Diagnosing malaria can be a bit of a pain, especially when trying to test in remote parts of the world where such tests are most needed. For one, it requires a standard blood smear test with the right chemical reagents and a high-quality microscope. It also should be done by a lab technician with proper training, and each test takes 15 minutes and costs roughly $1. Oh -- and the tests spoil in hot climates if not properly stored.
When someone in a movie tries to give a robot or a computer human intuition, things rarely go according to plan. The machines glitch out and become bloodthirsty killers that risk human lives to adhere to a narrow set of principles, or even worse, they turn into Robin Williams from "Bicentennial Man."
Plus, human emotions are hard to understand. Sometimes we can't even figure out what makes us happy. A group of researchers in the UK claim they have a device that may be able to do just that -- make us happy -- in our very own homes.
Yes, even math Ph.D.s are getting in on the CES action.
On the opening day of CES 2014, Wolfram Research announced it has added a connected-devices section to its Wolfram Alpha knowledge repository. The Wolfram Connected Devices Project today offers a database of devices and their attributes, letting people search Wolfram Alpha for particulars about everything from wearable fitness devices and smartphones to Internet-connected scales and smoke detectors.
Just searching a description of devices is a bit ho-hum. In the long run, though, things get much more interesting: Wolfram plans to let people communicate with those devices, for … Read more
On an April day in 2009, bizarre four-inch flames of light were seen hovering above a stone-paved road in the historical city center of L'Aquila, Italy. Shortly after, a cataclysmic magnitude 6.3 earthquake devastated the area reportedly leaving about 300 people dead.
At the time, these light-filled flashes were thought to be a coincidental phenomenon, but now researchers believe they had a direct correlation to the earthquake.
A new study published in Seismological Research Letters says these flashes of light rarely seen before or during earthquakes are caused by naturally occurring electrical processes in certain types of rock.
L'Aquila was one of several places to see such lights before an earthquake. Other instances include the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, Calif., where locals witnessed a rainbowed light beam above a street right before the temblor, and the 1988 earthquake in Quebec, Canada, where people saw a purplish glowing sphere near the St. Lawrence River 11 days before the quake, according to National Geographic.… Read more
Forget rehab, medication, and counseling. What if light could one day help cure us of our addictions?
Reporting in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, researchers at the University of Buffalo and Wake Forest University shed light on a different way to go about deep brain stimulation that may have profound and lasting effects -- at least when it comes to binge drinking in lab rats.
Instead of using electricity to blast neurons indiscriminately, the researchers turned to an emerging technique known as optogenetics, using light to target and stimulate specific neurons (in this case dopamine).
And it worked. Very convincingly.… Read more
For some time now, I've taken it on faith that the best french fries in the galaxy could only be the beautifully battered and double-fried potato sticks served at the Taos Diner a few blocks from my home. But according to bizarre new but actually earnest food research, Douglas Adams' Restaurant at the End of the Universe might have a better chance of serving up the best fries in existence, if that eatery actually existed.
Then again, short-order fry cooks on Jupiter are also in short supply so far as we know, and yet that's where two researchers from the chemistry department at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece have found the gravitational conditions best suited to frying the perfect batch of fries.… Read more
The creator of a smart and sleek thermometer has far more on his mind than whether your body temperature is above 98.6 degrees F. He wants to revolutionize the thermometer by enabling it to read the "health weather" of a community.
To accomplish that goal, though, you and everyone you know will have to use the device dubbed the Kinsa Smart Thermometer.
After a successful Indiegogo campaign in 2013, Kinsa last week earned FDA approval for its smart thermometer. It looks much like the thermometers of yore, but because it plugs directly into -- and is powered … Read more
Influenza, Ebola, and respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV) can be nasty little buggers, infecting their hosts with rash abandon and, especially when they attack young babies, even killing them. And the danger reaches beyond the very young. Pneumonia, for instance, is the leading cause of death in children worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and RSV is the most common viral cause of pneumonia.
As imaging techniques advance, researchers are being able to study these viruses in greater and greater detail. Now, according to a team of scientists at Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, and Emory, one new technique for studying RSV … Read more
I confess that I've tried to set many things in my life on fire.
The curtains at my house, for example. Oh, and then there were my ambitions.
But I've never thought of turning a lighter on next to a running tap to see what happens. Possibly because I imagine that nothing would.
However, a North Dakota resident called Jacob Haughney decided to see whether he could make a little magic occur.
He posted a video of the proceedings to YouTube, where it has stirred scientific imaginations.
For here appears to be running water that is flaming water. Just the mere contact with a flame and it breathes fire.
The video was posted a couple of weeks ago and it has since inflamed quite a debate.… Read more
Dog owners are familiar with the sight of Spike sniffing, hovering, rotating, and then finally settling in to handle his business. It may seem like quite a production, but the pup may actually be getting into proper alignment with the Earth's magnetic field.
A team of scientists is behind a new study published in Frontiers in Zoology and titled "Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth's magnetic field." The researchers started off by observing dog behaviors such as resting and feeding, but soon zeroed in on excreting as the main focus.… Read more