The Nexus 9′s retail debut is still a few weeks out, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait that long to watch the first hands-on video of Google’s latest Nexus tablet. S Channel managed to spend some quality time with the Nexus 9 and put together a three and a half minute video that shows off the tablets design and what Android 5.0 Lollipop looks like on an 8.9-inch device.
- Darek Fidyka is the first person in the world to recover from chronic injuries
- Fireman was paralysed from the waist down after severing spinal chord
- The Bulgarian received treatment pioneered by University College London
- Cells taken from his nose injected to spine and regrew to repair broken link
“But when we used to have booms in the tech sector, it would lift all boats. That’s not how it works anymore. And suddenly you’re seeing a backlash and people are upset.” Indeed, people are stoning buses transporting Google employees to work from their homes in San Francisco.
- Group said it to plans test a compact fusion reactor in less than a year
- It then hopes to build a prototype of its device in around five years
- Nuclear fusion is regarded by many as solution to world’s energy crisis
- For instance, a small reactor could power an entire U.S. Navy warship
- However, there was some skepticism over the viability of the design
- Joel Gilmore an energy consultant said: ‘This announcement is a long way from a working prototype, let alone a commercially viable power generator’
Lose the pounds too fast, gain them all back? Crash diets are supposed to be a big no-no. According to received wisdom, losing weight too fast just makes you put it all back on again afterwards. But the first randomised trial to put this to the test has found that crash dieters are no more likely than those who shed weight slowly to regain it.
They were also better at sticking to their diet than those who followed a more gradual programme. “Programmes that induce very slow weight loss tend to have high attrition rates because people get fed up,” says Nick Finer of University College Hospital, London, who wasn’t involved in the work. “To lose a lot of weight is very, very motivating”.
Most guidelines, such as those from the UK’s National Health Service, advise people trying to lose weight to avoid shedding pounds too rapidly. The thinking was that this doesn’t work for long-term weight loss and could cause muscle loss. It was also assumed that the diets would be hard to stick to because they are so drastic. But those beliefs were based on very little evidence, says Finer.
You take the fast road
To find out, a team led by Joseph Proietto at the University of Melbourne in Australia randomly assigned 204 men and women with obesity, who were looking to lose weight, to either a rapid or gradual diet, aiming for a weight loss of 15 per cent.
The first group had 12 weeks to lose the weight, and were given a drastic meal-replacement programme, substituting meal-replacement drinks for every meal. This provided them with only 450 to 800 calories a day. The others were given nine months to lose the same amount of weight. They consumed meal-replacement drinks once or twice a day and ate healthy meals in between, aiming for a daily intake of between about 1500 and 2000 calories.
In the crash dieting group, 81 per cent achieved their target weight loss, compared with 50 per cent of the gradual dieters.
Back to reality
Neither group of dieters was very successful at keeping the weight off, but the crash dieters were no worse off than the gradual dieters. Two and a half years after finishing the diets, both groups had regained about 70 per cent of their lost weight.
Finer points out that the trial was done in people who were severely overweight or obese, and very low-calorie diets – such as those based on meal-replacement drinks – might be inappropriate for people who are only moderately overweight. “You would be using a technique that might produce excessive weight loss,” he says.
This is echoed by recent guidelines from the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which recommend that drastic diets should only be used by people who have an urgent medical need to lose weight, such as before joint replacement surgery.
It is not yet known whether the results of Proietto’s study apply to other drastic diets not involving meal-replacement drinks.
Well-Lit claims it has solved the shortcomings of LED lightbulbs, which have so far been unable to match the brightness of old-style incandescent bulbs.
The new bulbs use 85 per cent less energy and will last up to nine years, according to the firm which is based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.
It has done this using a new type of chip that improves phosphor conversion, which is the process by which light particles from an LED chip are converted to a different colour.
Well-Lit’s founder and managing director Chris Stimson, 36, said: ‘We’re excited to get our revolutionary bulbs out the public.
‘When someone says “they are as bright as a normal bulb”, that’s what I want to hear. It’s like the holy grail of the LED world.’
Not so dark after all! Dark matter particles may FINALLY have been found – and they are coming from the core of the SUN
- University of Leicester scientists may have directly observed dark matter
- They saw a signal in space that can only be explained by the exotic particles
- The scientists spotted the mysterious X-ray signal at Earth’s magnetic field
- Other sources such as galaxies and stars for the signal were ruled out
- But the best theory is that dark matter particles called axions are being converted into photons by Earth’s magnetic field
- It’s thought these axions are being produced in the sun’s core
- They then radiate out into space – but have not been spotted until now
- If confirmed it would indicate that stars are a source of dark matter
- President of the Royal Astronomical Society Professor Martin Barstow tells MailOnline it is a ‘really exciting result’
- Dark matter is thought to make up 85 per cent of matter in the universe
- But until now no direct evidence for its existence has been found
Could coconuts be the key to cleaner CARS? Fruit could store hydrogen to power next-generation vehicles
- Researchers have used coconut kernels to store hydrogen, taking a step closer to making clean fuel cell cars affordable
- Experts, from India’s Benaras Hindu University turn the kernels into carbon
- Kernels contain fatty acids, as well as potassium, magnesium and sodium
- They are plentiful, cheap and easily be converted into carbon, experts say
- Researchers found the carbon produced from the kernels could store a ‘considerable’ amount of hydrogen
The roll-out of cheap energy-saving street lights with a bluish glare has little regard for people or wildlife. There is a better way, says Jeff Hecht
This month three men shared the Nobel prize in physics for their invention of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs). In its citation, the Nobel committee declared: “Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps.”
It’s already happening. Not just in our houses, but increasingly outside too. LED street lights, which are being fitted in cities in many countries, seem like a good idea, because of their energy efficiency.
But then I came home to Newton, Massachusetts, from a holiday to find the ugly reality glaring at me. Scattered light washed out all but two stars in the night sky, and harsh white light cast stark shadows on my porch. I was stunned and dismayed. Why should energy-efficient lighting make the world look garishly bluish-white and bright?
I saw no indication of this when I installed LED bulbs indoors. Manufacturers sought to please the customer’s eye, adding phosphors that converted most of the blue light into yellow and red to give a glow similar to the warm white of an incandescent bulb.
But outdoors, the US Department of Energy is pushing LEDs only as cost-effective lower energy lighting. Its municipal street-lighting consortium web page focuses on savings in dollars and lighting intensity in foot-candles (visible light per unit area) not colour ambience. The bluer the output, the greater the intensity perceived by the eye, so that’s what we get. LEDs can also spread light more evenly than older bulbs, because they can contain many small light emitters pointing in different directions.
But those benefits have costs. One is a blue-rich colour mix like moonlight or bright daylight, which many people find unpleasant at night. Glare is another, because “each little LED [in a street light] is one-sixth as bright as the sun”, says James Benya, a lighting designer in Davis, California, where LEDs have provoked protest. The tiny LEDs on the edges of a lamp point outward to spread light across the street, creating glare for pedestrians and drivers.
That glare also shines into homes and gardens. Light trespass is a key factor behind protests in cities from Davis to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in UK towns and cities. Studies of the impact of LED street lights are under way in many other countries, including Germany and the Netherlands. Pilots have also warned that LEDs being tested for runways produce dangerous glare.
A further concern is that LEDs will worsen excess artificial light at night. Air scatters blue light more than other colours, making the night sky so bright it washes out the stars. Blue light can also suppress melatonin production in humans and animals, affecting sleep and behaviour. The International Dark-Sky Association recommends that outdoor lights should use the same reduced-blue LEDs as indoors.
Of course LEDs have advantages. Unlike high-pressure sodium lamps, they can be instantly turned on and off or dimmed. Moreover, our night vision is more sensitive to blue light than to red, so bluish LEDs allow the same visibility with lower illumination levels than redder lights. But most cities use LEDs at the brighter illumination recommended for the bulbs they replace, wasting energy and increasing the negative impacts.
The challenge is to balance the trade-offs between energy efficiency and environmental impact before the roll-out of LEDs outdoors gets any bigger. In my city, officials have offered to adjust the ones near my house to reduce light shining in the windows, but if they had waited for better bulbs it would have saved time, money and aggravation.
Seeing is definitely believing when it comes to stem cell therapy. A blind man has recovered enough sight to ride his horse. A woman who could see no letters at all on a standard eye test chart can now read the letters on the top four lines. Others have recovered the ability to see colour. All have had injections of specialised retinal cells in their eyes to replace ones lost through age or disease.
A trial in 18 people with degenerative eye conditions is being hailed as the most promising yet for a treatment based on human embryonic stem cells.
“We’ve been hearing about their potential for more than a decade, but the results have always been in mice and rats, and no one has shown they’re safe or effective in humans long term,” says Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology in Marlborough, Massachusetts, the company that carried out the stem cell intervention. “Now, we’ve shown both that they’re safe and that there’s a real chance these cells can help people.”
Ten years ago, the team at Advanced Cell Technology announced that it had successfully converted human embryonic stem cells into retinal pigment epithelial cells. These cells help keep the eyes’ light-detecting rods and cones healthy. But when retinal pigment epithelial cells deteriorate, blindness can occur. This happens in age-related macular degeneration and Stargardt’s macular dystrophy.
In a bid to reverse this, Lanza’s team injected retinal cells into one of each of the 18 participants’ eyes, half of whom had age-related macular degeneration and half had Stargardt’s. A year later, 10 people’s eyes had improved, and the eyes of the others had stabilised. Untreated eyes had continued to deteriorate.
“On average, we’re seeing three lines [on an eye test chart] of visual improvement in our patients,” says Lanza.
There were no serious side effects – and no sign of tumours, which can be a potential risk in stem cell therapies.
Lanza says the aim of the study was to halt further deterioration, so the improvements in sight were an unexpected bonus. He speculates that the improvements might be the result of rods and cones that had become dormant when the native retinal pigment epithelial cells died, resuming their function when the fresh cells were added.
“The results are highly encouraging,” says Pete Coffey of University College London, who heads a project to treat people with age-related macular degeneration using tiny patches of retinal pigment epithelial cells made from human embryonic stem cells.
Advanced Cell Technology is now planning a larger trial, first in 100 people with Stargardt’s, then in people with macular degeneration.
Trials of cells made from human embryonic stem cells are also poised to begin in people with type 1 diabetes and heart failure, the first time embryonic stem cells have been used in the treatment of major lethal diseases. They have also been injected into the spines of four people with paralysis, although that trial is now on hold because the company running it, Geron, went bust.
- Males patient of Glass for 18 hours a day
- Complained of feeling irritable and argumentative without the device
- Said his dreams occurred with Glass in them
- Engineers have designed a concept for a fusion reactor
- When scaled up to the size of a large electrical power plant, it would rival costs for a new coal-fired plant with similar electrical output, they claim
- Design builds on existing technology and creates a magnetic field within a closed space to hold plasma in place long enough for fusion to occur
- Engineers at the University of Washington claim the design is cheaper than building a coal power station – but warn a full-sized version is years away
IT COULD be the biggest killer you’ve never heard of: the weakening and loss of muscle that happens as we get older.
Muscle loss is no longer seen as just a side effect of disease and frailty – it’s also a prime cause. As well as contributing to falls, muscle loss has serious knock-on effects on metabolism (see “Life-saving muscle“). In future, muscle-boosting drugs could aid those unable to maintain muscle mass through exercise such as weight training. Although researchers stress this isn’t about bodybuilding, but keeping muscles in your limbs at a healthy level.
Muscle loss, also known as sarcopenia, is increasingly being seen as an important facet of ageing, according to several speakers at a conference on longevity drugs held in Basel, Switzerland, last month. “Treatments will eventually get into the market,” said Dan Perry of the patient lobby group Alliance for Aging Research.
However, the mechanisms behind muscle ageing are still poorly understood – although new research suggests it involves damage from free radicals.
Mice that have been genetically modified to produce fewer free radicals in their mitochondria are known to live about 20 per cent longer than normal mice. So a team led by Andrew Marks at Columbia University in New York investigated how this affected the ageing of their muscle tissue.
They found that a key player is calcium, the release of which triggers our muscles to contract. The molecule responsible for this release – ryanodine receptor 1 – is damaged by free radicals, and as the rodents age, calcium begins to leak out when it shouldn’t, weakening muscle fibres.
The modified mice experienced less free radical damage to the ryanodine receptor 1. They also had stronger muscles, and, in old age, chose to run on their exercise wheels more than unmodified mice – by about an extra kilometre a day (PNAS, doi.org/v64).
“It helps point to the role that mitochondria play in the muscle ageing process,” says Daniel Moore of the University of Toronto, Canada.
Marks has founded a firm called Armgo to develop several compounds aimed at preventing calcium leakage, which are in early-stage clinical trials.
Other drugs are in development that combat sarcopenia in different ways. Muscle fibres are in a constant state of turnover, being simultaneously broken down and regrown, so any compound that tips the balance towards growth could help build muscle mass.
One class of drug includes the compound bimagrumab, which works by blocking a signalling pathway targeted by an inhibitor of muscle growth called myostatin. Others work by mimicking the effects of testosterone in a safer way than existing steroid drugs.
“There’s a lot of interest in trying to come up with something for sarcopenia because at the moment there’s no treatment,” says Marks.
Indeed, it’s only within the last six months that US researchers have even agreed on how to define the condition – essential before a drug treatment can be approved. The US National Institutes of Health published its results in May.
“We have come a long way in how to approach this,” says Jack Guralnik of the University of Maryland, who was involved in the defining process.
In the meantime, there is already a natural way to boost muscle: exercise. “The mitochondrial function of lifelong exercisers is like that of someone half their age,” says Moore. “One of the best anti-ageing pills is to stay active.”
- This will allow HD video to be streamed from mobile to TV in real-time
- Early attempts to use 60GHz band failed as they used millimetre waves
- These waves travel by line-of-sight and have trouble penetrating walls
- Samsung overcame this using ‘wide-coverage beam-forming antennae’
- The south Korean group said its technology will be available next year
- Sulforaphane is a chemical made when we eat broccoli, cabbage and sprouts
- Chemical – which gives broccoli its bitter taste – could help treat autism
- Teenagers with autism showed ‘remarkable improvements’ after 4 weeks
- Helped young men with autism become calmer and more sociable
- People with autism tend to have various abnormalities in their cells
- Sulforaphane repairs the damage and protects against further problems
- Existing drugs control symptoms like aggression and hyperactivity
- Researchers have patented their discovery and want to do more studies
- They can’t say how much broccoli a person would have to eat to benefit
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers have created the first “Alzheimer’s-in-a-dish” — a 3D petri dish capable of reproducing the full course of events underlying the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s has been thought to result from the buildup of inflammatory plaque formed by the beta-amyloid protein and from another protein, tau, which entangles neurons.
The new research provides the first clear evidence supporting the hypothesis that deposition of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain is in fact the first step in a cascade leading to the devastating neurodegenerative disease, the researchers say. The research also identified the essential role in that process of a specific enzyme that could be a therapeutic target.
Failure of 2D research methods
“Originally put forth in the mid-1980s, the amyloid hypothesis maintained that beta-amyloid deposits in the brain set off all subsequent events — the neurofibrillary tangles that choke the insides of neurons, neuronal cell death, and inflammation leading to a vicious cycle of massive cell death,” says Rudolph Tanzi, PhD, director of the MGH Genetics and Aging Research Unit and co-senior author of the report in Nature.
Previous research was inconclusive, the researchers say. The mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease developed either amyloid plaques or neurofibrillary tangles, but not both. And cultured neurons from human patients with Alzheimer’s exhibited elevated levels of the toxic form of amyloid found in plaques and the abnormal version of the tau protein that makes up tangles, but not actual plaques and tangles.
Genetics and Aging Research Unit investigator Doo Yeon Kim, PhD, co-senior author of the Nature paper, realized the problem: the liquid two-dimensional systems usually used to grow cultured cells poorly represent the gelatinous three-dimensional environment within the brain. So the MGH team developed a gel-based, 3D culture system to grow human neural stem cells that carried variants in two genes — the amyloid precursor protein and presenilin 1 — known to underlie early-onset familial Alzheimer’s Disease (FAD). Both of those genes were previously discovered in Tanzi’s laboratory.
Revolutionizing drug discovery for neurodegenerative disorders
After growing for six weeks, the FAD-variant cells were found to have significant increases in both the typical form of beta-amyloid and the toxic form associated with Alzheimer’s. The variant cells also contained the neurofibrillary tangles that choke the inside of nerve cells causing cell death.
In addition, blocking steps known to be essential for the formation of amyloid plaques prevented the formation of both the tangles (confirming amyloid’s role in initiating the process), and inhibiting the action of an enzyme called GSK3-beta prevented the formation of tau aggregates and tangles*.
“This new testing system — which can be adapted to other neurodegenerative disorders — should revolutionize drug discovery in terms of speed, costs and physiologic relevance to disease,” says Tanzi. “Testing drugs in mouse models that typically have brain deposits of either plaques or tangles, but not both, takes more than a year and is very costly.
“With our three-dimensional model that recapitulates both plaques and tangles, we now can screen hundreds of thousands of drugs in a matter of months without using animals in a system that is considerably more relevant to the events occurring in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.”
Researchers at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a nanotube gel that could improve battery performance dramatically. This new twist on the lithium-ion formula is claimed to enable ultra-rapid charging that takes batteries from empty to 70% capacity in just two minutes. More importantly, perhaps, the technology is said to be capable of enduring 10,000 charging cycles—much more than typical Li-ion cells.
Associate professor Chen Xiaodong is credited with inventing the gel, which hardly sounds like exotic unobtainium. The material is made from titanium dioxide, a compound the press release describes as an “abundant, cheap and safe material found in soil.” Titanium dioxide is naturally spherical, so it needs to be mixed with sodium hydroxide to form the nanotubes that enable rapid charging. Combining those ingredients seems to require little more than stirring a mixture at a specific temperature.
Once created, the nanotube gel replaces the graphite anode typically used in Li-ion batteries. In addition to fueling rapid charging, it removes the need to use “additives” to bind electrons to the anode. Getting rid of those additives apparently saves enough space to improve the cell’s energy storage capacity, though there’s no mention of the magnitude of that increase.
Unlike promising technologies that seem perennially stuck three-to-five years in the future, batteries loaded with nanotube gel are expected to hit the market “in the next two years.” An unnamed licensee has already signed up to use the patented technology, but the researchers have yet to create a “large-scale battery prototype,” so a sprinkling of salt is definitely recommended. Nanotube gel could potentially improve batteries for everything from mobile devices to notebooks to electric cars, but it could also fade into obscurity without ever making its way into actual products.
- Nova is made up of two huge detectors placed 500 miles (800km) apart
- It will study neutrinos – one of nature’s most elusive subatomic particles
- Nova, near Chicago, will generate world’s most powerful neutrino beam
- About 100 trillion neutrinos pass through us harmlessly each second
- Scientists believe that a better understanding of neutrinos may lead to a clearer picture of the inner workings of the universe
In August, Samsung revealed that it had conjured up a way to make its bleeding-edge 3D V-NAND flash memory even more data-dense than before. Today, the company announced that mass production of 3-bit 3D V-NAND has begun, and it might be able to quell the biggest complaint about SSDs packing prior generation V-NAND tech: price.
Samsung launched its 850 Pro SSDs—the first-ever V-NAND-based solid state drives, using 2-bit-per-cell technology—in July, and it earned rave reviews across the board. The 850 Pro SSD equaled and often trumped competitors in speed, endurance, and power efficiency, then Samsung rubbed salt in the wound by offering best-in-class software and a 10-year warranty with the drives. Put simply, the 850 Pro series rocked.
But wow, they were expensive, with most models selling around $1 per gigabyte of storage—a clear premium over rival SSDs.
That may soon change however. Flash memory is from giant silicon wafers; the more flash memory you can successfully extract from a single wafer, the better. And Samsung says 3-bit V-NAND wafers yield more than twice as much end product compared to wafers of its traditional 10nm 3-bit flash memory. That makes sense; V-NAND’s big trick is vertically stacking layers of flash cells, while traditional flash memory arranges the cells side-by-side on the horizontal plane.
HBM represents the revolutionary step that has been so badly needed in the evolution of memory standards. The first generation of HBM promises to deliver 4.5X the bandwidth of GDDR5 and a staggering 16 times the bandwidth of DDR3.
- First HTC Nexus 9 hands-on video hits the web
- Paralysed fireman Darek Fidyka recovers thanks to UK research
- What Role Does Technology Play in Record Levels of Income Inequality?
- Lockheed Martin fusion reactor breakthrough announced
- Diet fast or diet slow, the same weight piles back on
- ‘Holy grail’ of lighting invented using LEDs that consume 85% less energy
- Not so dark after all! Dark matter particles may FINALLY have been found – and they are coming from the core of the SUN
- Could coconuts be the key to cleaner CARS? Fruit could store hydrogen to power next-generation vehicles
- Lighting cities with cheap, glaring LEDs is a dim move
- Stem cells improve vision enough for horse riding
- First patient treated for Google Glass addiction
- Zero-emission fusion reactor promises ‘cheaper than coal’ energy
- Blogs RO
- Famous Quotes
- Food recipises
- IT Hardware