Based on shipwreck-salvage technology, the SARbot will fish you out
By Bjorn CareyPosted 02.08.2011 at 11:01 am
Things get very bad, very quickly for people in cold water. Just minutes after total submersion, heart and brain activity stop. But the cold also protects. If rescuers can reach a drowning victim in less than 90 minutes, it’s possible to resuscitate, often with no long-term ill effects. Inspired by this fact, Duncan Winsbury, a former station manager at the Fire & Rescue Service in Derbyshire, England, set out to build a robot that could find and retrieve cold-water drowning victims fast.
Just implement a nice kill-switch, then everything'll be fine
By Karla StarrPosted 02.08.2011 at 10:10 am 11 Comments
Leave it to Darpa, the Pentagon's advanced-research arm, to bring synthetic biology to a new level of creepiness. For 2011, Darpa has dedicated $6 million to a new program called BioDesign, which according to the agency's budget is an attempt to eliminate "the randomness of natural evolutionary advancement" and create synthetic organisms for specific functions—for instance, microorganisms that clean up oil spills or skin cells that an army medic could use to repair injuries.
Stuxnet gives hackers a blueprint for sophisticated new malware
By Becky FerreiraPosted 02.04.2011 at 9:56 am 3 Comments
Computers already do so much of our work that it seems natural to let them take care of our sabotage, too. This might have been the line of thinking that led to Stuxnet, the first known malware worm designed to disrupt industrial processes.
Streptomyces coelicolor, a soil-dwelling bacterium, has one of the best-understood genomes in its genus. Even so, a computational analysis of its genome has led researchers to a surprise: a new antibiotic compound. By tinkering with the bacteria, researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands were able to awaken an inactive gene group that produces large quantities of yellow coelicolor polyketide and a new compound with antimicrobial activity.
Geoengineering could cause more problems than the global warming it aims to stop
By David RobertsPosted 02.03.2011 at 10:46 am 23 Comments
Engineering the atmosphere to forestall the worst results of global warming was once considered too hubristic to seriously contemplate. The grim prospects for passing an international climate-change treaty have changed that. Last year the National Academies of Science in the U.S. and the Royal Society in the U.K. both convened meetings on geoengineering.
Laptop stands keep your computer cool, ventilated, and at a comfortable angle for typing, but they often seem expensive for what's essentially a bent piece of metal. Here's how to make your own easy and inexpensive stand from a metallic document holder, requiring only a few steps.
Genetically engineered mosquitoes could even spread genes to other insects
By Becky FerreiraPosted 01.28.2011 at 10:44 am 6 Comments
As carriers for diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever, mosquitoes are the deadliest creatures on the planet, responsible for millions of human deaths every year. And as the planet warms, the insects are broadly expanding their turf and bringing their diseases with them; thousands of cases of dengue, a tropical disease, have appeared in the U.S. in the past five years. DDT was long used to control the mosquito population, but it is now widely banned, and in any case, many scientists believe that mosquitoes quickly build up a resistance to the insecticide.
It all depends on the size, physical fitness and hydration of the person in question, but it’s possible to sweat buckets before heatstroke sets in and we pass out. After all, there are about three million sweat glands on the human body (the highest concentration is on our palms), and the average person aggressively working out perspires about 0.7 to 1.5 liters per hour. Theoretically, if we were attached to a treadmill and pumped full of liquids, it’s possible to keep sweating forever.