-growth-0414. This works by activating both the adaptive and the innate immune systems at the same time by conjugating interleukin 2 molecules to antibodies that target specific cancer cells. In tests tumours disappeared completely in up to 90% of mice and when tumour cells were reintroduced they were quickly destroyed by the immune system. 

2. Computer Vision with Probabilistic Programming.
New probabilistic programming techniques can in many cases produce effective code that accomplishes in 50 lines of code what normally takes many thousands of lines of code http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/better-probabilistic-programming-0413. This is a result of making machine learning applications easier to build - probabilistic programming was developed to quickly utilise machine learning techniques that have worked elsewhere. Example applications include taking 2D pictures of faces and accurately reproducing 3D models of those faces. 

3. A Self-Powered Camera.
A self-powered camera has been developed that, as the name implies, doesn’t require any power to function via a photodiode image sensor that also harvests light energy http://www.cs.columbia.edu/CAVE/projects/self_powered_camera/. This is essentially combining the functions of a solar panel and image sensor into one device that switches operation - capturing energy at one point in time in order to power the device to capture image information the next. Check out the videos - this camera can currently record an image per second. Imagine passive cameras saturating the environment that record events and never need to be recharged or connected to power. 

4. Electrical Control of Quantum Information in Silicon. 
Quantum information has been encoded in silicon using electrical pulses for the first time https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/science-tech/breakthrough-opens-door-affordable-quantum-computers. This group has been working in the space for a while now and has steadily improved the technology; from the first single atom qubits in silicon to improved control to long qubit lifetimes and now to control via electric fields. Using existing silicon-based chip fabrication methods might just enable manufacturing quantum computers in future. 

5. Using CRISPR to Control Epigenetics.
CRISPR can now be used to directly target and modify epigenetic changes in the genome http://pratt.duke.edu/news/pulling-strings-our-genomic-puppetmasters. To accomplish this the Cas9 enzyme was modified to remove the DNA-cutting region, which was replaced with another enzyme for transferring acetyl groups to DNA. This allows precise targeting and control of specific gene promoters and enhancers to control gene activity; remember each cell contains the same genome, it’s just a matter of which genes are switched on or off that give rise to differences. For the first time promoters and enhancers can be probed and characterised in such an effective way. 

6. Perovskites Now Made into Lasers.
Perovskite compounds are one of the most exciting materials in solar photovoltaics at the moment, and the same properties that make them effective in this application apparently also make them promising for lasers http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/devices/perovskite-leads-to-100percent-efficient-nanowire-lasers. A simple method can make perovskite crystals that function as high-efficiency, ultra-small nanowire lasers. Under testing these lasers demonstrate some of the best performance criteria of any lasing material, including near 100% efficiency in which every photon that the material absorbs is used to produce a photon of laser light. 

7. NextGen Photography with Multi-Camera Modules.
A company called Light is launching new camera modules comprised of multiple lenses and image sensors that all fire simultaneously to produce images that are combined into a higher-resolution, higher-quality final image with adjustable focus http://www.technologyreview.com/news/536816/a-way-to-get-much-higher-resolution-selfies/. The first Light cameras are expected in smartphones by 2016, boasting a resolution of 52-megapixels, and along with other improvements hopefully squeeze the quality of an expensive DSLR camera into smaller, cheaper devices. This is like advanced space telescopes that combine images from multiple devices to produce much clearer images; I think it is a great idea. 

8. Metamaterial Energy Harvesting from Light.
New metamaterial designs have resulted in surfaces that are able to absorb 93% of incident electromagnetic waves they have been tuned to, which is significantly higher than classical antennas http://www.aip.org/publishing/journal-highlights/harvesting-energy-electromagnetic-waves & http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/apl/106/15/10.1063/1.4916232. In this case the light was from the 3 GHz spectrum, but the group hope to extend these capabilities with related designs into the infrared and ultimately visible spectrum. Applications for the current capability includes efficient wireless power transfer for devices and chips. 

9. Lots of Cool New Robots.
We had a whole bunch of new robots this week. First, an innovative robotic kitchen and cooking robot from Moley https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnUDhjG95jI. Second, in line with Baxter and others yet another collaborative dual-armed manufacturing robot called YuMi https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=115&v=2KfXY2SvlmQ - lots of competition in this space. Third, a nurse robot able to accurately insert needles into arm veins to inject drugs or take blood https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpdTeGPruFA. Four, a taste of things to come for the DARPA robotics trial https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=43&v=L4B5BhDoS9o. Five, solar-powered flying bird-robot https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo9lIkY74n0. 

10. Accessible Cell Therapies.
RepliCel Life Sciences bill themselves as a regenerative medicine company and are developing - and plan to sell - a couple of cell therapies including treatments for (i) chronic tendinosis to improve healing of tendons, and (ii) baldness to encourage and improve hair growth https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2015/04/the-low-hanging-fruit-of-cell-therapy-development.php. These areas are considered “low-hanging-fruit” and aim to provide / introduce cells into areas of the body that have become deficient in certain cell types, for example, isolating hair follicles as a cell source, massively amplifying these cells to large numbers, and reintroducing them to the patient via injection to the appropriate areas. In animals the approach caused hair to grow in places it normally doesn’t, or made hair thicker in places it does. 

Archive: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/04/bigger-immune-responses-probabilistic.html ___

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2015-04-18 09:37:10 (7 comments, 1 reshares, 27 +1s)Open 

- Underside of middle knuckle resting atop a white LED torch light. 
- Two veins clearly visible on the upper side of knuckles for both middle and ring finger. 

- Underside of middle knuckle resting atop a white LED torch light. 
- Two veins clearly visible on the upper side of knuckles for both middle and ring finger. ___

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2015-04-17 11:52:38 (23 comments, 12 reshares, 52 +1s)Open 

Today is the Best Time in History to Start that Thing. You're Not Late.

I missed this insightful and uplifting post from +Kevin Kelly last year, You Are Not Late. In hindsight from 2015 the opportunities that lay in wait in 1985, ready to be turned into world-changing realities, were immense. If only we had known then what we know now. And yet, in 2045 we will look back on 2015 in exactly the same way. Transformative, world-changing opportunities exist, just waiting for you to grab them and turn them into reality. There has never been a better time to do this than today. You are never too late to begin. 

http://kk.org/thetechnium/2014/08/you-are-not-late/

#technium   #opportunity   #begin  

Today is the Best Time in History to Start that Thing. You're Not Late.

I missed this insightful and uplifting post from +Kevin Kelly last year, You Are Not Late. In hindsight from 2015 the opportunities that lay in wait in 1985, ready to be turned into world-changing realities, were immense. If only we had known then what we know now. And yet, in 2045 we will look back on 2015 in exactly the same way. Transformative, world-changing opportunities exist, just waiting for you to grab them and turn them into reality. There has never been a better time to do this than today. You are never too late to begin. 

http://kk.org/thetechnium/2014/08/you-are-not-late/

#technium   #opportunity   #begin  ___

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2015-04-12 15:20:19 (5 comments, 28 reshares, 63 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 15/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/04/artificial-kidney-membrane-nanoscale-3d.html

Artificial kidney membrane, tissue engineered gonads, nanotube computing, 3D imaging chip, Nanoscale 3D imaging, Simpler CRISPR, Maintaining youthful stem cells, Tactile manipulators, Acoustic cell isolation, Acoustic metamaterials. 

1. Living Artificial Kidney Membrane.
In a similar vein to recent efforts in microfluidics to develop “organs on a chip” artificial membranes can now be produced that are coated by a living monolayer of kidney cells http://phys.org/news/2015-04-kidney-membrane.html. The primary application the group is pursuing relates to kidney transplants and dialysis treatments by ultimately scaling the device up to achieve clinical relevance. One can imaging rolling layers of membraneswith ... more »

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 15/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/04/artificial-kidney-membrane-nanoscale-3d.html

Artificial kidney membrane, tissue engineered gonads, nanotube computing, 3D imaging chip, Nanoscale 3D imaging, Simpler CRISPR, Maintaining youthful stem cells, Tactile manipulators, Acoustic cell isolation, Acoustic metamaterials. 

1. Living Artificial Kidney Membrane.
In a similar vein to recent efforts in microfluidics to develop “organs on a chip” artificial membranes can now be produced that are coated by a living monolayer of kidney cells http://phys.org/news/2015-04-kidney-membrane.html. The primary application the group is pursuing relates to kidney transplants and dialysis treatments by ultimately scaling the device up to achieve clinical relevance. One can imaging rolling layers of membranes with relevant cells into tubes to form an artificial kidney or other organ system - artificial organs and tissue engineering needn’t be limited to conventional biological architectures. I also like the idea of controlled cell membranes in general; they might be programmed to mass produce any biological product of interest. 

2. Tissue Engineering: Artificial Testicles.
In related tissue engineering news we had an interesting article this week about the ongoing development of artificial testicles capable of producing functional sperm http://www.vice.com/read/the-science-of-artificial-testicles. The current (complex) device is designed to mimic the complex inner structure of testicles and the primary applications in mind are for aiding men struggling with infertility for a range of reasons to have children via IVF. The key here is engineering the right environment to naturally stimulate stem cells - convincing them that they are part of a testicle - to divide and differentiate into sperm cells, to take tissue engineering to the point of creating a sperm-making machine. 

3. Carbon Nanotube Computing.
Circuits made of carbon nanotubes take another step closer to fruition with a simple, scalable method to remove metallic carbon nanotubes from arrays and leaving the desired semiconducting nanotubes behind to do work http://phys.org/news/2015-04-purify-arrays-single-walled-carbon-nanotubes.html. Making defined arrays of nanotubes into circuits can already be done but until now making these circuits functional by removing metallic carbon nanotubes has not been possible. In related news carbon nanotube and polymer composites, inherently disordered bulk materials, can nevertheless be trained to produce a desired electronic output (mimicking a particular electronic circuit) as part of a process of materials evolution http://phys.org/news/2015-04-single-walled-carbon-nanotube-composites-great.html; understanding how these structures form might be very useful http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2015/0409-engineers-now-understand-how-complex-carbon-nanostructures-form/.   

4. Chip-Based 3D Imaging for Devices.
A new millimeter-scale silicon chip incorporates a nanophotonic coherent imager - in which each pixel is an independent interferometer able to measure both intensity and distance information - that works as part of a LIDAR system to generate 3D images of objects in realtime http://www.caltech.edu/news/new-camera-chip-provides-superfine-3-d-resolution-46425. These are just begging to be incorporated into smartphones, Kinect / Leap Motion devices, and autonomous vehicles to name a few; remember one of the major expenses on an autonomous vehicle is the LIDAR system - chips like this will slash these costs. I wonder if the chip might be used in a different set-up to emit rather than capture 3D images? 

5. Nanoscale Optical 3D Imaging.
In related 3D imaging news, but this time at the nanoscale, a new imaging technology combining cathodoluminescence and tomography allows the use of visible light to generate nanometer resolution three-dimensional images of nanoscale objects http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/april/nano-3d-imaging-040715.html. The technique takes many 2D images at many angles and uses algorithms to stitch these together to generate and identify the 3D structure of the object. There is a nice embedded video overview of the process. This is a nice new imaging platform that I’d expect to see used in many fundamental research investigations over time; the team quote applications in producing optimised and more efficient LEDs and photovoltaic materials. 

6. Simpler Mini CRISPR.
As if CRISPR couldn’t get any easier. The CRISPR gene editing toolkit has been expanded with a new Cas9 enzyme that is encoded by a gene that is only 75% of the size of the conventional Cas9 gene http://www.nature.com/news/mini-enzyme-moves-gene-editing-closer-to-the-clinic-1.17234. This makes the overall genetic package require to be inserted into cells that much smaller and that much easier / more effective to insert. This is particularly important for gene therapy approaches in which you typically need to package genes into a small virus particle. In proof-of-concept experiments the team used the new technique to successfully transfect the livers of mice and get a test gene into 40% of liver cells in one go - a pretty good result for somatic cell genetic modification. 

7. Maintaining Youthful Stem Cell Activity with Age.
New experiments in mice show that removing just two factors known as TIMP1 and TIMP3 (Tissue Inhibitors of MetalloProteinases) was enough to maintain tissue (breast tissue in this demonstration) in a youthful state in aged mice https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2015/04/loss-of-timp1-and-timp3-maintains-youthful-stem-cell-activity-in-aging-mice.php. With age tissue loses its ability to develop and repair due to a decline in the stem cell population. Removal of TIMP1 & 3 led to an expansion in the pool of stem cells, the maintenance of consistently high levels, and their remaining functional throughout the life of the mice, and all without an increased predisposition to cancer (which was originally predicted). I wonder when we might see the results of, e.g., RNAi knock-down of TIMP1 & 3 in humans?

8. Sensitive Robot Manipulators.
A couple of interesting advances in robotic hands enabling more sensitive manipulations this week. First, engineering new robotic hands that are much more touch sensitive by using touch sensors interacting with myriad different materials to build a “language” of touch that both a computer and human can understand and interpret http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_nation/robotictouch.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_51, with the hope this results in prosthetics that provide a genuine human touch experience to amputees. Second, the use of shape-memory alloys (wires) as muscle fibers in lightweight robotic and prosthetic hands and limbs http://www.kurzweilai.net/an-artificial-hand-that-can-respond-sensitively-thanks-to-muscles-made-of-shape-memory-wires and leveraging useful properties such as the highest energy density of all known drive mechanisms. 

9. Isolating Circulating Tumour Cells with Sound.
Building on work first demonstrated last year a group has developed an even better (20 times faster) microfluidic cell sorting chip powered by two acoustic transducers that produce a standing wave along the microchannel http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/sound-waves-detect-rare-cancer-cells-0406. It turns out that cancer cells and normal cells respond differently to the sound gradient due differences in compressibility and other factors. In tests 83% of cancer cells were isolated samples with as few as 1 cancer cell per 100,000 and blood samples from real cancer patients were successfully analysed. The order-of-magnitude improvement from last year makes the device clinically relevant. 

10. Acoustic Metamaterials.
On the topic of acoustic technology there were two interesting acoustic metamaterial advances this week http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/04/new-industrial-bubble-wrap-material-and.html. First, a bubble metascreen comprised of a 4mm thick rubber film with embedded bubbles can dampen sound and especially reflected sonar signals by 10,000 times - 100 times better than thought possible. Second, another acoustic metamaterial dubbed a phononic crystal can, when coated onto an object, cause sound waves hitting that object to flow around its surface without being reflected. 

Archive:_ http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/04/artificial-kidney-membrane-nanoscale-3d.html___

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2015-04-10 15:52:30 (22 comments, 39 reshares, 60 +1s)Open 

The Dehumanising Insanity of Prohibition

This is one of the best pieces I've read, certainly in recent times, about the war on drugs, drug decriminalisation, drug legalisation, drug addiction, prohibition, and psychology. It's a longish piece at about 10k words based on an interview with famed (infamed?) journalist Johann Hari regarding his recent book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. but well worth anyone's time. 

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/a-war-well-lost 

Key quotes:

Power concedes nothing without a struggle.

It’s not your morality and it’s not your brain. To a much larger degree than we’ve ever before appreciated, it’s your cage. Addiction is an adaption to your environment.

Anywhere in the developed world, people near you are being giving loads of heroin in hospitals[right] n... more »

The Dehumanising Insanity of Prohibition

This is one of the best pieces I've read, certainly in recent times, about the war on drugs, drug decriminalisation, drug legalisation, drug addiction, prohibition, and psychology. It's a longish piece at about 10k words based on an interview with famed (infamed?) journalist Johann Hari regarding his recent book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. but well worth anyone's time. 

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/a-war-well-lost 

Key quotes:

Power concedes nothing without a struggle.

It’s not your morality and it’s not your brain. To a much larger degree than we’ve ever before appreciated, it’s your cage. Addiction is an adaption to your environment.

Anywhere in the developed world, people near you are being giving loads of heroin in hospitals [right] now.

In the culture of terror created by prohibition, if you are prepared to push the moral limit a little bit further than the other guys, you gain a brief market advantage, because people will back off when they’re scared.

But ever since Prohibition we’ve known that the cure is worse than the disease. When you ban substances that people enjoy using so much that they’ll break the law to do it, you create a black market with huge profits. And since purveyors of illicit drugs have no legal way to secure their investment, the trade will be run by increasingly violent criminals. In a single stroke, therefore, prohibition creates organized crime and all the social ills attributable to the skyrocketing cost of drugs—addicts are forced to become thieves and prostitutes in order to afford their next fix.

What we do at the moment is take people who are addicted because they are isolated, distressed, and in pain, and inflict more isolation, distress, and pain on them in the hopes that it will make them stop.

You and I have probably got enough money in the bank that we could spend the next year drinking vodka and never stop. We could just be drunk all the time. But we don’t. And the reason we don’t is not because someone’s stopping us but because we want to be present in our lives. We’ve got relationships. We’ve got friends. We’ve got people we love. We’ve got books we want to read. We’ve got books we want to write. We’ve got things we want to do. Most of addiction is about not wanting to be present in your life.

We can understand why the Portuguese system works so well, because it’s all about reconnecting people with the collective, with the group, with the society, giving them a purpose.

#drugs   #addiction   #society  ___

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2015-04-08 14:52:48 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 33 +1s)Open 

Hiking St Mary Peak in the Flinders Ranges.

We made the 5 hour drive north to Wilpena Pound on Friday and spent a couple of nights with extended family staying in cabins in the Rawnsley Station Caravan Park just to the south. Wilpena Pound (https://www.google.com.au/maps/@-31.5573084,138.56399,22647m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en-GB) is probably the key feature in South Australia's Flinders Ranges and while it looks like an impact crater it has terrestrial origins. 

A small hike on Friday afternoon took us to Arkaroo Rock to see some old indigenous rock / cave paintings but the main feature was the hike on Saturday up to the tallest peak in the area, St Mary. I did the hike alone after an uncle and my brother-in-law pulled out, departing the visitor at about 9:40am and reaching the summit at about 12:15pm; after a 45 minute rest and enjoying the views I made it back by 3:20pm or... more »

Hiking St Mary Peak in the Flinders Ranges.

We made the 5 hour drive north to Wilpena Pound on Friday and spent a couple of nights with extended family staying in cabins in the Rawnsley Station Caravan Park just to the south. Wilpena Pound (https://www.google.com.au/maps/@-31.5573084,138.56399,22647m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en-GB) is probably the key feature in South Australia's Flinders Ranges and while it looks like an impact crater it has terrestrial origins. 

A small hike on Friday afternoon took us to Arkaroo Rock to see some old indigenous rock / cave paintings but the main feature was the hike on Saturday up to the tallest peak in the area, St Mary. I did the hike alone after an uncle and my brother-in-law pulled out, departing the visitor at about 9:40am and reaching the summit at about 12:15pm; after a 45 minute rest and enjoying the views I made it back by 3:20pm or so. 

The peak itself is only 1,170m, and the total distance was a little under 15km, which I covered in a little over 24,000 steps. Highest temperature was 27 - 28 degrees C. Consumed about 3.5 liters of water. 

I took the outer trail there and back to save time (will definitely do the inner trail next time) but the trail gets very steep after about two thirds of the way and at some points it becomes vertical and you really need to use your hands to clamber up. The steepness makes it quite tough going - much tougher than I had anticipated - and while I overtook many people going both ways I was utterly exhausted by the end of the day, to the extent of almost talking to, or cursing, myself towards the end. 

A few things of note:

* Cresting the saddle ridge and completing most of the initial vertical climb I was greeted by this view (main PhotoSphere for this post) and it was one of the highlights of the day. The PhotoSphere doesn't do it justice of course but the sight was truly breathtaking; it was stunning looking down into the crater of the pound and it was the first time ever that I've gazed out over a landscape and struggled to believe what my eyes were telling me. The far ridge on the other side just did not look real; so far away it looked fantastical. It looked awesome in the literal sense of the word. 

* Five minutes in one of my three water bottles had sprung a leak, soaking the bottom of my backpack and shorts. Fortunately the leak was pressure dependent and by carrying the thing the whole way I was able to benefit from the vast majority of the remaining water. 

* Taking the odd, rare break from hiking and just sitting and being still in the moment was a simple pleasure. No longer heaving and concentrating I was able to truly appreciate the the wild surroundings, the many different birds that appeared and chirped at each other that I hadn't heard before, the lizards that crawled from beneath rocks, the breeze, the variety of bushes and trees. 

* Hiking down the steep trail in the afternoon, exhausted, it was tempting to just plod along at a swift pace. I had to deliberately and consciously keep reminding myself to concentrate on exactly where I was placing my feet; the last thing I needed at that point was mindless carelessness resulting in a twisted or sprained ankle or worse. 

* I barely had a chance to enjoy the views upon reaching the summit, and instead grabbed my jacket from my backpack and used that as a pillow to lay down and rest on the rocks, content to enjoy the views later. Of course, it was sunny climbing up, and sunny climbing down, but when I was actually at the peak it became cloudy! Despite the clouds the views were spectacular and well worth the effort of hiking up there to begin with. You can literally see for hundreds of kilometers in every direction and again, while it doesn't do it justice I did grab a PhotoSphere up there https://www.google.com/maps/@-31.503654,138.552124,3a,75y,27h,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sbVK_q7nsADUAAAQfDPyR0w!2e0!3e11. The French tourists you can see giving me a funny look in that PhotoSphere seemed to be discussing in hushed French tones about what an idiot I looked like taking the image but I showed them the result and they thought it was pretty cool. Lunch was a hard boiled egg, fruit & nut trail mix, banana, apple, muesli bars, and a Ryvita crispbread peanut butter sandwich. 

* I hadn't been to Wilpena Pound in nearly 20 years and my memory had not served me well. I had expected it to be far more arid and barren than what it is. I was amazed at how green and heavily covered in trees and woods the area was, and discovered a new-found appreciation and at times awe for the natural beauty present here in my home state. 

Mark Bruce HikeView

For the first time I've taken all the PhotoSpheres I took along the hike and strung them together a la Google Streetview into a collection referred to as a "constellation", which can be accessed here: https://www.google.com/maps/views/collection/115624860057949518963/88c83c520b536922?gl=au. You get a preview pane above a map on the left, but to begin you need to click the upper left image of the collection to the right. This launches the first PhotoSphere and then you can scroll around until your cursor becomes an arrow, and click, you can zoom off to the next one and follow my trail along the path I took, looking around and checking out the scenery as you go. There are a total of 10 PhotoSpheres in this collection. 

#flindersranges   #wilpenapound   #photosphere  ___

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2015-04-08 10:54:11 (8 comments, 2 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

Recent Song Discoveries

Just a half dozen songs I've discovered relatively recently from artists I've never heard of before and really gotten into. As I've gotten older I've found it becomes quite difficult to discover new music to really get into and so, thinking others might be in the same boat I thought I'd share this little playlist.

As they say, there's no accounting for taste, and it might not be your thing but it'd be great if you could share a few recent (last six months or so) songs from relatively unknown groups that you've also gotten into. And which myself and others might too. 

For those that don't know, my favourite artist of all time is Maynard James Keenan and pretty much everything he turns his hand to. With Eminem in second place. But other than that my musical tastes are all over the place and include everything... more »

Recent Song Discoveries

Just a half dozen songs I've discovered relatively recently from artists I've never heard of before and really gotten into. As I've gotten older I've found it becomes quite difficult to discover new music to really get into and so, thinking others might be in the same boat I thought I'd share this little playlist.

As they say, there's no accounting for taste, and it might not be your thing but it'd be great if you could share a few recent (last six months or so) songs from relatively unknown groups that you've also gotten into. And which myself and others might too. 

For those that don't know, my favourite artist of all time is Maynard James Keenan and pretty much everything he turns his hand to. With Eminem in second place. But other than that my musical tastes are all over the place and include everything from Beethoven's Fur Elise through to Fear Factory's Replica. ___

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2015-04-06 14:56:03 (4 comments, 17 reshares, 42 +1s)Open 

Craig Venter - DARPA Keynote.

Very interesting 25 minute keynote talk by Craig Venter at a recent DARPA session. Informal and engaging, Venter weaves through the recent history, current status, and future directions of DNA sequencing, genomics, and synthetic biology.

You'll be surprised at the current capabilities of a very few organisations building out the edges of what is possible. Recall Gibson: The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed yet and project volumes, cost reduction, miniaturisation, maturation, and decentralisation. 

One of a number of highlights includes a working device able to read a specification and print out on demand DNA, RNA, proteins, etc, and which they have tried to wrap in security to prevent "printing" ebola for example. But this device already exists; it's only a matter of when, not if, you'll... more »

Craig Venter - DARPA Keynote.

Very interesting 25 minute keynote talk by Craig Venter at a recent DARPA session. Informal and engaging, Venter weaves through the recent history, current status, and future directions of DNA sequencing, genomics, and synthetic biology.

You'll be surprised at the current capabilities of a very few organisations building out the edges of what is possible. Recall Gibson: The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed yet and project volumes, cost reduction, miniaturisation, maturation, and decentralisation. 

One of a number of highlights includes a working device able to read a specification and print out on demand DNA, RNA, proteins, etc, and which they have tried to wrap in security to prevent "printing" ebola for example. But this device already exists; it's only a matter of when, not if, you'll have a device in your home able to program and synthesise novel living systems, vaccines, and biomolecules. 

#syntheticbiology   #craigventer   #genomics  ___

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2015-04-05 15:07:51 (11 comments, 37 reshares, 73 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 14/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/04/bacterial-batteries-bacterial-digital.html

Bacterial batteries, Magnetic biosensors, Bacterial digital memory, 3D NAND chips, Magnetic BCI compass, DNA-protein lattice, Engineering chlorophylls, Machine vision advances, Brain function imaging, Molecular membrane transport. 

1. Bacterial Magnetic Batteries
Interesting new work on iron metabolising bacteria show that they use microscopic magnetite particles as a type of battery, loading and unloading electrons during the course of metabolism http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150326151654.htm. The cycle was repeated many times with iron-oxidising bacteria removing electrons during the day and iron-reducing bacteria adding electrons during the night to recharge the particles. The group speculatew... more »

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 14/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/04/bacterial-batteries-bacterial-digital.html

Bacterial batteries, Magnetic biosensors, Bacterial digital memory, 3D NAND chips, Magnetic BCI compass, DNA-protein lattice, Engineering chlorophylls, Machine vision advances, Brain function imaging, Molecular membrane transport. 

1. Bacterial Magnetic Batteries
Interesting new work on iron metabolising bacteria show that they use microscopic magnetite particles as a type of battery, loading and unloading electrons during the course of metabolism http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150326151654.htm. The cycle was repeated many times with iron-oxidising bacteria removing electrons during the day and iron-reducing bacteria adding electrons during the night to recharge the particles. The group speculate whether such a system might be used for toxic environmental cleanup, and whether other (industrially useful) bacteria might be engineered to do the same. I wonder whether this system can be co-opted as an implantable bio-battery for various devices? 

2. Magnetic Biosensors
On the topic of intersecting biology and magnetism a new biosensor has been developed that comprises a cylinder of hydrogel sandwiched between two small magnets in a device measuring only two micrometers http://www.nist.gov/pml/electromagnetics/20150327_gem_biochemical_sensor.cfm. The hydrogel is chemically altered to be sensitive to the parameter you wish to measure; in this example the hydrogel contracted or expanded depending on the pH. The expansion and contraction alters the distance between the two magnetic disks and this produced a change in the magnetic profile that was able to be determined via NMR or MRI readouts from anywhere - even deep within - the body. Future work will explore a range of functionalised hydrogels that respond to different parameters as well as different magnetic disk materials that produce different magnetic profiles and so might be used simultaneously with other sensors. 

3. Bacterial Digital Memory
This recent synthetic biology development involved engineering bacteria to be able to record data of events by writing and later reading DNA http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cbic.201500061/abstract. Using a DNA recombinase enzyme to power this cellular memory system integrates single stranded DNA into the bacterial genome in response to external signals, which can be read at a later time to determine whether and how often those signals - such as light in this case - were present. The memory storage was reversible and is a significant improvement over previous efforts. What signals might be useful to record inside your own cells for later read-out? 

4. High Density 3D NAND Memory Moves into Production
Intel and Micron announced that they are moving their new 3D NAND memory chip architecture into production this year http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/hardware/intel-and-micron-move-3d-nand-into-production. The architecture is based on a 32-layer design that should enable the equivalent of flash storage USB drives with 3.5 terabytes of storage or a standard 2.5 SSD with 10 terabytes of storage. I remember having a 4MB memory stick for on of my first digital cameras. Similar 3D chip efforts from Samsung, Toshiba, and SanDisk suggest that 3D memory chips are a reality and will soon be found in our devices. 

5. Brain Computer Interface Compass
Blind rats, which had a geomagnetic compass and microstimulator plugged into their brains via a brain-computer-interface, were able to incorporate this new location information and navigate a maze nearly as well as normal sighted rats http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-04/cp-wgc032615.php. The research team quoted that: this demonstrated that the mammalian brain is flexible even in adulthood--enough to adaptively incorporate a novel, never-experienced, non-inherent modality into the pre-existing information sources. In related news yet another brain computer interface allowed a man to control a prosthetic hand via thought http://www.uh.edu/news-events/stories/2015/March/0331BionicHand.php. 

6. DNA Self-Assembled Protein Lattice
Building on work for self-assembling nanoparticle lattices via complementary DNA binding the same group has demonstrated the ability to self-assemble protein lattices made out of one or two different proteins http://phys.org/news/2015-04-dna-protein-lattice.html. In the proof-of-concept study DNA was attached to two well-studied enzymes via click chemistry; with DNA radiating from their surfaces the enzymes maintained their normal structure and active enzymatic sites. When formed into a lattice the enzymes maintained their activity albeit with an expected reaction rate reduction due to the reactivity of the core of the lattice being dependent on molecular diffusion through the lattice. This is a pretty exciting platform for further development of new materials and applications.

7. Synthesising Molecules to Absorb any Solar Wavelength
One of the most thorough studies of chlorophyll molecules aimed at understanding from first principles how these structures absorb particular wavelengths of light has resulted in new capabilities in designing and synthesising new molecules able to absorb any desired visible wavelength http://phys.org/news/2015-04-scientists-molecules-absorb-sunlight-oranges.html. Give the group a compound found in a plant or bacterium and they can predict what wavelength it absorbs; tell the group you need a chlorophyll-like molecule able to absorb a specific wavelength and they can design and synthesise it for you. A next, but more complex step, would be to alter the synthetic enzymes in bacteria or plants to have them produce the modified pigments. 

8. Machine Vision Technology Moves into Ever-More Areas
Machine vision technology is being cast into an ever-wider net of applications and in just this week alone we had another three interesting examples. First, the adaptation of machine vision systems developed for autonomous driving to home security applications able to distinguish between your pet (for example) and an intruder http://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/consumer-electronics/gadgets/autonomous-vehicle-technologies-migrate-to-the-internet-of-things. Second, the adaptation of machine vision systems to identify key anatomical features to assist surgeons in the near term (and robotic surgeons in the long?) http://www.wired.com/2015/03/google-robot-surgery/. Finally, the power of machine vision in studying and classifying galaxies http://www.technologyreview.com/view/536411/how-machine-vision-is-reinventing-the-study-of-galaxies/. 

9. Rapid Imaging of Brain Function
A new photoacoustic microscopy method is able to detect and record blood flow, blood oxygenation, and oxygen metabolism inside living brains orders of magnitude faster than ever before https://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/rapid-imaging-living-brain.aspx. Spatial resolution also gets a big boost; in the study a mouse brain was mapped blood vessel by blood vessel and the team believe in future the technique will allow analysis of individual cells and complement fMRI. In related brain news a wikipedia of sorts for neurons has been launched http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2015/march/wikipedia-for-neurons.html. 

10. Molecular Membrane Transport
I like this approach to transporting water molecules across membranes using modular molecules termed “aquafoldamers” that form a regular helix through the membrane and creat a channel through which individual water molecules can flow through http://phys.org/news/2015-04-powered-proton-gradient-world-first-helical.html. This system is driven by a proton gradient that significantly lowers the pressure difference required to move water through the channels. While the team quote next generation water filtration and desalination membranes as applications I’m wondering whether the basic building blocks can be chemically altered to be selective for a range of small molecules and not just water. 

Archive: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/04/bacterial-batteries-bacterial-digital.html___

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2015-04-05 02:31:22 (8 comments, 0 reshares, 34 +1s)Open 

Hiked up St. Mary Peak yesterday. 

Hiked up St. Mary Peak yesterday. ___

2015-04-01 13:11:57 (24 comments, 0 reshares, 24 +1s)Open 

I swear I've lost count of the number of times I've met an Australian and they've asked me which country I'm from. Happened again today o_0

I swear I've lost count of the number of times I've met an Australian and they've asked me which country I'm from. Happened again today o_0___

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2015-03-31 13:48:51 (2 comments, 3 reshares, 36 +1s)Open 

My PhotoSpheres Just Passed 2 Million Views.
My latest PhotoSphere, shown below, from a recent trip to Second Valley a little over an hour's drive away.

I've been avidly taking PhotoSpheres every decent chance I get ever since the format launched about two and a half years ago. It seems much longer to me than it actually is but in that time I've managed to upload to Google Maps 424 distinct PhotoSpheres from all over the world that have now amassed over 2 million views. I even made a decent "How to" video on capturing, editing, and uploading PhotoSpheres, which is viewable here for those interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UozBwluWW0M

To celebrate this little milestone I'm going to link to some of my favourites below that you might enjoy. If you have uploaded some of your own PhotoSpheres please feel free to link to a couple in the... more »

My PhotoSpheres Just Passed 2 Million Views.
My latest PhotoSphere, shown below, from a recent trip to Second Valley a little over an hour's drive away.

I've been avidly taking PhotoSpheres every decent chance I get ever since the format launched about two and a half years ago. It seems much longer to me than it actually is but in that time I've managed to upload to Google Maps 424 distinct PhotoSpheres from all over the world that have now amassed over 2 million views. I even made a decent "How to" video on capturing, editing, and uploading PhotoSpheres, which is viewable here for those interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UozBwluWW0M

To celebrate this little milestone I'm going to link to some of my favourites below that you might enjoy. If you have uploaded some of your own PhotoSpheres please feel free to link to a couple in the comments. 

Self Directed

If you would prefer to explore my collection more freely and discover some surprising gems for yourself you can visit my Google Maps Views profile here https://www.google.com/maps/views/profile/115624860057949518963?gl=au&po=1&pv=2&tab=1&cn=0. Note, clicking "Public on Google Maps" and selecting "Public with Location Info" will show others that are hidden due to stitching errors. Also, you can expand the map by visiting this link https://www.google.com/maps/views/explore?gl=au&uid=115624860057949518963&vm=3&pv=2&tab=1&cn=0&ll=-0.91511,76.749415&bd=-62.447843,-3.934178,61.589157,157.433009&z=3 and then you can zoom into and out of various parts of the world (Click "Satellite" at bottom for satellite view) to find individual PhotoSpheres (red dots) to click and expand for viewing. Note that not all are shown on the map at once unfortunately and more become visible as you zoom in. Also note that these PhotoSpheres appear as media along the bottom media bar when in the default Google Maps and viewing the relevant area of the world. 

Places to visit include Germany (Berlin, Potsdam, Munich, Dachau, Neuschwanstein castles, Chiemsee), Czech Republic (Prague), Austria (Vienna, Melk, Salzburg, Lakes District), Italy (Venice), Switzerland (Zurich, Appenzell, Lucerne, Jungfraujoch), UAE (Dubai), China (Hong Kong), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Northern Borneo), Singapore, and Australia (Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Kangroo Island, Whyalla, South Australia in general). 

If PhotoSpheres came out years earlier that collection would definitely include Tasmania, New Zealand, Tokyo, Rome, Paris, London, New York, and Oregon. 

Some of My Favourites
Couldn't help but slip past my limit of 10!

1. Antiquarium, The Residenz, Munich, Germany
https://www.google.com/maps/@48.140701,11.578925,3a,75y,25.55h,88.52t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1saTADrckNYeMAAAQIt3POrA!2e0!3e11

2. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany
https://www.google.com/maps/@47.557898,10.749734,3a,75y,14.93h,114.73t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sERMh8sudLocAAAQIt3PIMQ!2e0!3e11 - highest individual view count. 

3. Lakes District, Western Austria
https://www.google.com/maps/@47.736661,13.450733,3a,75y,150.55h,82.99t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1s0aJQXJcRvKkAAAQIt3vbIw!2e0!3e11

4. Above Salzburg, Austria
https://www.google.com/maps/@47.800511,13.038831,3a,75y,11.9h,75.77t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1s1vNvQKJm89oAAAQIt3PX4A!2e0!3e11

5. Melk Abbey on the Danube, Austria
https://www.google.com/maps/@48.228017,15.329447,3a,75y,189.93h,103.19t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sD2jSeX-Xt3YAAAQIt3Qj6A!2e0!3e11

6. St. Mark's Square, Venice, Italy
https://www.google.com/maps/@45.434162,12.338539,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sbWXDhvsKQ6wAAAQIt3ZtKw!2e0!3e11

7. Hoher Kasten, Alps, Eastern Switzerland
https://www.google.com/maps/@47.283734,9.48506,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1si4f_XDOh8MAAAAQIt3Z3yQ!2e0!3e11

8. Ice Tunnels, Jungfraujoch Glacier, Switzerland
https://www.google.com/maps/@46.547717,7.982259,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sNU_KoR4hIUAAAAQIt3YltA!2e0!3e11

9. Burj Khalifa, Dubai
https://www.google.com/maps/@25.196596,55.276451,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1s5R2MXPCY0IsAAAQIt0DJmQ!2e0!3e11

9. Victoria Peak, Hong Kong
https://www.google.com/maps/@22.271364,114.150299,3a,75y,20h,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1s6cCyIZ-J16AAAAQYEk_07g!2e0!3e11

10. Bunga Raya Beach, Gaya Island, Malaysia
https://www.google.com/maps/@6.028375,116.018439,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sGP-6T9I656wAAAQJOB8Mgg!2e0!3e11

11. Atop Kuala Lumpur Tower, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
https://www.google.com/maps/@3.15293,101.703994,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sOtlGWcja61EAAAQJOB8MYA!2e0!3e11

12. Supertree Grove Catwalk, Singapore
https://www.google.com/maps/@1.282029,103.86365,3a,75y,249h,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1s3pWxNoWRPtAAAAQYETUMjA!2e0!3e11

13. Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne, Australia
https://www.google.com/maps/@-37.830518,144.973402,3a,75y,86h,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1ssljTIFf1lgAAAAQfCLqL1Q!2e0!3e11

14. Remarkable Rocks, Kangaroo Island
https://www.google.com/maps/@-36.048178,136.756808,3a,75y,62h,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1s9pX7EkfR3q0AAAQWmoRMig!2e0!3e11

15. Off the Rocks, Port Elliot, Australia
https://www.google.com/maps/@-35.533687,138.690185,3a,75y,132.51h,85t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sAEK5fHIfJ7gAAAQJOORRDg!2e0!3e11 - one of the most precarious captures.

16. Middle of Fricken Nowhere, Wallaroo, Australia
https://www.google.com/maps/@-33.917117,137.649893,3a,75y,19h,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1s6FlJ0dbKy1MAAAAGO0W-Hg!2e0!3e11 - middle of a salt pan on a 40+ degree Celsius day. 

#photosphere   #world   #googlemaps  ___

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2015-03-29 11:25:40 (5 comments, 32 reshares, 70 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 13/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/nanoparticles-stimulating-neurons.html

Nanoparticles stimulating neurons, Nanotubes stimulating neurons, Bioprocessing aptamer hydrogels, Controlling circadian rhythms, Making CRISPR better, DNA nanofabrication, Festo’s insect robots, Magnetic heat & sound, Nanolasers & photonic guides, Plasma shielding. 

1. Stimulating Neurons with Gold Nanoparticles.
A promising new technique for precisely stimulating neurons has been developed that involves coupling gold nanoparticles to other molecules that specifically bind to neuronal sodium channels without blocking them http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/03/12/new-technique-uses-light-take-genetics-out-optogenetics. When irradiated with light of a specific wavelength the gold nanoparticles heat upand... more »

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 13/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/nanoparticles-stimulating-neurons.html

Nanoparticles stimulating neurons, Nanotubes stimulating neurons, Bioprocessing aptamer hydrogels, Controlling circadian rhythms, Making CRISPR better, DNA nanofabrication, Festo’s insect robots, Magnetic heat & sound, Nanolasers & photonic guides, Plasma shielding. 

1. Stimulating Neurons with Gold Nanoparticles.
A promising new technique for precisely stimulating neurons has been developed that involves coupling gold nanoparticles to other molecules that specifically bind to neuronal sodium channels without blocking them http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/03/12/new-technique-uses-light-take-genetics-out-optogenetics. When irradiated with light of a specific wavelength the gold nanoparticles heat up and this causes the channels to open up and initiate a signalling cascade; antibodies were also used to bind the particles to different neuronal channels. The particles also remained bound to the cell surface and the neurons didn’t suffer reduced signalling efficacy after prolonged and repeated artificial activation. Referred to as optogenetics without the genetics, future applications might include artificial vision restoration. A very flexible platform with different nanoparticles perhaps responding to different wavelengths of light and so potentially allowing simultaneous addressable signals; I wonder if they can signal output in a similar fashion too? Other nanoparticles sensitive to radio waves have also been shown to open up the blood brain barrier http://www.nouvelles.umontreal.ca/udem-news/news/20150325-nanorobotic-agents-open-the-blood-brain-barrier-offering-hope-for-new-brain-treatments.html. 

2. Carbon Nanotube Fibers Interface with the Brain.
In related neuronal stimulation news, carbon nanotube fibers have been developed that allow for intimate two-way brain stimulation and measurement and have proven superior to metal electrodes http://news.rice.edu/2015/03/25/carbon-nanotube-fibers-make-superior-links-to-brain-2/. The fibers measure one quarter the width of a human hair, terminate at a functional tip about the width of a neuron, and are made by wet-spinning millions of carbon nanotubes together. The strength and conductivity of the fibers are certainly attractive, but what convinced the group to pursue this avenue was their flexibility, softness, and biocompatibility. The plan is to develop the platform into deep-brain-stimulation applications at first before exploring other possibilities. 

3. Bioprocessing with Hydrogels and DNA Aptamers.
A new microfluidic system comprises flexible fins capped with DNA aptamers that are embedded in a hydrogel able to respond to different stimuli https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2015/03/catching-and-releasing-tiny-molecules. When a biological solution is run through the chip, the aptamers bind to the target molecule they were designed for, and when the stimulus is applied the hydrogel moves the aptamers into a different environment to release the molecules; thus specific molecules can be quickly sorted and separated from a complex solution. The proof-of-concept involved pulling the thrombin enzyme from a mixture of proteins. The hydrogel can be made sensitive to temperature, light, electric/magnetic fields, ionic gradients, etc while the aptamers can be specifically targeted and respond to pH, temperature, and salt. Seems like a nice, modular, and extensible technology with lots of applications. 

4. Controlling Circadian Rhythms and Improving Sleep Cycles.
A couple of interesting studies this week provided insights into the control of circadian rhythms in the brain and improving sleep, a summary of both can be found here http://www.kurzweilai.net/neuroscientists-identify-key-cell-type-in-the-brain-that-controls-body-clock. First, a key group of neurons were identified in the suprachiasmatic nucleus that produce a signalling neuropeptide called neuromedin S, which is both necessary and sufficient for the control of circadian rhythms in the animal; this provides an interesting target to hack. Second, the latest evidence for artificial light, particularly blue light, having a negative impact on our sleep and health has been demonstrated and makes a strong case for limiting the exposure of such light before sleep. 

5. Increasing CRISPR Efficiency Eightfold.
A new development of the CRISPR genetic engineering system results in the system being eight times more efficient at inducing genetic modifications in cells https://www.mdc-berlin.de/44343169/en/news/2015/20150325-mdc_researchers_greatly_increase_precision. The advance was made possible by introducing genetic elements that inhibit one of two methods of DNA strand repair, which are (i) homology-directed repair in which introduced genetic elements contain flanking DNA used as a template to splice the cut, and (ii) non-homologous end-joining in which free DNA ends are joined without a template and tiny deletions occur. Basically, the new system inhibits (ii) from occurring and so making it far more likely that (i) will work to incorporate your genetic change of interest. In tests up to 60% of all cells were modified in one go with the new system, something that holds promise for effective and widespread somatic cell engineering at some point. 

6. DNA Origami & DNA Modular 3D Building Units.
DNA origami and DNA as a programmable molecular building material took another important step forward this week with a new approach to joining and modular 3D DNA building units by snapping together complementary shapes http://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/short/article/32303/. This group has been a powerhouse in pushing DNA origami technology over the years. The new work programs DNA to self-assemble into 3D building blocks that are precisely shaped to fit together by incorporating the short-range binding mechanism known as nucleobase stacking that can snap multiple blocks together; currently the platform allows three different binding mechanisms to be used. The team used this platform to build micrometer sized filaments and nanoscale machines with moving parts, including nanoscale actuators able to switch or cycle between states orders of magnitude more often and more stably than any prior DNA origami technology. 

7. Festo Robotics Continue to Impress.
Festo is an incredible innovative company that continually produces amazing robots that have previously included a kangaroo, seagull, dragonfly, air jellies, and others. This week it showed off its latest insectoid additions, cooperative ant robots with 3D printed bodies and electronics are able to operate autonomously or work together to achieve goals, and truly elegant butterfly robots that really have to be seen to be appreciated http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/industrial-robots/festo-bionic-ants-and-butterflies - be sure to check the videos. In related robotics news a new Amazon contest hopes to spur faster and more efficient robotics automation in warehouses http://www.technologyreview.com/news/536086/amazon-robot-contest-may-accelerate-warehouse-automation/. 

8. Controlling Heat and Sound with Magnets.
Vibrations through 3D materials, known as acoustic phonons that propagate both heat and sound, have been shown for the first time to possess magnetic properties that allow them to be manipulated with magnetism http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/materials/for-first-time-reseachers-demonstrate-heat-and-sound-are-magnetic. In one proof-of-concept the team demonstrated they could reduce the amount of heat flowing through a semiconductor by 12%. Using the technique heat and sound waves can be steered magnetically, which is an interesting result and a new phenomenon to manipulate. But the experimental setup was precise and it isn’t obvious how immediate applications might be developed. 

9. Nanolasers and Photonic Guides.
One of the most efficient, easy to build, and compatible nanolasers ever build has been fabricated out of a monolayer sheet of tungsten diselenide atop a standard optical cavity base that is hoped to enable the device to more easily integrate and speed-up modern electronics http://www.kurzweilai.net/a-nanolaser-and-a-bendable-light-material-promise-to-speed-up-microelectronic-devices. Also, mentioned in the same article in related news is the fabrication of a 3D printed spatially-variant photonic crystal able to bend light around tight 90 degree corners without the losses that would occur in conventional fibers and other materials; yet another enabling photonic feature able to benefit improvements in modern electronics. 

10. Dynamically Generated Plasma to Dampen Shockwaves.
Boeing has developed (or at least filed a patent on) a technology able to dynamically generate plasmas able to mitigate or prevent damage from shockwaves caused by nearby explosive blasts for example http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/military/boeing-files-patent-for-electromagnetic-arc-generator-to-protect-against-explosive-shockwaves. The system detects an explosion nearby and calculates when and where-from the shockwave will arrive, then uses an electromagnetic arc generator (and a LOT of energy) to heat a specific region of air in the path of the shockwave into a plasma able to attenuate or absorb the shockwave. Patents don’t get granted without demonstrating enablement and I do wonder if we’ll get to see this system successfully demonstrated. 

Archived: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/nanoparticles-stimulating-neurons.html___

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2015-03-29 01:17:39 (14 comments, 4 reshares, 38 +1s)Open 

Kayaking with Dolphins, Shipwrecks, and along Mangrove Estuaries.
One minute video of highlights I managed to capture.

We went kayaking yesterday off of Garden Island in Adelaide's northwest with Adventure Kayaking SA in a small group that included Jarrod, our guide, from Hawaii. I think this was only the second time in my life that I've kayaked and it was a really great experience. Highlights included:

* Spending time in the dolphin sanctuary and seeing lots of dolphins going about their business. Although I didn't get much on camera I did manage to just capture a curious fellow who broke the water about 3m from our kayak and proceeded to swim underneath the whole group. 

* Visiting the two main wrecks in the "ships graveyard", the Santiago and the Dorothy H. Sterling -... more »

Kayaking with Dolphins, Shipwrecks, and along Mangrove Estuaries.
One minute video of highlights I managed to capture.

We went kayaking yesterday off of Garden Island in Adelaide's northwest with Adventure Kayaking SA in a small group that included Jarrod, our guide, from Hawaii. I think this was only the second time in my life that I've kayaked and it was a really great experience. Highlights included:

* Spending time in the dolphin sanctuary and seeing lots of dolphins going about their business. Although I didn't get much on camera I did manage to just capture a curious fellow who broke the water about 3m from our kayak and proceeded to swim underneath the whole group. 

* Visiting the two main wrecks in the "ships graveyard", the Santiago and the Dorothy H. Sterling - see http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/our-places/Heritage/Visiting_heritage_places/Ships_graveyards/Locations/Port_Adelaide. And although I took photos I forgot to take any decent video. Jarrod was a great guide here and provided a rundown of some interesting history. 

* Exploring the narrow mangrove estuaries, which was probably the main highlight for me. The main estuary we explored and which is in the video was Angus Inlet - see https://www.google.com.au/maps/@-34.800251,138.5350088,261m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en-GB. I had no idea that such a vibrant and untouched ecosystem existed right next to an industrial estate. It was peaceful, calm, and a little eerie, with clean water and dense mangrove trees thrusting their exposed roots from the mud and draping long branches over the creek that you had to duck under. 

#adelaide   #kayaking   #hiddentreasure  ___

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2015-03-25 10:30:14 (37 comments, 51 reshares, 125 +1s)Open 

I've Been Wearing These Every Night for Two Weeks.

A couple of weeks ago I started a little experiment with the light exposure my eyes received before going to bed. I can't remember exactly what the trigger was but I recall an article loosely about the effect of blue light before going to sleep and the impact that had on the quality of sleep and sleep hygiene in general. 

The theory is that the blue light emitted by artificial lighting before bed, such as from the screens of electronic devices including TVs, computers, and phones, stimulates the brain like early-morning light, triggering alertness and altering fundamental circadian rhythms. Over the last few years I have become hypervigilant about pursuing healthy sleep hygiene habits and quality uninterrupted sleep, because bad sleep results in a build-up of molecular waste products in the brain, poor / handicapped... more »

I've Been Wearing These Every Night for Two Weeks.

A couple of weeks ago I started a little experiment with the light exposure my eyes received before going to bed. I can't remember exactly what the trigger was but I recall an article loosely about the effect of blue light before going to sleep and the impact that had on the quality of sleep and sleep hygiene in general. 

The theory is that the blue light emitted by artificial lighting before bed, such as from the screens of electronic devices including TVs, computers, and phones, stimulates the brain like early-morning light, triggering alertness and altering fundamental circadian rhythms. Over the last few years I have become hypervigilant about pursuing healthy sleep hygiene habits and quality uninterrupted sleep, because bad sleep results in a build-up of molecular waste products in the brain, poor / handicapped cognition, and a general brain phenotype that might best be described as prematurely aged (see: http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/index.cfm?id=3956).

I decided to invest in two pairs of glasses designed to block blue wavelengths of light:
1. Generic Uvex safety eyewear (pictured) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000USRG90/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and 
2. BluBlocker sunglasses http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DE0MVD2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The BluBlockers are obviously more stylish but they let in external light from the sides / periphery and so the generic - and much cheaper - glasses, which wrap around the head are better and provide better light blocking properties.

My experience has been very positive. In general I've been donning the glasses about an hour or two before bed and only take them off after the lights have been turned off. I'd say that 99% of the time at this time of day I am consuming information or media through a bright screen of one type or another, most often my home computer. Yes, image quality as regards colour saturation and richness suffers.

But I cannot remember falling asleep so quickly, nor sleeping so solidly - not that I'd classify my sleep beforehand as bad at all, just room for improvement. I feel fresher and more active in the morning and more alert during the day. A proper experiment will demand that I stop using the glasses for two weeks in order to compare the effects. The only drawback I've noticed, aside from the obvious loss of visual richness while wearing the glasses, is that my performance while trying to play first-person-shooters like Titanfall suffers considerably, which is interesting in and of itself. 

Finally, most importantly, and the reason for this post is that by coincidence I came across this article today http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2015/03/lighting-adjustments-necessary-for-better-health-researchers-say/ about the latest experiments and research that suggests adjustments to modern lighting are necessary for better sleep and health by restoring our bodies' natural circadian rhythms - essentially preventing blue light from suppressing our natural production of melatonin. 

Another option I wouldn't mind exploring in future is house-wide Philips Hue lighting automatically set up to not emit blue light after a certain time of night. And emitting extra blue light in the mornings of course. 

This is just my experience and if you suffer from poor sleep and, like me, are immersed in a screen of some sort most nights before bed, you might want to conduct this little experiment yourself. The glasses are only $10 after all. 

#sleep   #light   #circadianrhythm  ___

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2015-03-23 13:33:03 (16 comments, 0 reshares, 32 +1s)Open 

I Did A Lot of Rooting on the Weekend.

I was looking forward to the Android 5.1 OTA update that is starting to roll out to devices but with a rooted Nexus 6 running a TWRP custom recovery there was no way I was ever going to get this update automatically. For the first time in a long time I had to manually side-load the minor OS update. Thought I may as well do the other rooted devices lying around too. 

Two Nexus 7's
* Went with my old Nexus 7 first, just in case I stuffed something up. Which I did. Had to unroot, flash a complete 5.1 stock image instead of just the update, factory reset with complete wipe, re-root, and set up as new device with app downloads and Tasker profiles. 
* Elise's unrooted Nexus 7 updated itself to 5.1 nicely, then rooted, factory reset and wipe, set up as new recommissioned device with downloads and Tasker profiles. ... more »

I Did A Lot of Rooting on the Weekend.

I was looking forward to the Android 5.1 OTA update that is starting to roll out to devices but with a rooted Nexus 6 running a TWRP custom recovery there was no way I was ever going to get this update automatically. For the first time in a long time I had to manually side-load the minor OS update. Thought I may as well do the other rooted devices lying around too. 

Two Nexus 7's
* Went with my old Nexus 7 first, just in case I stuffed something up. Which I did. Had to unroot, flash a complete 5.1 stock image instead of just the update, factory reset with complete wipe, re-root, and set up as new device with app downloads and Tasker profiles. 
* Elise's unrooted Nexus 7 updated itself to 5.1 nicely, then rooted, factory reset and wipe, set up as new recommissioned device with downloads and Tasker profiles. 
* Both Nexus 7s (instead of just mine) now running as automated digital photoframes in high-traffic areas of house. 

Nexus 5
* Stuffed this one up too. Again, had to unroot, flash a complete 5.1 stock image instead of just the update, factory reset with complete wipe, re-root, and set up as new device. 

Nexus 6
* Finally realised what I was doing wrong: had to uncheck that one little checkbox in the first image below so that the device didn't connect as a media device. Box checked allowed everything else: rooting, flashing, installing a complete image, etc but for some reason not the OTA update, which needed this unchecked. Bizarre. 
* Side-loaded the 5.1 OTA update smoothly as planned.
* But only after unrooting and going back to a stock recovery of course.
* Re-root and done.

I appreciate the new volume controls and a few other tweaks. But mainly, for the Nexus 6, the performance improvements are major. And noticeable; using the device it is much smoother and feels like an even newer, snappier device. Some details are here http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/03/a-look-at-android-5-1-speed-security-tweaks/. 

The whole process took ages and was a general pain in the ass. Even though I was being lazy using Wugs Nexus Toolkit (I've used cmd + adb before too). Issues with drivers, waiting for gigabytes of app updates to download, gigabytes of stock images and updates to download, boot-looping at least once, etc. But everything is good and now I know better for next time. 

Sorry about the title; I just couldn't resist :P___

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2015-03-22 14:03:09 (5 comments, 31 reshares, 65 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 12/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/consciousness-is-global-clip-3d.html

Consciousness is global, CLIP 3D printing, Neuromorphic optical computing, Silicon photonic switches, DNA molecular transport, Magnetised graphene, More drone advances, Robotic arms, Targeted nucleic acids, Nanoparticles click. 

1. Network Theory and Global Consciousness.
Recent brain imaging studies strongly suggest that consciousness, our rich conscious experience, is indeed a global rather than local phenomenon in the brain http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2015/03/213466/. Network or graph theory was used in this case to examine the links between various parts of the brain that were related to conscious awareness; in this case subjects reported when they were aware of a small disk flashed briefly on a screen while anf... more »

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 12/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/consciousness-is-global-clip-3d.html

Consciousness is global, CLIP 3D printing, Neuromorphic optical computing, Silicon photonic switches, DNA molecular transport, Magnetised graphene, More drone advances, Robotic arms, Targeted nucleic acids, Nanoparticles click. 

1. Network Theory and Global Consciousness.
Recent brain imaging studies strongly suggest that consciousness, our rich conscious experience, is indeed a global rather than local phenomenon in the brain http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2015/03/213466/. Network or graph theory was used in this case to examine the links between various parts of the brain that were related to conscious awareness; in this case subjects reported when they were aware of a small disk flashed briefly on a screen while an fMRI scanner imaged the activity of their brains. The data suggested that the whole of the brain became more functionally connected following reports of awareness. This would also appear to provide experimental support for Tononi’s Integrate Information Theory of Consciousness. 

2. CLIP Optical 3D Printing Technology.
If you missed this one this week you were living under a rock - everyone was sharing and watching the amazing new 3D printing technology unveiled by Carbon3D this week http://3dprint.com/51566/carbon3d-clip-3d-printing. CLIP stands for Continuous Liquid Interface Production and involves the use of a projector to programmably solidify discrete regions of a UV-curable liquid resin as the growing part is pulled out of the resin bath. This is forming solid structures in three dimensions continuously, without a print-head, and is 25x to 100x faster than conventional approaches on the market. A potentially transformative technological evolution, only now emerging from stealth-mode after heavy venture backing. Oh, and it does 1 micron resolution too; be sure to watch the videos if you haven’t already. In related news commercial interests develop open-source algorithms for better 3D printing https://www.llnl.gov/news/america-makes-taps-lawrence-livermore-ge-develop-open-source-algorithms-3d-printing. 

3. Brain-Like Computing with Light.
Microofibers produced from chalcogenide glasses possess a range of optical properties that allow them to be used to replicate a range of equivalent neuron and brain functions and signal protocols http://www.southampton.ac.uk/mediacentre/news/2015/mar/15_45.shtml#.VQo1Qv4mmyc. These can be thought of as photonic neurons that might one day enabled neuromorphic hardware with ultrafast signal transmission speeds, higher bandwidth and lower power consumption than their biological and electronic counterparts. The paper concluded: “we implemented an optical axon in an amorphous metal-sulphide microfiber that enables photonic synapses to perform analogues of fundamental neurophysiological functions of the mammalian central nervous system.” 

4. Large-Scale Silicon Photonic Switches.
In related photonics news the largest-ever silicon photonic switch has been developed, which enables higher bandwidth and lower energy losses http://www.osa.org/en-us/about_osa/newsroom/news_releases/2015/largest-scale_silicon_photonic_switch_to_be_presen/. Previous photonic switches incorporated just 64 switching elements but the new design manages 2,500 and 10k should be feasible. Existing architectures would never be able to scale to this level due to optical losses, but the new architecture circumvents this problem by incorporating new MEMS switching element that can switch states 1,000 times faster than existing MEMS switches. Applications include computing, networking, data transmission and routing. 

5. Tethered DNA Origami for Molecular Transport.
Advancing on the work of DNA origami “walkers” to transport molecular cargo across a surface this latest work simplifies and accelerates the process by using a tethered DNA origami molecule that is free to swing around and facilitate rapid molecular transport across surfaces in conjunction with natural diffusions processes http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=39476.php. The concept here is to use partial compartmentalisation that is able to rectify and utilise brownian motion to advantage, and the embodiment was a 30nm atomically-precise DNA arm swinging a molecular cargo around on a 90nm x 60nm platform.  Future hurdles to overcome include interfacing with the outside world and other applications include structured DNA sensing and computing arrays. 

6. The Benefits of Magnetised Graphene.
A simple and robust method for magnetising graphene with hydrogen has been developed http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2015/nrl-researchers-pattern-magnetic-graphine. The magnetism can be controlled by adding or limiting the amount of hydrogenation, and a commercial electron-beam process can then etch away hydrogen to produce precisely defined magnetic patterns on the graphene. Applications include magnetic data storage of course, but it will be quite a stretch to see if they can actually achieve the million-fold improvement over current hard drives that they claim as “possible”. Tightly packed magnetic graphene might also make for much more powerful permanent magnets and this would also be worth exploring. In related news graphene quantum dots get better http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/optoelectronics/new-production-twist-for-graphene-quantum-dots-opens-up-applications. 

7. More Drone Advancements.
A few of interesting drone developments this week. First, drones can now be used to build high-resolution 3D scans of landmarks and larger areas http://www.technologyreview.com/news/535596/high-resolution-3-d-scans-built-from-drone-photos/, and as drone traffic and capabilities increase this might lead to high resultion 3D maps of the entire planet. Second, a new hybrid gas-electric drone has 13 times the range of a battery electric drone http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/03/hybrid-gas-electric-drone-has-13-times.html, with a flight time of 2.5 hours and a range of 100 miles, which is pretty damn amazing when you think about it. Finally, leading on from last week’s cockroaches, other researchers are flying beetles via remote control http://www.gizmag.com/remote-control-giant-flower-beetles/36588/. 

8. Easy-to-Program Robotic Arms Take Another Step.
A couple of important robot arm advances this week. First, Universal Robotics launched its new UR3 robotic arm in three different sizes http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/industrial-robots/universal-robots-ur3-robotic-arm. This is an easy to program multi-articulated robotic arm for a wide range of repetitive tasks that is safe to work near humans. Rethink Robotics also followed up its previous Baxter robot by launching the new Sawyer Robot which is again an easy to program multi-articulated robotic arm (unlike Baxter’s two) that incorporates a range of improvements to make it smaller, faster, stronger, and more precise http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/industrial-robots/sawyer-rethink-robotics-new-robot. It’s great to see competition heating up in this area and ongoing technical improvements delivering ever-better robotic capabilities. 

9. Targeted Nucleic Acid Drugs.
Nanoparticles (of gold or lipid in this case) that are coated with 100+ strands of DNA of specific sequence have been termed “spherical nucleic acids” and recently demonstrated very effective immunomodulatory properties http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2015/03/spherical-nucleic-acids-set-stage-for-new-paradigm-in-drug-development.html. The DNA is designed to target different cell receptors and in the this “spherical” form proves to be one of the most simple, efficient, and potent immunomodulators to be developed, with significant promise against cancer and autoimmune disorders. And also this week we had specific microRNAs being used in tissue regeneration, effectively - and temporarily - boosting cell proliferation to take the place of damaged tissue http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2015/03/morrisey/. 

10. Nanoparticulate Click Chemistry.
A tough choice for number ten this week, but I went with the deceptively simple and innocuous click chemistry technique developed for easily and controllably joining nanoparticles together and to other surfaces http://phys.org/news/2015-03-click-modern-chemistry-bonds-nanoparticles.html. Click-chemistries are usually used to precisely control the chemical connection of one molecule to another as part of a defined synthetic step, but in this work the concept was adapted to nanoparticles and allowing the quick and permanent bonding of nanoparticles together and to solid substrates. Think ordered arrays of different nanoparticles, even quantum dots, in defined patterns working to perform some function. 

Archived: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/consciousness-is-global-clip-3d.html ___

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2015-03-19 13:00:57 (15 comments, 4 reshares, 52 +1s)Open 

Absolute Velocity Thought Experiment.

Here's a little thought experiment that I had a while ago for you to critique. 

You should all be somewhat familiar with the general concepts of absolute and relative velocity in the sense that (i) in a featureless Universe there would be no way to tell if you were moving or stationary - the question doesn't make sense, and (ii) if you and a friend were some distance apart in this Universe and apparently stationary there would be no way to tell if you were really stationary or moving at constant velocity along parallel vectors. 

But

In the latter situation you both still have mass and so will both still exert a gravitational attraction one towards the other - and if you each had a laser and a mirror you could measure this pretty precisely. However if you were travelling along parallel vectors at somev... more »

Absolute Velocity Thought Experiment.

Here's a little thought experiment that I had a while ago for you to critique. 

You should all be somewhat familiar with the general concepts of absolute and relative velocity in the sense that (i) in a featureless Universe there would be no way to tell if you were moving or stationary - the question doesn't make sense, and (ii) if you and a friend were some distance apart in this Universe and apparently stationary there would be no way to tell if you were really stationary or moving at constant velocity along parallel vectors. 

But

In the latter situation you both still have mass and so will both still exert a gravitational attraction one towards the other - and if you each had a laser and a mirror you could measure this pretty precisely. However if you were travelling along parallel vectors at some velocity (what would that even mean in a featureless Universe) then Relativity shows that the mass of both of you will have increased - bigger increase for bigger velocities up to an infinite increase at the speed of light - and so you will both exert a stronger gravitational force on the other and therefore fall towards each other at a greater rate . . . certainly more than you would at rest. And with an accurate enough laser and mirror you should be able to infer your velocity or lack thereof.

This also works in our real Universe, so long as you put both you and your friend in a featureless box that is travelling through space (or at rest) and which allows no transfer of information or energy from the outside. Think about it. 

In the former situation, again if you have a laser and a mirror, you could place the mirror in front of or to the side of you and point your laser at it. If you are moving Relativity shows us that your mass will cause an inherent frame dragging effect that will compress space towards you in the direction of motion and expand it behind you and if you have an accurate enough laser you should be able to measure this effect and infer your velocity. 

But this can't be, can it? Haven't we always been taught that you can't infer your velocity from an independent reference frame; that you need another reference frame as . . . reference? What's going on here? 

I came up with this little thought experiment paradox when I was preparing the black hole post a little while ago. Doing some digging to see if others had also posed this question I came across this interesting page where a guy discussed this at some length: http://www.perkel.com/nerd/relativity.htm 

It is worth a read even if you don't agree with some of the conclusions and examples, but his reasoning was that in order to resolve this apparent paradox you had to abandon absolute mass and absolute gravity. I.e. the mass and gravitational field possessed by an object is a relative value that depends on your reference frame, just as distance and time are relative values. There is actually quite a bit to this - the more you dig the more there is to consider. 

#relativity   #observers   #gravity  ___

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2015-03-15 13:08:32 (15 comments, 31 reshares, 82 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 11/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/editing-mammalian-memories-clearing.html

Editing mammalian memories, Clearing sensecent cells, Interesting nanobacteria, Better cyborg cockroaches, Printing custom molecules, AFM neuron imaging, Magnetic brain stimulation, Flexible colour changes, Silicon fullerane, Farm in a box.

1. Editing Memories While Animals Sleep.
This week researchers demonstrated how to controllably modify certain memories stored in the brains of mice while they sleep http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/biomedical/bionics/how-to-insert-a-memory-into-the-brain-of-a-sleeping-mouse. They accomplished this by (i) implanting electrodes into the hippocampus of the mouse and measuring the electrical activity while the mouse explored a new environment, correlating particular patterns of... more »

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 11/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/editing-mammalian-memories-clearing.html

Editing mammalian memories, Clearing sensecent cells, Interesting nanobacteria, Better cyborg cockroaches, Printing custom molecules, AFM neuron imaging, Magnetic brain stimulation, Flexible colour changes, Silicon fullerane, Farm in a box.

1. Editing Memories While Animals Sleep.
This week researchers demonstrated how to controllably modify certain memories stored in the brains of mice while they sleep http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/biomedical/bionics/how-to-insert-a-memory-into-the-brain-of-a-sleeping-mouse. They accomplished this by (i) implanting electrodes into the hippocampus of the mouse and measuring the electrical activity while the mouse explored a new environment, correlating particular patterns of activity with particular locations in the environment, and (ii) when the mouse slept and these particular patterns were again activated as part of sleep activity, the researchers stimulated another set of electrodes in another part of the brain responsible for reward and pleasure. This directly modified the memory and resulted in the mouse seeking out only those areas of the environment that were now associated with reward and pleasure. 

2. Senolytic Drugs for Clearing Senescent Cells.
Senescent cells that have stopped dividing accumulate with age and accelerate aging and healthspan in many animal models is enhanced by removing these cells. Two compounds - the cancer drug dasatinib and and natural compound quercetin - have been tested for this purpose in mice and resulted in a significant boost to healthspan http://www.scripps.edu/news/press/2015/20150309agingcell.html. The mice benefited from a range of benefits including improved cardiovascular function, better exercise endurance, reduced osteoporosis, lower frailty, and typically with just a single dose - and with the benefits lasting seven months. Very keen to see this tested in humans as soon as possible. 

3. Confirming the Existence of Nanobacteria.
For the first time the existence of nanobacteria has been conclusively proven with demonstration of nanobacteria isolation, imaging, and sequencing http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/02/27/ultra-small-bacteria/. These functional bacterial species, which probably rely on other organisms for nutrients to some extent, were isolated from groundwater and found to measure just 200nm or less across; 150 of these could fit inside an E. Coli bacterial cell, and over 100,000 or more might fit inside a human cell. I read this and think of 100,000 little DNA computers churning along in just one of my cells; incidentally the genomes of the nanobacteria measure about one million basepairs in length. Might be a nice little hardware template for engineering to perform other functions within our bodies, entering and exiting cells - also wonder what overlap there is to Craig Venter’s minimal cell? 

4. Improved Interfacing and Control of Cyborg Cockroach Robots.
The development of cyborg insects took another step this week with a new system that improves over the method of inserting electrodes into insect antennae http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/12/105/20141363. The system still utilises a “backpack” containing communications, power, and computation, but now involves inserting electrodes far more intimately into the prothoracic ganglia of the prototype cockroaches, and allows remote operation and locomotion control. Limitations include line-of-sight operation but the group hopes to overcome this by incorporating additional sensors and on-board directional error-correction. 

5. 3D Printing Customised Small Molecules.
A new automated 3D printer is able to synthesise small molecules in a modular fashion - such devices are also known as chemputers or chemprinters http://www.hhmi.org/news/3d-printer-small-molecules-opens-access-customized-chemistry. As part of the proof-of-concept the team used a common set of chemical building blocks to controllably synthesise 14 distinct classes of small molecules. The work drew inspiration from cellular synthesis processes, and resulted in collection of hundreds of different, simple chemical building blocks that can be combined together repeatedly to produce more complex molecules; a company has been founded to commercialise. The promise is to one day have a chemical printer in your house able to synthesise any molecule on demand. In related news another new set of chemistries may expand these possibilities even further http://phys.org/news/2015-03-meta-technique-possibilities-molecular.html. 

6. Dynamic Imaging of Neurons with AFM.
A new long-tip atomic force microscopy technique has been developed for live-cell imaging at extremely high resolutions http://phys.org/news/2015-03-scientists-atomic-microscopy-imaging-nanoscale.html. The new device was used to produce images and movies of nanometer-scale morphological changes occurring in living cells, and showing structural changes in cells after exposure to insulin, as well as growing protrusions from hippocampal neuronal cells. Pretty mind-blowing stuff - movies of phenomena I never expected to be able to see. 

7. Stimulating the Brain with Magnetic Nanoparticles.
A new brain stimulation technique involves injecting iron oxide nanopaticles measuring 22 nm in diameter into the brain and then exposing specific regions to focused alternating magnetic fields http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/magnetic-brain-stimulation-0312. The applied magnetic field causes the nanoparticles to heat up, which quickly leads to activation of nearby neurons. This was a basic proof-of-concept study that originally emerged from cancer research that was using the nanoparticles to kill cancer cell in related regions; the nanoparticles can be heated to an amount sufficient to activate the neurons without harming them, and indeed have been used as MRI contrast enhancement agents for many years. A lot more work to be done however. 

8. Precise Forces on New Materials Produce Precise Colour Changes.
A new flexible materials reflects different wavelengths of light depending on how it is stretched and flexed http://www.osa.org/en-us/about_osa/newsroom/news_releases/2015/engineers_create_chameleon-like_artificial_%E2%80%98skin%E2%80%99/. Taking inspiration from how some insects are coloured via nanoscale structural features that reflect certain wavelengths of light, this new material is a thin layer of silicon etched with rows of ridges that has been embedded into a silicone film. The ridges only reflect certain wavelengths of light and by flexing the material the distance between the ridges changes, as does the wavelength of light reflected - with 83% efficiency and able to convert green light to red for example. Further developments should improve this and allow for some pretty interesting applications. 

9. Mimicking Carbon Structures with Silicon: Fullerane.
The two-dimensional silicon analogue of graphene - known as silicene - has been previously demonstrated and is a hot area of research. Now silicon analogues of other three-dimensional carbon molecules have been demonstrated http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/semiconductors/materials/carbon-buckyballs-have-a-new-silicon-rival. Christened “fullerane” this molecule is comprised of a lone chlorine ion inside a cage of 20 silicon atoms that are attached to and surrounded by a halo of 12 other silicon atoms that are linked to a trio of chlorine atoms. The interesting thing here is that the chlorine-silicons provide functionalisation sites that can allow linking of other molecules or indeed to joining the silicon cages together in two- and three-dimensional arrays.

10. Latest Farm in a Box.
The latest farm-in-a-box builds on other farm-in-a-shipping container projects to create a very attractive unit http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/farm-box-produces-acres-worth-crops-shipping-container.html. The system uses 90% less water and 80% less fertiliser in a complete hydroponic growing and monitoring system that houses 2,800 growing spots in its 30 square meters, which might produce as much food as an entire acre of farmland. I’ve long been a fan of modular, automated food growing solutions such as this that, with the help of a few more technological iterations and cost reductions might really take off to enable more distributed, decentralised, and personal food production.  

Archived: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/editing-mammalian-memories-clearing.html ___

2015-03-09 11:33:57 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 25 +1s)Open 

Our Personal Content Horizon.

+iPan Baal's post reminded me of an article I read on cracked.com a few years ago that stated that with regards to the Internet, and I quote, "Titties are post-scarcity." http://www.cracked.com/article_18817_5-reasons-future-will-be-ruled-by-b.s..html and this crude, flippant quote is really just a humorous stand-in for content in general.  

Making the analogy between the Internet and our Universe, which has the subset that we are familiar with, the Observable Universe, which is bordered by the ever-expanding Cosmological Horizon beyond which we can never see . . . one might postulate a Content Horizon as enclosing that subset of content (or information) that one might ever be able to consume, that subset itself being a tiny Observable Bubble within the accelerating expansion of the Universe of Content that will ever exist. 
more »

The size of the internet - it's content - grows so quickly that it is literally impossible for any human to see all of it.

That is, at the speed you currently browse, it wouldn't even be possible to browse all the internet sites and their pages, even if you only saw them for a fraction of a second, because new information is being put up faster than you can navigate to it.

This means, in effect, that some portion of the internet is actually growing away from you and will never be seen by you - unless somehow we upgrade ourselves and manage to become faster than the pace the internet grows (for a period of time, but will then see the pace of the net grow even faster).

This also means that the internet (saying nothing for quality) is essentially a place where you can experience endless content. No matter how fast you surf, no matter how many hours you spend on it, you couldn't possibly see all of it (in your current state) and so you live in a world without end - a world that grows bigger the longer you live in it.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that despite it's size, vast swathes are wastelands (just like the 'real' world with it's deserts and wastelands) - and thus we find ourselves populating the densest areas, both in people and content. Just like we do in real life (cities).

It's more interesting here (for me) - but if I wanted, I could find a corner of the internet where no one could ever find me - just as I could find a corner of the world where no one could find me.

It's amazing just trying to visualize that.

World without end. It's here, inside this machine. Right now.___Our Personal Content Horizon.

+iPan Baal's post reminded me of an article I read on cracked.com a few years ago that stated that with regards to the Internet, and I quote, "Titties are post-scarcity." http://www.cracked.com/article_18817_5-reasons-future-will-be-ruled-by-b.s..html and this crude, flippant quote is really just a humorous stand-in for content in general.  

Making the analogy between the Internet and our Universe, which has the subset that we are familiar with, the Observable Universe, which is bordered by the ever-expanding Cosmological Horizon beyond which we can never see . . . one might postulate a Content Horizon as enclosing that subset of content (or information) that one might ever be able to consume, that subset itself being a tiny Observable Bubble within the accelerating expansion of the Universe of Content that will ever exist. 

Regarding content and information-based resources in general online, not all such resources are increasing at the same rate of course. But as iPan points out the web as a whole certainly is increasing far faster than any human could ever hope to observe. I guess that is why we should be grateful for the machines we have built to go and observe "all" of it for us, like little interstellar probes shot out into the darkness of space to record and catalog what they find, reporting back to help narrow down the list of locations that are worthy of our attention and giving us personal Content Horizons that are hopefully filled with more worthwhile things than they otherwise would be. But we have our limits and there will be false negatives, things that we would have liked to see had we known they existed that were otherwise blocked from view.  

The proposed corner of the Internet that one might inhabit where none will find you is like an intergalactic void betwixt the vibrant network of gaseous galactic filaments. 

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2015-03-08 10:26:29 (11 comments, 25 reshares, 62 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 10/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/virtual-simulated-mouse-mind-controlled.html

Virtual simulated mouse, Mind controlled flight, Tensegrity robot, Amazing drones, Printable skin sensors, Biological quantum criticality, Conducting microbial nanowires, CRISPR germline engineering, Quantum error correction, Graphene. 

1. Simulated Mouse Brain in Virtual Mouse Body
A new neurorobotics platform developed by the Human Brain Project involves a single simulation that houses both a model mouse brain and model mouse body that interact with each other https://www.humanbrainproject.eu/-/a-simulated-mouse-brain-in-a-virtual-mouse-bo-2. To build the virtual mouse brain the team integrated data from the Allen Brain Institute and the Blue Brain Project, which included the positions of the 75 millionn... more »

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 10/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/virtual-simulated-mouse-mind-controlled.html

Virtual simulated mouse, Mind controlled flight, Tensegrity robot, Amazing drones, Printable skin sensors, Biological quantum criticality, Conducting microbial nanowires, CRISPR germline engineering, Quantum error correction, Graphene. 

1. Simulated Mouse Brain in Virtual Mouse Body
A new neurorobotics platform developed by the Human Brain Project involves a single simulation that houses both a model mouse brain and model mouse body that interact with each other https://www.humanbrainproject.eu/-/a-simulated-mouse-brain-in-a-virtual-mouse-bo-2. To build the virtual mouse brain the team integrated data from the Allen Brain Institute and the Blue Brain Project, which included the positions of the 75 million neurons in a mouse brain plus neuron shapes, sizes, and connectivity patterns, and mapped this to different parts of the mouse body. This is a prototype of course, a simplified version with just 200,000 neurons, but still very exciting to see such a platform demonstrated and especially to see it develop into the future. 

2. Intimate Mind Control Over Plane Flight
A woman with electrodes implanted into her brain who previously demonstrated the ability to control a robotic arm by thinking, has now demonstrated the ability to fly a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter simulator with her thoughts http://defensetech.org/2015/03/02/this-woman-flew-an-f-35-simulator-with-her-mind/. The team claims an important distinction: in this case the woman wasn’t thinking about controlling a joystick or robotic arm, but rather more naturally thinking about controlling the plan directly, in a seemingly far more intuitive fashion. If true this marks a fairly significant development for seamless brain computer interfaces. 

3. A Whole Bunch of Freaking Amazing Robots & Drones
First, check out this amazing tensegrity robot developed by NASA, called the Super Ball Bot, and consisting of an array of rods connected by an array of cables http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/military-robots/nasa-super-ball-bot. Check out the video; this thing looks ungainly but comes with a range of design benefits and I’ve been waiting to see more tensegrity principles incorporated into robotics for a while now. The latest robotics Video Friday is also a gem http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/humanoids/video-friday-drones-3d-printed-arm-atrias-biped, with my favourites being first-person-view drone racing crashes, “weaponised” drone dog fights, robotic Oculus Rift surrogate telepresence, and the Taurus II telepresence manipulation system. 

4. More Drones: Bug Vision & Object Tracking
Leading on from some of the cool drone demonstration videos of existing capabilities in the last item I couldn’t help but include some new drone technological developments from this week. First, the development and demonstration of drones with biomimetic insect vision capable of autonomous navigation without on-board inertial control systems http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/robotics/aerial-robots/a-drone-with-bug-vision; the system is powered by optic-flow sensors that measure changes in the surrounding environment. Second, Perceptiv’s Shift technology represents a new level in autonomous drone autopilot capabilities for easy-to-use and seamless tracking of moving objects and smooth, stabilised video recording http://www.forbes.com/sites/frankbi/2015/02/25/perceptivs-shift-kit-helps-amateur-drone-pilots-shoot-professional-quality-video/; the team is working on advanced object-sense-and-avoid technology. Be sure to check out the video. 

5. Printable Skin Sensors
New conductive bio-inks have been developed that can be applied with an ordinary pen to create sensors on a variety of surfaces including human skin and leaves, and which can measure the presence of different molecules http://www.gizmag.com/bio-ink-sensors/36363/. Using fairly standard materials, in the demonstrations so far the inks could measure glucose beneath the skin and pollutants on leaves provided a reading device is brought in contact with the sensor. In related news a new flexible sensor material has been developed called iSkin intended for people to wear as multi-purpose customisable computer touch interfaces https://embodied.mpi-inf.mpg.de/research/iskin/. 

6. The Edge of Conduction: Quantum Criticality in Biological Molecules
A new discovery seems to show that most biomolecules are quantum critical conductors whose electronic properties are precisely tuned to the transition point between a metal and an insulator https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/the-origin-of-life-and-the-hidden-role-of-quantum-criticality-ca4707924552. The electronic states of these molecules are balanced between conduction and insulation and typified by unpredictable currents that flow in avalanches whose size can vary significantly. The insight was enabled by new molecular measurement and modelling tools able to analyse the charge and energy distribution, which revealed that a few biomolecules are conductors and a few are insulators but the vast majority are quantum critical conductors, which was a significant surprise, considered statistically very unlikely and implying that these properties were selected by evolution. A fascinating result and implications. 

7. Conducting Microbial Nanowires
In news perhaps related to biological quantum criticality we have the latest experimental evidence suggesting that protein-based microbial nanowires do indeed possess metal-like conductivity http://phys.org/news/2015-03-theory-debate-microbial-nanowires.html. There has been a lot of debate over the last few years whether this is indeed the case. But if this is indeed true then the promise is that these protein-based conductive nanowires are now a tool that might be added and engineered into other cells in order to perform useful functions for example, converting chemical energy into electricity, using electricity to power related or re-engineered enzymes such as artificial photosynthesis, and interfacing with our electronic technologies and devices. 

8. Riding the Slope Towards Germline Engineering
This week we had a fascinating article exploring the rise of CRISPR technology and the fact that it is the easiest germline engineering tool we have ever developed http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/535661/engineering-the-perfect-baby/. Germline engineering refers to altering the genetic material that will develop into an embryo and subsequent human baby, whether for purposes of fixing disease-causing mutated genes, or for making genetic enhancements. This is already being done in animals, will soon be done in monkeys, and is a matter of when not if it will be done in humans, and could well form a standard part of IVF procedures; a number of companies are already pursuing opportunities in this space that are already tinkering with human egg cells. Personally, I believe we have a moral obligation to correct disease-causing genes for new people if it is possible to do so, and I support the pursuit of human enhancement using these technologies for a range of reasons within certain constraints. 

9. Google’s Quantum Computing Error Correction
Research supported by Google has resulted in the development of the ability to program qubits to detect certain types of quantum error and prevent these errors from ruining a quantum calculation http://www.technologyreview.com/news/535621/google-researchers-make-quantum-computing-components-more-reliable/. The proof-of-concept only used nine qubits, but successfully demonstrated the ability to monitor and prevent bit-flip errors (a 1 flips to a 0) caused by environmental noise from contaminating the calculation. Future work will focus on other errors caused by environmental noise such as phase alterations and also demonstrate error correction larger arrays of qubits. 

10. Some Interesting Graphene Developments
First, graphene nanoribbons formed into a three dimensional aerogels turn out to be excellent catalysts for fuel cells http://news.rice.edu/2015/03/02/aerogel-catalyst-shows-promise-for-fuel-cells/. Second, when graphene is stretched or strained, external electric and magnetic fields can precisely control and switch the movement of electrons that exhibit almost photon-like behaviour in graphene http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/materials/electrons-are-snake-charmed-across-graphene. Third, graphene seems to form one of the most efficient thermionic energy conversion materials ever discovered, in which a heat source evaporates electrons that are collected on a condenser anode http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=39283.php. Finally, modified buckminsterfullerene might produce high-energy buckybomb explosive materials http://phys.org/news/2015-03-buckybomb-potential-power-nanoscale-explosives.html. 

Archived: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/virtual-simulated-mouse-mind-controlled.html ___

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2015-03-07 07:54:00 (6 comments, 0 reshares, 39 +1s)Open 

Two Liters of Fresh Juice

- 2 pineapples
- 1 beetroot
- 2 lemons
- 4 oranges
- 4 green apples
- 4 large carrots

Delicious when chilled. We make a different one every weekend; last weekend was a surprisingly refreshing green juice with spinach. This juice is only frothy on top - I've only just given it a stir and will skim most of the froth off. The colour of this juice (beneath the froth) is dominated by the smallest ingredient by volume, the beetroot. The two of us usually finish this over 2 days. 

Two Liters of Fresh Juice

- 2 pineapples
- 1 beetroot
- 2 lemons
- 4 oranges
- 4 green apples
- 4 large carrots

Delicious when chilled. We make a different one every weekend; last weekend was a surprisingly refreshing green juice with spinach. This juice is only frothy on top - I've only just given it a stir and will skim most of the froth off. The colour of this juice (beneath the froth) is dominated by the smallest ingredient by volume, the beetroot. The two of us usually finish this over 2 days. ___

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2015-03-03 12:25:11 (6 comments, 3 reshares, 49 +1s)Open 

Brain in a robot FTW!

I've often thought that given the simulation abilities and virtual worlds we will create in future it is likely, at some point, that we will get to explore and re-live a great many different lives; both possible forks of our own journey, and those of others past, future, and fantastical. 

Perils of being tied in half dimension of time.___Brain in a robot FTW!

I've often thought that given the simulation abilities and virtual worlds we will create in future it is likely, at some point, that we will get to explore and re-live a great many different lives; both possible forks of our own journey, and those of others past, future, and fantastical. 

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2015-03-01 09:12:19 (21 comments, 28 reshares, 58 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 09/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/dna-nanotubes-injected-hydrogels-super.html

DNA nanotubes, Injected hydrogels, Super atomic bonds, Quicker multicore chips, DeepMind plays games, DNA minicircle applications, Optogenetic pain control, Superatom superconductors, 5G at 1Tbps, New agricultural tools. 

1. Self-Assembled DNA Nanotubes
Continuing the development and evolution of DNA origami techniques we saw the demonstration of a new method of directed DNA self-assembly to produce DNA nanotubes http://www.mcgill.ca/channels/news/building-tailor-made-dna-nanotubes-step-step-243039. The new method adds modular block subunits iteratively, results in fewer errors, and by incorporating fluorescent tags the group were able to observe the addition of successive blocks to the nanotube. The prototype... more »

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 09/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/dna-nanotubes-injected-hydrogels-super.html

DNA nanotubes, Injected hydrogels, Super atomic bonds, Quicker multicore chips, DeepMind plays games, DNA minicircle applications, Optogenetic pain control, Superatom superconductors, 5G at 1Tbps, New agricultural tools. 

1. Self-Assembled DNA Nanotubes
Continuing the development and evolution of DNA origami techniques we saw the demonstration of a new method of directed DNA self-assembly to produce DNA nanotubes http://www.mcgill.ca/channels/news/building-tailor-made-dna-nanotubes-step-step-243039. The new method adds modular block subunits iteratively, results in fewer errors, and by incorporating fluorescent tags the group were able to observe the addition of successive blocks to the nanotube. The prototype DNA nanotubes constructed with the technique reached about 20 units, or 450nm in length. I imagine such structures being used as atomically precise scaffolding in future. 

2. Drug Delivery via Injected Self-Healing Hydrogel
A new self-healing hydrogel comprised of a mesh of nanoparticles and polymer strands can be implanted into patients simply by injecting through a syringe http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/self-healing-nanogel-drug-delivery-0219. Such gels might carry one or more drugs at a time that are released at a controlled rate over a defined period of time; the prototype performed successfully in mice and released both a hydrophobic and hydrophilic drug over several days. I’d also be interested to see if such a gel could be loaded with functional cells - either bacterial or modified versions of the patients own - and protect such cells from the immune system as they respond to the environment and produce useful biochemical factors.

3. Confirmation of Metastable Innershell Molecular States
Metastable Innershell Molecular States were a theoretical prediction of short-lived molecules formed by high-energy collisions and bound together by deep electrons in the inner, as opposed to outer, shell or orbital. Bond strengths for these short-lived molecules are up to 1,000 times stronger and lengths 100 times shorter than normal molecules, and their dissociation would produce high-energy X-rays http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metastable_inner-shell_molecular_state. New work seems to confirm that these entities do in fact exist http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/02/confirmation-of-ultra-high-energy.html. Possible future applications include high intensity X-rays, advanced lithography, superexplosives, and inertial fusion.

4. Boosting the Speed of Muticore Chips
A new scheduling technique distributes data and computation throughout multicore chips with such efficiency that a test 64 core chip realised a computational speed increase of 46% and a power consumption decrease of 36% https://gigaom.com/2015/02/20/mit-researchers-claim-they-have-a-way-to-make-faster-chips/. The advance addresses problems in communication and memory access in increasingly parallel systems by trying to co-locate data and the associated computation. That’s a pretty decent contribution; one piece of work from one team produces the equivalent of an additional full year of Moore’s Law type increases. 

5. Google DeepMind Learns to Play Many More Games
Originally demonstrating the ability to independently learn to play and master a couple of very simple computer games, the team behind Google-acquired DeepMind has successfully developed the system further to the point where it has now taught itself to play and master a much wider range of more complex 1980s Atari games http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/robotics/artificial-intelligence/google-ai-learns-classic-arcade-games-from-scratch-would-probably-beat-you-at-them. The system, known as a deep Q-network, the result of the evolution of deep learning techniques, and running on a single GPU-equipped desktop computer achieved impressive results in the games. The team next hope to address requirements for sophisticated exploration and long-term planning, and plan to move onto games from the 1990s. 

6. Cancer Detection and Cell Manipulation with DNA Minicircles
DNA minicircles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minicircle) are short plasmid derivatives about 4,000 basepairs long able to function as transgenic elements to get DNA inside cells, but lack bacterial DNA and so less likely to be recognised as foreign, and can also be made to replicate or not (and degrade) in the host cell. By injecting into mice DNA minicircles (in a carrier), that encode a gene only active during embryonic development, and controlled by a promoter region that is only active during embryonic development and in most (all?) cancer cells (never in healthy adult cells), researchers have caused mice with cancer (but not those without) to express a protein that can be easily detected in blood within two days to diagnose the presence and approximate amount of cancer http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2015/02/customized-dna-rings-aid-early-cancer-detection-in-mice.html. Other applications include producing fluorescent proteins to image cancer cells directly, using different elements able to respond & manipulate different cells behaviour in different ways, and ideally via oral delivery. 

7. Controlling Pain via Optogenetics
By shining specific wavelengths of light onto the anterior cingulate cortex of mice brains modified by optogenetics (certain neurons producing light-sensitive channel proteins) researchers were able to controllably stimulate inhibitory neurons to drastically reduce the experience of pain for the mice http://www.uta.edu/news/releases/2015/02/mohanty-pain-inhibition.php. This was far more effective than electrode-based stimulation, which leads to activation of both inhibitory and excitatory neurons involved in these circuits. The group has also built up considerable expertise in near-infrared two-photon stimulation to allow deeper and more precise targeting and activation of optogenetically modified neurons. 

8. Superconductivity in Superatoms
Superatoms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superatom) made of a homogenous cluster of aluminium have been found to form cooper-pairs and superconduct at a temperature of 100 Kelvin http://news.usc.edu/76293/these-superconductors-are-just-getting-warmed-up/. Contrast this to bulk aluminium, which superconducts at 1 Kelvin. Another impressive feat demonstrated by the group was the ability to construct superatoms with a defined number of atoms, from 32 all the way up to 95 atoms and to precisely probe the electron energy levels of each. The hope is that further research on other types of elemental superatoms might reveal far higher superconducting temperatures, always striving for room temperature, and fabricating tracks of connected superatoms on circuits might enable nanoscale superconducting paths for a range of applications. See also superatom crystals http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2013/06/artificial-superatoms-new-periodic-table. 

9. 5G Cellphone Speeds of 1 Terabit per Second
New prototype wireless transmitters and receivers were demonstrated for future 5G networks that successfully facilitated data transfers of 1 terabit per second over a distance of 100m http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/02/5g-cellphone-wireless-speeds-of-1.html. The group ultimately hope to bring the end-to-end latency of the system down below one millisecond. This compared to Ofcom, which hopes to have 5G networks offering 50 Gpbs across the UK by 2020. 

10. A Trio of Agricultural Developments
There were a few interesting agricultural projects this week. First, vertical farming continues to spring up around the world with a new facility next to a Wyoming parking lot called Vertical Harvest able to produce 37,000 pounds of greens, 4,400 pounds of herbs, and 44,000 pounds of tomatoes http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/26/8112889/vertical-farm-wyoming-hydroponics-grow-food. Second, we saw a new beehive design called the Flow Hive demonstrated that automatically extracts honey via tap without disturbing the bees http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/02/honey-on-tap/. Finally, new company Afforestt offers a new system for regrowing forests that can produce a mature forest in just ten years http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/02/growing-mature-forest-in-ten-years.html. 

Archived: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/dna-nanotubes-injected-hydrogels-super.html___

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2015-02-28 13:04:32 (6 comments, 6 reshares, 53 +1s)Open 

Nature Chemistry's Coverage of the Latest in Molecular Electronics.

I just came across the latest Nature Chemistry journal with its focus on molecular electronics - seriously, what else would I be doing on a Saturday night!?

http://www.nature.com/nchem/focus/molecular-electronics/index.html#ed

It's pay-walled of course, but just the list of article titles and abstracts is pretty damn mind-blowing. There is the effect of molecular length on charge carriers in single molecules, single molecular switching, DNA charge transport, DNA molecular electronics, single molecule diodes, molecular rectifiers, currents through molecular wires and others. 

#molecular   #electronics   #chemistry  

Nature Chemistry's Coverage of the Latest in Molecular Electronics.

I just came across the latest Nature Chemistry journal with its focus on molecular electronics - seriously, what else would I be doing on a Saturday night!?

http://www.nature.com/nchem/focus/molecular-electronics/index.html#ed

It's pay-walled of course, but just the list of article titles and abstracts is pretty damn mind-blowing. There is the effect of molecular length on charge carriers in single molecules, single molecular switching, DNA charge transport, DNA molecular electronics, single molecule diodes, molecular rectifiers, currents through molecular wires and others. 

#molecular   #electronics   #chemistry  ___

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2015-02-26 12:24:06 (9 comments, 11 reshares, 40 +1s)Open 

Drone Delivery.
Ever hear about the Amazon delivery drones and think Naaah, no way! 
Ever hear about delivering packages via drones and think Not going to happen by 2020 or even 2025! 
Then check this out, and be sure to read the video description afterwards. 

#drone   #delivery   #quadcopter  

Drone Delivery.
Ever hear about the Amazon delivery drones and think Naaah, no way! 
Ever hear about delivering packages via drones and think Not going to happen by 2020 or even 2025! 
Then check this out, and be sure to read the video description afterwards. 

#drone   #delivery   #quadcopter  ___

2015-02-24 12:41:21 (14 comments, 7 reshares, 30 +1s)Open 

Might 100% of Your Memories be at Least Partly Fictitious?
Latest research suggests yes.

The latest You Are Not So Smart podcast about the science of misremembering, memory, and confabulation is well worth a listen. The key feature of this episode is the interview with psychologist Julia Shaw and the discussion of her latest research (which I covered in a recent SciTech Digest [1]) showing that it is possible to implant false memories into people and convince them that they committed crimes that they did not commit. 

Julia kicks off with the statement that 100% of human memories are at least partially fictitious and as the talk delves into the nature of the memory implantation work one can't help but consider the nature and meaning of human memory, personal identity, and life narratives. Pretty fundamental stuff. 

At the end we get a discussion on recento... more »

Might 100% of Your Memories be at Least Partly Fictitious?
Latest research suggests yes.

The latest You Are Not So Smart podcast about the science of misremembering, memory, and confabulation is well worth a listen. The key feature of this episode is the interview with psychologist Julia Shaw and the discussion of her latest research (which I covered in a recent SciTech Digest [1]) showing that it is possible to implant false memories into people and convince them that they committed crimes that they did not commit. 

Julia kicks off with the statement that 100% of human memories are at least partially fictitious and as the talk delves into the nature of the memory implantation work one can't help but consider the nature and meaning of human memory, personal identity, and life narratives. Pretty fundamental stuff. 

At the end we get a discussion on recent optogenetics work trying to engineer memory and directly implant false memories (into mice for now) via light-induced neuronal activation, which was also covered in the SciTech Digest about five months ago [2]. 

Finally, during the interview a TED talk by psychologist Elizabeth Loftus is referred to. Elizabeth is one of the leading researchers world-wide in the field of false memories and confabulation. The talk is brilliant in its own right and induces fascination, wonder, anger, injustice, and sadness, and all because of the pervasive ignorance throughout society regarding the true nature of very fallible human memory. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB2OegI6wvI 

And, just by coincidence, tonight we happened to watch the new movie Before I Go To Sleep. It's a pretty good psychological thriller about a woman who has lost her memory following an accident and forgets the previous day's memories after falling asleep. I thought of a few different possible twists while watching but was completely surprised by the one they went with; I didn't see that coming! Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtSzAEvBIK0 

[1] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150115102835.htm
[2] http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/biomedical/devices/lasers-switch-memories-from-bad-to-good 

#memory   #identity   #fallibility  ___

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2015-02-24 02:54:26 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 20 +1s)Open 

My 2014 Year in Photos.
Sharing mainly so I have a publicly accessible link. 

My 2014 Year in Photos.
Sharing mainly so I have a publicly accessible link. ___

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2015-02-22 08:02:14 (22 comments, 42 reshares, 180 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 08/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/autonomous-atom-assembly-human.html

Autonomous atom assembly, Auto face detection, Human epigenome map, DNA data storage, UberBlox modular tools, Ultrasound vs brain barrier, Strong limpet teeth, Measuring synaptic transmission, Early cancer tests, Silicon nanofiber batteries. 

1. Autonomous Assembly of Atoms into Nanostructures
NIST researchers have developed a new system that enables the computer-controlled autonomous assembly of individual atoms into precisely defined nanostructures on a copper surface using a scanning tunnelling microscope http://www.nist.gov/cnst/automated_atom_assembly.cfm. The system first scans the surface to determine the precise locations of the atoms available for assembly, calculates the coordinate transformations necessary to... more »

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 08/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/autonomous-atom-assembly-human.html

Autonomous atom assembly, Auto face detection, Human epigenome map, DNA data storage, UberBlox modular tools, Ultrasound vs brain barrier, Strong limpet teeth, Measuring synaptic transmission, Early cancer tests, Silicon nanofiber batteries. 

1. Autonomous Assembly of Atoms into Nanostructures
NIST researchers have developed a new system that enables the computer-controlled autonomous assembly of individual atoms into precisely defined nanostructures on a copper surface using a scanning tunnelling microscope http://www.nist.gov/cnst/automated_atom_assembly.cfm. The system first scans the surface to determine the precise locations of the atoms available for assembly, calculates the coordinate transformations necessary to move the atoms to new locations, then instructs the STM tip to move the atoms as desired. As a possible application the group quote the production of tailored quantum states for information processing and nanophotonics.

2. Face Detection Algorithms at Human Performance Levels
Deep Sense Face Detector is a new face detection algorithm, built on a deep convolutional neural network, that is able to quickly and accurately spot human faces at any angle and orientation in an image, even when partially occluded http://www.technologyreview.com/view/535201/the-face-detection-algorithm-set-to-revolutionize-image-search/. Key applications of course include image search and robotics, particularly robotic interaction with humans. Such detection capabilities combined with ever-better face recognition capabilities provide a glimpse into the near-future capabilities we’ll have for searching for people through both personal images and surveillance footage. In related news software is being developed to determine where a video was shot based based on the scenery and ambient sound http://www.gizmag.com/video-geolocation-algorithms/36172/. 

3. First Human Epigenome Map
A map of the human epigenome has been generated for the first time, and in the process creating a valuable tool that embodies genomic epigenetic changes, their regulatory effects, and comparisons across a wide range of cell and tissue samples http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/human-epigenome-map-0218. The data generated involved 150 billion sequencing reads and 3,174-fold coverage of the human genome and relied heavily on machine-learning algorithms to translate these massive datasets. The goal here is to understand the dynamic epigenetic code and how it might be manipulated; how it relates to cell and tissue specialisation and gives rise to various traits. 

4. Very Long Term Data Storage via DNA Encoding
Digital data can typically be encoded into DNA for short term applications. But by taking the digitally encoded DNA strands and encapsulating them in silica glass spheres measuring 150 nm researchers created a fossilised storage medium able to potentially preserve the digital information for a million years or more https://www.ethz.ch/en/news-and-events/eth-news/news/2015/02/data-storage-for-eternity.html. The information is retrieved by breaking down the glass with fluorine chemistry and sequencing the DNA found within, but the key enabling development was the addition and use of error-correction codes to handle the inevitable errors that are present. The proof-of-concept successfully stored and retrieved the Switzerland Federal Charter and an Archimedes text. 

5. UberBlox: Modular Components for Tools and Devices
UberBlox is a new modular construction set and prototyping system with a standard connection and locking mechanism between units and a variety of control systems for computer enabled automation of a wide variety of tools and devices http://www.gizmag.com/uberblox-modular-construction-set-lego-maker/36006/. UberBlox can be assembled into a range of devices including 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC millers and routers, manipulator arms, rovers, robots, and all compatible with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and other systems. Modularity enables familiar standards, ease of use, lower costs, and faster evolution of designs; we just need to reach the point of creating something like an UberBlox that can create more UberBoxes.

6. Applications for Opening the Blood Brain Barrier with Ultrasound
Magnetic resonance imaging has previously been used to guide focused ultrasound to temporarily open the blood brain barrier to allow desired drugs to pass through. In a recent study this technique was used on the hippocampus of animal models of Alzheimers disease, and was found to assist with the reduction of plaques, increase neuronal plasticity, and improve cognition and spatial learning, and all without tissue damage or behavioural changes http://www.nibib.nih.gov/news-events/newsroom/attacking-alzheimer%E2%80%99s-ultrasound. Early days but with such a relatively simple technique and promising animal results I’m thinking human tests will be good to see. 

7. Limpet Teeth: New Strongest Natural Material
Limpet teeth are made of geothite and recent tests suggest the fibrous structure of this material in limpet teeth may be the strongest known natural material http://www.port.ac.uk/uopnews/2015/02/18/scientists-find-strongest-natural-material/. Interestingly the strength of the limpet teeth was found to be somewhat scale-invariant, with the same relative strength over different length scales - a counter-intuitive finding given larger structures tend to have more defects and so less relative strength. Finding a synthetic process to mimic the fabrication of this material on a large scale would have obvious applications across a wide range of areas. 

8. Measuring Synaptic Transmission in Live Animals
For the first time the synaptic transmission between neurons in live animals has been recorded with the aid of optogenetics http://actu.epfl.ch/news/controlling-brain-cells-with-light/. Using optogenetically engineered mice that produce neurons sensitive to certain wavelengths of light, researchers activated a subset of neurons in the sensory cortex with flashes of blue light while simultaneously using implanted microelectrodes to record electrical signals in neighbouring neurons, and used this to directly observe the activation of one neuron from another. Developing this technique the group showed that synaptic transmission differs depending on the type of neuron receiving the signal, and ultimately hope this can be used to build larger pictures of connectivity between other types of neuron across the brain. 

9. Developing Liquid Biopsies and Early Cancer Tests
A nice overview article gives an update of the rapid development of liquid biopsies and testing for early stage cancers via DNA sequencing a drop of blood from patients http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/534991/liquid-biopsy/. The technique, originally developed for testing a drop of a pregnant woman’s blood to sequence DNA determine whether her fetus has Down Syndrome, is now making big strides in testing for the presence of early stage cancers with numerous clinical studies underway. The benefits of such a technique being rolled out would have a profound impact on patients as the prognosis for early, pre-symptomatic, cancer detection is much better. The the rapidly declining cost of DNA sequencing strongly suggests that before too long we might all have a weekly or monthly sequencing test. 

10. Silicon Nanofibers Enable Better Batteries
I don’t often cover battery technologies because they’re announced all the time with usually little result. But this new paper-like material composed of a high-density matrix of silicon nanofibers as an anode for lithium-ion batteries looks quite promising http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/27263. Silicon can pack 10 times the electrical charge per unit weight compared to typical graphite electrodes in lithium-ion batteries and should enable similar-sized batteries with several times the storage capacity. Produced via electrospinning the new material solves existing problems of scalability and volume expansion. Multigram amounts were fabricated for prototyping and testing and the group next plans to fabricate a standard pouch-cell lithium-ion battery for testing with real devices. Doubling or quadrupling lithium-ion battery capacity impacts everything from smartphones to drones to electric vehicles. 

Archived: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/autonomous-atom-assembly-human.html ___

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2015-02-19 13:54:53 (28 comments, 4 reshares, 60 +1s)Open 

Current VR Setup

Naturally, getting a new phone with a big 6" QuadHD / 2K display demanded I get my hands on a new, bigger Google Cardboard with which to view virtual reality content. The new phone certainly wouldn't fit in the old cardboard, and to really appreciate that pixel density you're going to have to strap it to your face. And after playing around with this a few times I'm convinced I need a 4K screen in my next device, and hopefully an 8K screen after that; pixel density is still not good enough. Also looking forward to a dedicated, comfortable, robust headset at some point. 

A few other necessities:
- Wad of Blu Tack on the nose-rest to prevent sore crease forming on nose.
- Headphones are a must; this phone has great speakers but you need dedicated in-ear audio for best effect.
- Turn the lights off; a darkened room is best to... more »

Current VR Setup

Naturally, getting a new phone with a big 6" QuadHD / 2K display demanded I get my hands on a new, bigger Google Cardboard with which to view virtual reality content. The new phone certainly wouldn't fit in the old cardboard, and to really appreciate that pixel density you're going to have to strap it to your face. And after playing around with this a few times I'm convinced I need a 4K screen in my next device, and hopefully an 8K screen after that; pixel density is still not good enough. Also looking forward to a dedicated, comfortable, robust headset at some point. 

A few other necessities:
- Wad of Blu Tack on the nose-rest to prevent sore crease forming on nose.
- Headphones are a must; this phone has great speakers but you need dedicated in-ear audio for best effect.
- Turn the lights off; a darkened room is best to prevent light leakage from the bottom / sides destroying the feeling of immersion.
- A bluetooth controller compatible with your smartphone. I previously hacked a PS3 controller to work with the old system but decided to get a dedicated one this time around and chose the new Asus Game Pad that was launched for the Google Nexus Player. 

Tonight I:
- Went back to the abandoned spaceship I'd first visited with cardboard and despite the fact that I knew the aliens were there, and I knew they came after you, and I knew they surprised you . . . still experienced that visceral feeling of terror, surge of adrenaline, hair standing on end, sick in the pit of my stomach at the sight of one and being pursued by one. 
- Rode on a wild roller coaster around a tropical island.
- Shot zombies while walking down dark abandoned subway lines. 
- Orbited a planet while dodging debris and space junk and shooting weird aliens. 
- Did a vertical drop from orbit, avoiding obstacles, but managing to die multiple times.
- Bounced around a simulated mountain landscape.
- Floated on a serene lake at night, the waves lapping and crickets chirping, as candle-lanterns drifted by, past a bridge, and off towards the mountains. 
- Explored a level from the FPS game Shadowgun but wasn't able to shoot anything unfortunately (needed controller). 
- Sat in a dark creepy room with a low power torch looking around for murder clues as the door slammed shut, foot prints appeared on the floor, a bloody hand on the wall, and a girl in a chair scurried off.
- Watched parts of three different VR movies including "The Mission" set in WW2, "Kaiju Fury" set in a city under attack from a giant monster, and "Black Mass" which was pretty damn creepy. 

And there are of course "other" VR content genres emerging for your ahem discrete consumption. 

Not Just Video
Audio is becoming an increasingly important aspect of a good VR experience as evidenced by the resurgence of 3D Audio, which is not to be mistaken with surround sound which is very different. +The Verge had a great, recent article on 3D Audio or Binaural Audio and I'd recommend you checking it out here http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/12/8021733/3d-audio-3dio-binaural-immersive-vr-sound-times-square-new-york but even if you don't you should definitely watch this accompanying video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd5i7TlpzCk from the article with headphones in to see (and hear!) what it is all about. 

#cardboard   #virtual   #reality  ___

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2015-02-18 10:44:27 (42 comments, 0 reshares, 36 +1s)Open 

Caffeine Abstinence. 

I've only had caffeine once in the last two and a half weeks. This from a usual routine of two cups of coffee each day and a coke most nights. But I hadn't been sleeping well: difficulty falling asleep, a long time to fall asleep, very light sleep and easily woken, waking up earlier than expected and earlier than the alarm. Insomnia at some point along the spectrum. 

I have generally good sleep hygiene - good room environment - but knew it had to be something. I've also been rather paranoid about getting enough sleep ever since reading this study about sleep being critical for cleaning the brain of waste products and maintaining good mental health http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/index.cfm?id=3956. First thing to try was cutting out caffeine; cold turkey. 

Within days I was sleeping solidly again and have only had one badnig... more »

Caffeine Abstinence. 

I've only had caffeine once in the last two and a half weeks. This from a usual routine of two cups of coffee each day and a coke most nights. But I hadn't been sleeping well: difficulty falling asleep, a long time to fall asleep, very light sleep and easily woken, waking up earlier than expected and earlier than the alarm. Insomnia at some point along the spectrum. 

I have generally good sleep hygiene - good room environment - but knew it had to be something. I've also been rather paranoid about getting enough sleep ever since reading this study about sleep being critical for cleaning the brain of waste products and maintaining good mental health http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/index.cfm?id=3956. First thing to try was cutting out caffeine; cold turkey. 

Within days I was sleeping solidly again and have only had one bad night in the last two and a half weeks. I'm also more alert during the day than when I was consuming coffees and cokes and have probably consumed 50 or so teaspoons of sugar less than I otherwise would have, which adds up pretty quickly when you think about it. 

Of course this is only a nice correlation at this stage; to really be sure caffeine was the culprit I'd have to repeat the experience. Regardless I plan to keep this new habit, but not exclusively - everything in moderation - and I'm happy to indulge on weekends and with others during social occasions. 

Everyone's metabolism is different of course, and I'd be interested to hear other people's relationship to the most popular and widely dosed stimulant drug in the world. How many coffees per day do you have and do you sleep well?

Caffeine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine 

#coffee   #caffeine   #sleep  ___

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2015-02-17 13:11:11 (14 comments, 1 reshares, 42 +1s)Open 

Celebrating One Million YouTube Views!
300,000 views ago :P

In recognition of passing what is, for me, the significant milestone of my first 1,000,000 views of my videos on YouTube I wanted to make a new and updated basic robots video with the new Lego EV3 set. This was chosen partly in homage to the original 4 Basic Robots video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85kI6oBSXHY) that has turned out to be my most popular video so far and earning me many 100s of dollars in ad income, and partly because it is fun as hell. 

The thing is, the event of buying my first house and other happenings in life kinda got in the way of my pursuit of personal projects like this and before I knew it four months and an additional 300,000 views had slipped by. 

And really, after using the NXT Lego kit to make a telepresence robot, a book-scanning robot, a keyless home entry system,a... more »

Celebrating One Million YouTube Views!
300,000 views ago :P

In recognition of passing what is, for me, the significant milestone of my first 1,000,000 views of my videos on YouTube I wanted to make a new and updated basic robots video with the new Lego EV3 set. This was chosen partly in homage to the original 4 Basic Robots video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85kI6oBSXHY) that has turned out to be my most popular video so far and earning me many 100s of dollars in ad income, and partly because it is fun as hell. 

The thing is, the event of buying my first house and other happenings in life kinda got in the way of my pursuit of personal projects like this and before I knew it four months and an additional 300,000 views had slipped by. 

And really, after using the NXT Lego kit to make a telepresence robot, a book-scanning robot, a keyless home entry system, and other things it was well past time to have a tinker and play with the newer EV3 Lego robotics kit. These 5 basic robots are the standard designs and programs that come with the kit and are models that everyone with an EV3 should be familiar with. The video is broken down as follows:

0:02 - Time lapse build
1:31 - Track3r Tank Bot
2:31 - Ev3rstorm Humanoid Bot
3:33 - Strik3r Scorpion Bot
4:36 - R3ptar Snake Bot
5:38 - Gripp3r Mover Bot

One thing that becomes abundantly apparent when building and programming these basic robots is that Lego designers are fricken geniuses. Generally the level of cleverness isn't obvious from just observing the robots do their basic things, but only becomes apparent when building the thing from scratch and seeing and understanding the constraints and other design choices made to enable a particular function. 

As always this is a creative endeavour: building these things inspires additional creativity and creative thinking, reinforces the power and importance of modularity in technology, and invariably leads to thoughts of what might be possible if you had swarms of programmable self-assembling bits. 

Other stats for the channel include:
- There are currently 1,900 subscribers
- Last month there were 70,000 views, which is slightly above average although this has been double at times
- Last month there were 184,000 minutes watched, which works out to be 3,066 hours or 127.8 days or 4.12 months
- i.e. there were a bit over 4 months worth of video watched last month, which means a bit over 4 sets of eyeballs are watching the videos at any given instant 
- This translates into about $95 in earnings
- 87% of the audience is male
- 33% are aged 25-34 yo, while 77% are aged 18-44 yo
- 52% of views are via computer, 25% via mobile

#lego   #ev3   #robots  ___

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2015-02-17 09:54:59 (5 comments, 0 reshares, 17 +1s)Open 

Checking out Slickwraps.

I ordered some Slickwraps (slickwraps.com) the other week to try and give my phone a new look, and after a tricky application process involving repeated careful alignment and a blow dryer managed to get the result below. This is the white carbon fiber wrap.

Pros:
- Back plate looks great
- Textures feel great
- More grip and less slippery

Cons:
- Alignment isn't perfect, especially on curved surfaces
- Noticeably less travel for power and volume buttons
- Sharper feeling edges
- Front plate isn't the best

Still undecided whether I'll keep the wrap or not but probably leaning towards taking it off; glad I gave it a try in any case. Has anyone else given these a go?


Checking out Slickwraps.

I ordered some Slickwraps (slickwraps.com) the other week to try and give my phone a new look, and after a tricky application process involving repeated careful alignment and a blow dryer managed to get the result below. This is the white carbon fiber wrap.

Pros:
- Back plate looks great
- Textures feel great
- More grip and less slippery

Cons:
- Alignment isn't perfect, especially on curved surfaces
- Noticeably less travel for power and volume buttons
- Sharper feeling edges
- Front plate isn't the best

Still undecided whether I'll keep the wrap or not but probably leaning towards taking it off; glad I gave it a try in any case. Has anyone else given these a go?
___

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2015-02-15 05:13:16 (12 comments, 51 reshares, 91 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 07/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/crispr-via-light-volume-graphene.html

CRISPR via light, Volume graphene production, Spot the robot, Printed DNA hydrogels, Implanted artificial organs, Printing via spinnerets, Scanadu tricorder, Prosthetic arms, Contact lens telescope, GMO apple approval. 

1. Light-Induced CRISPR for Custom Tissue Architectures 
By attaching light sensitive proteins from plants to a specific CRISPR sequence and to gene activation proteins a new controlled gene regulation system has been engineered that enables any desired gene to be switched on and off by simply shining light of a particular wavelength onto the cell http://www.pratt.duke.edu/news/controlling-genes-light. The proof-of-concept showed a dish of cells expressing fluorescent proteins only on those areas thath... more »

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 07/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/crispr-via-light-volume-graphene.html

CRISPR via light, Volume graphene production, Spot the robot, Printed DNA hydrogels, Implanted artificial organs, Printing via spinnerets, Scanadu tricorder, Prosthetic arms, Contact lens telescope, GMO apple approval. 

1. Light-Induced CRISPR for Custom Tissue Architectures 
By attaching light sensitive proteins from plants to a specific CRISPR sequence and to gene activation proteins a new controlled gene regulation system has been engineered that enables any desired gene to be switched on and off by simply shining light of a particular wavelength onto the cell http://www.pratt.duke.edu/news/controlling-genes-light. The proof-of-concept showed a dish of cells expressing fluorescent proteins only on those areas that had been exposed to light. Future applications include light-induced control over the variable differentiation of stem cell cultures to facilitate better and more realistic tissue engineering, or even skin-based cell therapies that allow you to activate a particular pathway at will.

2. Towards Volume Production of Graphene
An alteration to conventional chemical vapour deposition techniques has resulted in a new method to enable the scalable production of graphene sheets http://www.rug.nl/news/2015/02/0210-publ-grafeen. The key insight was simply to grow the graphene on a copper oxide substrate; the process of removing or decoupling the graphene from this substrate preserves the graphene structure and properties and circumvents the risks of breakage or contamination. In related graphene fabrication news, 3D printing of complex 3D graphene-based structures is being facilitated by better graphene-loaded inks http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=38965.php. 

3. Spot, by Boston Dynamics
Leading robotics company Boston Dynamics showed off a new mid-size quadruped robot weighing 160 lbs called Spot this week http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/spot-is-boston-dynamics-nimble-new-quadruped-robot. Smaller but faster and more agile than its big brother Big Dog, Spot is battery powered and actuated by hydraulics, and can recover quickly from even severe knocks - as can be seen in the embedded video and which will test your anthropomorphic tendencies. In other robotics news new flying drone designs prove almost indestructible in most situations http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/aerial-robots/gimball-drones-for-good-competition. 

4. 3D Printed Self-Assembled Hydrogel Structures
Complementary DNA strands loaded into a gel enable the gel to carry live cells and be 3D printed into custom structures http://phys.org/news/2015-02-synthetic-dna-gel-artificial.html. The complementary DNA self-assembles to impart the mechanical characteristics of the gel, which can be altered as needed by changing the sequence of DNA; this self-assembly obviates the need for high temperatures and so better facilitates the handling of live cells through a print nozzle for tissue engineering applications. In other biological self-assembly news the self-assembled protein coats some microbes use to protect themselves is offering insights for engineering artificial variants for a range of purposes http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/02/11/bacterial-armor/. 

5. Artificial Organs in Implantable Capsules
Pancreatic precursor cells loaded into a flexible, biocompatible mesh capsule that blocks white blood cells but allows the passage of nutrients, oxygen, waste products, proteins, and secreted factors, successfully treats diabetes in animals for long periods of time and has already been implanted into one person to kick off clinical trials http://www.technologyreview.com/news/535036/a-pancreas-in-a-capsule/. The device was developed by Viacyte and they aren’t the only group developing similar technologies; future work will improve the life of the device and create full differentiated islet cells rather than a mix. It’s fascinating to think how the function of artificial organs can be provided in this way, or even other custom biological functions perhaps; combined with the light-induced CRISPR you could have a subdermal patch that you switch on when needed to pump out some enzyme like alcohol dehydrogenase for example. 

6. Robotic Bio-Mimicking Spinnerets for Amazing 3D Printing
A new 3D printer demonstration combines a robotic arm and an innovative 3D printer that includes multiple dynamically moving print heads that each continuously extrude print filament in a system that mimics a spider’s spinnerets extruding silk fibres http://gizmodo.com/this-incredible-robotic-arm-prints-plastic-like-a-spide-1685397572. The machine can extrude or “print” custom 3D fibres or structures, suspended in space, on the go and results in fibres comprising an internal core fibre surrounded by three looping fibres that help convey structural strength and flexibility. Check out the video; it’s pretty amazing. Think of this attached to a mobile robot or mobile swarm of robots. 

7. Scanadu Personal Medical “Tricorder” Ships
Starting out as a successful Indiegogo crowd-funding project Scanadu has finally launched and shipped their Scout product, a small round device that is held to the forehead and very quickly sends readings to your smartphone with measurements of heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, oxygen level, and ECG http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/12/tech/mci-scanadu-tricorder/index.html?eref=edition. Early users will help with real world calibration and testing and if the measurements are confirmed as accurate (an FDA submission is also in the works) then this would be a pretty powerful consumer device and one I’d definitely buy. They are also working on a “Scanaflo” product, intended to be a urine test kit for measuring  wide range of metabolic factors.

8. Prosthetic Arms by DARPA & OSRF
DARPA and its partners including the Open Source Robotics Foundation continue to develop advanced prosthetic arms and hands for amputees http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/medical-robots/darpa-and-osrf-developing-nextgen-prosthetic-limbs-in-simulation-and-reality. In a couple of recent demonstrations of the ongoing work we can see a man using a prosthetic arm to climb a rock wall, while other amputees use the prosthetic arms to pick grapes, spoon-feed themselves, “hand” objects between each other, pour drinks into glasses and other feats. The ultimate goal of the program is to create artificial limbs that behave like, are controlled like, and for the user feel like, a normal biological arm. 

9. Telescope in a Contact Lens
Another DARPA collaboration, this time with the EPFL, has resulted in the production of a new type of contact lens embedded with thin aluminium mirrors that, in conjunction with a pair of LCD glasses function as a telescopic lens http://gizmodo.com/this-contact-lens-can-zoom-in-with-a-wink-of-the-eye-1685695869. Light passing through the LCD in one polarisation appears normal and conveys normal vision, but switch the LCD to produce a different polarisation that interacts with the contact lens and the result is telescopic magnification. Future work will improve the oxygen permeability of the lens for greater eye comfort and perhaps seek incorporate the switchable liquid crystal elements directly. 

10. Genetically Modified Apples Approved by Regulators
For the first time genetically engineered apples have been granted regulatory approval by the US Department of Agriculture http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/13/8035775/gmo-apples-usda-commercial-farming-genetically-modified. The genetic modifications are pretty simple, and involve altering the activity levels of a particular gene / enzyme to ensure the apples will greatly resist browning when cut or dropped. I can only hope that this paves the way for greater varieties and greater numbers of different GM foods that convey a range of different nutritional benefits such as more vitamins, etc as opposed to the usual pesticide resistance that we usually see with staple crops. 

Archived: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/crispr-via-light-volume-graphene.html___

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2015-02-08 13:43:52 (26 comments, 1 reshares, 80 +1s)Open 

Just finished a thoroughly awesome day

Just finished a thoroughly awesome day___

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2015-02-08 06:38:26 (13 comments, 35 reshares, 72 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 06/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/embryo-on-chip-multi-organ.html 

Embryo on a chip, Multi-organ microfluidics, 2D materials, Smartphone diagnostics, Videos & deep learning, RNA gene switch, Nano optics antennas, Rapid genome analysis, 1.5nm ruler, Aviation additive manufacturing. 

1. Embryos on a Chip
With the development of a new PDMS biomimetic system there is now such a things as an embryo-on-a-chip http://phys.org/news/2015-02-transparent-soft-pdms-eggshell-embryo.html. PDMS was used to create artificial transparent shells with the same shape and curvature of real egg shells within which it is possible to culture and grow embryos, which in the proof-of-concept were chick embryos, and allows new ways to study embryo development. Compounds of interest can be introduced as neededin... more »

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 06/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/embryo-on-chip-multi-organ.html 

Embryo on a chip, Multi-organ microfluidics, 2D materials, Smartphone diagnostics, Videos & deep learning, RNA gene switch, Nano optics antennas, Rapid genome analysis, 1.5nm ruler, Aviation additive manufacturing. 

1. Embryos on a Chip
With the development of a new PDMS biomimetic system there is now such a things as an embryo-on-a-chip http://phys.org/news/2015-02-transparent-soft-pdms-eggshell-embryo.html. PDMS was used to create artificial transparent shells with the same shape and curvature of real egg shells within which it is possible to culture and grow embryos, which in the proof-of-concept were chick embryos, and allows new ways to study embryo development. Compounds of interest can be introduced as needed into the embryo by use of the device. I also wonder whether this will aid the development of artificial uteruses. 

2. Organism on a Chip and Microfluidics
In related news we had the latest development of microfluidic chips designed to host multiple organs at the same time connected with a circulatory system, and working towards a complete organism-on-a-chip http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2015/february/mini-synthetic-organism-instead-of-test-animals.html. The promise here is to greatly accelerate clinical drug development by allowing rapid chip-based testing of drugs instead of animal studies and lengthy human trials. A novel and very clever microfluidic pumping mechanism was also unveiled this week that involved a simple vibrating saw-toothed grating to propel fluids around the chip https://photos.aip.org/publishing/journal-highlights/industrial-pump-inspired-flapping-bird-wings. 

3. This Week in 2D Materials
First, transistors have been made from silicene for the very first time, proving various models and confirming ballistic electron transport, despite the technique currently being impractical for everyday use http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/materials/transistor-made-from-silicene-for-first-time. Second, a new allotrope of carbon called penta-graphene has been discovered in theoretical models; comprised of tiled pentagons (instead of hexagons) it should be stable, strong, and naturally semiconducting but first they’ll have to synthesise it http://phys.org/news/2015-02-penta-graphene-variant-carbon.html. Third, and related to the second, it seems grain boundary defects in graphene sheets, which are usually comprised of 5 or 7 member rings appear to provide a nice semiconducting bandgap for graphene http://phys.org/news/2015-02-borders-graphene.html. 

4. Smartphone-Powered Diagnostic Testing
A new device that plugs into the audio jack of a smartphone for power and data transfer is able to accurately test a person’s blood sample to diagnose syphilis or HIV, and to top it off the device costs just $34 http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/biomedical/diagnostics/34-diagnostic-tool-for-stds-plugs-into-smartphone-rivals-18000-lab-equipment. The test accuracy matches that of far more expensive equipment, and while it competes with cheaper paper-based tests it also might be easily expanded to handle a range of other diagnostics as well. The modular utilisation of smartphones is a big plus in my opinion, and marks yet another step towards portable, personal, tricorder-like medical devices.

5. Applying Deep Learning Analysis to Video Footage
A couple of new companies have launched new software, powered by deep learning techniques, to automatically analyse, breakdown, and characterise video footage http://www.technologyreview.com/news/534631/a-startups-neural-network-can-understand-video/. Videos lasting minutes can be processed in seconds to produce timelines for the appearance or presence of different objects, compositions, landscapes, or activity. Interesting applications for embedded video advertising, personal and public video search for short relevant sections of video buried in long videos, and also real-time analysis of surveillance footage. The capabilities are already impressive and can be expected to get much better. 

6. Genetic On-Off Switch Made of RNA
A new system allows controlled activation of desired genes simply with specific sequences of RNA; one sequence is tailored to bind to a region of DNA upstream of the gene of interest and block the transcription or activation of that gene, while a second sequence is tailored to the first and when present binds to and removes the first strand to allow gene activation to continue http://phys.org/news/2015-02-genetic-exclusively-rna.html. This sounds similar to CRISPR-style mechanisms. A nice and simple solution to control the activation of a particular gene, provided the RNA strands can be effectively and efficiently introduced / delivered into the cells of interest. 

7. Light Emission Gains on Light Stimulation for Applications
A new nano-scale antenna made of gold boosts the spontaneous light emission of a specific nanorod by 115 times, which is getting close to the 200-fold improvement that stimulated light (e.g. lasers) have typically enjoyed over spontaneous emission light http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/02/03/rediscovering-spontaneous-light-emission/. The group believe they can greatly improve this performance and this would make it possible to replace wires on microchips with LEDs for significant on-chip performance gains. As noted by the authors we’ve only just started to fabricate and utilise antennas in optics. 

8. Whole-Genome Analysis in 90 Minutes
The time taken to analyse a single person’s genome has been drastically reduced after the development and demonstration of new software called “Churchill” that is able to analyse a genome to find mutations and other differences of interest in under 90 minutes http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/news-room-articles/new-software-analyzes-human-genomes-faster-than-other-available-technologies-empowering-population-scale-genomic-analysis?contentid=137732. The accuracy of the software was demonstrated as 100% reproducible, and to have the highest sensitivity (99.7%), accuracy (99.99%), and diagnostic effectiveness (99.66%) compared to other competing computational genomic analysis techniques. Rapid personalised genomics takes another step towards realisation. 

9. 1.5 Nanometer Ruler for Extending Moore’s Law
 The finest ever nanoscale ruler has been fabricated with line measurements of just 1.5nm, and is intended to aid the development of the next semiconductor nodes at 11nm and 7nm required for the continuation of Moore’s Law http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1325587. The ruler will be used as a test pattern to calibrate and test the instruments used to fabricate next generation semiconductor technology. Measuring just 6x6 micrometers, samples of the new ruler will be critical not just for advanced semiconductor fabs but also for making better scanning microscopes, atomic force microscopes, and soft x-ray microscopes. 

10. Pushing Additive Manufacturing and New Materials
Aircraft and jet engine manufacturers continue to push additive manufacturing to enable transformative performance improvements in aviation by using laser or electron beam sintering of metal to make lighter, stronger parts http://www.technologyreview.com/news/534726/additive-manufacturing-is-reshaping-aviation/. In addition they are trying to transform engine design so that engines contain drastically fewer parts and are cheaper to make while performing better; the new technology allows the consideration of wild alterations such as many smaller engines embedded along the wings themselves. In related materials news, new iron-aluminium steel alloys overcome brittle problems to provide tensile strength and ductility performance greater than titanium alloys http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/02/ultrastrong-low-density-steel-with.html. 

Archived:
http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/embryo-on-chip-multi-organ.html___

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2015-02-07 13:31:37 (8 comments, 1 reshares, 18 +1s)Open 

Smartphone Cosmic Ray Detector: Fake?

I'm calling B.S. on this one. You might remember some months ago the Deco app was launched by researchers at the University of Wisconsin. Deco runs on your phone, running the camera with the lens covered, examining ostensibly dark images for signs of noise and relevant signals that are likely to have been produced by cosmic rays (and cosmic ray debris) passing through the camera's CMOS detector. 

I thought this sounded pretty cool and wanted to give it a try immediately. However:

* I've never been able to get it to work despite wasting time on three separate occasions trying. 
* The account / service registration process has failed every time, with the same error, across both mobile and desktop. 
* I've emailed the people involved on multiple occasions for assistance but not once received a reply orac... more »

Smartphone Cosmic Ray Detector: Fake?

I'm calling B.S. on this one. You might remember some months ago the Deco app was launched by researchers at the University of Wisconsin. Deco runs on your phone, running the camera with the lens covered, examining ostensibly dark images for signs of noise and relevant signals that are likely to have been produced by cosmic rays (and cosmic ray debris) passing through the camera's CMOS detector. 

I thought this sounded pretty cool and wanted to give it a try immediately. However:

* I've never been able to get it to work despite wasting time on three separate occasions trying. 
* The account / service registration process has failed every time, with the same error, across both mobile and desktop. 
* I've emailed the people involved on multiple occasions for assistance but not once received a reply or acknowledgement of my inquiry. 

Which is weird because the group seem to have upgraded their website, see http://wipac.wisc.edu/deco, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Especially when they've apparently created a Google Group  for users and trouble-shooting and yet this is a private group and so is completely useless to help resolve any issues; you must be a member and I suspect that means you must have been registered - something they consistently fail to do. 

Anyway, I'm just disappointed in the group, the app, and the entire experience. Did anyone else give this a try and experience anything different? 

#deco   #cosmicrays   #app  ___

2015-02-05 13:29:13 (2 comments, 3 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

The Individual and the Collective: Survival, Reproduction, Transparency, and Secrecy.

I've always enjoyed +Valkyrie McGill​'s (a.k.a. Valkyrie Ice) articles and writing over the years; as a transhumanist writer she is up there with Extropia Dasilva although her style is different. Broad scope, deep insight, and at times, expansive vision. Even when I've disagreed with a piece or a certain premise it has been undeniably thought-provoking and stimulating. Most of the articles have appeared on other, more mainstream sites and not this personal blog.

The following posts are from last year, and have been sitting in my ever-growing "To Post About" reminder note in Google Keep for over 9 months now. I was waiting for the third installment but alas I don't think it will be written and it ultimately isn't necessary. These posts are a lengthy, if notqu... more »

The Individual and the Collective: Survival, Reproduction, Transparency, and Secrecy.

I've always enjoyed +Valkyrie McGill​'s (a.k.a. Valkyrie Ice) articles and writing over the years; as a transhumanist writer she is up there with Extropia Dasilva although her style is different. Broad scope, deep insight, and at times, expansive vision. Even when I've disagreed with a piece or a certain premise it has been undeniably thought-provoking and stimulating. Most of the articles have appeared on other, more mainstream sites and not this personal blog.

The following posts are from last year, and have been sitting in my ever-growing "To Post About" reminder note in Google Keep for over 9 months now. I was waiting for the third installment but alas I don't think it will be written and it ultimately isn't necessary. These posts are a lengthy, if not quite meandering, examination of the basic structure of society from fundamental first principles. Keep an open mind and give the first post a chance, at least the first page or two, for it to kick in and grab you. 

You may not agree with the content, the conclusions, or the opinions but I think you'll find it thought-provoking, and I think you'll have a decent idea for the scenarios and future possibilities that would have made it into Part 3. 

The Individual and the Collective, Part 1
http://valkyrieice.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/the-individual-and-collective-part-one.html 

The Individual and the Collective, Part 2
http://valkyrieice.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/the-individual-and-collective-pt2.html 

#society   #transparency   #secrecy  ___

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2015-02-01 13:51:30 (8 comments, 30 reshares, 68 +1s)Open 

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 05/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/mobius-of-light-probiotics-vs-diabetes.html

Mobius of light, Probiotics vs diabetes, Artificial organelles, Locking down GMOs, Neural imaging, Neural stimulators, Printing quantum dots, Drone commoditisation, False memories, and Haptic machine interfaces. 

1. Creating a Mobius Strip Out of Light
Researchers figured out how to twist the polarisation of a beam of light to create a structure with the same topology as a Mobius strip; a two dimensional surface twisted in a third dimension and possessing a single face or side http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/semiconductors/optoelectronics/a-mobius-strip-made-of-light. This was done by sending the light beam through a plate containing specially-ordered liquid crystals and then focusing onto a gold... more »

SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 05/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/mobius-of-light-probiotics-vs-diabetes.html

Mobius of light, Probiotics vs diabetes, Artificial organelles, Locking down GMOs, Neural imaging, Neural stimulators, Printing quantum dots, Drone commoditisation, False memories, and Haptic machine interfaces. 

1. Creating a Mobius Strip Out of Light
Researchers figured out how to twist the polarisation of a beam of light to create a structure with the same topology as a Mobius strip; a two dimensional surface twisted in a third dimension and possessing a single face or side http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/semiconductors/optoelectronics/a-mobius-strip-made-of-light. This was done by sending the light beam through a plate containing specially-ordered liquid crystals and then focusing onto a gold nanoparticle, on which they measured the oscillating electric field of the light, twisting around in a band with only one side. They created strips with 1.5 twists and 4.5 twists. An interesting new phenomena. 

2. Engineered Probiotic Bacteria Efficiently Combat Diabetes
A common gut bacterium has been engineered to secrete a protein called GLP-1; when secreted by the bacteria in the gut GLP-1 induces intestinal epithelial cells to become insulin-producing cells (similar to pancreatic cells) that result in a 30% reduction in blood glucose in diabetic animals http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2015/01/diabetes-rats-treated-engineered-probiotic. Future work will explore larger doses to see if complete treatment can be achieved and attempt via spin-out company to introduce the treatment to humans that might involve taking a probiotic pill each day. Such probiotic therapeutics are only scratching the surface and I think many more treatments and applications could be explored in this way. 

3. Engineering Artificial Organelles for Cells
By introducing engineered plasmid DNA vectors - that produce lipid-like proteins with hydrophilic and hydrophobic ends - into cells, the lipid-like proteins are produced and self-assemble into organelle-like compartments inside the cell http://phys.org/news/2015-01-genetic-blueprint-organelles-simple-cells.html. The structures can be further engineered to (i)  incorporate artificial amino acids to facilitate desired chemical functions, (ii) incorporate membrane proteins to bind to cell membrane and co-opt cellular metabolism, (iii) modify or add to cellular metabolism. This is an interesting technology platform for exploring applications in synthetic biology and nanotechnology. 

4. Locking Down Genetically Engineered Organisms
Continuing to build on work to reprogram the genetic code itself, new strains of bacteria have now been created that (i) are dependent on artificial amino acids (not produced in the environment) for building proteins and for the function of their proteins, (ii) will soon incorporate seven recoded codons instead of just one, and (iii) are dependent on synthetic chemicals for gene expression http://www.nature.com/news/gm-microbes-created-that-can-t-escape-the-lab-1.16758. Such organisms are resistant to viruses, are incapable of swapping genes with other bacteria, and in (i) and (iii) are dependent on synthetic chemicals and so cannot survive outside of controlled environments - a useful protection for biocontainment and controlling the function of the organism in the environment. 

5. Advances in Imaging Neural Activity
The neural activity of freely-moving nematode worms has been recorded for the first time http://www.technologyreview.com/view/534481/first-videos-created-of-whole-brain-neural-activity-in-an-unrestrained-animal/. Neural activity is captured by engineered fluorescent proteins that emit light when the neurons produce calcium, and the microscope automatically tracks and follows an individual worm as is moves; in this way the group seek to analyse neural activity in relation to movement. In related imaging studies separate functions have been observed for identical neighbouring neurons in certain cases http://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2015/january/new-deep-brain-imaging-reveals-separate-functions-for-nearly-identical-neurons. 

6. Devices that Improve the Sensing and Stimulating of Neural Activity
On-going developments of neural polymer fibre technology have now resulted in complex multimodal fibres thinner than a hair that resemble neural tissue properties and can deliver both optical signals and drugs directly into the brain while simultaneously recording neural electrical activity http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/fibers-deliver-simultaneous-stimuli-0119. In related news we also had an excellent recent review of the field by three representatives of companies developing and selling products into this space http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/bionics/smart-neural-stimulators-listen-to-the-body, basically implanted devices that stimulate the nervous system, measure neural electrical activity and responses, and which can adapt their stimulus on the fly depending on feedback. 

7. High Resolution Printing of Quantum Dots
The light-emitting semiconductor nanocrystals known as quantum dots can now be printed in high resolution to produce true quantum dot displays rather than the quantum-dot-enhanced back light currently available in high-end televisions http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/consumer-electronics/audiovideo/highresolution-printing-of-quantum-dots-for-vibrant-inexpensive-displays. Such a printed surface offers the promise of extremely high resolution, rich and vibrant, efficient and cheap displays for many different applications. The technique relies upon electrodynamic jet printing, which had been used previously to print patterns of DNA and nanotubes, and may offer some interesting cross-over applications. 

8. Drone Commoditisation Takes a Big Leap
A normal stock smartphone can now be used as the brains and sensor platform for full autonomous control of quadrotors and other drones http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/aerial-robots/a-smartphone-is-the-brain-for-this-autonomous-quadcopter. Install the software onto your phone and plug it into a drone body with a motor-controller and power supply for the rotors and away you go - either remote control via another device or set the parameters within which the phone is to pilot the drone autonomously; I’ve been waiting for this for a while now. Of course, drone applications are currently proliferating rapidly http://singularityhub.com/2015/01/27/drones-will-be-everywhere-watching-listening-and-planting-millions-of-trees/. 

9. Inducing False Criminal Memories in People
New psychological research suggests that innocent adults can be convinced after a few hours that they perpetrated crimes as a teenager http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150115102835.htm. Up to 75% of participants formed the false memories, but this required the interviewer to (i) possess knowledge of personal events in the participant’s past, (ii) construct the false event by linking it or constructing it with aspects of true events and memories, and (iii) actively encouraging participants to “try” remembering details they said they couldn’t remember. This sounds like induced confabulation of the person’s guilt for an event that never happened that, in up to 75% of cases is later retained as a genuine memory. I’d like to see this study repeated in multiple scenarios to see if this holds up. 

10. Haptic Interfaces as Motor Skill Teachers and Human-Machine Interfaces
In the continuing evolution of haptic robotic devices designed to assist humans in the acquisition of muscle memory to learn new motor skills we have a new family of devices created to teach people how to draw http://www.wired.com/2015/01/machine-guides-hand-teach-draw/. The main aim of the work however is to develop an understanding of how to better design human-machine interfaces with regard to how much control humans will tolerate a machine having over them, “to understand the negotiations people make when machine and humans have different perspectives and the same goal.” 

http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/mobius-of-light-probiotics-vs-diabetes.html___

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2015-01-31 06:33:14 (14 comments, 5 reshares, 74 +1s)Open 

Utterly indulgent chocolate degustation at +Koko Black Chocolate in Adelaide this afternoon.

* Mocha for me
* Hot chocolate for Elise
Plate with, from left to right:
* Belgian chocolate mousse
* Chocolate Alchemy Cake
* Raspberry chocolate dome
* Chocolate hazelnut layered stack
* Chocolate ice-cream with chocolate crumbs

Also left with two bags of chocolate bits and a tray of selected flavoured chocolates. Safe to say my sweet tooth is rather satisfied! The raspberry chocolate dome was our favourite - if we were forced to pick. Strongly recommend any fellow Australians visit a local Koko Black in their capital city :-D

#chocolate   #indulgence   #foodcoma  

Utterly indulgent chocolate degustation at +Koko Black Chocolate in Adelaide this afternoon.

* Mocha for me
* Hot chocolate for Elise
Plate with, from left to right:
* Belgian chocolate mousse
* Chocolate Alchemy Cake
* Raspberry chocolate dome
* Chocolate hazelnut layered stack
* Chocolate ice-cream with chocolate crumbs

Also left with two bags of chocolate bits and a tray of selected flavoured chocolates. Safe to say my sweet tooth is rather satisfied! The raspberry chocolate dome was our favourite - if we were forced to pick. Strongly recommend any fellow Australians visit a local Koko Black in their capital city :-D

#chocolate   #indulgence   #foodcoma  ___

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2015-01-29 13:02:35 (22 comments, 3 reshares, 60 +1s)Open 

Christmas arrived late this year.

Three new devices arrived yesterday, three that I've been hanging out to get for quite some time.

Chromebook
Elise and I got a great deal of mileage out of our first Chromebooks, the original Samsung Series 5 that, after 3 years, was showing definite signs of age. Elise used hers exclusively without a need for any other computer aside from her phone and tablet; I used mine far less often, mainly because I tended to default to the conventional beefy laptop for video editing, data management, and custom software applications. So this time around I opted just for the one device for us to share with separate login accounts as needed. 

Last year I was interested in getting the Samsung Chromebook 2 when it was announced but availability in Australia for these devices is rather poor at the best of times. Then the Acer... more »

Christmas arrived late this year.

Three new devices arrived yesterday, three that I've been hanging out to get for quite some time.

Chromebook
Elise and I got a great deal of mileage out of our first Chromebooks, the original Samsung Series 5 that, after 3 years, was showing definite signs of age. Elise used hers exclusively without a need for any other computer aside from her phone and tablet; I used mine far less often, mainly because I tended to default to the conventional beefy laptop for video editing, data management, and custom software applications. So this time around I opted just for the one device for us to share with separate login accounts as needed. 

Last year I was interested in getting the Samsung Chromebook 2 when it was announced but availability in Australia for these devices is rather poor at the best of times. Then the Acer Chromebook 13 came out and for me it edged out the competition at this point in time. Bought on Ebay from a reputable international seller this Acer Chromebook 13 as numerous advances and benefits over the old device:

* Vastly improved build quality; feels solid, track-pad is great, keys have a better feel.
* Screen is also very nice: moving from 720p to 1080p is extremely noticeable. Only drawback is effective viewing angles are a bit poor.
* Moving from 2GB to 4GB RAM and from a single-core 1.5 GHz processor to a Tegra K1 2.3 GHz quad-core provide a substantial performance boost. 

So far satisfied I made the right choice of Chromebook. 

Moto Hint
That little device in the image is a bluetooth headset ear-bud with dual microphones for audio communication to your phone . . . a la the movie her. Being a long-time user of bluetooth headsets (although less so in the last 6 months) the advanced design and features of the Moto Hint certainly caught my attention when it launched last year. Another Ebay purchase, I've only just set it up so don't really have a verdict at this stage, only a few thoughts for now:

* Still getting the hang of intuitively touching the touch-pad for the right amount of time to activate a "press".
* The inclusion of an inner sensor that detects whether or not the thing is in your ear, and routes calls to your phone or itself accordingly is pretty cool.
* Charging cradle is cute but very well implemented.
* Volumes seem to default to the lower end, and while your can still boost this substantially via the volume button on the device, it'd be nice to control the default volume.
* Ultimate utility and continuing of use will depend on call quality and, key, ease of frictionless voice commands to device and Google Now - something that I still need to test and set up properly.

Nexus 6
This is phone is ultimately a compromise for me. I've been wanting one ever since Google and Motorola launched the device at the end of October last year; I upgrade my phones every year and this is the longest I've had to wait due to what can only be called the worst disaster of a false-expectation-setting launch ever. Something has obviously gone very very wrong for Motorola on the production side of things. 

I would probably have been able to snap up a hard-to-get unit in December IF I was content to get the 32GB storage version, but I was holding out for the 64GB version. So I waited, and waited, and read rumours and ultimately the 64GB version never came to the Play Store, with indication this week from other retailers that it wouldn't be available until mid-March (unacceptably late given my upgrade cycle). I would have forked out the extra cash to get a unit from Hong Kong via Ebay but was dissuaded due to rumours of some production runs having problems with screen burn-in, battery expansion, and back plate separations. So I settled for a local retailer that happened to have a single 32GB unit in stock, given the lack of stock via Google Play, and guaranteed that if there were any issues I could go back to the store with my receipt to quickly have it replaced (I think this is unlikely). I wanted 64GB and ended up with 32GB. I wanted white and ended up with dark blue. A few thoughts:

* Immediately unlocked and rooted with the wonderful Wugs Nexus Root Toolkit. 
* It is big and not for everyone but personally I'm very happy with the size of the thing, and so is Elise with her's. After just 12 hours of using the device my old phone and any other smaller phone looks and feels like a cute little child's toy. 
* Screen is gorgeous, with vibrant colours and a resolution that makes it impossible for me to make out any sort of pixelation in any of the UI elements. I can't wait to get an upgraded version of Cardboard to again explore VR applications with this thing: double the resolution and bigger viewing angles should make for a better experience than the one I had with my Nexus 5. Downside: performance in bright sunlight outdoors is not the best.
* Still need to set up always-on voice, double-tap to wake, and a couple of other things. 
* One handed usage isn't too bad. Not perfect, not flawless, but manageable. Main issue is reaching across to "back" arrow of navigation bar. Hoping a software solution, like that for the Note 4, helps mitigate one-handed usage soon. But not a deal-breaker. 
* I don't expect to use my Nexus 7 tablet again; even reading books on this 6" screen is great. 
* Two-factor authentication is a pain when setting up a new phone for the first time: you login and get sent a code that you can't access because you haven't finished the setup process, so you have to go back, skip, finish set-up, and then dig in and add your account from scratch.
* Ambient display and ambient notifications are a nice touch. 
* Significant processing boost: tested a random Game of Life run at very high resolution and high speed, settings that would cause my Nexus 5 to stutter, and this thing crunched it smoothly without missing a beat. 
* Yet to test the camera properly but not expecting any issues. 
* Have noticed that sometimes, when calls come in, the screen doesn't immediately wake up and needs a press of the button to do so. This needs to be addressed with a software update. 
* Battery life doesn't seem anywhere near as good as what I was expecting - maybe I'm playing with it too much? - will see how battery life goes after a week of usage. Seem to be getting a full day but not the day-and-a-half others have reported; could be for any number of reasons. Quick-charge is a nice feature. 
* Qi charging works but it doesn't have the magnets the N5 had to lock the phone in place over the charger - a small annoyance. 

The price-performance of computing doubles every 18 months or so. Back then I was using another flagship, the Nexus 4, so how does my N6 compare to the N4 from 18 months ago?

* 4G/LTE instead of 3G+ mobile data connectivity.
* 2.7 GHz quad-core CPU instead of 1.5 GHz quad-core CPU.
* 170 GFlops GPU instead of 60 GFlops GPU.
* 3 GB of RAM instead of 2 GB. 
* 32 GB storage (I wanted 64 GB) instead of 16 GB. 
* 3220 mAh battery instead of 2100 mAh battery.
* 493 ppi display density instead of 318 ppi.
* Quad-HD (double 1080p) display instead of ~720p display. 
* 13 MP camera instead of 8 MP camera.
* 4K video recording instead of 1080p video recording.
* 802.11ac WiFi instead of 802.11n WiFi.

#chromebook13   #motohint   #nexus6  ___

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