Category Archives: Technology

The winner is: 2012 Nobel Prize in medicine

To finish my three-week tribute to the Nobel Prize winners in the sciences, I get to end on a subject that is as controversial as it is miraculously life-saving: stem cells. Now before you burn my skin off with those disapproving glares, let me finish my article. I’m not talking about the embryonic stem cells that get everyone so worked up. I’m talking about induced stem cells, the kind ripped from your own body and infected until they lose their identity so scientists can give them a new one.

Last year’s winners for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine were Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for discovering “that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent.” What that means is that they discovered a way to take mature cells and turn the cells into any other kind of cell they want. Not only does this avoid the controversy brought up by embryonic stem cells, but also avoids many of the medical problems they carry, like the need to suppress the receiver’s immune system from rejecting the new cells. Continue reading The winner is: 2012 Nobel Prize in medicine

Robotpocalypse: Replacing man with metal

As long as there has been man and work, there has been a man trying to make a tool to do the work for him. I’m not saying that people are lazy; I’m saying that I and about seventeen and a half million people would rather be watching a kitten play with a stick. People didn’t always have this much free time, though. It wasn’t until industrialization that we really started using machines to do hard work for us, right? Our forefathers didn’t have the tools available to create modern, complex machines — robots, specifically — like we do today.

Except for the guy in the Middle East who built a robotic music band that ran on water in the 13th century. Apparently, robots have been around for a very long time. Continue reading Robotpocalypse: Replacing man with metal

A very tiny printing press: Writing books into DNA

There may be 70 billion copies of George Church and Ed Regis’ Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature in existence, but don’t look for it on any best-sellers list and don’t expect to pick up a copy from Barnes & Noble. On the other hand, carrying all 70 billion copies is easy because you can slip them into your pocket and still have room for your wallet and keys. Continue reading A very tiny printing press: Writing books into DNA

They’ve got a pill for that: Curing racism with drugs

Put the lime and coconut away because science has found a cure for everything but the common cold. Feeling feverish? Pop some ibuprofen. Got a touch of the clap? Penicillin will clear that up. Feeling like black rappers are responsible for the degradation of society? Take one of these and call me in the morning. Continue reading They’ve got a pill for that: Curing racism with drugs

The battery is not going anywhere

It’s the 21st century. We like things fast. Fast cars, fast Internet, fast phones; we want it now. No time to waste. In the world of technology, if you aren’t going faster, you aren’t going anywhere. Moore’s Law states that a computer’s processing power doubles every two years. When you’re twenty, computers are 1024 times faster than they were when you were born. We haven’t neared the limit yet. Continue reading The battery is not going anywhere

A new age: Dawn of the e-coupon

While most folks use coupons now and again, serious couponing has long been a niche reserved only for the few, the dedicated. Apple has changed that in one fell swoop with the introduction of its Passbook app. Now iPhone users will be walking around with a myriad of deals right at their fingertips — and it’s not clear whether that’s more a benefit to them or to the businesses offering the deals. Continue reading A new age: Dawn of the e-coupon

Brain standard time

Time has fascinated humanity for centuries. As our methods for measuring time have become more precise, we have been able to plan ever more tightly and cram ever more industry into continually-tightening schedules. But it turns out that before our species began its frenetic quest to capture time — indeed, before we even existed — nature itself had undertaken the role of watchmaker. Continue reading Brain standard time

Effects of television on children’s development

The effects of television on children is a subject that has been studied many times over. Because of the worry about its link with aggression and obesity in children, many researchers have scrutinized this topic. In this day and age there are more than ten screens in any given household with television sets, computers, and hand held devices. In these fast-paced times it becomes too easy for parents to plop their children in front of the television to keep them occupied while they are busy. Continue reading Effects of television on children’s development

Science gets sexy

The invention of the Internet changed intimate relationships forever. Long-distance relationships suddenly became a lot more feasible, especially after the creation of video-chat programs like Skype. Kids started stirring up trouble by emailing nude and semi-nude pictures. But the one thing the World Wide Web has not been able to challenge is the old-fashioned joy of tactile sensation – until now. Continue reading Science gets sexy

Microblogging beyond Twitter

Whenever microblogging is mentioned, thoughts inevitably turn to Twitter. But while Twitter may have a monopoly on public attention, it is by no means the only microblogging platform out there. Following are some less popularized but useful options, as well as reasons you should consider adding them to your online presence. Continue reading Microblogging beyond Twitter

Facebook makes you vote? Scientists say yes

Social media has changed our world forever. Whether for good or bad is still hotly debated, but every day more areas of life are discovered to be affected by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like. It turns out it’s not just our personal lives social media affects; It’s our civic lives too. A recent study indicates that Facebook can motivate people to vote. Continue reading Facebook makes you vote? Scientists say yes