05 May

Artificial brains keep getting smaller and more efficient. But could Neurogrid, as one of the latest models is known, really compare to a human brain?

Well, like other computerized devices that seek to replicate brain activity, that would seem to be the ultimate point, though inventions like Neurogrid might play an even more important role: Providing easier access to labs that want to explore brain modeling. As it stands, most computerized brains are either unwieldy or prohibitively expensive.

04 May

Medical science can diagnose many things. Broken bones, tumors, high cholesterol and blood pressure... But the inner workings of the human brain have always been elusive. Pain--an important part of patient treatment--is monitored on scales of one to ten, and as we all know, what some define as an "eight," others define as a "ten."

But that may soon change. Researchers, using brain scans, have been able to isolate a "neurological pain signature," visible when pain is felt through the skin. Scientists believe this is the first step toward being able to conclusively diagnose pain from headaches, back difficulties, and diseases.

03 May

Just when you thought you knew everything about how currency works, an overseas programmer creates a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that has the world talking. Banks and federal officials are especially interested in the system, especially as it begins to actually allow users to make purchases.

Bitcoin has no fees for consumers and small fees for businesses are small. Through sites like Mt. Gox, users can trade Bitcoins with people all over the world. Frustration with traditional banks, combined with the growing popularity of the security and ease of online wallets, drove the value of a single Bitcoin up to $147 recently. Using a combination of peer-to-peer networking and public-key cryptography, Bitcoin creates a virtual analogy of gold, similar in its scarcity.

01 May

Getting beamed up got one step closer to reality recently. More like vacuumed up. Through a tube. Like a plastic container at a drive-through bank.

The Residential Pneumatic Vacuum Elevator, pioneered in Argentina and available from Florida-based Daytona Elevator for around $20-22K USD (likely more for installations beyond the Daytona area), is a free-standing, transparent tube that uses air suction -- not cables -- to hoist a passenger between household floors.

29 Apr

Imagine you're 40,000 feet above the earth in a fuel-filled commercial jet, the only thing keeping you in the air is the computer system that powers the plane. Now...imagine some ill-meaning person on the ground decided to hack into that computer system and toy with it?

Scary thought, right?

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