Black market labs that manufacture the beauty drug Botox could also provide terrorists with the deadly botulinum toxin, officials and security experts warn. U.S. scientists found that a biologist with a master's degree and $2,000 worth of equipment could easily make enough pure toxin to theoretically kill thousands of people, The Washington Post reports.
Poor Dr. Frankenstein had to steal corpses for his mad experiments, but modern-day bioengineers need not resort to such dubious methods for raw materials. The new Biofab laboratory plans to churn out thousands of free standard DNA parts that academic and private biotech labs can use to create new designer microbes that can make everything from new drugs to fuel.
Russia's proposal for an Armageddon-style mission to deflect the space rock Apophis seemed bold, but it's not the only one fretting about a catastrophic impact on Earth. The U.S. National Research Council (NRC) released a new report that calls for an international asteroid defense agency that can organize a proper mission to counter possible asteroid threats, New Scientist reports.
Clouds form in the wake of the front row of wind turbines at the Horns Rev offshore wind farm near Denmark.
Clouds stream in the wake of wind turbines arrayed at the Horns Rev offshore wind farm in this stunning photo. But David MacKay, a physicist at the University of Cambridge in the UK, sees the image as illustrating the common problem of back-row wind turbines losing power relative to the front row.
Human running speeds top out near 28 mph, if the record-breaking feats of Jamaican speed demon Usain Bolt prove anything. But scientists say that the biological limits of human running could theoretically reach 35 or even 40 mph -- assuming that human muscle fibers could contract faster and allow people to pick up their pace.
Monstrous tsunami waves, like the one that killed over 200,000 people in the Indian Ocean in 2004, create an electric field as they form. This field could possibly be sensed by a network of underwater sensors. Such a network would be extremely valuable but also prohibitively expensive to build. Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) propose, however, that the existing large network of undersea communication cables could be used instead. That finding could lead to early warnings that may complement existing tsunami warning systems.
Space tweets just got real with a new NASA software upgrade for the International Space Station. Now astronauts manning the orbital outpost can finally browse the Web and post Twitter updates directly, without having to first e-mail the tweets to the ground.
Even the finest super-soldier suit can end up as expensive deadweight if the batteries run out of juice. Lockheed Martin wants to avoid that fate for its robotic exoskeleton by turning to fuel cells that can power the suit for days, The Register reports.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have a plan to convert smart phones into controllers that analyze other devices' power usage, and even switch them on and off. The technology will make phone cameras into a "magic lens" for visualising the power consumption of coffee makers and gaming consoles alike.
GPS may now reside in everything from our cars to our smart phones, but it once all began as a military application. So it's perhaps ironic, if not entirely shocking, that the head of the U.S. Air Force said today that the military needs to wean itself off dependence on a GPS network vulnerable to jamming and satellite-killing vehicles. DOD Buzz reports that officials have confirmed that GPS has been "jammed or interfered with recently."