Τετάρτη, 26 Μαρτίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

Robotic arm probes chemistry of 3-D objects by mass spectrometry

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 01:44 PM PDT

A new robotic system could soon let scientists better simulate and analyze the chemical reactions of early Earth on the surface of real rocks to further test the theory that catalytic minerals on a meteorite's surface could have jump-started life's first chemical reactions.

Patient safety merits new review for modified medical devices, physician says

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 10:35 AM PDT

For patient safety, the US Food and Drug Administration should require that clinical data be submitted as part of a more rigorous re-evaluation of medical devices that are modified after approval. According to authors of a new expert opinion, such a requirement could prevent deaths due to insufficiently tested device modifications.

Black markets for hackers increasingly sophisticated, specialized, maturing

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 09:15 AM PDT

Black and gray markets for computer hacking tools, services and byproducts such as stolen credit card numbers continue to expand, creating an increasing threat to businesses, governments and individuals, according to a new study. One dramatic example is the December 2013 breach of retail giant Target, in which data from approximately 40 million credit cards and 70 million user accounts was hijacked. Within days, that data appeared -- available for purchase -- on black market websites.

Mars-mimicking chamber explores habitability of other planets

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 08:29 AM PDT

A research team in Spain has the enviable job of testing out new electromechanical gear for potential use in future missions to the Red Planet. They do it within their Mars environmental simulation chamber, which is specially designed to mimic conditions on the fourth planet from the sun -- right down to its infamous Martian dust.

Catheter innovation destroys dangerous biofilms

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 07:27 AM PDT

A new design that could help eliminate the threat of infection from millions of urinary catheters has been developed by engineers. The dual-channel design uses a mechanical method to uproot biofilms from their moorings so that they can easily be flushed away. About half of the time, the interior of long-term urinary catheters become plagued by biofilms -- structures formed by colonies of bacteria that are extremely difficult to kill. Once established, it is only a matter of time before the biofilm becomes a welcoming host for other, more dangerous bacteria or begins to choke urine drainage, causing leakage -- or even trauma to the patient's body.

Plasma tool for destroying cancer cells

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:48 AM PDT

Plasma medicine is a new and rapidly developing area of medical technology. Specifically, understanding the interaction of so-called atmospheric pressure plasma jets with biological tissues could help in medical practice. Researchers have conducted a study of the different types of DNA damage induced by atmospheric pressure plasma exposure. This approach, they hope, could ultimately lead to devising alternative tools for cancer therapy as well as applications in hospital hygiene, dental care, skin diseases, antifungal care, chronic wounds and cosmetics treatments.

Technofossils: Unprecedented legacy left behind by humans

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:48 AM PDT

Scientists suggest that the fossil impact humans have made on the planet is vast and unprecedented in nature -- and that there's been nothing remotely like it since the Earth formed, over four and half billion years ago. The researchers argue that, like dinosaurs, who left their bones and footprints behind for future generations to discover, humans will also leave a footprint behind -- one made up of material goods unique to humankind that are so different from anything else produced by animals in the history of Earth that they deserve their own name: technofossils.

Simple, like a neutron star: How neutron stars are like (and unlike) black holes

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:44 AM PDT

For astrophysicists neutron stars are extremely complex astronomical objects. Research has demonstrated that in certain respects these stars can instead be described very simply and that they show similarities with black holes.

Strange materials cropping up in condensed matter laboratories

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:42 AM PDT

Physicists are using surprising ideas and mathematical tools originating in string theory to guide research into strange materials that are cropping up in condensed matter laboratories. There are a handful of systems that cannot be described by considering electrons (or any other kind of quasi-particle) moving around.

Exploding stars prove Newton's law of gravity unchanged over cosmic time

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 08:02 PM PDT

Australian astronomers have combined all observations of supernovae ever made to determine that the strength of gravity has remained unchanged over the last nine billion years. Newton's gravitational constant, known as G, describes the attractive force between two objects, together with the separation between them and their masses. It has been previously suggested that G could have been slowly changing over the 13.8 billion years since the Big Bang. But researchers have now analyzed the light given off by 580 supernova explosions in the nearby and far Universe and have shown that the strength of gravity has not changed.

Einstein's 'spooky' theory may lead to ultra-secure Internet

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 07:45 PM PDT

Einstein's skepticism about quantum mechanics may lead to an ultra-secure Internet, a new paper suggests. In 1935, Einstein and researchers highlighted a 'spooky' theory in quantum mechanics, which is the strange way entangled particles stay connected even when separated by large distances. In the new research, the authors show that entangled messages "can be shared between more than two people and may provide unprecedented security for a future quantum Internet."

New technique sheds light on human neural networks

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 03:15 PM PDT

A new technique provides a method to noninvasively measure human neural networks in order to characterize how they form. Using spatial light interference microscopy (SLIM) techniques, the researchers were able to show for the first time how human embryonic stem cell derived neurons within a network grow, organize spatially, and dynamically transport materials to one another.

Small wireless pacemaker safe, effective in early testing

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 03:15 PM PDT

A battery-sized, wireless pacemaker was safe and effective in early testing. The smaller leadless device may reduce the risk of complications that occur with traditional pacemakers. After three months, the new pacemakers were functioning well, the researchers found. They are continuing to track the patients and expect to report longer-term outcomes later this year.

For neurons in the brain, identity can be used to predict location

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 12:40 PM PDT

There are many types of neurons, defined largely by the patterns of genes they use, and they 'live' in distinct brain regions. But researchers do not yet have a comprehensive understanding of these neuronal types and how they are distributed in the brain. A team of scientists describes a new mathematical model that combines large data sets to predict where different types of cells are located within the brain.

Kelvin wave seen on quantum 'tornado' for first time

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 12:40 PM PDT

A spinning tornado of very cold liquid helium obeys the laws of quantum mechanics. Sometimes, two quantum tornadoes flex into curved lines, cross over and form an X, swap ends, and then retract -- a process called reconnection. For the first time, researchers provide visual evidence that the reconnection of quantum vortexes launches Kelvin waves to quickly relax the system. Understanding turbulence in quantum fluids may offer clues to neutron stars, trapped atom systems and superconductors.

Are health departments tweeting to the choir?

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 08:13 AM PDT

The use of social media to disseminate information is increasing in local health departments, but a new study finds that Twitter accounts are followed mostly by organizations and may not be reaching the intended audience. "Social media, if used strategically, can be a useful tool for public health departments," the authors conclude.

Smart home able to detect symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases

Posted: 21 Mar 2014 06:50 AM PDT

The world population is rapidly aging, which means the number of disabled and dependent people is increasing since these rates increase with age, particularly after the age of 80. Accordingly, researchers have designed a system of sensors which, when fitted in a home, allows a person's habits and activities to be monitored and any changes in his/her habits and activities that could be a symptom of disorders relating to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's to be detected.

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