Category Archives: Technology

OpenWorm brings simulated life one step closer with ‘real’ digital muscles

OpenWorm brings simulated life one step closer with ‘real’ digital muscles

The important thing about Caenorhabditis elegans, also called a roundworm or nematode, is how simple it is. A mouse may be small, but it’s still a mammal, and composed of many billions of cells. Even a fruit fly is a relatively complex organism, and as scientists manipulate its genes they see all kinds of emergent properties arising from the incredible ...

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Why do electric cars suck in cold weather?

Why do electric cars suck in cold weather?

In hindsight, it’s not surprising the Mitsubishi MiEV EV I drove barely made it to 50 miles rather than its rated 62 miles (100 km). It was a dark and chilly if not stormy early December night and that killed the range. When you drive an EV, “your mileage may vary” includes cold weather as well as hard acceleration and ...

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From eons to hours: new process can pressure-cook algae into crude oil

From eons to hours: new process can pressure-cook algae into crude oil

A new discovery could let scientists artificially create crude oil in under an hour, accelerating a natural process that normally takes at least a few million years to complete. In nature, crude oil is the product of hundreds of species of algae and bacteria that grew, died, and slowly settled to form deposits of decaying organic matter. This matter builds ...

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Researchers crack the world’s toughest encryption by listening to the tiny sounds made by your computer’s CPU

Researchers crack the world’s toughest encryption by listening to the tiny sounds made by your computer’s CPU

Security researchers have successfully broken one of the most secure encryption algorithms, 4096-bit RSA, by listening – yes, with a microphone — to a computer as it decrypts some encrypted data. The attack is fairly simple and can be carried out with rudimentary hardware. The repercussions for the average computer user are minimal, but if you’re a secret agent, power user, ...

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Attempting to understand the most important chemical reaction on the planet: Photosynthesis

Attempting to understand the most important chemical reaction on the planet: Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is the engine of life. The synthesis of organic compounds made possible by coupling light to the splitting of water is probably the most important set of chemical reactions on the planet. While there are hopes of one day channeling photosynthetic outputs directly to our needs, many key details of the process, including the actual efficiency, are still incompletely ...

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Water still flows on Mars, potentially harboring life – and we need to be careful not to contaminate it

Water still flows on Mars, potentially harboring life – and we need to be careful not to contaminate it

Water flows freely on the surface of Mars. Wait, what? In recent months, NASA’s Curiosity rover has confirmed that Mars, millions of years ago, used to be covered in free-flowing rivers. According to some new imagery from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and analysis by Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona, however, it appears that water still flows on the ...

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‘Tis the season: Disney revokes access to purchased Christmas movies to force you back to cable this Christmas (updated)

‘Tis the season: Disney revokes access to purchased Christmas movies to force you back to cable this Christmas (updated)

Sometimes movie executives make decisions so obviously bone-headed, it leaves one wondering if these people consult actual humans before making product decisions. In this case, Disney has decided to yank certain movies off the shelf right in time for Christmas. If the House of Mouse was simply opting not to sell movies digitally, that would be one thing. What it’s ...

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Google acquires Boston Dynamics and seven other robotics companies: Next stop, Judgment Day

Google acquires Boston Dynamics and seven other robotics companies: Next stop, Judgment Day

Google, the search engine and advertising company, has acquired Boston Dynamics — the robotics and engineering company famous for the creation of some of the world’s most advanced robots, including BigDog, Cheetah, Petman, and Atlas. This brings Google’s total number of robot-related acquisitions to eight, and the company now has teams of robotics experts in California and Japan. As we’ve ...

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