Late last year, English scientists created the first real-world instance of spin ice, a long-hypothesized type of crystal that can behave as a magnet with only one pole. These monopole magnets could form the basis of quantum computing memory, so it was disappointing to find out that the spin ice only behaved as a monopole at -454 degrees Fahrenheit.
In 1971, electrical engineering professor Leon Chua proposed a theoretical basic electronics component called a memristor. In 2008, Hewlett Packard brought the memristor out of theory and into the real world. And today, HP announced that they have finally proven that they can build devices that use memristors, instead of the transistors that enable all current computer chips.
The US has looked to China for help building railroads ever since Chinese laborers laid down the tracks for the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s. Now, California hopes a partnership with the Middle Kingdom can do for 21st Century high-speed rail what that far less pleasant 19th Century "partnership" did for the Transcontinental Railroad.
Fifty years ago today, on April 8th, 1960, a Cornell astronomy professor named Frank Drake pointed a radio telescope at the star Tau Ceti in the hope of hearing broadcasts from extraterrestrial intelligence. Naturally, he didn't hear anything out of the ordinary. But with this experiment, Drake began the decades-long search for aliens, known as the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), that celebrates its 50th anniversary today. Over the last half century, SETI has failed at its initial goal of contacting aliens, but succeeded mightily in bringing new attention to astronomy, helping to develop cloud computing, and inspiring generations of new scientists.
In the 236 years since oxygen was identified as a life-giving necessity, no scientist anywhere has discovered a multicellular animal capable of living without the stuff. Until now. Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Marche in Ancona, Italy*, have discovered three new species that live their entire life in an anoxic pit beneath the Mediterranean Sea.
Like many pieces of modern medical equipment, X-ray machines are as bulky and energy dependent as they are vital. Even "portable" X-ray machines remain too heavy to carry across rough terrain, and too energy hungry to run off batteries. That's why Radius Health's portable, low energy X-ray machine may revolutionize medicine in disaster zones, on the front lines, and at patients homes.
After months of deliberation and 150 meetings, the Obama Administration finally released its new guidelines for nuclear weapons policy. In a sharp break from previous administrations, Obama's Nuclear Posture Review released today dictates the U.S. halt development of any new nuclear weapons and cease to consider nuclear retaliation against non-nuclear nations, even in response to a biological or chemical attack.
After years of patrolling New York City's water ways in antiquated, decades-old boats, the New York Fire and Police Departments are upgrading to some of the most technologically advanced vessels this side of an Aegis Cruiser. The modernized boats, a 45-footer for the cops and a 140-footer for the firemen, will give the departments greater range and speed, with the ability to deal with more dangerous situations.
The monetary and energy expense of HIV testing machines prevent their deployment to remote or impoverished areas; the very places that need them the most. To rectify that inequity, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) has created a battery-operated HIV testing device the size of an iPod. The machine can return a test result in 10 minutes, and costs significantly less than the large machines used in most hospitals.