Man-made metamaterials could theoretically bend light to create invisibility cloaks, or alter electromagnetic waves in ways nature never intended. Now, a researcher at the University of Maryland in College Park thinks they could do much more than that, becoming man-made analogies to various cosmological theories of how the Universe works and helping researchers explain certain aspects of those universes.
A new visual recognition program developed at MIT uses a process of elimination to identify objects much more efficiently than the matching techniques used by existing software. Line by line, piece by piece, it identifies commonalities between everyday objects, resulting in line drawings that resemble an artist's sketch.
Unlike other object-recognition programs, it doesn't need to be trained to look for specific features -- say, eyes, a nose and a mouth. Rather, it starts with small lines, searching for basic visual cues shared by multiple examples of the same object. Then it looks for combinations of those features shared by multiple examples, and then combinations of those combinations, and so on.
Algal blooms that feed on nutrient-rich manure and fertilizer runoff can deplete oxygen in the water when they die, creating inhospitable dead zones -- but the same green scum might also serve as a preventive solution upstream. A microbiologist with the U.S. Agricultural Research Service used algae to recover almost 100 percent of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients from manure, and suggested that the dried-out algae can then act as slow-release fertilizer for farms.
A new underwater kite being developed in Sweden could be a low-cost, low-impact method for harnessing ocean energy. Swedish start-up Minesto has obtained $2.5 million to start testing the kite in Northern Ireland next year.
The kite, called Deep Green, is able to capture tidal energy at 10 times the speed of the water in which it operates.
It consists of a 3-foot-long turbine attached to a rudder and a 39-foot wingspan, tethered to the ocean floor with a 330-foot cable, according to CNN.
Caution has prevailed in a Brooklyn judge's ruling that refused to admit brain scan evidence in an employer-retaliation case. But advocates of using brain scans as high-tech lie detectors will get another shot in an upcoming federal case in Tennessee, Wired reports.
If you’re an ocean-transiting container ship, friction is a drag. The bigger your load, the more energy it takes to propel you through the water, and that means increased fuel costs and increased emissions. But by mimicking the hydrophobic characteristics of the water fern, researchers at the University of Bonn think they can create container ships that move faster – and more efficiently – from port to port.
The ability to quickly detect and identify viruses and bacteria is key in fields ranging from antiterrorism to medical diagnosis to pharmaceutical safety. A novel three-inch device created at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory should make doing so a lot easier. The new detector can identify any of 3,000 different viruses or bacteria in just 24 hours.
Scanning your brain while you watch horror movies might hold the key to making them even more frightening. The findings could reshape the way scary movies—perhaps all movies—are filmed
By Steven KotlerPosted 05.06.2010 at 12:48 pm 0 Comments
There’s no popcorn sold in this movie theater. The screen is tiny, the seating awkward. In fact, I’m lying on my back inside a narrow tube, with maybe two inches of wiggle room on all sides. But more unnerving than my accommodations is the serial-killer flick projected on the screen a few inches above my face. There’s a woman tied to a chair in a dingy basement, struggling as a masked man sneaks up from behind and slowly stabs her to death. The scene is terrifying, but, according to the people who put me in this tube, perhaps not terrifying enough.
In a breakthrough that could lead to significant advances in materials science and tissue engineering, researchers at the U. of British Colombia have engineered a solid biomaterial that mimics the elasticity of muscle. Using artificial proteins, the team was able to recreate the molecular structure of the protein titin, which plays a vital role in making our muscles the versatile tissues that they are.