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The Lounge>Science is Cool....
Fish 09:43 PM 05-21-2012
This is a repository for all cool scientific discussion and fascination. Scientific facts, theories, and overall cool scientific stuff that you'd like to share with others. Stuff that makes you smile and wonder at the amazing shit going on around us, that most people don't notice.

Post pictures, vidoes, stories, or links. Ask questions. Share science.

This is in support of the Penny 4 NASA project. If you enjoy anything you learned from this thread, consider making a donation and signing the petition.

Why should I care?:

notorious 10:30 AM 09-29-2012
Whoa, I got it mixed up. The Circulatory system was what I was thinking of.
notorious 10:33 AM 09-29-2012
Imagine a dark room with this lit up in the middle:

Fish 10:35 AM 09-29-2012
Originally Posted by notorious:
Imagine a dark room with this lit up in the middle:

Oh damn.. that looks like a Syfy movie prop...
Pasta Giant Meatball 02:50 PM 09-29-2012
Originally Posted by KC Fish:
Oh damn.. that looks like a Syfy movie prop...
:-) Damn you notorious can't you quit them!!
Discuss Thrower 03:06 PM 09-29-2012
RE the graphene as semiconductor post: I have an erection.
PornChief 03:13 PM 09-29-2012
low tech is the best tech

mikey23545 04:27 PM 09-29-2012
Kuratas, the 13-foot mech: unleashes your inner Ripley, costs $1.35 million

Suidobashi Heavy Industries has put the finishing touches to its latest project, the 4.4-ton Kuratas. Mobile suit obsessives around the world can thank artist Kogoro Kurata and robotics expert Wataru Yoshizaki for the robot frame, which has space to house a pilot inside. The mech's touchscreen UI even includes a Kinect-based movement interface and the shudder-inducing "smile-activated" twin BB gatling guns. You can customize your own diesel-powered beast in the dystopian gang colors of your choosing, but be advised: the $1.35 million price tag doesn't include further customization options like a faux leather interior, cup holder or phone cubby. The Kuratas does, however, come with the ability to make phone calls direct from the cockpit, so you can tell your enemies that you're coming for them.

notorious 05:42 PM 09-29-2012
Originally Posted by PGM:
:-) Damn you notorious can't you quit them!!

Fish 06:28 PM 09-29-2012

Fish 10:15 PM 10-02-2012
I cannot possibly agree more with the idea of the abolition of all patents immediately.

The Case for Abolishing Patents (Yes, All of Them)

90 SEP 27 2012, 1:21 PM ET 215

Our patent system is a mess. It's a fount of expensive litigation that allows aging companies to linger around by bullying their more innovative competitors in court.

Critics have suggested plenty of reasonable reforms, from eliminating software patents to clamping down on "trolls" who buy up patent portfolios only so they can file lawsuits. But do we need a more radical solution? Would we be possibly be better off without any patents at all?

That's the striking suggestion from a Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis working paper by Michele Boldrin and David Levine, professors at Washington University in St. Louis who argue that any patent system, no matter how well conceived, is bound to devolve into the kind of quagmire we're dealing with today.

Here's the (slightly jargony) core of their argument, which we'll unpack together in a moment:

A closer look at the historical and international evidence suggests that while weak patent systems may mildly increase innovation with limited side-effects, strong patent systems retard innovation with many negative side-effects. Both theoretically and empirically, the political economy of government operated patent systems indicates that weak legislation will generally evolve into a strong protection and that the political demand for stronger patent protection comes from old and stagnant industries and firms, not from new and innovative ones. Hence the best solution is to abolish patents entirely [emphasis mine] through strong constitutional measures and to find other legislative instruments, less open to lobbying and rent-seeking, to foster innovation whenever there is clear evidence that laissez-faire under-supplies it.

In plain-speak, the authors are arguing that, yes, the evidence suggests that having a limited amount of patent protection makes countries slightly more innovative, presumably by encouraging inventors to cash in on their great ideas without fear of being ripped off. But patent protections never stay small and tidy. Instead, entrenched players like intellectual property lawyers who make their living filing lawsuits and old, established corporations that want to keep new players out of their markets lobby to expand the breadth of patent rights. And as patent rights get stronger, they take a serious toll on the economy, including our ability to innovate.

We can see that cost today as tech companies like Google spend billions on "defensive patents," which are essentially useless other than as a protection against lawsuits. We see it whenever a cool startup firm is forced to license a bogus patent from a litigious troll. And we see it in the untold dollars spent on legal fees and unnecessary patent filings for ludicrously broad or impractical ideas. The authors' extreme case in point: Somebody out there actually patented a method for moving information through the fifth dimension.* As in faster than the speed of light.
Fish 10:37 PM 10-02-2012
Freaking replicators! Seriously.

Tea... Earl Grey... HOT!

How to Make Almost Anything
The Digital Fabrication Revolution
By Neil Gershenfeld
September 27, 2012

A new digital revolution is coming, this time in fabrication. It draws on the same insights that led to the earlier digitizations of communication and computation, but now what is being programmed is the physical world rather than the virtual one. Digital fabrication will allow individuals to design and produce tangible objects on demand, wherever and whenever they need them. Widespread access to these technologies will challenge traditional models of business, aid, and education.

The roots of the revolution date back to 1952, when researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) wired an early digital computer to a milling machine, creating the first numerically controlled machine tool. By using a computer program instead of a machinist to turn the screws that moved the metal stock, the researchers were able to produce aircraft components with shapes that were more complex than could be made by hand. From that first revolving end mill, all sorts of cutting tools have been mounted on computer-controlled platforms, including jets of water carrying abrasives that can cut through hard materials, lasers that can quickly carve fine features, and slender electrically charged wires that can make long thin cuts.

Today, numerically controlled machines touch almost every commercial product, whether directly (producing everything from laptop cases to jet engines) or indirectly (producing the tools that mold and stamp mass-produced goods). And yet all these modern descendants of the first numerically controlled machine tool share its original limitation: they can cut, but they cannot reach internal structures. This means, for example, that the axle of a wheel must be manufactured separately from the bearing it passes through.


Labs like mine are now developing 3-D assemblers (rather than printers) that can build structures in the same way as the ribosome. The assemblers will be able to both add and remove parts from a discrete set. One of the assemblers we are developing works with components that are a bit bigger than amino acids, cluster of atoms about ten nanometers long (an amino acid is around one nanometer long). These can have properties that amino acids cannot, such as being good electrical conductors or magnets.(HOLY SHIT COOL!) The goal is to use the nanoassembler to build nanostructures, such as 3-D integrated circuits. Another assembler we are developing uses parts on the scale of microns to millimeters. We would like this machine to make the electronic circuit boards that the 3-D integrated circuits go on. Yet another assembler we are developing uses parts on the scale of centimeters, to make larger structures, such as aircraft components and even whole aircraft that will be lighter, stronger, and more capable than today’s planes — think a jumbo jet that can flap its wings.

A key difference between existing 3-D printers and these assemblers is that the assemblers will be able to create complete functional systems in a single process. They will be able to integrate fixed and moving mechanical structures, sensors and actuators, and electronics. Even more important is what the assemblers don’t create: trash. Trash is a concept that applies only to materials that don’t contain enough information to be reusable. All the matter on the forest floor is recycled again and again. Likewise, a product assembled from digital materials need not be thrown out when it becomes obsolete. It can simply be disassembled and the parts reconstructed into something new.

The most interesting thing that an assembler can assemble is itself. For now, they are being made out of the same kinds of components as are used in rapid prototyping machines. Eventually, however, the goal is for them to be able to make all their own parts.

[More info at link....]
ThaVirus 10:49 PM 10-02-2012
Originally Posted by KC Fish:
Wow... in just 25 years.. Imagine where we'll be in another 200.....
Dave Lane 06:59 AM 10-03-2012
I see the assemblers can assemble themselves. So when will Skynet become sentient?
redhed 11:53 AM 10-05-2012
Russkies found another one:

Originally Posted by :

Scientists already have deciphered much of the genetic code of the woolly mammoth from balls of mammoth hair found frozen in the Siberian permafrost. Some believe it's possible to recreate the prehistoric animal if they find living cells in the permafrost.

Those who succeed in recreating an extinct animal could claim a "Jurassic Park prize," a concept being developed by the X Prize Foundation that awarded a 2004 prize for the first private spacecraft.

Fish 12:54 AM 10-06-2012

Super-Toxic Snake Venom Could Yield New Painkillers
By Katherine Harmon | October 3, 2012 |

A bite from the black mamba snake (Dendroaspis polylepis) can kill an adult human within 20 minutes. But mixed in with that toxic venom is a new natural class of compound that could be used to help develop new painkillers.

Named “mambalgins,” these peptides block acute and inflammatory pain in mice as well as morphine does, according to a new study.

Researchers, led by Sylvie Diochot, of the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at Nice University, Sophia Antipolis in France, purified the peptides from the venom and profiled the compounds’ structure. They then were able to test the mambalgins in strains of mice with various genetic tweaks to their pain pathways. Diochot and her colleagues determined that the mambalgins work by blocking an as-yet untargeted set of neurological ion channels associated with pain signals. The findings were published online October 3 in Nature (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group).

As a bonus, mambalgins did not have the risky side effect of respiratory depression that morphine does. And the mice developed less tolerance to them over time than is typical with morphine.

Experimenting with the newfound compounds should also help researchers learn more about the mechanisms that drive pain. As the researchers noted in their paper, “It is essential to understand pain better to develop new analgesics. The black mamba peptides discovered here have the potential to address both of these aims.”

Venoms from plenty of other species of animals, including spiders, scorpions, ants and even snails, have also been studied for their analgesic potential.

Just don’t try extracting any of this venom in the wild. There is antivenom for the black mamba snake’s bite, but it is not always available, and without it, the bites are usually fatal. These snakes can move along at speeds up to about 20 kilometers per hour and grow to up to 4.4 meters in length.
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