When you control a budget that exceeds a trillion dollars, you don’t have to wait until after Thanksgiving to start writing your holiday present wish list. The Department of Defense (DoD) has just released an early version of its small business programs for 2012, with every branch clamoring for futuristic technology that ranges from transforming robots to nanotech medicine to sensors that can figure out political beliefs through language analysis.
After DARPA announced, somewhat sheepishly, that after $19 billion and six years of research, they had concluded that the best bomb-detecting device is a dog, we got to thinking: what other instances are there in which you'd reach not for a traditional tool, but for an animal? These eight examples range from the medical to the military to the culinary fields, but all have one thing in common: there's no better tool for the job than an animal.
Heart attacks strike about 1.2 million people every year in America alone, many of them fatally. Of those, most are caused by coronary artery disease--the biggest killer of both men and women in the U.S.--and something like 70 percent of those strike without warning. Coronary artery disease is sneaky like that. Symptoms generally don't outwardly manifest themselves until someone is on the floor, short of breath, wondering what just kicked them in the chest. Doctors battling these cardiac blockages generally enter the fight at a severe disadvantage.
A trip to the New Museum's Carsten Höller exhibit, where up literally becomes down
By Kathleen MassaraPosted 11.01.2011 at 5:00 pm 1 Comment
The New Museum in lower Manhattan is home to the first large-scale survey exhibition of the work of German artist Carsten Höller, a scientist-turned-artist whose works straddle the line between both worlds, often seeming more like an experiment than an exhibit. At the current exhibition, you can stick your head under a fish tank, wear inversion goggles, or float weightlessly in a sensory deprivation.
A newly revamped $10 million prize for sequencing the genomes of 100 centenarians could yield the fastest-ever gene sequencing technology to date, finally bringing ultra-precise personal genetics to the masses on a rapid and inexpensive scale. And perhaps even better, the genomics X Prize could help unlock the genetic secrets — if they really exist — to a healthy, century-long life.
A visit to one of the makeshift arms factories that helped liberate the country
By Sarah A. TopolPosted 10.24.2011 at 11:03 am 23 Comments
This weekend, the leader of Libya’s governing National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, announced that the country was officially “liberated.” After eight months of civil war, Sirte, the last loyalist city and Col. Moammar Qaddafi’s hometown, fell to former rebel control on Thursday. In the midst of chaotic fighting, NTC forces caught the ex-Brother Leader hiding in a drainage pipe.
Buried in the avalanche of features in the newest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, was the addition of a new sensor to accompany the standard GPS, proximity, and accelerometer: a barometer. It's one we'd never have thought to add to a smartphone, and we sat for a little while, scratching our heads at the possible use for a sensor that tests atmospheric pressure.
Curious about just how astrobiologists plan to make good on their goal to find life in space in the next 20 years? We've compiled some of the coolest upcoming search-for-life projects we could find--check out our feature on the subject here, and browse the gallery below for a guide to some of the most impressive efforts directed at finding extraterrestrial life.
Click to launch our guide to the current efforts dedicated to finding life in space.
As part of my article about the search for extraterrestrial life, I interviewed Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, about when we'll find ET, why intelligent beings will be artificial, not biological, and why arms and legs make more sense than wheels. Here's the fascinating transcript of what he had to say.
"The genesis of life is as inevitable as the formation of atoms," is how Andrei Finkelstein, the director of the Russian Academy of Sciences's Applied Astronomy Institute, explained his ambitious timeline for finding alien life to an audience of astrobiologists and reporters in June. "There is life on other planets, and we will find it in 20 years."
But Tullis Onstott, a geologist at Princeton University who specializes in astrobiology, makes an even more ambitious prediction. "In the next 15 years," he says, "we will likely discover life on an exoplanet near us." Scientists have long predicted the discovery of extraterrestrial life, but Finkelstein and Onstott have good reason to be optimistic. Researchers are devoting more resources to the search for alien life than ever before, and they are getting some enticing results.