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Japan To Create a Nuclear Meltdown 222

Taco Cowboy writes "Japanese researchers are planning an experiment to better understand what transpires during a nuclear meltdown by attempting to create a controlled nuclear meltdown. Using a scaled down version of a nuclear reactor — essentially a meter long stainless steel container — the experiment will involve the insertion of a foot long (30 cm) nuclear fuel rod, starting the fission process, and then draining the coolant. The experiment is scheduled to take place later this year."

GM Researching Windshields For Old Drivers 362

beuges writes "General Motors researchers are working on a high-tech windshield that users lasers and infra-red sensors to identify and enhance important objects for older drivers with vision problems. 'For example, during a foggy drive, a laser projects a blue line onto the windshield that follows the edge of the road. Or if infrared sensors detect a person or animal in the driver's path during a night drive, its outline is projected on the windshield to highlight its location.' And it's not only older drivers who will benefit: 'Some features would be helpful to drivers of all ages. If a driver is speeding, a pink box frames an approaching speed limit sign to draw the driver's attention.' The 65 and older population in the US will nearly double in about 20 years, meaning more people will be struggling to see the road like they used to."
The Military

Northrop Grumman To Develop Brain-Wave Binoculars 149

An anonymous reader writes "An AP wire reports that DARPA has granted a $6.7 million contract to Northrop Grumman to develop 'brainwave binoculars'. The binoculars will be built into a helmet, which will include EEG electrodes that will monitor the wearer's brain activity for patterns consistent with object identification/recognition. From what I can gather, the idea is that when you look at a far-off or partially obscured object without noticing it, your subconscious probably did notice it and tried, unsuccessfully, to identify it. The EEG in these binoculars would pick up on that kind of subconscious activity and draw the wearer's attention to the object in question. The goal is that these binoculars would be able to pick up on any object anywhere in the wearer's field of view, where a person can only pick up on things that he focuses both his eyes and his attention on. This delves into some very interesting territory: it would be an electronic device that uses human eyes to collect data, and even uses a human brain to partially process the data. Since it also passes its results back to the human providing the data and initial processing, it essentially adds a second processing loop in parallel to the wearer's visual system."

Bits of Tassie Tiger Brought Back from Extinction 197

zerobeat writes "Scientists from Melbourne, Australia have managed to resurrect the gene responsible for the development of cartilage and bone from the now extinct Tasmanian Tiger. The gene was expressed in a mouse embryo so the full reincarnation of a full Tassie Tiger is a long way off. You can listen to an MP3 of ABC Australia's Robyn Williams discussing the results with the lead scientists. This is the first time DNA from an extinct species has been made to live again in a live animal."
The Military

The Military Plans To Regrow Body Parts 257

Ponca City, We Love You writes "The Department of Defense has announced the creation of the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine to 'harness stem cell research and technology... to reconstruct new skin, muscles and tendons, and even ears, noses and fingers.' The government is budgeting $250 million in public and private money for the project's first five years, and the NIH and three universities will be on the team. The military has been working on regrowing lost body parts using extracellular matrices and scientists in labs have grown blood vessels, livers, bladders, breast implants, and meat and are already growing a new ear for a badly burned Marine using stem cells from his own body. Army Surgeon General Eric Schoomaker explained that our bodies systematically generate liver cells and bone marrow and that this ability can be redirected through 'the right kind of stimulation.' The general cited animals like salamanders that can regrow lost tails or limbs. 'Why can't a mammal do the same thing?' he asked."

A Super-Efficient Light Bulb 468

Chroniton writes with news of a Silicon Valley company, Luxim, that has developed a tiny, full-spectrum light bulb, based on a plasma of argon gas, that gives off as much light as a streetlight while using less power. The Tic Tac-sized bulb operates at temperatures up to 6000K and produces 140 lumens/watt, almost ten times as efficient as standard incandescent lamps, and twice the efficiency of high-end LEDs. The new bulbs also have a lifetime of 20,000 hours. There's no mention of mercury or other heavy metals, which pose a problem for compact fluorescents.

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