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  • April 10, 2013
  • 09:12 AM

The Effects of Social Media Monopolies

by Mark Fonseca Rendeiro in United Academics

Though some new statistical reports show signs of slowing down, we are still very much in the era of social media euphoria, where more and more people join up, sign in, and check their feeds as often as possible. ”Like” it or not- grievances are aired, ideas are sometimes exchanged, and a never ending stream of baby photos are shared at every minute of the day. On the surface, both regular users and professional researchers have observed and chronicled the list of achievements and possibilities brought on by this technology as we are currently using it. But taking a deeper look into the power, politics, and effects of everyone becoming a “prosumer”, some researchers see a major crisis on the horizon as both governments and commercial institutions quietly take advantage of what appears to be an exercise in freedom of expression.... Read more »

  • April 8, 2013
  • 02:02 PM

A mighty wind

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

Thrusters powered by ionic wind may be an efficient alternative to conventional atmospheric propulsion technologies.... Read more »

Jennifer Chu. (2013) A mighty wind. MIT News Office. info:/

  • April 8, 2013
  • 12:00 PM

Programming playground: Cells as (quantum) computers?

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Nearly a year ago, the previous post in this series introduced a way for programmers to play around with biology: a model that simulated the dynamics of a whole cell at unprecedented levels of details. But what if you want to play with the real thing? Can you program a living cell? Can you compute [...]... Read more »

Bonnet J, Yin P, Ortiz ME, Subsoontorn P, & Endy D. (2013) Amplifying Genetic Logic Gates. Science. PMID: 23539178  

  • April 2, 2013
  • 12:12 PM

The Misguided Search for Validation via Social Media

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

We human beings are social creatures. It’s natural for us to orient ourselves in terms of the world outside and what the people around us are thinking and doing. This socialization instinct is strongest in us when we’re young and still developing our own sense of identity. Historically speaking, this dynamic has typically played itself … Read More →... Read more »

  • April 2, 2013
  • 11:28 AM

Film preparations for oral drug delivery

by Maren Preis in Pharmaceutical Solid State Research Cluster (PSSRC)

Oral films have gained interest in the last couple of years. Films for oral application offer an interesting new approach for drug administration. Active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) can be implemented in thin-sheeted polymer film matrices. These dosage forms are intended to be placed in mouth to dissolve in the saliva without the need of additional liquid and without swallowing of a solid dosage form.... Read more »

Hoffmann EM, Breitenbach A, & Breitkreutz J. (2011) Advances in orodispersible films for drug delivery. Expert opinion on drug delivery, 8(3), 299-316. PMID: 21284577  

Janßen E.M., Schliephacke R,, Breitenbach A,, & Breitkreutz J. (2013) Drug-printing by flexographic printing technology—A new manufacturing process for orodispersible films. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 441(1-2), 818-825. info:/10.1016/j.ijpharm.2012.12.023

Garsuch V, & Breitkreutz J. (2009) Novel analytical methods for the characterization of oral wafers. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 73(1), 195-201. PMID: 19482082  

Woertz K, Tissen C, Kleinebudde P, & Breitkreutz J. (2011) Taste sensing systems (electronic tongues) for pharmaceutical applications. International journal of pharmaceutics, 417(1-2), 256-71. PMID: 21094230  

  • March 29, 2013
  • 09:11 AM

Scientists Detect Magnetic Fingerprints of Defects in Solar Cells

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

A new highly sensitive method of measurement allowed physicists form Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin for Materials and Energy to directly detect defects in solar cells with atomic resolution. This findings can be used to optimize solar cells’ efficiency and decrease production costs.

HZB physicists have managed to localize defects in amorphous/crystalline silicon heterojunction solar cells. Now, for the first time ever, using computer simulations at Paderborn University, the scientists were able to determine the defects’ exact locations and assign them to certain structures within the interface between the amorphous and crystalline phases.... Read more »

George, B., Behrends, J., Schnegg, A., Schulze, T., Fehr, M., Korte, L., Rech, B., Lips, K., Rohrmüller, M., Rauls, E.... (2013) Atomic Structure of Interface States in Silicon Heterojunction Solar Cells. Physical Review Letters, 110(13). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.136803  

  • March 28, 2013
  • 10:01 AM

Texas Unleashes Stampede for Science

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

Stampede, the newest supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) and one of the most advanced scientific research instruments in the world, fills aisle after aisle of a new 11,000-square-foot data center on the J.J. Pickle Research Campus. Through the glass machine room doors, you can see 182 racks holding more than 500,000 interconnected computer processors. Inside, wind whips from in-row coolers, wires snake over the racks and chilled water courses below the floor as Stampede performs calculations on behalf of scientists and engineers nationwide.... Read more »

Aaron Dubrow. (2013) Texas Unleashes Stampede for Science. UT - Texas Advanced Computing Center. info:/

  • March 27, 2013
  • 09:45 AM

Video Tip of the Week: Enzyme Portal and User-Centered Design

by Mary in OpenHelix

This week’s video tip of the week introduces you to Enzyme Portal, an interface to explore data about these important proteins, from the EBI. In the video, Jenny Cham–one of the authors of the paper below–takes you through the main features of their newly designed resource. I learned about the new effort from this blog [...]... Read more »

de Matos, P., Cham, J., Cao, H., Alcántara, R., Rowland, F., Lopez, R., & Steinbeck, C. (2013) The Enzyme Portal: A case study in applying user-centred design methods in bioinformatics. BMC Bioinformatics, 14(1), 103. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2105-14-103  

  • March 27, 2013
  • 08:27 AM

Modern Privacy: More Access to Cells than Toilets

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

Most people in the world now live in a city, feeling pretty anonymous. An even bigger number of people don’t have to defocate out in the open anymore, but have access to a toilet. And then there’s this growing amount of people that can talk in private on their cells. But beware, these are false senses of privacy.... Read more »

de Montjoye YA, Hidalgo CA, Verleysen M, & Blondel VD. (2013) Unique in the Crowd: The privacy bounds of human mobility. Scientific reports, 1376. PMID: 23524645  

  • March 26, 2013
  • 08:48 AM

Breakthrough Research Shows Chemical Reaction in Real Time

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

The ultrafast, ultrabright X-ray pulses of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) have enabled unprecedented views of a catalyst in action, an important step in the effort to develop cleaner and more efficient energy sources.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory used LCLS, together with computerized simulations, to reveal surprising details of a short-lived early state in a chemical reaction occurring at the surface of a catalyst sample. The study offers important clues about how catalysts work and launches a new era in probing surface chemistry as it happens.... Read more »

Andy Freeberg. (2013) Breakthrough Research Shows Chemical Reaction in Real Time. SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory News. info:/

  • March 26, 2013
  • 06:01 AM

X-ray Laser Explores How to Write Data with Light

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

Using laser light to read and write magnetic data by quickly flipping tiny magnetic domains could help keep pace with the demand for faster computing devices.

Now experiments with SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser have given scientists their first detailed look at how light controls the first trillionth of a second of this process, known as all-optical magnetic switching.... Read more »

Glenn Roberts Jr. (2013) X-ray Laser Explores How to Write Data with Light. SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory News. info:/

  • March 22, 2013
  • 06:50 PM

A great role model for collaborative science: meet the OpenWorm

by Eugenio Maria Battaglia in Science to Grok

Sometimes even big project could start from a tweet.

Matteo Cantarelli - member of the OpenWorm team - says: "It was 2007 when Giovanni Idili and I started - naively - talking about simulating the worm. We were approaching the problem after having hit common limits of artificial intelligence. We never got to write any code for the worm at that time, we just had lengthy conversations and paper reading sessions together."
... Read more »

  • March 18, 2013
  • 04:04 AM

Internet Bad Neighborhoods

by Rense in Curving Normality

Don’t venture too far on the internet: bad neighborhoods were located! Internet bad neighborhoods are those geographical areas where the majority of spam and phishing mails originate from. Interestingly, some regions specialize in spam, while others focus on phishing for your bank account. ... Read more »

Giovane C. M. Moura, Anna Sperotto, Ramin Sadre, & Aiko Pras. (2013) Evaluating Third-Party Bad Neighborhood Blacklists for Spam Detection. IFIP/IEEE International Symposium on Integrated Network Management. info:/

  • March 15, 2013
  • 11:38 AM

Surprising Control over Photoelectrons from a Topological Insulator

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

Plain-looking but inherently strange crystalline materials called 3D topological insulators (TIs) are all the rage in materials science. Even at room temperature, a single chunk of TI is a good insulator in the bulk, yet behaves like a metal on its surface.

Researchers find TIs exciting partly because the electrons that flow swiftly across their surfaces are “spin polarized”: the electron’s spin is locked to its momentum, perpendicular to the direction of travel. These interesting electronic states promise many uses – some exotic, like observing never-before-seen fundamental particles, but many practical, including building more versatile and efficient high-tech gadgets, or, further into the future, platforms for quantum computing.... Read more »

Paul Preuss. (2013) Surprising Control over Photoelectrons from a Topological Insulator. Berkeley Lab News Center. info:/

  • March 13, 2013
  • 08:46 AM

Predicting Technological Progress: Putting Moore’s Law to the Test

by GDW in The Beast, the Bard and the Bot

Being able to predict the pace of technological development could be quite useful for a lot of people. No surprise then, that several models (or ‘laws’) have been posited that aim to describe how technological progress will unfurl (the most famous one probably being Moore’s law, for those interested: original article here). However, these laws [...]... Read more »

  • March 12, 2013
  • 10:38 AM

New Ultra-Efficient HPC Data Center Debuts

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

Scientists and researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are constantly innovating, integrating novel technologies, and “walking the talk.” Since 1982, NREL has won 52 R&D 100 Awards — known in the research and development community as “the Oscars of Innovation” — for its groundbreaking work.... Read more »

Heather Lammers. (2013) New Ultra-Efficient HPC Data Center Debuts. NREL Newsroom. info:/

  • March 11, 2013
  • 02:04 PM

Let’s Explore Quantum Computing

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

It’s fairly easy to surmise how quantum computing will evolve in the future if/when it becomes a reality. Devices that are currently based around a system of electronic circuits would eventually die off. Quantum devices would ultimately become the new standard in computing. While Peter Shor’s research showed how quantum algorithms would speed up advanced [...]... Read more »

Benningshof OW, Mohebbi HR, Taminiau IA, Miao GX, & Cory DG. (2013) Superconducting microstrip resonator for pulsed ESR of thin films. Journal of magnetic resonance (San Diego, Calif. : 1997), 84-87. PMID: 23454577  

Petersson KD, McFaul LW, Schroer MD, Jung M, Taylor JM, Houck AA, & Petta JR. (2012) Circuit quantum electrodynamics with a spin qubit. Nature, 490(7420), 380-3. PMID: 23075988  

  • March 7, 2013
  • 06:30 AM

Games, culture, and the Turing test (Part I)

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Intelligence is one of the most loaded terms that I encounter. A common association is the popular psychometric definition — IQ. For many psychologists, this definition is too restrictive and the g factor is preferred for getting at the ‘core’ of intelligence tests. Even geneticists have latched on to g for looking at heritability of [...]... Read more »

Strannegård, C., Amirghasemi, M., & Ulfsbäcker, S. (2013) An anthropomorphic method for number sequence problems. Cognitive Systems Research, 27-34. DOI: 10.1016/j.cogsys.2012.05.003  

  • March 6, 2013
  • 10:03 AM

Dead Sparrow Turned into Robot to Study Bird Behavior

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

Researchers at Duke University recently took a major step toward better understanding how swamp sparrows use a combination of song and visual displays to communicate with one another. How they came about making this discovery, though, is what makes this story particularly newsworthy — they stuffed a deceased swamp sparrow with a miniature computer and some [...]... Read more »

  • March 5, 2013
  • 04:00 PM

Continuously Sorting Particles According to Shape

by Hector Munoz in Microfluidic Future

There are numerous filters to separate particles in liquid based on their size, which can be enough to isolate them; however, particle shape can be more important, as it distinguishes healthy red blood cells from those affected by sickle-cell disease or malaria. Shape can also be used to determine what stage a cell is in of the cell cycle, which would benefit researchers looking for dividing cells. Recent research by Dino Di Carlo of UCLA looks to separate particles of differing aspect ratios continuously, using inertial fluid-dynamics. His work, “Continuous Inertial Focusing and Separation of Particles by Shape,” featured in Physical Review X reminds me of his previous work to use inertial fluid-dynamics to continuously filter particles according to size.... Read more »

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