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  • February 10, 2016
  • 09:35 AM
  • 37 views

Does 3D Make You Queasy? You Might Have Superior Vision

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Between the rise of 3D movies and virtual reality, more and more people are getting a chance to don goofy glasses or headsets and experience media in three dimensions. And many of those people are discovering something about themselves: 3D makes them ill. Sitting in the theater or on their own couch, they get a sensation like motion sickness. They might feel nausea, dizziness, or disorientation.

A new study suggests that these symptoms aren't weakness on the part of the viewer. People who... Read more »

  • February 9, 2016
  • 02:41 PM
  • 71 views

Brain power: Wirelessly supplying power to the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Human and animal movements generate slight neural signals from their brain cells. These signals obtained using a neural interface are essential for realizing brain-machine interfaces (BMI). Such neural recording systems using wires to connect the implanted device to an external device can cause infections through the opening in the skull. One method of solving this issue is to develop a wireless neural interface that is fully implantable on the brain.

... Read more »

  • February 9, 2016
  • 02:30 PM
  • 54 views

Need a Charge: Go For a Walk!

by Jenny Ludmer in Rooster's Report

Talk about a power walk! A recent development by University of Wisconsin–Madison mechanical engineers suggest that you will one day get your charging needs right from your footsteps.... Read more »

  • February 9, 2016
  • 12:00 PM
  • 45 views

WATCH: Cockroach-Inspired Robots Could Save You

by Jenny Ludmer in Rooster's Report

The fear of cockroaches is so common there’s a name for it, katsaridaphobia. And yet, there are apparently scientists out there with nerves of steal. By working with these creepy critters, they’ve actually created a roach-inspired robot. Just like the real thing, it can slither through tiny cracks, and if it doesn’t scare the dickens out of you, it might just save your life one day.... Read more »

Kaushik Jayarama, & Robert J. Fulla. (2016) Cockroaches traverse crevices, crawl rapidly in confined spaces, and inspire a soft, legged robot. PNAS. info:/10.1073/pnas.1514591113

  • February 8, 2016
  • 01:59 PM
  • 134 views

We can build it better: Synthetic biopathway turns agriculture waste into ‘green’ products

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have engineered a new synthetic biopathway that can more efficiently and cost-effectively turn agricultural waste, like corn stover and orange peels, into a variety of useful products ranging from spandex to chicken feed.

... Read more »

Tai, Y., Xiong, M., Jambunathan, P., Wang, J., Wang, J., Stapleton, C., & Zhang, K. (2016) Engineering nonphosphorylative metabolism to generate lignocellulose-derived products. Nature Chemical Biology. DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.2020  

  • February 5, 2016
  • 03:27 PM
  • 162 views

Man-made underwater sound may have wider ecosystem effects

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Underwater sound linked to human activity could alter the behaviour of seabed creatures that play a vital role in marine ecosystems, according to new research from the University of Southampton. The study found that exposure to sounds that resemble shipping traffic and offshore construction activities results in behavioural responses in certain invertebrate species that live in the marine sediment.

... Read more »

  • January 31, 2016
  • 02:57 PM
  • 168 views

The brains of patients with schizophrenia vary depending on the type of schizophrenia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

I have a friend who lost an eye to his brother. Yes, you read that correctly, his brother tried to kill him and in the process he lost his eye. I’ve told this story before, but whenever new schizophrenia research comes out I feel the need to tell it again. While he has forgiven his brother (partly because not long after, he was diagnosed as schizophrenic), he will not be able to see him again until he is released from prison. A tragedy that could’ve been avoided had he been diagnosed sooner......... Read more »

  • January 27, 2016
  • 02:36 PM
  • 142 views

The music of the mind: throwing light on human consciousness

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

UNSW Australia scientists have shown that complex human brain activity is governed by the same simple universal rule of nature that can explain other phenomena such as the beautiful sound of a finely crafted violin or the spots on a leopard. The UNSW team has identified a link between the distinctive patterns of brain function that occur at rest and the physical structure of people's brains.

... Read more »

  • January 20, 2016
  • 09:36 AM
  • 124 views

Video Tip of the Week: LilBUBome sequencing project

by Mary in OpenHelix

Ok, the phrase “Lil Bub is an American celebrity cat….” is not the way I start a lot of blog posts. I enjoy cats on the internet as much as anyone–but their relevance to science is not one of the reasons, usually. But the Lil Bub genome project changes that. A popular, crowd-funded, genome sequencing project […]... Read more »

  • January 17, 2016
  • 02:31 PM
  • 145 views

Nanodevice, build thyself

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

As we continue to shrink electronic components, top-down manufacturing methods begin to approach a physical limit at the nanoscale. Rather than continue to chip away at this limit, one solution of interest involves using the bottom-up self-assembly of molecular building blocks to build nanoscale devices.

... Read more »

  • January 16, 2016
  • 03:12 PM
  • 195 views

‘Space Warps’ and other citizen science projects reap major dividends for astrophysics

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Thanks to the Internet, amateur volunteers known as "citizen scientists" can readily donate their time and effort to science--in fields ranging from medicine to zoology to astrophysics. The astrophysics project Space Warps offers a compelling example of why citizen science has become such a popular tool and how valuable it can be.

... Read more »

Marshall, P., Verma, A., More, A., Davis, C., More, S., Kapadia, A., Parrish, M., Snyder, C., Wilcox, J., Baeten, E.... (2015) SPACE WARPS - I. Crowdsourcing the discovery of gravitational lenses. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455(2), 1171-1190. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv2009  

More, A., Verma, A., Marshall, P., More, S., Baeten, E., Wilcox, J., Macmillan, C., Cornen, C., Kapadia, A., Parrish, M.... (2015) SPACE WARPS- II. New gravitational lens candidates from the CFHTLS discovered through citizen science. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455(2), 1191-1210. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv1965  

  • January 13, 2016
  • 03:44 PM
  • 217 views

Beam me up! Teleporting the memory of an organism

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In "Star Trek", a transporter can teleport a person from one location to a remote location without actually making the journey along the way. Such a transporter has fascinated many people. Quantum teleportation shares several features of the transporter and is one of the most important protocols in quantum information.... Read more »

  • January 5, 2016
  • 02:11 PM
  • 191 views

Why daring to compare online prices pays off offline

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The constant barrage of post-holiday sales touted by web-based retailers may make it seem like online shopping is killing real-world stores. But shoppers are actually engaging in “web-to-store” shopping — buying offline after comparing prices online.... Read more »

  • January 4, 2016
  • 01:36 PM
  • 245 views

If our brain is a computer, do we really have free will?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The background to this new set of experiments lies in the debate regarding conscious will and determinism in human decision-making, which has attracted researchers, psychologists, philosophers and the general public, and which has been ongoing since at least the 1980s. Back then, the American researcher Benjamin Libet studied the nature of cerebral processes of study participants during conscious decision-making.... Read more »

Schultze-Kraft, M., Birman, D., Rusconi, M., Allefeld, C., Görgen, K., Dähne, S., Blankertz, B., & Haynes, J. (2015) The point of no return in vetoing self-initiated movements. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201513569. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1513569112  

  • December 30, 2015
  • 02:17 PM
  • 278 views

3-D footage of nematode brains links neurons with motion and behavior

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Princeton University researchers have captured among the first recordings of neural activity in nearly the entire brain of a free-moving animal. The three-dimensional recordings could provide scientists with a better understanding of how neurons coordinate action and perception in animals. The researchers reported a technique that allowed them to record 3-D footage of neural activity in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, a worm species 1 millimeter long with a nervous system containing a mere ........ Read more »

Nguyen JP, Shipley FB, Linder AN, Plummer GS, Liu M, Setru SU, Shaevitz JW, & Leifer AM. (2015) Whole-brain calcium imaging with cellular resolution in freely behaving Caenorhabditis elegans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26712014  

  • December 24, 2015
  • 03:54 PM
  • 318 views

It came from planet X: ‘Forbidden’ substances on super-Earths

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Using mathematical models, scientists have ‘looked’ into the interior of super-Earths and discovered that they may contain compounds that are forbidden by the classical rules of chemistry — these substances may increase the heat transfer rate and strengthen the magnetic field on these planets.... Read more »

  • December 21, 2015
  • 09:58 AM
  • 291 views

Slice of PLOS: The Awesomeness of Bats

by Roli Roberts in PLOS Biologue

Just how awesome are bats? It’s easy to forget that one in five species of mammal on this planet have wings capable of delivering spectacularly acrobatic flying abilities. Equally incredibly, two-thirds of these 1,200 species... Read more »

Bergou, A., Swartz, S., Vejdani, H., Riskin, D., Reimnitz, L., Taubin, G., & Breuer, K. (2015) Falling with Style: Bats Perform Complex Aerial Rotations by Adjusting Wing Inertia. PLOS Biology, 13(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002297  

  • December 17, 2015
  • 04:33 PM
  • 252 views

Scientists manipulate consciousness in rats

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientists showed that they could alter brain activity of rats and either wake them up or put them in an unconscious state by changing the firing rates of neurons in the central thalamus, a region known to regulate arousal. The study was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health.... Read more »

Jia Liu, Hyun Joo Lee, Andrew J Weitz, Zhongnan Fang, Peter Lin, ManKin Choy, Robert Fisher, Vadim Pinskiy, Alexander Tolpygo, Partha Mitra, Nicholas Schiff, Jin Hyung Lee. (2015) Frequency-selective control of cortical and subcortical networks by central thalamus. eLife. DOI: http://dx.org/10.7554/eLife.09215#sthash.uNb2m4j3.dpuf  

  • December 15, 2015
  • 03:56 PM
  • 293 views

‘Hydricity’ concept uses solar energy to produce power round-the-clock… really?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers are proposing a new "hydricity" concept aimed at creating a sustainable economy by not only generating electricity with solar energy but also producing and storing hydrogen from superheated water for round-the-clock power production.... Read more »

Emre Gencer, Dharik S. Mallapragada, Francois Marechal, Mohit Tawarmalani. (2015) Round-the-clock power supply and a sustainable economy via synergistic integration of solar thermal power and hydrogen processes. Proceedings of the natural sciences academy of the United States of America. info:/http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/12/09/1513488112.abstract

  • December 10, 2015
  • 11:52 PM
  • 262 views

Alternate conformations

by ragothamanyennamalli in Getting to know Structural Bioinformatics

In the 90s morphing of two unrelated images was popular and mostly it was used for entertainment purposes. For example: the famous video of Michael Jackson’s pop hit “Black or White”.... Read more »

Narunsky A, Nepomnyachiy S, Ashkenazy H, Kolodny R, & Ben-Tal N. (2015) ConTemplate Suggests Possible Alternative Conformations for a Query Protein of Known Structure. Structure (London, England : 1993), 23(11), 2162-70. PMID: 26455800  

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