While Google's obviously best known for its search, it's the company's advertising model that pays for in-house massage, a critically acclaimed cafeteria, and sky-high stock price. Now, a new patent indicates that Google wants to combine its 21st-century ad savvy with an old-school publicity mainstay -- billboards.
As any soldier will tell you, consistent and realistic drill forms the foundation of any successful military action. But whereas an infantryman can hone his aim at a firing range, America's Internet warriors don't have a similar venue for developing their skills at cyberwar. But DARPA hopes a $51 million network simulation, complete with computer programs that behave like human targets and adversaries, will provide the perfect arena for developing the next generation of cyberwar weapons and tactics.
In a move to curb smog, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed the tightest regulations ever on ground-ozone-causing emissions. The new standards would replace 2008 ozone regulations implemented by the Bush administration that allowed so much smog emission that environmental advocates took the EPA to court, arguing that the weak emissions regulation didn't actually protect people's health.
The rise of psychopharmacology has led doctors to not only treat mental illnesses like regular diseases, but think of them as such as well. Turns out, schizophrenia may be more than just a disease in concept, but actually a virus itself. According to new research, as much as eight percent of the human genome consists of viruses that inserted themselves into our DNA for replication, including the gene that causes schizophrenia.
The geological time scale, with its familiar Cretaceous, Cambrian, and Eocene periods, works great as a calendar for the history of the Earth. Indeed, the different periods only cover the 3.8 billion years of life on Earth, with everything before that time lumped into one nondescript eon called the Hadean. But for some geologists, that lack of specificity simply won't work any more.
Frustrated by referring to Hadean-era events with vague phrases like "around the time of Moon formation" or "shortly after Earth cooled", four scientists, including two from NASA, have chopped up the Hadean into distinct geologic periods, and even extended the time scale back to the formation of the solar system, with a new eon called the "Chaotian."
Today's solar power plants work either through photovoltaics or heated steam. If Enviromission gets its way, tomorrow's plants will combine wind and solar, with acre-sized mirrors and multi-thousand-foot-tall chimneys generating turbine-spinning gusts. The technology's called solar updraft, and a $750 million, 200-megawatt project may just bring Enviromission's future into the present.
Australian Aborigine mythology begins in a period known as the "dream time", before the emergence of humanity. Many stories about the dream time include legends about stars, gods, or rocks falling from the sky. And new research utilizing Google Earth surveys of the outback show that many of those myths may actually be historically accurate.
For scientists studying the smallest components of life, microscopes have always had frustrating limitations. Electron scanning microscopes can see very small object, but not in real time through the dynamic movement of cells. Fluorescent dyes identify microscopic objects, but the brightness of the emitted light greatly reduces the resolution.
The Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscope (STORM) solves both those problems. 100 times more powerful than a regular optical microscope, the STORM filters and adjusts light emitted from fluorescent dyes to produce a clean image of individual molecules, and thus allowing researchers to watch the behavior of proteins in real time.
Over the last decade, the advances in neuroscience that led doctors to view addiction as a disease, rather than a desire or personal failing, raised the natural question of whether or not addicts could be vaccinated against drug use as if it were a virus. While the theory remains valid, the recent clinical trial of one of those vaccines, called TA-CD, highlights the complexity of the issue.
TA-CD works by preventing cocaine from entering the brain, thus stopping the user from getting high. It does not, however, stop cravings, leading some test participants who received the vaccine to take 10 times as much cocaine in the hopes of overriding the vaccine and getting high, or to bankrupt themselves while trying to do so.