Obama Has Announced a $100-million Brain Mapping Project

Via: io9

Robert T. Gonzalez 4/02/13

President Obama announced plans this morning for a long-term research project to improve our understanding of the brain. Comparing it to the Human Genome Project, Obama said the brain-mapping initiative could lead to cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s and autism, while fueling economic growth and job creation. Here’s what you need to know.

The announcement has been hotly anticipated since mid-February, when The New York Times reported the President would soon seek funds from Congress to “examine the workings of the human brain and build a comprehensive map of its activity, seeking to do for the brain what the Human Genome Project did for genetics.” At the time, we and others speculated that Obama’s plan would resemble a so-called Brain Activity Map (a.k.a. “BAM”) project outlined last year in the journal Neuron, and that the Administration might seek billions of dollars from Congress to set things in motion.

In fact, Obama announced this morning that the project will be called the BRAIN Initiative. The initial price tag: a paltry (relatively speaking) $100 million.

BRAIN stands for “Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies,” and the last word in that acronym is a telling one. When we spoke with Rafael Yuste (one of the neuroscientists whose advice the Obama Administration has sought in planning the initiative) back in February, he told us that the endeavor would be first and foremost “a technical development project.” The ultimate goal of the BRAIN may be to create a functional map of neuron activity throughout the human brain, but charting such a map is – as of today – impossible.

Read more: here

Need to see map of a politicians brain…
-Moose

‘Irreparable’ Safety Issues: All US Nuclear Reactors Should be Replaced, ‘Band-Aids’ Won’t Help

Via: RT

Published time: April 09, 2013

All 104 nuclear reactors currently operational in the US have irreparable safety issues and should be taken out of commission and replaced, former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory B. Jaczko said.

The comments, made during the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference, are “highly unusual” for a current or former member of the safety commission, according to The New York Times. Asked why he had suddenly decided to make the remarks, Jaczko implied that he had only recently arrived at these conclusions following the serious aftermath of Japan’s tsunami-stricken Fukushima Daichii nuclear facility.

“I was just thinking about the issues more, and watching as the industry and the regulators and the whole nuclear safety community continues to try to figure out how to address these very, very difficult problems,” which were made more evident by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, he said. “Continuing to put Band-Aid on Band-Aid is not going to fix the problem.”

According to the former chairman, US reactors that received permission from the nuclear commission to operate for an additional 20 years past their initial 40-year licenses would not likely last long. He further rejected the commission’s proposal for a second 20-year extension, which would leave some American nuclear reactors operating for some 80 years.

Jaczko’s comments are quite significant as the US faces a mass retirement of its reactors and nuclear policy largely revolves around maintaining existing facilities, rather than attempting to go through the politically hazardous process of financing and breaking ground on new plants.

Read more: here

Nothing to worry about…
-Moose

It’s (Almost) Alive! Scientists Create a Near-Living Crystal

Via: Wired

By Brandon Keim

Three billion years after inanimate chemistry first became animate life, a newly synthesized laboratory compound is behaving in uncannily lifelike ways.

The particles aren’t truly alive — but they’re not far off, either. Exposed to light and fed by chemicals, they form crystals that move, break apart and form again.

“There is a blurry frontier between active and alive,” said biophysicist Jérémie Palacci of New York University. “That is exactly the kind of question that such works raise.”

Palacci and fellow NYU physicist Paul Chaikin led a group of researchers in developing the particles, which are described Jan. 31 in Science as forming “living crystals” in the right chemical conditions.

Read more: here

Scientists Create ‘Sixth Sense’ Brain Implant to Detect Infrared Light

Via: The Telegraph

A brain implant which could allow humans to detect invisible infrared light has been developed by scientists in America.

By Nick Collins
2:58PM GMT 17 Feb 2013

Scientists have created a “sixth sense” by creating a brain implant through which infrared light can be detected.

Although the light could not be seen lab rats were able to detect it via electrodes in the part of the brain responsible for their sense of touch.

Similar devices have previously been used to make up for lost capabilities, for example giving paralysed patients the ability to move a cursor around the screen with their thoughts.

But the new study, by researchers from Duke University in North Carolina, is the first case in which such devices have been used to give an animal a completely new sense.

Dr Miguel Nicolelis said the advance, reported in the Nature Communications journal this week, was just a prelude to a major breakthrough on a “brain-to-brain interface” which will be announced in another paper next month.

Read more: here 

Oh, I wonder what wonderful good thing this is for….
-Moose

Scientists Create ‘Sixth Sense’ Brain Implant to Detect Infrared Light

Via: The Telegraph

A brain implant which could allow humans to detect invisible infrared light has been developed by scientists in America.

By Nick Collins
2:58PM GMT 17 Feb 2013

Scientists have created a “sixth sense” by creating a brain implant through which infrared light can be detected.

Although the light could not be seen lab rats were able to detect it via electrodes in the part of the brain responsible for their sense of touch.

Similar devices have previously been used to make up for lost capabilities, for example giving paralysed patients the ability to move a cursor around the screen with their thoughts.

But the new study, by researchers from Duke University in North Carolina, is the first case in which such devices have been used to give an animal a completely new sense.

Dr Miguel Nicolelis said the advance, reported in the Nature Communications journal this week, was just a prelude to a major breakthrough on a “brain-to-brain interface” which will be announced in another paper next month.

Read more: here 

Oh, I wonder what wonderful good thing this is for….
-Moose

The ‘Robocop’ Headset That Lets Police See Through Walls and Identify Suspects Just by LOOKING at Them

Via: The Daily Mail

Headset’s display uses infrared to help spot criminals in a building.

High definition camera can be used to identify suspects.


Version for fire and ambulance crews also under development

Will compete with Google’s Glass headset, which is also expected to go on sale this year

By Mark Prigg

PUBLISHED: 07:19 EST, 19 February 2013

A headset computer promises to give police officers and other emergency services Robocop-like abilities.

The Golden-i device, similar to the Glass project being developed by Google, offers the ability to see through walls thanks to infrared technology.

It is operated by voice commands and head movements and allows the wearer to access vital information without using their hands.

Read more: here

And they won’t abuse these powers….yeah right…
-Moose

Black Death Genetic Code ‘Built’

Via: BBC


 
The genetic code of the germ that caused the Black Death has been reconstructed by scientists for the first time.

The researchers extracted DNA fragments of the ancient bacterium from the teeth of medieval corpses found in London.

They say the pathogen is the ancestor of all modern plagues.

The research, published in the journal Nature, suggests the 14th Century outbreak was also the first plague pandemic in history.

Humans have rarely encountered an enemy as devastating as the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Between 1347 and 1351 it sparked the Black Death, an infection carried by fleas that spread rapidly across Europe killing around 50 million people.

Now scientists have uncovered some of the genetic secrets of the plague, thanks to DNA fragments drilled from the teeth of victims buried in a graveyard in London’s East Smithfield.

Professor Johannes Krause from the University of Tubingen, Germany, was a member of the research team. He said all current strains circulating in the world are directly related to the medieval bacterium.

 
“It turns out that this ancient Yersinia pestis strain is very close to the common ancestor of all modern strains that can infect humans,” he said. 

“It’s the grandmother of all plague that’s around today.”

Read more: here

Oh My God…How can my fellow human beings even work on this stuff..
Oh I know, for the good of mankind..Right…
-Moose

Black Death Genetic Code ‘Built’

Via: BBC


 
The genetic code of the germ that caused the Black Death has been reconstructed by scientists for the first time.

The researchers extracted DNA fragments of the ancient bacterium from the teeth of medieval corpses found in London.

They say the pathogen is the ancestor of all modern plagues.

The research, published in the journal Nature, suggests the 14th Century outbreak was also the first plague pandemic in history.

Humans have rarely encountered an enemy as devastating as the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Between 1347 and 1351 it sparked the Black Death, an infection carried by fleas that spread rapidly across Europe killing around 50 million people.

Now scientists have uncovered some of the genetic secrets of the plague, thanks to DNA fragments drilled from the teeth of victims buried in a graveyard in London’s East Smithfield.

Professor Johannes Krause from the University of Tubingen, Germany, was a member of the research team. He said all current strains circulating in the world are directly related to the medieval bacterium.

 
“It turns out that this ancient Yersinia pestis strain is very close to the common ancestor of all modern strains that can infect humans,” he said. 

“It’s the grandmother of all plague that’s around today.”

Read more: here

Oh My God…How can my fellow human beings even work on this stuff..
Oh I know, for the good of mankind..Right…
-Moose

China ‘To Overtake US on Science’ in Two Years

Via: BBC News

28 March 2011
David Shukman
Science and environment correspondent, BBC News

China is on course to overtake the US in scientific output possibly as soon as 2013 – far earlier than expected.

That is the conclusion of a major new study by the Royal Society, the UK’s national science academy.

The country that invented the compass, gunpowder, paper and printing is set for a globally important comeback.

An analysis of published research – one of the key measures of scientific effort – reveals an “especially striking” rise by Chinese science.

Read more: here