Health & Medicine, News

Implanted electronics delivers antibiotic upon wireless signal, then safely dissolves inside the body

Optical (and corresponding IR) images of the dissolution of implant device (top row: powering induction coil with resistor/heater) (credit: Tufts University)

US researchers demonstrated an implantable device that can deliver a drug payload when triggered by a remote wireless signal. After the payload is delivered, the whole system, including electronics, dissolve within weeks without harming the body in any way. Doctors would leave behind the resorbable packaging and electronics post surgery for infection management by either thermal treatment or by releasing an antibiotic. This…

Environment, News, Technology

Cooling buildings in the future: just send the heat into space

A multilayer stack cools surfaces below it by radiating heat into space. Credit: FAN LAB, STANFORD ENGINEERING

Since ancient times, people living in hot climates learned if they paint their rooftops white, then their quarters would stay cooler during the scorching heat. In an attempt to curve energy consumed on air conditioning, which accounts for 15% of all electricity consumed in the US, scientists have devised a multi-layered surface that acts in two ways to expel heat:…

Animals, News

Why dogs always make a mess when they’re drinking water

How a dog drinks water

There’s no more faithful companion than a dog, nor more messier. If you thought dog’s make a mess when they drink water just because they don’t care, think again. Using high-speed cameras and fluid dynamics, researchers found that dogs use their tongues in a different way than cats, pets adorned for their neatness. Lick, lick “When we started this project,…

News, Space

Zero-G Espresso machine arrives at the International Space Station


For a long while astronauts coming back home from the ISS would complain how bad the coffee is in Earth’s orbit. Of course, one might say there’s little room for frivolities when tasked with a mission of such importance as an ISS astronaut. Coffee can wait, so can pastas, sex or cats. The world’s space agencies are taking astronaut stress…

News, Renewable Energy

Solar cells etched with Blu-ray bit patterns absorb 21.8% more energy

solar cell blu-ray

Apart from both being shiny, it’s hard to see any connection between a Blu-ray disk and a solar panel. Northwestern University researchers thought outside the box, however, and used the disk’s tiny stamped grooves and pits to make molds for solar panels. Because of the resulting structure’s geometry, the solar cells were able to absorb 21.8% more light. Overall, the…

News, Psychology, Research

How the rich stay rich: social status is more inheritable than height


UK researchers highlight once more a depressing topic: income inequality and lack of social mobility. After they tracked families that sent their children to study at Oxford and Cambridge – the two most prestigious and elitist Universities in the world since 1096 – the researchers found that students were more likely to inherit their parent’s social status than their height….

News, Technology

The quest for the quality qubit: quantum computer based on trapped ions has error rate of only 0.07%

APS/Alan Stonebraker Figure 1 Qubits made of a trapped 43Ca+ ion. RF and dc electrodes provide a trapping field for the ions, which are cooled by laser beams (blue) to microkelvin temperatures. A combination of laser pumping and microwave signals can deterministically prepare the qubit in a |0〉 or |1〉 state, and the state can be read out by monitoring its fluorescence (only |1〉 states result in the fluorescence, similar to that shown in the inset). Further logical gate operations can be carried out by applying various combinations of microwave pulses. The scheme yields preparation and readout errors of less than 0.07% and logic-gate errors of less than 10-6.

Who would’ve thought only a decade ago that quantum computers would become real in the upcoming future? Those of us without such hindsight need to rely on what’s been reported by scientists, and recently all kinds of developments lend us to think that a quantum computing future isn’t that far off. Take the latest qubit experimental set-up made at University…

Health & Medicine, News

A pharmaceutical drug costs $2.6 billion to put on the market

Credit: The Guardian

The R&D and pre-marketing approval cost of a typical pharmaceutical drug sits at around $2.6 billion, according to a new study by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. The study used actual expense data provided by 10 pharmaceutical companies on 106 randomly selected drugs that were first tested in human subjects anywhere in the world from 1995 to…

News, Psychology

A Position of Power alters the Voice in a Way that transmits Who’s in Charge to Others


Inspired by Margaret Thatcher’s formidable political skills, researchers in the US sought to understand how a position of power changes a person’s voice, and how this in turn affects their relation with other people. Indeed, being in power alters the acoustic properties of the voice and those tuning in can pick up cues that tell them who’s really in charge….

Green Living, News, World Problems

New kind of plastic recycles itself when exposed to UV light

plastic uv light

In 2012, the United States generated almost 14 million tons of plastics as containers and packaging, about 11 million tons as durable goods such as appliances, and almost 7 million tons as nondurable goods, such as plates and cups. Compared to the 1960s, when plastics were less than one percent of the waste stream, this ubiquitous class of materials has now…