MightyMait writes: As someone born with crossed-eyes who underwent surgery as an infant and has lived with a lazy eye his whole life (without 3-D vision), the prospect of fixing my vision by playing Tetris is an enticing one.
sciencehabit writes: By mimicking a technique used by an intestinal parasite of fish, researchers have developed a flexible patch studded with microneedles that holds skin grafts in place more strongly than surgical staples do. After burrowing into the walls of a fish's intestines, the spiny-headed worm Pomphorhynchus laevis inflates its proboscis to better embed itself in the soft tissue. In the new patch, the stiff polystyrene core of the 700-micrometer-tall needles penetrates the tissue; then a thin hydrogel coating on the tip of each needle—a coating based on the material in disposable diapers that expands when it gets wet—swells to help anchor the patch in place. In tests using skin grafts, adhesion strength of the patch was more than three times higher than surgical staples. Because the patch doesn't depend on chemical adhesives for its gripping power, there's less chance for patients to have an allergic reaction. And because the microneedles are about one-quarter the length of typical surgical staples, the patches cause less tissue damage when they're removed. Besides holding grafts in place, the patch could be used to hold the sides of a wound or an incision together—even, in theory, ones inside the body if a slowly dissolving version of the patch can be developed. Moreover, the researchers say, the hydrogel coating holds promise as a way to deliver proteins, drugs, or other therapeutic substances to patients.
An anonymous reader writes: From Mike Konczal, summarizing a new study that says Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff made a coding error in a famous paper claiming that economic growth slows down in countries with debt levels above 90 percent of GDP:
SternisheFan writes: Wired reports: Using superconducting nanowires and lasers, a new camera system can produce high-resolution 3-D images of objects from up to a kilometer away.
The technology works by sending out a low-power infrared laser beam, which sweeps over an object or scene. Some light gets reflected back, though most is scattered in different directions. A detector measures how long it takes one particle of light, a photon, to return to the camera and is then able to calculate the distance from the system to the object. The technique can resolve millimeter-size bumps and changes in depth from hundreds of meters away.
The new camera takes advantage of superconducting nanowires, materials with almost no electrical resistance that have to be cooled to extremely low temperatures. These superconductors are very sensitive and can tell when just a single photon has hit them.
“That’s the beauty of this system,” said physicist Gerald Buller of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, co-author of a paper on the system that appeared Apr. 4 in Optics Express. “Each laser pulse contains many photons, but we only need one photon to return for every 10 optical pulses.”
The technology is similar to LIDAR, a remote sensing technique that also uses laser light to measure the distance to different objects. By using infrared light, Buller’s camera is able to detect a wide variety of different items that don’t reflect laser beams well, like clothing. And the long-wavelength infrared light is safer than other lasers because it won’t harm people’s eyes when it scans them.
Buller said the technology could have a lot of different scientific applications. The system could be placed on airplanes and used to scan the vegetation in a forest, helping to determine the size and health of the plants. The team is also interested in making the camera work well underwater, which would allow people to scan the depth of oceans or lakes and determine their shape.
mallyn writes: This is an article about a search engine that is designed to look for devices on the net that are not really intended to be viewed and used by the general public. Devices include pool filters, skating rink cooling system, and other goodies
sciencehabit writes: Gastric bypass surgery is supposed to work by shrinking the size of the stomach, leading to rapid weight loss. But a new study reveals that the procedure changes the population of microbes in our guts, and that these microbes themselves may be helping us lose weight. When researchers transfered microbes from mice that had undergone gastric bypass to mice that hadn't, the recipeint mice loss 5% of their body weight in two weeks. No surgery required.
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The first dogs descended from wolves about 14,000 years ago but according to Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods humans didn't domesticate dogs — dogs sought out humans and domesticated us. Humans have a long history of eradicating wolves, rather than trying to adopt them which raises the question: How was the wolf tolerated by humans long enough to evolve into the domestic dog? "The short version is that we often think of evolution as being the survival of the fittest, where the strong and the dominant survive and the soft and weak perish. But essentially, far from the survival of the leanest and meanest, the success of dogs comes down to survival of the friendliest." Most likely, it was wolves that approached us, not the other way around, probably while they were scavenging around garbage dumps on the edge of human settlements. The wolves that were bold but aggressive would have been killed by humans, and so only the ones that were bold and friendly would have been tolerated. In a few generations, these friendly wolves became distinctive from their more aggressive relatives with splotchy coats, floppy ears, wagging tails. But the changes did not just affect their looks but their psychology. Protodogs evolved the ability to read human gestures. "As dog owners, we take for granted that we can point to a ball or toy and our dog will bound off to get it," write Hare and Woods. "But the ability of dogs to read human gestures is remarkable. Even our closest relatives — chimpanzees and bonobos — can't read our gestures as readily as dogs can." With this new ability, these protodogs were worth knowing. People who had dogs during a hunt would likely have had an advantage over those who didn't. Finally when times were tough, dogs could have served as an emergency food supply and once humans realized the usefulness of keeping dogs as emergency food, it was not a huge jump to realize plants could be used in a similar way. " This is the secret to the genius of dogs: It's when dogs join forces with us that they become special.," conclude Hare and Woods. "Dogs may even have been the catalyst for our civilization.""
kenekaplan writes: "Jim Kardach's 27-year career at Intel led to energy-efficient mobile computers, hundreds of patented inventions and the creation of Bluetooth. "Design things to work efficiently, but more importantly, do nothing efficiently," said Kardach just prior to retiring as Intel's chief power architect."
sciencehabit writes: What is time? And how would you explain it to an 11-year-old? That's the question actor Alan Alda has posed to scientists in the second Flame Challenge—so named because the question in last year's competition was, "What is a flame?" The challenge aims to spur scientists to think about how they can better communicate with the public. Scientists have until 1 March to submit their answers, which will be judged by 11-year-olds around the world. Organizers will announce the winner at the World Science Festival in New York City on 1 June.
sciencehabit writes: The fossils of various frondlike and sacklike organisms that supposedly lived at the bottom of ancient oceans may actually represent some of the earliest organisms to dwell on land. That's the controversial interpretation of a new study, which suggests that rocks long thought to have been formed from sediments deposited on ancient seafloors may actually be the remnants of early soils. If true, the finding would push back life's transition from sea to land by tens of millions of years—and possibly by 100 million years or more.
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Science Recorder reports that according to NASA a pair of asteroids — one just over three mile wide — passed Earth Tuesday and early Wednesday avoiding a potentially cataclysmic impact with our home planet. 2012 XE5, estimated at between 50-165 feet across, was discovered just days earlier, missing our planet by only 139,500 miles or slightly more than half the distance to the moon. 4179 Toutatis, just over three miles wide, put on an amazing show for astronomers early Wednesday missing Earth by 18 lunar lengths, while allowing scientists to observe the massive asteroid in detail. Asteroid Toutatis is well known to astronomers. It passes by Earth’s orbit every four years and astronomers say its unique orbit means it is unlikely to impact Earth for at least 600 years. It is one of the largest known potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs), and its orbit is inclined less than half-a-degree from Earth’s. “We already know that Toutatis will not hit Earth for hundreds of years,” says Lance Benner of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program. “These new observations will allow us to predict the asteroid’s trajectory even farther into the future.” Toutatis would inflict devastating damage if it slammed into Earth, perhaps extinguishing human civilization. The asteroid thought to have killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was about 6 miles wide, researchers say.The fact that 2012 XE5 was discovered only a few days before the encounter prompted Minnesota Public Radio to poll its listeners with the following question: If an asteroid were to strike Earth within an hour, would you want to know?"
J Story writes: Matt Asher, a statistics wonk, in a blog posting (The surprisingly weak case for global warming) claims that: "Based solely on year-over-year changes in surface temperatures, the net increase since 1881 is fully explainable as a non-independent random walk with no trend."
For the programmer/statistics junkie, R code is provided.