Oregon State University researchers this week revealed details about a piece of amber from the Early Cretaceous period that contains a spider in its web attacking an intruding wasp.
To put it lightly, something sensational happens upon feeding large concentrations of toxic gold chloride (also known as liquid gold) to the bacteria Cupriavidus metallidurans. After about a week's time, the bacterium creates a 24-karat gold nugget from the digested toxins.
"Microbial alchemy is what we're doing, transforming gold from something that has no value into a solid, precious metal that's valuable," said Kazem Kashefi, assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at Michigan State University, where the research is taking place. … Read more
Linksys today announced the availability of its latest Smart Wi-Fi router, the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1750 HD Video Pro router (model EA6500). This is the company's first router to support the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard.
A group of hackers claims to have stolen thousands of personal records by breaching the servers of more than 50 universities around the world, including Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, and Princeton.
A group calling itself GhostShell posted to text-sharing site Pastebin more than 120,000 records from the breached servers, including thousands of names, usernames, passwords, addresses, and phone numbers of students and faculty. While most hacker activity is motivated by a desire to steal identities or pranksterism, GhostShell said the goal of its data dump was to focus public attention on the state of higher education:
We wanted to bring … Read more
Even if you have a dashboard display showing what's behind your car when you back up, it's hard to be 100 percent sure you won't hit something. Or someone. That's why researchers at Japan's Keio University are working on a system that makes the back seat invisible, so to speak.
From the driver's perspective, the back of a car, in this case a Prius, is transparent, thus eliminating blind spots that could conceal hazards. The system is called the "see-through Prius" and it's being showcased this month at the 2012 Digital Content Expo in Tokyo. … Read more
There's a hierarchy of "Star Trek" inventions we would like to see become reality. We already have voice-controlled computers and communicators in the form of smartphones. A working Holodeck is under development. Now, how about we get some impulse engines for our starships?
The University of Alabama in Huntsville's Aerophysics Research Center, NASA, Boeing, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are collaborating on a project to produce nuclear fusion impulse rocket engines. It's no warp drive, but it would get us around the galaxy a lot quicker than current technologies.… Read more
It turns out my obsessive daily viewing of eye-searingly adorable animal pictures online is actually an integral part of of my work productivity plan. I am indebted to some Japanese scientists for this revelation.
Researchers from Hiroshima University conducted a study to examine the effects of viewing cute images on task performance. Guess what? Looking at images of baby animals boosted performance, I'm thrilled to report.… Read more
You've double-parked your car to pick something up when a robot rolls up and threatens to give you a ticket. You might laugh, but the thing's talking with a human voice.
Researchers at Florida International University's Discovery Lab are working with a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves to build telepresence robots that could patrol while being controlled by disabled police officers and military vets. In a sense, they would be hybrid man-machine cops, like RoboCop. … Read more
Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown took to social media today to announce that he signed two privacy laws protecting employees and students from bosses and universities wanting to snoop on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts.
"Today I am signing Assembly Bill 1844 and Senate Bill 1349, which prohibit universities and employers from demanding your email and social media passwords," he wrote in a Facebook post. "California pioneered the social media revolution. These laws protect Californians from unwarranted invasions of their social media accounts."
AB 1844 was designed to prohibit employers from requiring an employee or … Read more