By Elbert ChuPosted 09.05.2012 at 2:38 pm 0 Comments
Scientists are constantly keeping an eye out for new diseases, trying to stanch them before they blow into a global pandemic--and while that's one way to fight the threat, there are other ways to prepare.
Predict: The best way to avoid a pandemic is to identify pathogens before they emerge. Scientists at PREDICT, a consortium of infectious-disease organizations funded by USAID, track and collect zoonotic pathogens in 20 hot-spot countries in order to create a database of the most dangerous. Researchers have discovered more than 100 new viruses in just three years of operation.
Never mind the Jose Canseco method for dream control. MIT researchers have successfully reached inside the brains of rats and manipulated their dreams using an audio cue conditioned into them during the previous day. It's a development that lends insight into the whole sleep/memory consolidation relationship.
Packed with smart meters, smart appliances, smart windows and doors, smart lighting, smart HVAC and other smart what-have-you, the smart home of the future is purportedly going to be overflowing with sensors that make life more efficient and convenient. Now, it could be packed with sensors that make sure you're not splayed on the floor alone in the living with a busted hip, unable to reach the phone.
We've been waiting on the prospect of a bionic eye for a while now; being able to surgically give sight to the sightless would be a medical breakthrough, and we're right on the cusp. Exhibit A: In a world first, scientists have successfully implanted a prototype bionic eye that has helped a woman see shapes.
Most modern medicines are carefully synthesized organic molecules so potent that each pill contains only a few milligrams of the active ingredient. Pepto-Bismol is a fascinating exception, both because its active ingredient is bismuth, a heavy metal commonly used in shotgun pellets, and because there is a lot of it in each dose. So much, in fact, that I was able to extract a slug of bismuth metal from a pile of pink pills.
Researchers at Caltech, working with French colleagues, have figured out a mechanical means to weigh the previously un-weigh-able--things like individual molecules, viruses, proteins, and other particles--at the individual level, one by one.