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Cannabis cured my skin cancer. This is my story. It has been proven that concentrated cannabis oil cures cancer.

 

Duration: 9 minutes and 15 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: CC - Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives
Genre: Documentary
Producer: D. Triplett
Director: D. Triplett
Views: 1.087.202 (1.012.502 embedded)
Posted by: fabulousbb on 30.04.2011

Source: dotsub.com


THREE and a half years ago, on my 62nd birthday, doctors discovered a mass on my pancreas. It turned out to be Stage 3 pancreatic cancer. I was told I would be dead in four to six months. Today I am in that rare coterie of people who have survived this long with the disease. But I did not foresee that after having dedicated myself for 40 years to a life of the law, including more than two decades as a New York State judge, my quest for ameliorative and palliative care would lead me to marijuana.

My survival has demanded an enormous price, including months of chemotherapy, radiation hell and brutal surgery. For about a year, my cancer disappeared, only to return. About a month ago, I started a new and even more debilitating course of treatment. Every other week, after receiving an IV booster of chemotherapy drugs that takes three hours, I wear a pump that slowly injects more of the drugs over the next 48 hours.

Nausea and pain are constant companions. One struggles to eat enough to stave off the dramatic weight loss that is part of this disease. Eating, one of the great pleasures of life, has now become a daily battle, with each forkful a small victory. Every drug prescribed to treat one problem leads to one or two more drugs to offset its side effects. Pain medication leads to loss of appetite and constipation. Anti-nausea medication raises glucose levels, a serious problem for me with my pancreas so compromised. Sleep, which might bring respite from the miseries of the day, becomes increasingly elusive.

Inhaled marijuana is the only medicine that gives me some relief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep. The oral synthetic substitute, Marinol, prescribed by my doctors, was useless. Rather than watch the agony of my suffering, friends have chosen, at some personal risk, to provide the substance. I find a few puffs of marijuana before dinner gives me ammunition in the battle to eat. A few more puffs at bedtime permits desperately needed sleep.

This is not a law-and-order issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue. Being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I am receiving the absolute gold standard of medical care. But doctors cannot be expected to do what the law prohibits, even when they know it is in the best interests of their patients. When palliative care is understood as a fundamental human and medical right, marijuana for medical use should be beyond controversy.

Sixteen states already permit the legitimate clinical use of marijuana, including our neighbor New Jersey, and Connecticut is on the cusp of becoming No. 17. The New York State Legislature is now debating a bill to recognize marijuana as an effective and legitimate medicinal substance and establish a lawful framework for its use. The Assembly has passed such bills before, but they went nowhere in the State Senate. This year I hope that the outcome will be different. Cancer is a nonpartisan disease, so ubiquitous that it’s impossible to imagine that there are legislators whose families have not also been touched by this scourge. It is to help all who have been affected by cancer, and those who will come after, that I now speak.

Given my position as a sitting judge still hearing cases, well-meaning friends question the wisdom of my coming out on this issue. But I recognize that fellow cancer sufferers may be unable, for a host of reasons, to give voice to our plight. It is another heartbreaking aporia in the world of cancer that the one drug that gives relief without deleterious side effects remains classified as a narcotic with no medicinal value.

Because criminalizing an effective medical technique affects the fair administration of justice, I feel obliged to speak out as both a judge and a cancer patient suffering with a fatal disease. I implore the governor and the Legislature of New York, always considered a leader among states, to join the forward and humane thinking of 16 other states and pass the medical marijuana bill this year. Medical science has not yet found a cure, but it is barbaric to deny us access to one substance that has proved to ameliorate our suffering.

Gustin L. Reichbach is a justice of the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on May 17, 2012, on page A27 of the New York edition with the headline: A Judge’s Plea for Pot.

Source: NYtimes.com

 
By Admin (from 10/05/2012 @ 08:04:28, in en - Video Alert, read 1410 times)

We've heard of experimental contact lenses that can non-invasively monitor the blood sugar levels of diabetes sufferers before, but where prior research relied on chemical reactions inducing color-change in the lens, new joint research by the University of Washington and Microsoft Research aims to incorporate electronics into such lenses to report blood sugar levels wirelessly. Gizmag spoke to Desney Tan, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research Connections, to find out what sets this work apart.

In a promotional video from Microsoft Research, Professor Babak Parviz of the University of Washington summarizes the research. "We've been able to put a glucose sensor on a contact lens and show that it can detect glucose at levels that are found in the tear film," he explains. "Our broader group has actually designed and built small radios that can interface with this glucose sensor and send out information wirelessly."

Sufferers of Type 1 diabetes have to monitor their blood sugar levels several times a day. It's a painful procedure requiring the piercing of the skin with a spring-loaded needle. With what Microsoft cites as an example of a Natural User Interface (NUI), it hopes its "Functional Contact Lens" may one day remove the need for this invasive means of monitoring.

Though the Functional Contact Lens aspires to a more advanced means of reporting than mere common change, the means of detection also differs from previous research. "There are now various groups working on non-invasive measurement of tear glucose," Desney Tan told Gizmag. "Professor Zhang's lab has been largely using nanostructured optical probes embedded in hydrophilic hydrogen lenses, and they've had some successes recently."Instead, Tan explained, this research uses an enzyme-based electrochemical process sensitive to glucose. "As the enzyme interacts with the tear fluid, specific measurements are made by observing the change in current measured by bio-compatible electrodes on the contact lens."

Microsoft hopes to get this technology to market "as soon as everything is ready", and, if successful, it's likely that the first models will report information wirelessly to a local device, which "could be an augmented smart phone," Tan suggests.

This will be achieved with tiny, flexible electronics embedded into the lens itself incorporating control circuits, communication circuits, the glucose sensors themselves, and the antenna. "This required a whole new engineering process, since traditional integrated circuit processes would not work," Tan explained.

It's hoped that subsequent models will enhance the NUI-ness of the user experience by removing the need for a secondary device, and instead displaying information directly in the contact lens. Tan told us that current challenges to overcome involve the efficiency of the wireless communications, "bio-compatibility", the practicality of the design with respect to potential mass production, as well as issues with the glucose sensor itself.

Bio-compatibility is clearly an issue when a (admittedly low-powered) electronic device comes into direct contact with the human eye - both in terms of safety and comfort. As such, the Functional Contact Lens is not yet read for what Tan calls "in-situation trials". Tan is a passionate evangelist for the potential of NUI and augmented reality. The team at Microsoft Research and the University of Washington "has only begun to scratch the surface of the opportunities that exist with this type of platform," he enthuses. "The most important challenge is really in the deep exploration of all the things not yet imagined with this platform, and new platforms enabled by this new-found capability to create other technology of this form."

Source: GIZMAG - via ZeitNews.org

 

Professor Karl Leo, Dr. Jan Blochwitz-Nimoth and Dr. Martin Pfeiffer were honored for their pioneering achievements in the field of organic electronics.

When the concept was first proposed, it was dismissed as being unrealizable: "It'll never work," commented one expert assessor of an application for research funding. Today, 15 years later, the physicist Professor Karl Leo and two of his colleagues have been presented with the "Deutscher Zukunftspreis", one of Germany's most prestigious research awards, for what was once a highly controversial idea. Leo, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS in Dresden, has devoted most of his career to organic electronics. Until now, most electronic components have been made of inorganic silicon. The brittle material is a good semiconductor, but its manufacture requires a highly sophisticated process. It involves growing large crystals at high temperatures and then cutting them into thin slices known as wafers.

The more elegant solution is to use an organic material, a type of dye commonly used in the production of road signs. Such materials have the advantage that they can be applied as a coating on flexible films and other substrates. This gives rise to endless new possibilities, such as displays that can be rolled up and carried in a vest pocket or switchable window panes that light up at night to illuminate rooms while hardly consuming any electricity. On the other hand, organic dyes are poor electrical conductors. But this is where the once-mocked ingenious idea comes into play: their less-than-satisfactory conductivity can be increased by doping, i.e. adding a small amount of another chemical substance. After years of experiments, the researchers have succeeded in creating materials with an electrical conductivity a million and more times greater than the original dyes, with a doping ratio of no more than one percent.

The "Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2011", endowed with 250,000 euros, has been awarded by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany every year since 1997. It honors outstanding innovations that have made the transition from the research laboratory to industrial practice, thus helping to create jobs. Fraunhofer is a frequent winner of this prize, no doubt because it operates precisely at this interface between the world of research and the commercial market. This time, the jury chose to honor organic electronics, which Leo describes as a technology "that will revolutionize our lives".


From left: Karl Leo, Jan Blochwitz-Nimoth and Martin Pfeiffer.

The ultrathin semiconductor coatings have already made their way into mass production. They are equally versatile as the silicon chips that preceded them, for instance converting electrical energy into light just as easily as they convert sunlight into electricity. Novaled AG has adopted the first approach, using the technology to produce materials for displays and lamps, while Heliatek GmbH has chosen to focus on photovoltaics. Both of these companies are spinoffs created by former members of Professor Leo's research team. By now they employ a total of nearly 200 people, and work closely together with other Dresden-based companies in a technology network. This year's Zukunftspreis is shared by the founders of these two spinoffs, Jan Blochwitz-Nimoth (Novaled) and Martin Pfeiffer (Heliatek), and their mentor Professor Leo. Novaled AG is slightly further ahead in terms of marketing: the company is already mass-producing materials for cellphone displays. In two or three years' time, it intends to start supplying materials for ultraflat TV screens that display true-to-life colors and consume a minimum of energy. "OLED displays combine the best qualities of LED and plasma screens, the two technologies currently available," says Blochwitz-Nimroth. They are more energy-efficient than plasma TVs and deliver sharper images than LED technology, because they don't need backlighting.

Solar cells made of organic materials have not yet reached the mass market. Heliatek GmbH expects to start production sometime next year. The company's latest prototypes have an efficiency of ten percent, which is not yet high enough to compete with conventional silicon cells. "But in the longer term we will reach efficiencies approaching 20 percent", Professor Leo states. Moreover, organic cells have other advantages compared with silicon technology, foremost among them a simpler – and therefore cheaper – manufacturing process.

The method employed by Karl Leo and his prize-winning former colleagues involves depositing microscopically thin layers of the organic material on a substrate. These coatings have a thickness of no more than one fifth of a micrometer – one thousand times thinner than in conventional solar cells. Only about a gram of semiconductor material is needed to coat a surface area of one square meter – in a process that takes place at room temperature, not at the 1,000 or so degrees Celsius required to produce inorganic cells.

This not only saves energy but also allows PET films to be used as the substrate, instead of the heat-resistant glass that was previously the only option. PET is the same plastic used to make bottles for soft drinks. It is cheap, light and flexible. The prize-winners have developed a continuous process based on roll-to-roll technology that enables the solar cells to be manufactured cheaply in large numbers. The resulting lightweight modules can be installed on roofs too weak to support the weight of standard photovoltaic panels.

Before making its final choice, the jury had shortlisted three projects as potential winners of the "Deutscher Zukunftspreis". A second project rooted in Fraunhofer research was among this year's finalists, competing alongside the organic electronics team. These researchers have developed an advanced photovoltaic technology, known as "concentrated photovoltaics (CPV)", which consists of very-high-efficiency solar cells and sun-tracking concentrator modules. The nominated team comprised Andreas W. Bett, deputy director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Hansjörg Lerchenmüller from Soitec Solar and Klaus-Dieter Rasch from AZUR SPACE Solar Power.

It was thus against such strong competitors that the organic electronics team led by Professor Leo won the "Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2011". German President Christian Wulff presented the award to Professor Karl Leo, Dr. Jan Blochwitz-Nimoth and Dr. Martin Pfeiffer in mid-December.

Source: Fraunhofer Society - via ZeitNews.org

 

Commonly in some of the world's poorest regions, kerosene lanterns are the standard form of night time lighting, which leads to the possibility of fires, explosions, asphyxiation and toxic fumes. Cheap, accessible solar lighting presents an obvious solution to this problem and the latest tilt at making this a reality is WakaWaka - a solar LED lamp concept that can fit snuggly onto a soda bottle.

Similar to Solar Pebble, LuminAID and Sollight, the WakaWaka lamp is a solar charged, portable LED lamp that hopes to hit the market with a low US$10 price tag, which is the equivalent of 2-3 months worth of toxic kerosene fuel. Unlike its competitors, the WakaWaka promises to provide 16 hours of light from one day of solar charge. Solar Pebble comes close with 12 hours of light but the others fall behind with only 4-6 hours of usage time.

Outside of poor rural environments the WakaWaka makes for a convenient camping torch, outdoor accessory, bedside reading light or mobile phone charger (compatible with 80% of commonly used cell phone battery brands excluding iPhone). The light-weight lamp is equipped with a replaceable battery which is said to last several years when used on a daily basis. Should it run on empty when not used for a couple of months, the user can simply charge it in the sun for a couple of hours and it's good to go.

As part of a Kickstarter initiative, the WakaWaka creators will donate three solar lamps to the students and teachers at the Mwamtsefu school in Kenya for every US$125 pledge or more. Given that the team have already raised over US$34,000 we hope that means that a lot of lamps are heading to Kenya!

WakaWaka is headed by Camille van Gestel, a founder of Off-Grid Solutions, a company that creates feasible and affordable solutions for families who do not have access to electricity. If you want to support this project, WakaWaka Kickstarter pledges start from US$1 and the campaign finishes on January 7.

Source: GizMag - via ZeitNews.org

 

Spurred by a wave of recent Web videos showing the bottom of a dropped  hovering dramatically in midair , physicists have provided new insights into this phenomenon, from the existence of shock waves in the falling Slinky, to a remarkably universal "levitation" time for a Slinky on other planets or moons despite their different gravitational fields.

In February 2000, the late science writer Martin Gardner posed a simple question intended for physics students, but also triggering a new round of papers and videos on the much-studied toy. Gardner wrote: "If you hold one end of a Slinky, letting it hang down and then drop it, what happens?"

"It turns out the bottom stays suspended, levitating in air for some period in time," said Shimon Kolkowitz, a physics graduate student at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. As an undergraduate at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. in 2007, Kolkowitz wrote a paper now posted online for a class taught by his professor, physics Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin.

And recently, Bill Unruh, a physics professor at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, heard some colleagues in the faculty lounge discussing a video of the levitating Slinky. As a result, Unruh, a world expert in black hole radiation, became captivated with Slinky physics.

Making calculations over a couple of days, Unruh wrote and posted a paper on the falling Slinky at the website arXiv.

Inspired by Gardner's riddle and earlier Slinky studies while putting together his paper, Kolkowitz calculated that the bottom of his metal Slinky would remain suspended for approximately three-tenths of a second. And only recently he made a surprising realization: the levitation time of the toy would be exactly the same if it were dropped on the moon, Jupiter or Mars, even with their vastly different gravitational fields.

Unruh found that the falling Slinky creates a shock wave through the toy, analogous to the blast wave of a bomb or a sonic boom created by aircraft.

What in the world is going on?

"A Slinky is a simple spring, with the unique attribute that the spring in its natural resting state has all the coils touching one another," Unruh said.

"It's what's called a pretensioned spring," Kolkowitz added. "If you just leave it sitting on a desk on its side it'll actually be fully compressed."

Held from midair, the Slinky stretches out, quickly reaching a condition known as "equilibrium." in which the downward force of gravity is balanced by the upward tension of the coils above it. When the top is released, the bottom stays suspended. The top of the Slinky collapses, so that the coils slam into each other. That collapse travels down as a wave through the Slinky. The bottom coils remain at rest until the top crashes into them.

And that's the key to understanding how the bottom of the Slinky remains suspended in midair for a short while.

"The bottom part of the Slinky hasn't deformed in any way," Kolkowitz explained. "Until that compression reaches the very bottom it won't move."

This levitation time -- approximately 0.3 seconds for Kolkowitz's own Slinky -- would be the same on any planet or moon. Gravity and tension of the spring effectively cancel each other out.

Kolkowitz said that one way of understanding this is that on the moon, the weaker gravitational field wouldn't stretch the Slinky as much, so the spring would compress more gently towards the bottom when dropped, taking the same 0.3 seconds to travel there. On Jupiter, the stronger gravitational field would stretch the suspended Slinky to a greater degree, so that the spring would have a larger distance to compress. But the more stretched-out top would snap back faster toward the bottom, resulting in the same levitation time.

As Kolkowitz pointed out, however, the Slinky's center of mass -- which shifts, but is always located somewhere in between the top and bottom of the toy -- still accelerates according to gravity all the way down to the ground from the moment it's released. So there's no violation of any of Newton's laws or Galileo's observations about falling objects.

The levitation time would only increase with a heavier Slinky and decrease if the coils were stiffer. The spring's mass and stiffness, Kolkowitz said, are the only two factors that affect the duration of levitation.

Kolkowitz pointed out this levitation effect would occur when any other spring or other elastic, nonrigid object is dropped -- and no object is completely rigid. "It's just that the Slinky is an especially easy system" in which to observe the effect, he said.

Another way to think about the levitation problem is that "the wave velocity in that Slinky is all that matters," Kolkowitz said. The wave velocity dictates "the length of time it takes information to reach the bottom of the Slinky," he said. Once that wave slams into the bottom, the bottom no longer levitates.

In his analysis, Unruh observed that the collision of the upper part of the Slinky with the motionless lower coils is an example of a shock wave, analogous to a sonic boom that occurs in aircraft traveling faster than the speed of sound. Moreover, the wave that moves through the toy travels parallel to the compression of the Slinky, making it a "longitudinal" wave, the same type of wave as a sound wave. The normal speed of this wave in a Slinky is best measured by how many loops per second the wave passes through, about 50-100 loops per second for a typical Slinky, depending on such things as the thickness of the coils.

But in a falling Slinky, the coils crash into each other, creating a shock wave.

According to Unruh, the velocity of the shock wave, when it reaches the bottom, is notably higher than the normal velocity of the Slinky wave, breaking a sort of "sound barrier" in the Slinky.

"This behavior of shock waves is typical," he wrote in an email to Inside Science. "The blast wave of a bomb gets to you faster than the sound of a bomb would if it were very small."

A shock wave is simply a statement that something in a physical system changes abruptly, in this case, the velocity of the lower coils in the Slinky.

"There is a lot of interesting physics in a very, very simple system," said Unruh.

Kolkowitz said that this is an easy experiment for anyone to duplicate: use a stopwatch to time the fall when a friend drops a Slinky. This technique depends on the reflexes of the person running the stopwatch and therefore could introduce some error.

Filming the falling Slinky with a video camera that captures a known number of frames per second and then counting the number of frames in which the bottom of the Slinky stays still would allow experimenters to more accurately calculate how long the Slinky's bottom stays suspended.

"It's just such an easy experiment to do and it's kind of fun," Kolkowitz said.

Though Kolkowitz doesn't use Slinky experiments in his quantum physics work, he said the surprising insights on the levitating Slinky shows how studying and measuring even everyday objects can provide results that are "counterintuitive and not what you expect."

Study from Cornell University

PhysOrg

Source: Inside Science News Service - via ZeitNews.org

 

Earlier this year, juniors Eric Berdinis and Jeff Kiske, both computer engineering majors in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, hacked together a high-tech upgrade for the visually impaired out of off-the-shelf video game equipment. Called the Kinecthesia, it’s a belt-worn camera system that gives users feedback about their immediate surroundings through directional vibrations.

Although it’s fresh out of the workshop, the Kinecthesia is already generating buzz: it was selected as one of 10 projects for Google’s Zeitgeist Young Minds conference, which highlights college-aged innovators.

Berdinis and Kiske started the project as their final assignment in professor Rahul Mangharam’s embedded systems class. Tasked with creating a medical device, the duo began exploring the Microsoft Kinect, a video game controller that uses multiple cameras to translate a player’s real-life motions into actions on the screen.

“We saw that there wasn’t much in the way of assistive devices that had to do with vision, despite all of these new cameras and things like the Kinect,“ says Kiske. “We just thought it looked cool and started playing around with it.”

Recognizing the Kinect’s ability to translate details about environmental depth into digital information as a route to a high-tech upgrade on walking canes, the team began figuring out how to integrate the technology into a wearable device. Getting the cameras to talk to the BeagleBoard, a miniature, customizable computer at the heart of the system, was the first step.

 

“The Kinect wasn’t intended to work with anything but the Xbox, so modifying the code to make it work on this processor was one of the biggest challenges,” says Berdinis.

Though the Kinect is great at determining how far away objects are, another challenge was deciding how to relay that information to the user.

“We didn’t want to overwhelm the user with audio cues or vibration motors all across the waist,” says Berdinis. “Through trial and error, we found that three buzzer zones was the right amount.”

The three buzzers, positioned left, right and center, begin vibrating once objects become close enough to potentially impede the user, and increase in intensity as the objects get closer.

Berdinis and Kiske will continue to work on the Kinecthesia; connections made through the Google conference have enabled them to work with the visually impaired community and further refine their system into what could be a life-changing product.

Source: PhysOrg

More information: http://www.kinecthesia.com/

Provided by University of Pennsylvania - via ZeitNews.org

 

Emotional differences between the rich and poor, as depicted in such Charles Dickens classics as "A Christmas Carol" and "A Tale of Two Cities," may have a scientific basis. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that people in the lower socio-economic classes are more physiologically attuned to suffering, and quicker to express compassion than their more affluent counterparts.

By comparison, the UC Berkeley study found that individuals in the upper middle and upper classes were less able to detect and respond to the distress signals of others. Overall, the results indicate that socio-economic status correlates with the level of empathy and compassion that people show in the face of emotionally charged situations.

"It's not that the upper classes are coldhearted," said UC Berkeley social psychologist Jennifer Stellar, lead author of the study published online on Dec. 12 2011 in the journal, Emotion. "They may just not be as adept at recognizing the cues and signals of suffering because they haven't had to deal with as many obstacles in their lives."

Stellar and her colleagues' findings challenge previous studies that have characterized lower-class people as being more prone to anxiety and hostility in the face of adversity.

"These latest results indicate that there's a culture of compassion and cooperation among lower-class individuals that may be born out of threats to their wellbeing," Stellar said.

It has not escaped the researchers' attention that the findings come at a time of rising class tension, expressed in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Rather than widen the class divide, Stellar said she would like to see the findings promote understanding of different class cultures. For example, the findings suggest that people from lower socio-economic backgrounds may thrive better in cooperative settings than their upper-class counterparts.

"Upper-class individuals appear to be more self-focused, they've grown up with more freedom and autonomy," she said. "They may do better in an individualist, competitive environment."

More than 300 ethnically diverse young adults were recruited for the UC Berkeley study, which was divided into three experiments that used three separate groups of participants. Because all the volunteers were college undergraduates, their class identification – lower class, lower middle class, middle class, upper middle class or upper class – was based on parental income and education.

In the first experiment, 148 young adults were rated on how frequently and intensely they experience such emotions as joy, contentment, pride, love, compassion, amusement and awe. In addition, they reported how much they agreed with such statements as "When I see someone hurt or in need, I feel a powerful urge to take care of them," and "I often notice people who need help." Compassion was the only positive emotion reported at greater levels by lower-class participants, the study found.

In the second experiment, a new group of 64 participants viewed two videos: an instructional video on construction and an emotionally charged video about families who are coping with the challenges of having a child with cancer. Participants showed no differences while watching the "neutral" instructional video, and all reported feeling sad in response to the video about families of cancer patients. However, members of the lower class reported higher levels of compassion and empathy as distinct from sorrow.

The researchers also monitored the heart rates of participants as they watched the neutral and emotionally charged videos. Lower-class participants showed greater decreases in heart rate as they watched the cancer family video than upper-class participants.

"One might assume that watching someone suffering would cause stress and raise the heart rate," Stellar said. "But we have found that, during compassion, the heart rate lowers as if the body is calming itself to take care of another person."

Finally, a new set of 106 participants was randomly divided into pairs and pitted against one another in mock interviews for a lab manager position. To further raise the stress level in interviews, those who performed best were to win a cash prize. Post-interview reports from the participants showed that the lower-class interviewees perceived their rivals to be feeling greater amounts of stress, anxiety and embarrassment and as a result reported more compassion and sympathy for their competitors. Conversely, upper-class participants were less able to detect emotional distress signals in their rivals.

"Recognizing suffering is the first step to responding compassionately. The results suggest that it's not that upper classes don't care, it's that they just aren't as good at perceiving stress or anxiety," Stellar said.

Source: EurekAlert

 

IBM formally unveiled the fifth annual "Next  in Five" – a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years: You'll beam up your friends in 3-D, Batteries will breathe air to power our devices, You won’t need to be a scientist to save the planet, Your commute will be personalized, and Computers will help energize your city.

The Next Five in Five is based on market and societal trends expected to transform our lives, as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s Labs around the world that can make these innovations possible.

In the next five years, technology innovations will change people’s lives in the following ways:

You'll beam up your friends in 3-D

In the next five years, 3-D interfaces – like those in the movies – will let you interact with 3-D holograms of your friends in real time. Movies and TVs are already moving to 3-D, and as 3-D and holographic cameras get more sophisticated and miniaturized to fit into cell phones, you will be able to interact with photos, browse the Web and chat with your friends in entirely new ways.

Scientists are working to improve video chat to become holography chat - or "3-D telepresence." The technique uses light beams scattered from objects and reconstructs a picture of that object, a similar technique to the one human eyes use to visualize our surroundings.

You'll be able to see more than your friends in 3-D too. Just as a flat map of the earth has distortion at the poles that makes flight patterns look indirect, there is also distortion of data – which is becoming greater as digital information becomes “smarter” – like your digital photo album. Photos are now geo-tagged, the Web is capable of synching information across devices and computer interfaces are becoming more natural.

Scientists at IBM Research are working on new ways to visualize 3-D data, working on technology that would allow engineers to step inside designs of everything from buildings to software programs, running simulations of how diseases spread across interactive 3-D globes, and visualizing trends happening around the world on Twitter – all in real time and with little to no distortion.

 

Batteries will breathe air to power our devices

Ever wish you could make your laptop battery last all day without needing a charge? Or what about a cell phone that powers up by being carried in your pocket?

In the next five years, scientific advances in transistors and battery technology will allow your devices to last about 10 times longer than they do today. And better yet, in some cases, batteries may disappear altogether in smaller devices.

Instead of the heavy lithium-ion batteries used today, scientists are working on batteries that use the air we breath to react with energy-dense metal, eliminating a key inhibitor to longer lasting batteries. If successful, the result will be a lightweight, powerful and rechargeable battery capable of powering everything from electric cars to consumer devices.

But what if we could eliminate batteries alltogether?

By rethinking the basic building block of electronic devices, the transistor, IBM is aiming to reduce the amount of energy per transistor to less than 0.5 volts. With energy demands this low, we might be able to lose the battery altogether in some devices like mobile phones or e-readers.

The result would be battery-free electronic devices that can be charged using a technique called energy scavenging. Some wrist watches use this today – they require no winding and charge based on the movement of your arm. The same concept could be used to charge mobile phones. for example – just shake and dial.

You won’t need to be a scientist to save the planet

While you may not be a physicist, you are a walking sensor. In five years, sensors in your phone, your car, your wallet and even your tweets will collect data that will give scientists a real-time picture of your environment. You'll be able to contribute this data to fight global warming, save endangered species or track invasive plants or animals that threaten ecosystems around the world. In the next five years, a whole class of "citizen scientists" will emerge, using simple sensors that already exist to create massive data sets for research.

Simple observations such as when the first thaw occurs in your town, when the mosquitoes first appear, if there’s no water running where a stream should be - all this is valuable data that scientists don’t have in large sets today. Even your laptop can be used as a sensor to detect seismic activity. If properly employed and connected to a network of other computers, your laptop can help map out the aftermath of an earthquake quickly, speeding up the work of emergency responders and potentially saving lives.

IBM recently patented a technique that enables a system to accurately and precisely conduct post-event analysis of seismic events, such as earthquakes, as well as provide early warnings for tsunamis, which can follow earthquakes. The invention also provides the ability to rapidly measure and analyze the damage zone of an earthquake to help prioritize emergency response needed following an earthquake.

The company is also contributing mobile phone "apps" that allow typical citizens to contribute invaluable data to causes, like improving the quality of drinking water or reporting noise pollution. Already, an app called Creek Watch allows citizens to take a snapshot of a creek or stream, answer three simple questions about it and the data is automatically accessible by the local water authority.

Your commute will be personalized

Imagine your commute with no jam-packed highways, no crowded subways, no construction delays and not having to worry about being late for work. In the next five years, advanced analytics technologies will provide personalized recommendations that get commuters where they need to go in the fastest time. Adaptive traffic systems will intuitively learn traveler patterns and behavior to provide more dynamic travel safety and route information to travelers than is available today.

IBM researchers are developing new models that will predict the outcomes of varying transportation routes to provide information that goes well beyond traditional traffic reports, after-the fact devices that only indicate where you are already located in a traffic jam, and web-based applications that give estimated travel time in traffic.

Using new mathematical models and IBM’s predictive analytics technologies, the researchers will analyze and combine multiple possible scenarios that can affect commuters to deliver the best routes for daily travel, including many factors, such as traffic accidents, commuter's location, current and planned road construction, most traveled days of the week, expected work start times, local events that may impact traffic, alternate options of transportation such as rail or ferries, parking availability and weather.

For example, by combining predictive analytics with real-time information about current travel congestion from sensors and other data, the system could recommend better ways to get to a destination, such as how to get to a nearby mass transit hub, whether the train is predicted to be on time, and whether parking is predicted to be available at the train station. New systems can learn from regular travel patterns where you are likely to go and then integrate all available data and prediction models to pinpoint the best route.

Computers will help energize your city

Innovations in computers and data centers are enabling the excessive heat and energy that they give off to do things like heat buildings in the winter and power air conditioning in the summer. Can you imagine if the energy poured into the world's data centers could in turn be recycled for a city's use?

With up to 50 percent of the energy consumed by a modern data center goes toward air cooling. Most of the heat is then wasted because it is just dumped into the atmosphere. New technologies, such as novel on-chip water-cooling systems developed by IBM, the thermal energy from a cluster of computer processors can be efficiently recycled to provide hot water for an office or houses.

A pilot project in Switzerland involving a computer system fitted with the technology is expected to save up to 30 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, the equivalent of an 85 percent carbon footprint reduction. A novel network of microfluidic capillaries inside a heat sink is attached to the surface of each chip in the computer cluster, which allows water to be piped to within microns of the semiconductor material itself. By having water flow so close to each chip, heat can be removed more efficiently. Water heated to 60 °C is then passed through a heat exchanger to provide heat that is delivered elsewhere.

Provided by IBM

Source: PhysOrg - via ZeitNews.org

 

Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, along with two Swiss institutions, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the University of Lausanne, created a batch of super-strong mice and worms by tweaking a gene that normally inhibits muscle growth.

The scientists acted on a genome regulator - known as NCOR1 - and were able to change the activity of certain genes. In simpler English, the scientists shut off the thyroid hormone that keeps most mammals from turning into the Incredible Hulk. The result was a strain of mice with muscles that were twice as strong as normal.Besides nearly bringing the world's second most popular cartoon mouse to life (Mickey comes in at number one) and making the premise of the film Tremors seem slightly more feasible, the findings could help in the creation of new treatments for muscle degeneration.

"This could be used to combat muscle weakness in the elderly, which leads to falls and contributes to hospitalizations," Johan Auwerx, the lead author from EPFL says. "In addition, we think that this could be used as a basis for developing a treatment for genetic muscular dystrophy.

Gain without the pain

The research could also yield more good news for the epidemic of obesity that plagues many western countries.

"There are now ways to develop drugs for people who are unable to exercise due to obesity or other health complications, such as diabetes, immobility and frailty," says Ronald M. Evans, who led the Salk team. "We can now engineer specific gene networks in muscle to give the benefits of exercise to sedentary mice."

Auwerx describes molecules such as NCOR1 as "molecular brakes" that slow down the activity in genes. Releasing these brakes through gene manipulation increases that activity level, providing more energy to build muscle.

The benefits of releasing those molecular brakes don't stop at increased muscle strength. The stronger mice also saw improved endurance, and were capable of running both faster and longer before tiring, covering twice the distance of normal mice in experiments. Researchers say the mutated mice were also more tolerant to cold.

Going after the genetic inhibitor is the inverse of previous approaches that involved "genetic accelerators." Researchers believe that because the method proved successful in both mice and worms, then the same techniques could be applied to a wide range of species.

Potential for drugs and cheating in sport?

The scientists say they have not seen any harmful side effects from zapping NCOR1 in muscles, and are beginning to investigate the potential for drugs that could serve the same function.

While the results have not yet been confirmed in humans, they're likely to spark a lot of interest among athletes who wouldn't mind a quick short cut to doubling their strength and endurance. As it stands right now, however, so-called "gene doping," which includes the use of genetically-modified cells, is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Source: GIZMAG - via ZeitNews.org

 

Anyone who has watched as Alzheimer's disease robs a friend or family member of their memories and faculties before ultimately claiming their life knows just what a truly horrible disease it is. According to the World Health Organization, it is the fourth leading cause of death in high-income countries and, due to an aging worldwide population, it is predicted to affect one in 85 people worldwide by 2050 - unless a treatment can be found. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have high hopes for a new drug they have developed that has improved memory and prevented brain damage in mice and is a promising candidate for the first drug capable of halting the progression of Alzheimer's in humans.

Although scientists have as yet been unable to pin down the causes and progression of Alzheimer's, research indicates it is associated with amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. For this reason, much of the search for a treatment by the pharmaceutical industry has focused on the biological pathways involved in the formation of amyloid plaques. However, to date, all amyloid-based drugs have failed in clinical trials.

The Salk team decided to take a different approach by developing methods for using living neurons grown in laboratory dishes to test the effectiveness of new synthetic compounds in protecting the brain cells against several pathologies associated with brain aging. Starting with a lead compound originally developed for the treatment of stroke and traumatic brain injury and guided by test results from each chemical iteration of the compound, the team says they were able to alter its chemical structure to make a much more potent Alzheimer's drug, known as J147.

"Alzheimer's is a complex disease, but most drug development in the pharmaceutical world has focused on a single aspect of the disease - the amyloid pathway," says Marguerite Prior, a research associate, who led the project along with Qi Chen, a former Salk postdoctoral researcher, working in Salk's Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory headed by David Schubert. "In contrast, by testing these compounds in living cell cultures, we can determine what they do against a range of age-related problems and select the best candidate that addresses multiple aspects of the disease, not just one."

Testing the promising compound as an oral medication in mice, the team, working with Amanda Roberts, a professor of molecular neurosciences at The Scripps Research Institute, conducted a range of behavioral tests that showed that the drug improved memory in normal rodents.

Further testing showed that the compound prevented brain damage in animals with Alzheimer's and that mice and rats treated with the drug produced more of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) - a molecule involved in memory formation that helps support the survival of existing neurons and encourages the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses.

"J147 enhances memory in both normal and Alzheimer's mice and also protects the brain from the loss of synaptic connections," said Schubert. "No drugs on the market for Alzheimer's have both of these properties."

The team says J147 could be tested for treatment of Alzheimer's in humans in the near future and, because of its broad ability to protect nerve cells, may also be effective for treating other neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), as well as stroke.

Source: GIZMAG - via ZeitNews.org

 
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