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Book Review: The Information: a History, a Theory, a Flood Screenshot-sm 44

eldavojohn writes "The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick has a rather nebulous title and the subtitle doesn't really help one understand what this book hopes to be about. The extensive citations are welcomed as the author barely scratches the surface of any theory of information. It also cherry picks odd and interesting facets of the history of information but presents them in a chronologically challenged order. This book is, however, a flood and as a result it could best be described as a rambling, romantic love note to Information — eloquently written and at times wondrously inspiring but at the same time imparting very little actual knowledge or tools to the reader. If I were half my age, this book would be the perfect fit for me (just like Chaos was) but knowing all the punchlines and how the story ends ahead of time rather ruined it for me. While wandering through interesting anecdotes, Gleick masks the reader from most of the gory details." Read on for the rest of eldavojohn's review.
Biotech

Mitochondria and the Prevention of Death 453

H_Fisher writes "Research into mitochondria — small structures within a cell that have their own DNA — suggests that they may be a cause of cellular death, according to Newsweek. The article The Science of Death: Reviving the Dead reports on people who have recovered from sudden death due to cardiac arrest through the use of medically induced hypothermia. The cooling process may help stop the death of brain and heart cells initiated by the mitochondria once they are deprived of oxygen. The article goes on to probe delicately at the question of where a person's personality 'is' between death and later revival, and describes several ongoing scientific studies of near-death experiences."
Biotech

Nano-Probes Stay Inside a Cell's Nucleus for Days 123

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) have developed fluorescent and stable nano-probes which can stay inside a cell's nucleus for hours or even days. According to this LBL news release, this will help biologists to better understand nuclear processes that evolve slowly, such as DNA replication, genomic alterations, and cell cycle control. This research was partially based on previous investigations about quantum dots. Now, the researchers want to tailor their quantum dots, which emit different colors depending on their sizes, to check specific chemical reactions inside nuclei, such as how proteins help repair DNA after irradiation. Read more for other details and references and to see how a nano-sized probe is entering a cell's nucleus."
Biotech

Sequence-Detecting Nanoscale Sensor 16

Makarand writes "A nanoscale sensor made of a single molecule - just 20 nanometers long - capable of detecting a specific short sequence in a mix of DNA or RNA molecules has been created by physicists at UCLA. This nanoscale sensor could be used to detect the early stages of cancers for which genetic markers are well known or extremely minute traces of biological weapons. When a target molecule binds to the probe molecule in the sensor, the probe molecule changes shape and pulls on the sensor. The motion of the sensor is detected by an optical technique to measure conformational changes in the probe molecule at the nanometer scale."
Movies

Review: "Mission To Mars" 460

Brian De Palma can direct fun movies, even good movies, but never go into one of his movies expecting too much. Written by the brothers who gave us Predator and Wild Wild West, his awful latest Mission to Mars opened this weekend. YRO authors Michael and Jamie were so appalled by this piece of work that they insisted on panning it together, and Jon Katz added his own, slightly hopeful voice to the flaying. Read more for serious spoilers ...
Science

Nanosystems 52

Chris Worth has come to me (surprise!) with a review of one of the most definitive books on nanotechnology, Nanosystems. K. Eric Drexler's response to the technical issues raised by critics to nanotechnology, the book is a technical treatise

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