Sci-Tech

  • Interference-free radio from Cambridge Consultants

    Cambridge Consultants shows a novel “spectral sensing” cognitive radio technology that will allow any radio product to transmit without interference over the so-called “whitespace” frequencies recently vacated by the U.S. digital TV switchover

  • DARPA looking for methods to freeze soldiers with brain injuries

    Traumatic brain injuries are caused by repeated exposure to blasts, specifically the “supersonic wave” of highly-pressurized air they emit; within a fraction of a second after impact, brain cells, tissues, and blood vessels are stretched, torn, and distorted; over the hours, days, and months that follow, altered brain processes create a snowball effect of damage — which is why symptoms often don’t show up until troops come home; in its solicitation, DARPA notes that a portable brain-cooling unit, deployed in the field, could “extend the golden hour of patient survivability and increase the chances for full recovery”

  • Anticipating new diseases, bioterror methods

    The 150 researchers at the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute work to anticipate and respond to new diseases and old ones — such as tuberculosis and cholera — that can turn into new threats or make a comeback

  • U.S. Navy's PANDA technology to detect "deviant" ships

    There are tens of thousands of ships on the high seas every day, carrying millions of containers, entering and leaving hundreds of ports in dozens of countries; monitoring this vast amount of traffic to make sure that none of the containers is carrying WMDs is humanly impossible; Lockheed Martin has developed the PANDA Maritime Domain Awareness program to help the U.S. Navy and intelligence community keep a closer eye on the global maritime traffic

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  • E.coli helps mend cracked pipes

    Aberdeen University students show how specific strains of E. coli, which are not deadly or poisonous to humans, could be used automatically to mend cracks that occur in household water pipes, cooling pipes in laboratory experiments, or water pipes in power plants

  • Imperial College London awarded £4.9 million to research cloaking properties of metamaterials

    Metamaterials have properties that could lead to the development of invisibility “cloaking” devices, sensitive security sensors, and flat lenses that can be used to image objects much smaller than the wavelength of light; Imperial College London receives a £4.9 million grant to do research on metamaterials

  • Ricin antidote ready for production

    U.K. scientists develop the first antidote to ricin poisoning; security experts say ricin — roughly 1,000 times more toxic than cyanide — could be used in a bio-terror attack; what worries experts about ricin is not only its toxicity, but its ready availability: Ricin is extracted from castor beans, which are processed throughout the world to make castor oil; the toxin is part of the waste “mash” produced when castor oil is made

  • Los Alamos lab's toxic waste seeps toward New Mexico's water sources

    Radioactive debris has been found in canyons that drain into the Rio Grande, but officials at the Los Alamos National Laboratory say there is no health risk; to comply with New Mexico’s clean up orders, the lab has installed about 300 monitoring wells and gauges, contaminated soil is being removed from canyon bottoms, wetlands are being planted, and small dams built to arrest the flow of polluted storm water

  • Downtown airport boasts a new runway safety system

    Safety barriers made of new type of absorbing concrete are installed at a Kansas City airport; the barriers are made of concrete blocks which collapse to absorb the energy of the airplane while minimizing the damage to the aircraft and allowing the aircraft to be slowed without hurting passengers

  • Rise in the number of U.S. students majoring in engineering

    Engineering schools are seeing a surge of interest, spurred in part by reports that engineering grads earn higher starting salaries than their classmates

  • U.S. Congress holds hearings on geoengineering

    Geoengineering — the effort to design systems which would change the world’s climate — was once a fringe phenomenon; it has been moving into the mainstream, though, as more and more scientists are growing increasingly concerned that, even if we commit to cutting emissions drastically, we have already waited too long, and that by the time we actually reduce emissions, enough greenhouse gases will have accumulated to cause serious climate disasters

  • Using technology to prepare vulnerable communities for earthquakes

    Satellite photographs and remotely measured surface heights from NASA will be used for assessing the vulnerability of natural slopes to earthquake-induced landslides; a team of U.K. scientists will also build up a database of slopes that failed in earthquakes; the information collected will include local geology, vegetation, slope angle, distance from the fault, and the amount of ground shaking

  • Day of Americans serving as mobile chemicals sensors nears

    NASA Ames scientists demonstrate cell phone chemical sensor; the prototype device, designed to be plugged in to an iPhone, collects sensor data and sends it to another phone or a computer via telephone communication network or Wi-Fi

  • JASON says computer models cannot predict terrorist events

    Pentagon advisory panel concludes that extreme terrorist events such as the 9/11 attacks cannot be predicted by computer models because the data re too sparse; “it is simply not possible to validate (evaluate) predictive models of rare events that have not occurred, and unvalidated models cannot be relied upon”

  • Iran tested advanced nuclear warhead design

    The “two-point implosion” is one of the most guarded secrets in nuclear weapons states; yet Iranian engineers, in what Western nuclear experts describe as a breakthrough, has tested such a design, which much be described as a giant leap in acquiring nuclear weapons