Lab-Grown Minibrains Show Activity Similar to Babies’ Brains

By Shelly Fan – Re-Blogged From Singularity Hub

Neurons are a collective bunch. Although each neuron receives, processes, and passes on information individually, the electrical spikes only make sense when melded together in waves of oscillating activity. Like an orchestra, the notes played from each neuron matter. But only when they synchronize in specific ways do single notes transform into the music of thought, memories, and actions.

By studying animals, scientists have long known that even extremely young brains—say, those still in the mother’s womb—gradually generate neural oscillations as they mature. Genetic mutations that disrupt this synchronicity causes the melody to falter, leading to neurodevelopmental problems including autism, epilepsy, or schizophrenia. Yet those ideas remain educated guesses, mostly because it’s impossible to monitor a developing human fetus’s brain.

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Experiments Show Dramatic Increase in Solar Cell Output

By MIT – Re-Blogged From Eureka Alert

Method for collecting two electrons from each photon could break through theoretical solar-cell efficiency limit

CAMBRIDGE, MA — In any conventional silicon-based solar cell, there is an absolute limit on overall efficiency, based partly on the fact that each photon of light can only knock loose a single electron, even if that photon carried twice the energy needed to do so. But now, researchers have demonstrated a method for getting high-energy photons striking silicon to kick out two electrons instead of one, opening the door for a new kind of solar cell with greater efficiency than was thought possible.

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A National Narrative for Media on Climate Change

By Kip Hansen – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Those of you who closely watch the media — newspapers, broadcast & streaming  news, national magazines, national public radio — may have noticed that all the news about climate change is beginning to sound the same — regardless of outlet (there are a few sensible exceptions).   This is no accident.  In fact, it is an organized movement among American journalists.

I have written here before about the Editorial Narratives at the New York Times.  Here’s the working definition I proposed for Editorial Narrative:

“Editorial Narrative:  A mandated set of guidelines for the overriding storyline for any news item concerning a specified topic, including required statements, conclusions and intentional slanting towards a particular preferred viewpoint. A statement from the Editors of “How this topic is to be presented.”

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NASA is Going Green, in Space

By NASA  – Re-Blogged From WUWT

19-03528_-_gpim_final_day1

A small spacecraft the size of a mini-refrigerator is packed with cutting-edge “green” technology. NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission, or GPIM, will prove a sustainable and efficient approach to spaceflight. The mission will test a low toxicity propellant and compatible systems in space for the first time.  This technology could improve the performance of future missions by providing for longer mission durations using less propellant.

In this photo, a Ball Aerospace engineer performs final checks before the spacecraft shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch processing. GPIM is one of four unique NASA technology missions aboard the June 2019 SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch of the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Space Test Program-2 (STP-2).

Credits: Ball Aerospace

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NASA Testing Method to Grow Bigger Plants in Space

By Danielle Sempsrott of NASA – Re-Blogged From WUWT

In an effort to increase the ability to provide astronauts nutrients on long-duration missions as the agency plans to sustainably return to the Moon and move forward to Mars, the Veg-PONDS-02 experiment is currently underway aboard the International Space Station.

The present method of growing plants in space uses seed bags, referred to as pillows, that astronauts push water into with a syringe. Using this method makes it difficult to grow certain types of “pick and eat” crops beyond lettuce varieties. Crops like tomatoes use a large amount of water, and pillows don’t have enough holding capacity to support them.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch initiates the Veg-PONDS-02 experiment on the International Space Station within Veggie by filling the upper reservoir on April 25, 2019. Credits: NASA/David Saint-Jacques

NASA astronaut Christina Koch initiates the Veg-PONDS-02 experiment on the International Space Station within Veggie by filling the upper reservoir on April 25, 2019. Credits: NASA/David Saint-Jacques

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Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

By Elizabeth Kolbert – Re-Blogged From The New Yorker

In 1975, researchers at Stanford invited a group of undergraduates to take part in a study about suicide. They were presented with pairs of suicide notes. In each pair, one note had been composed by a random individual, the other by a person who had subsequently taken his own life. The students were then asked to distinguish between the genuine notes and the fake ones.

Some students discovered that they had a genius for the task. Out of twenty-five pairs of notes, they correctly identified the real one twenty-four times. Others discovered that they were hopeless. They identified the real note in only ten instances.

As is often the case with psychological studies, the whole setup was a put-on. Though half the notes were indeed genuine—they’d been obtained from the Los Angeles County coroner’s office—the scores were fictitious. The students who’d been told they were almost always right were, on average, no more discerning than those who had been told they were mostly wrong.

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Scientists Print World’s First 3D Heart

By HealthDay – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

The world’s first complete 3D printer-generated heart, made using the patient’s own cells and materials, has been created in a lab.

Until now, success has been limited to printing only simple tissues without blood vessels.

“This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” said team leader Tal Dvir.

The printer-generated heart is only about a third the size of an actual human heart — and it doesn’t actually work. But it’s a groundbreaking step toward engineering customized organs that can be transplanted with less risk of rejection.

Scientists Print World's First 3D Heart

A 3D printer prints a heart with human tissue during a presentation at the University of Tel Aviv in Israel. (Oded Balilty/AP)

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