Spore-Spitting Slime Molds Make Great Computer Hardware
We’ve long known the slime mold can determine the shortest path through a maze, or even model optimal railway systems. Now, a group of researchers has shown these amoeba-like single-cell organisms could be used to build general-purpose computers.
In a paper published last week on the academic research website arXiv, scientists from the University of the West of England confirm Physarum polycephalum slime molds can act as memristors, a new type of resistor, a key component of electrical circuits. The paper has not yet been submitted to any scientific journals.
Memristors, like resistors, regulate the flow of electricity through a circuit, but they can “remember” a particular charge even when it’s turned off. This means they could be used to create more efficient computer memory.
Update on H7N9: Should We Be Concerned?
The emergence of human infections with avian influenza viruses (H7N9 and H5N1) have raised concerns about the virus gaining the ability to spread person-to-person, potentially causing a deadly pandemic. So far the number of human cases has been limited but the mortality rates have been high. In response to this public health threat the ASM’s Public and Scientific Affairs Board (PSAB) has convened a special-latebreaking session to discuss the molecular biology of these viruses and the likelihood of human to human transmission of these viruses. In advance of this session, speakers will participate in an ASM Live session to discuss their presentations and take questions from the viewing audience.
Ronald Atlas, Ph.D., University of Louisville, KY
Robert Webster; St. Jude Res. Hosp., Memphis, TN
Albert Osterhaus; Erasmus MC Dept. of Viroscience; Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Carole Heilman; NIH, NIAID, Bethesda, MD
For general information about influenza, please download the Influenza FAQ .pdf from the American Academy of Microbiology - http://academy.asm.org/images/stories/documents/Flu_web.pdf
Your Brain on Coffee: It’s Not Bad News: Good news for coffee drinkers: Recent research suggests that your caffeine habit is actually good for you. Drinking coffee has been shown to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and reduce the risk of certain cancers. It could also potentially extend lives (and, of course, keep you more alert during yours).
Amazing Glow Powder - Fluorescein
Fluorescein is an amazing substance that when added to water or alcohol will become UV reactive and make some of the coolest effects you have ever seen. Which test is your favorite?
Buy it: http://amzn.to/10CTcde
Mounds and Small Ridges along a Wrinkle Ridge on the Floor of Huygens Crater
Wi-Fi Signals Enable Gesture Recognition Throughout Entire Home
University of Washington computer scientists have developed gesture-recognition technology that brings this a step closer to reality. Researchers have shown it’s possible to leverage Wi-Fi signals around us to detect specific movements without needing sensors on the human body or cameras.
Disruptive technologies with Erik Brynjolfsson: Technologies to watch
Follow-up to McKinseys Report on Disruptive Technologies with Erik Brynjolfsson. His Book “Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy” is worth a read.
In our series of interviews with high-tech experts in our exploration of disruptive technologies, McKinsey & Company’s Rik Kirkland spoke to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Erik Brynjolfsson. You’ll have your chance to ask the author of “Race Against the Machine” about the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Disruptive Technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy,” during a live Twitter chat at noon ET on May 29 with report author Michael Chui.