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An advantage of Li-Fi is that it can use existing power lines as LED lighting, so no new infrastructure is needed. Courtesy of mightyohm, CC BY-SA

In Future, the Internet could come through Your Light Bulb

November 25, 2015 9:42 am | by Pavlos Manousiadis, Graham Turnbull and Ifor Samuel, University of St Andrews | Comments

The tungsten lightbulb has served well over the century or so since it was introduced, but its days are numbered now with the arrival of LED lighting, which consume 1/10 the power of incandescent bulbs and have a lifespan 30x longer. Potential uses of LEDs are not limited to illumination: smart lighting products offer various additional features, including linking your laptop or smartphone to the Internet. Move over Wi-Fi, Li-Fi is here.

A particularly fruitful moment for technological innovation? Viktor M Vasnetsov

Why Does Culture Sometimes Evolve via Sudden Bursts of Innovation? A New Model

November 24, 2015 9:45 am | by Nicole Creanza and Oren Kolodny, Stanford University | Comments

Human beings inherit many genetic traits directly from their parents. However, cultural traits — tools, beliefs and behaviors that are transmitted by learning — can be passed on not only by parents but also teachers and peers. Many animals have learned behaviors, but people are uniquely good at building on existing knowledge to innovate further. This capacity, known as cumulative culture, was captured by Sir Isaac Newton...

Figure 1: Effective management of analytical data enables research and development organizations to extract, retain and leverage knowledge.

Analytical Knowledge Transfer presents a Challenging Landscape in an Externalized World

November 23, 2015 4:10 pm | by Sanji Bhal, ACD/Labs | Comments

One of the hottest topics in lab informatics discussions today encompasses externalization of scientific R&D. Organizations spanning many industries (petrochemicals, food and beverage, fine chemicals, pharma/biotech) have increasingly outsourced a variety of activities along the business value chain. Extending existing systems into an externalized world that they were never designed to address presents myriad more predicaments.

The author, teaching at the very front of his calculus class.

The Rush to Calculus is Bad for Students and their Futures in STEM

November 20, 2015 9:15 am | by Kevin Knudson, University of Florida | Comments

Two years ago, I taught a section of Calculus I to approximately 650 undergrads in a large auditorium. Perhaps “taught” isn’t the right word. “Performed,” maybe? Unsurprisingly, my student evaluations were not as high as they usually are in my more typical classes of 35 students. I particularly remember one comment: “This class destroyed my confidence.” According to a new Mathematical Association of America report, this outcome is common.

Artitist's concept of the DARPA project: The central nervous system receives touch and proprioception information from sensory nerves and generates movements by sending signals to muscles via motor nerves. Electrodes in nerves and muscles intercept and wi

HAPTIX: Providing Prosthetic Hands with a Real Sense of Touch

November 19, 2015 12:31 pm | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | Comments

With support from DARPA, and in support of the White House BRAIN Initiative, researchers have set out to build the world’s first neural system to enable naturalistic feeling and movements in prosthetic hands. The HAPTIX program aims to provide wounded service members with full and natural dexterous control over advanced prosthetic devices that substitute for amputated hands — the name HAPTIX is a play on the word haptics...

The Modeling, Simulation and Crash Testing of Automotive Lightweight Materials Congress, which encompasses cost-effective modeling, crash simulation and lifecycle prediction for lightweight materials and composites, will take place January 26-27, 2016, in

Cost-effective Modeling, Crash Simulation and Lifecycle Prediction

November 18, 2015 2:26 pm | by London Business Conferences | Comments

In advance of the Modeling, Simulation and Crash Testing of Automotive Lightweight Materials Congress — a congress encompassing cost-effective modeling, crash simulation and lifecycle prediction for lightweight materials and composites taking place January 26-27 — Steven Sheng, a formability engineer at GM and Xinran Xiao, a professor of mechanical engineering at Michigan State University, offer a few insights on their upcoming talks.

Computer… or black box for data? US Army

How Computers Broke Science — and What We can do to Fix It

November 9, 2015 9:02 am | by Ben Marwick, University of Washington | Comments

Reproducibility is one of the cornerstones of science. Made popular by Robert Boyle in the 1660s, the idea is that a discovery should be reproducible before being accepted as scientific knowledge. In essence, you should be able to produce the same results if you follow the method I describe when announcing my discovery in a scholarly publication. If not, we’re left wondering what accident or mistake produced the original favorable result.

Unmanned rocket explodes moments after launch. NASA/Joel Kowsky, CC BY-NC-ND

It’s not Rocket Science: We Need a Better Way to Get to Space

November 6, 2015 9:16 am | by Leon Vanstone, University of Texas at Austin | Comments

Human beings will always be explorers. We’ve pretty well surveyed our planet, our tiny blue dot, for answers and only found more questions. We’ve already taken baby steps out into the solar system. But cheap, affordable space travel would be revolutionary, heralding in technologies we haven’t even imagined. But here’s the thing: we won’t be heading to the stars in a rocket. Rockets are a terrible way of getting to space.

Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen looking into an X-ray screen placed in front of a man’s body and seeing the ribs and the bones of the arm. Wellcome Library, London, CC BY

On the 120th Anniversary of the X-Ray, How it changed our View of the World

November 6, 2015 8:46 am | by Richard Gunderman, Indiana University, Bloomington | Comments

November 8 marks the 120th anniversary of one of the greatest moments in the history of science: an obscure German physics professor’s discovery of the X-ray. In the six weeks that followed, Wilhelm Roentgen devoted nearly every waking hour to exploring the properties of the new rays before announcing his discovery to the world. Within just months, scientists worldwide were experimenting with the newly discovered rays.

Can we predict the Nobel Prize Winners? You can bet on it!

The Nobel Prize Prediction Industry: Far from Perfect, but Pretty Impressive

November 4, 2015 2:29 pm | by Leighton Vaughan Williams, Nottingham Trent University | Comments

When Svetlana Alexievich won this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature, it was not unexpected. She was not only the clear favorite with the bookmakers but had traded as one of the leaders in the betting in the previous two years. While firms lay odds on the literature and peace prizes, there are no betting lines available for physics, chemistry and medicine. Instead, organized platform seeks to predict winners based on research citations.

Cables crisscross the oceans carrying your internet info. Courtesy of Telegeography Submarine Cable Map

In our Wi-Fi World, the Internet Still Depends on Undersea Cables

November 3, 2015 9:23 am | by Nicole Starosielski, New York University | Comments

Recently, a New York Times article on Russian submarine activity near undersea communications cables dredged up Cold War politics and generated widespread recognition of the submerged systems we all depend upon. Not many people realize that undersea cables transport nearly 100 percent of transoceanic data traffic. These lines carry the world’s internet, phone calls and even TV transmissions between continents at the speed of light.

Data Lake-as-a-Service

The Future-as-a-Service

October 30, 2015 12:19 pm | by Michael H. Elliott | Comments

The transformation of conventional R&D operating models is continuing at a rapid pace. The poor track record of preclinical candidates successfully making it to market, rising costs and increasing scientific complexity is forcing biopharmaceutical companies to rethink how they have traditionally executed pipeline projects. It is no longer acceptable to “go it alone” and perform all activities. Partnering is now in vogue.

Illustration of the acoustic force fields created by the 64 speakers beneath the red object — strong enough to hold or move it. Courtesy of Asier Marzo, Bruce Drinkwater and Sriram Subramanian

How We Invented a Star Trek-style Sonic Tractor Beam

October 29, 2015 9:15 am | by Bruce Drinkwater, University of Bristol | Comments

When I think of a tractor beam — a stream of energy that can move objects — I imagine a ray emerging from a spaceship gripping an object outside and pulling it in. In my mind this spaceship is the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek, but the idea has been used in countless science fiction plots. But in the last few decades, the concept has also gathered attention from scientists and engineers.

A graphical representation of a new elastic properties dataset, showing volume per atom (represented by arrow direction), shear modulus (x-axis), bulk modulus (y-axis), and Poisson’s ratio (color) for all the compounds calculated. For comparison, the actu

Google-like Database of Material Properties aims to Accelerate Innovation

October 28, 2015 2:37 pm | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | Comments

Using supercomputers to calculate the properties of all known materials based on first-principles quantum-mechanical frameworks, the Materials Project has attracted more than 10,000 users since it was launched in 2011. The Project aims to take the guesswork out of finding the best material for a job by making the characteristics of every inorganic compound available to any interested scientist. With more than 58,244 compounds...

Physicists Prove Quantum Spookiness and Start Chasing Schrödinger’s Cat

Physicists Prove Quantum Spookiness, Start Chasing Schrödinger’s Cat

October 27, 2015 12:38 pm | by Peter Mosley, University of Bath | Comments

Quantum mechanics is weird. Far apart objects can influence each other in what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance,” and cats can potentially be dead and alive at the same time. Researchers have proven the link between particles at a distance reflects how the universe behaves. Others have set out to show a living creature can be in two different quantum states at the same time — just like Schrödinger’s cat.



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