Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Long-term memory isn’t stored in synapses, meaning it could be restored even when struck by Alzheimer’s

When synapses are destroyed, the memories that they foster aren't necessarily erased. Credit: Red Orbit

For a while, the general consensus was that long term memories are stored in synapses. A new  UCLA research topples this paradigm after experiments made on snails suggests that synapses aren’t that crucial storing memories as previously believed, but only facilitate the transfer of information someplace else, most likely in the nucleus of the neurons themselves – though this has yet…

Animals, News, World Problems

Shrimps become less testier as a result of climate change

Northern shrimp hauled aboard a shrimp boat. Credit: Wikimedia

The effects of climate change on food stock quality is well documented, yet a new study suggests that climate change might not only affect survival rates of marine life, but also how it tastes too. The findings came after an international team of researchers sought to see how high water acidity affects the sensory quality of shrimp. …

Feature Post, Great Pics

Past High Tech, Future Low Tech: Mechanical Calculator Gallery

Monroe PC-1421 without cover. Credit: Kevin Twomey

You might be surprised to find mechanical calculators – completely analog computational devices with no electrical parts – competed shoulder to should with their digital counterparts well until the late 1960s, in some respects surpassing them. These devices, like the  Monroe PC-1421 – a high speed multiplication and division device – were among the most complex of their sort ever built. Weighing…

Mind & Brain, News, Psychology

When following goals, people pay attention to progress more than they do to setbacks

diet goal

Hopes are high this time of year, but before your make your New Year’s resolution you might want to consider an important cognitive bias: when following goals, progress is given a lot more consideration than setbacks. Say your resolution is to lose weight, so next year you’ll be on a diet. Chances have it, according to a study made by University…

Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain, News, Technology

Quadriplegic instructs robot hand to flex, move, rotate or grip objects with her thoughts

The four robot positions: fingers spread, scoop, pinch, and thumb up (credit: Journal of Neural Engineering/IOP Publishing)

The latest in brain-computer interface technology was recently demonstrated after woman with quadriplegia shaped a sophisticated robotic hand with ten degrees of freedom using her thoughts. Through the interface, she instructed the robotic hand to move up, down or sideways, pick up small or big objects and even squeeze them. In just a couple of years, brain-computer interfaces have shown they…

News, Physics, Technology

Quantum physics used to make virtually uncrackable authentication system


Security experts have devised a novel authentication system that exploits quantum effects to make fraud-proof credit cards or IDs. Called Quantum-Secure Authentication (QSA), the technology relies on the quantum properties of single light beams, called photons, including their ability to be in multiple places at once. Quantum physics keys “We experimentally demonstrate quantum-secure authentication (QSA) of a classical multiple-scattering key. The…

News, Physics, Technology

The key to high-temperature superconductivity might lie in manipulating electron spin

High-temperature superconductivity helps scientists measure small magnetic fields, and aids advances in fields including geophysical exploration, medical diagnostics and magnetically levitated transportation. The discovery earned Bednorz and Müller the 1987 Nobel Prize in Physics. Credit: IBM

Superconductivity or zero electrical resistance at room temperature is any physicist’s dream, but so far the challenges have proven too great. Typically, metals like mercury become superconductive at temperatures close to absolute zero or -273 degrees Celsius. This means that we need to add a lot of energy to refrigerate the material so we might then exploit superconductivity, making the…

News, Space

NASA wants to explore Venus in a manned airship, then set up permanent cloud cities


As far as manned spaceflight is concerned, all attention seems to be directed toward Mars, which makes sense after all considering it’s the most Earth-like planet in the solar system. It’s not as hospitable as it was a few billion years ago, though, and because of the long trip that realistically takes at least two years a lot of things…

News, Technology

Holographic microscopes might be the cost-effective alternative of the future

A holographic microscope used to analyze tissue samples. Credit: UCLA Nano- and Bio-Photonics Lab

Microscopes have gone a long since  Zacharias Jansen first invented them in the 1590s. Besides optical telescopes, we now have digital microscopes, atomic force microscopes or, my favorite, electron microscopes. Now, it may be the right time to add a new class to the list: holographic microscopes. While these have been investigated for some time, it’s only recently that we’re…

Environment, Green Living, News

Fracking banned in New York state over possible threats to public health

Protesters in New York rallied against fracking. Image: worlding.org

New York state officials have chosen to ban fracking also known as hydraulic fracturing after a two-year period of review where numerous ‘red flags’ were raised concerning public health. The decision was made recently  at a cabinet meeting in Albany. No fracking in New York For the past five years, the state had fracking under  moratorium, while 120 towns had…