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Bettina Ascaino
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"Expression fights oppression"
"Expression fights oppression"

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SciTech Digest - 08/2017.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2017/02/mems-afm-on-chip-low-power-voice-chip.html

MEMS AFM on-chip, Low power voice chip, Wireless power, LysoSENS development, Chiral carbon nanotubes, MOF molecular looms, Molecular biology of sleep, Electrical brain interfaces, DNA computer drugs, Printable solar cells.

1. On-chip MEMS AFM
A MEMS-based atomic force microscope has been created on a single chip complete with all of the sensors and components needed to control the device http://www.utdallas.edu/news/2017/2/15-32432_Jonsson-School-Engineers-Shrink-Microscope-to-Dime_story-wide.html. The one square centimeter sized device operates an oscillating cantilever that is moved across the surface of the sample to be imaged. While it might not have the sensitivity of a high-end laboratory system such a device should make entry-level AFM applications much cheaper and more widespread - a lot more people having access to and using an AFM can only be a good thing.

2. Low Power Voice Control Chip
A low power voice-control and speech recognition chip has been developed that achieves an energy saving of between 90% - 99%, effectively running speech-recognition software for between 0.2 - 10 milliwatts instead of the usual 1 watt that a phone uses http://news.mit.edu/2017/low-power-chip-speech-recognition-electronics-0213. Such low-powered capabilities are ideally suited to internet of things applications and low-power sensors and interfaces with embedded communications. The chip itself incorporates three different hardware implementations of neural networks of varying complexity.

3. Better Wireless Power Transfer
Disney research has demonstrated a quasistatic cavity resonance device for transferring power wirelessly to receivers in devices with 40% to 95% efficiency, and can transfer 1900 watts in this way safely https://www.disneyresearch.com/publication/quasistatic-cavity-resonance-for-ubiquitous-wireless-power-transfer/. I’ve covered several different technologies attempting to do similar wireless power transfer but this latest attempt appears to significantly improve the range, power, and efficiency. Again, a mature technology would be a key enabler of internet of things devices, sensors, and applications.

4. LysoSENS Moves Towards the Clinic
Ichor Therapeutics has demonstrated very promising results in cells for clearing types of lysosomal garbage and is now seeking to complete animal studies and move into a Phase 1 human clinical trial https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2017/02/ichor-therapeutics-announces-lysoclear-sens-rejuvenation-therapy-and-series-a-fundraising-for-further-development/. The therapy comes from bacterial enzymes that can break down certain types of lysosomal garbage, and which have also been modified to be targeted to the lysosomes of target cells. In this specific, niche case the therapy breaks down the garbage and removes the accumulated damage A2E metabolic waste aggregates in retinal cells that leads to different types of macular degeneration, and so represents a good, early, embryonic rejuvenation and anti-aging therapy.

5. Catalysts for Chiral Carbon Nanotubes
New work reveals that different carbon nanotube growth catalysts can preferentially form carbon nanotubes with different chiralities - the pattern of graphene hexagons around the tube that control metallic or semiconducting properties of the carbon nanotube https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170215131554.htm. Tungsten carbide produces semiconducting carbon nanotubes with 80% - 90% purity, while molybdenum carbide helps produce metallic carbon nanotubes. Meanwhile carbon nanotubes and graphene have been combined into functional 3D graphene rebar structures http://news.rice.edu/2017/02/13/graphene-foam-gets-big-and-tough/.

6. Molecular Looms from MOFs
Metal Organic Framework materials are now being used to precisely position (four-armed in this case) monomer molecules that are then cross-linked in a precise array similar to two-dimensional polymer textiles http://www.kit.edu/kit/english/pi_2017_020_metal-organic-frameworks-used-as-looms.php. This is a clever nanotechnology application for building precisely structured and formulated materials with near perfect atomic organisation. After formation the molecule-thick 2D polymer sheets are actually held together by the mechanical forces resulting from the weave pattern. A versatile platform for creating a wide variety of different, precise, 2D polymer sheets with customisable properties and structures at the atomic scale.

7. The Molecular Biology of Sleep
The molecular biology underpinning and controlling sleep is being further mapped out as part of a huge study in mice with the discovery of two new genes that play a key role in regulating sleep https://www.quantamagazine.org/20170214-sleep-control-machinery-in-the-brain/. The first, Sik3, influences the total amount of sleep needed, while the second, Nalcn, influences the amount of REM dreaming sleep that is attained. This study took years and involved mutating the genes of thousands of mice and hooking them up to brainwave monitors while they slept. With these targets identified there is further scope to rationally design interventions able to modify sleep in humans.

8. Better Electrical Brain Interfaces
In just one week we had three different improved electronic brain interfaces announced. First, a new complementary metal oxide semiconductor nanoelectrode array can image and map the changing electrical signals within a large group of living cells http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/devices/nanoelectrode-array-measures-electrical-signals-across-network-of-cells. Second, ultra-flexible nanoelectronic threads can act as reliable brain probes that enable scar-free integration for neural signal recording https://cns.utexas.edu/news/new-ultra-flexible-probes-form-reliable-scar-free-integration-with-the-brain. Finally, glassy-carbon electrodes transmit more robust signals to restore function in people with damaged spinal cords http://newscenter.sdsu.edu/sdsu_newscenter/news_story.aspx?sid=76593.

9. DNA Computer Smart Drugs
A new DNA computer is able to process the presence and concentration of multiple specific antibodies in the body at once in order to diagnose particular disease states https://www.tue.nl/en/university/news-and-press/news/17-02-2017-dna-computer-brings-intelligent-drugs-a-step-closer/ or see the paper http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14473. In this process DNA strands are designed to bind to different antibodies, and when mixed with complementary reporter DNA sequences, these sequences only release the “signal” strand when those specific antibodies are present. These output signals are then processed by a range of DNA computer and logic elements to provide information on the nature of the disease that is present. I’m impressed by how sophisticated the DNA computing and health diagnostics platform is becoming.

10. Printable Perovskite Solar Cells
A new chemical reaction allows an electron-selective solar cell layer to be grown in solution out of nanoparticles directly on top of electrodes and that also incorporate perovskite solar-power ink http://news.engineering.utoronto.ca/printable-solar-cells-just-got-little-closer/, and at much lower temperatures than was previously possible. The solar cells created with this process in the lab demonstrated an energy efficiency of 20.1%. The promise of printable solar cells is being able to cheaply produce high-efficiency panels via established printing techniques or even custom-printing onto most desired surfaces.

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In clip from 1958 film, “Gateways to the Mind“, we see how our mind plays tricks on us. Never trust a trapezoid. http://twistedsifter.com/videos/never-trust-a-trapezoid/

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(...)

Alongside the portrait of New York Hayes paints a portrait of the irreplaceable Oliver Sacks — a largehearted genius of ceaseless eccentricity, who collects spectacles and dreams of fern salad and writes with a fountain pen and has never emailed or texted or owned a computer; who, when taught to open a champagne bottle in his late seventies, dons his swimming goggles “just in case”; who earnestly calls pot “cannabis” and exclaims with gusto when stoned into hallucination: “The primary cortex! The genius of the primary cortex!”; a man of imagination so infinite and empathy so complete that when asked what he has been doing lying in the garden for hours, he replies that he has been wondering about what it’s like to be a rose.

(...)

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"I don't let go of concepts - I meet them with understanding. Then they let go of me."

- Byron Katie

""Have good trust in yourself ... not in the One that you think you should be, but in the One that you are."

- Maezumi Roshi

“This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”

- Alan Watts

“The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That's all there ever is.”

- Eckhart Tolle

"Wherever you are, be there totally."

- Eckhart Tolle

"If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. That is very serious!"

- Thich Nhat Hanh

#PowerOfNow #KimbaSHairHeart 
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I find this news oddly pleasing: even as fin fish and shellfish populations plummet, the cephalopods are booming. It's not quite clear why, except that perhaps they're better-suited to adapting to these rapid changes.

Part of this is no doubt due to their fairly rapid life-cycle; something I'm quite curious about is whether this has pushed a further adaptation towards sophisticated intelligence. Octopodes already have spectacularly complex minds, but likely for different reasons than we do. Social hunting and scavenging are things that have driven a lot of intelligence development in terrestrial species -- think of crows, and raccoons, and humans. Octopodes, on the other hand, have this wonderful advantage of being able to get into any sort of place, but the associated disadvantage of not having any armor or protection. They've had to use their brains to survive, as well as to get their hands on food.

I'd be quite curious to see if we're finding evidence of new foraging or sheltering techniques showing up among our tentacled neighbors, or whether they're simply spreading into ecological niches being vacated by overfishing and acidification.

h/t +Kitty Stryker

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This peer-to-peer mesh network allows smartphones to talk without Wi-Fi or cell coverage
An IBM and Weather Company Android app is designed to save lives by spreading warnings of impending disasters.

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No matter to me
I can dance slow.
Wherever the beat drops my body
I'll go.

... shakedatass 

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ThankS to +Yonatan Zunger :)

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One of my favourite angry songs. Coming Undone is up there with Killing in the name Of satisfying every time https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bWXazVhlyxQ and a third one for 'variety' https://youtu.be/3L4YrGaR8E4 :) Fuck yeah

#music 
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