More Great Science Webcasts

Posted on September 30, 2006  Comments (1)

Lectures from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center including: Whispers of the Big Bang by Sarah Church, Archimedes: Accelerator Reveals Ancient Text by Uwe Bergman, Our Lopsided Universe: The Matter with Anti-Matter by Steve Sekula and The Runaway Universe by Roger Blandford. This collection is yet another great resource.

The number of great resources has prompted me to created a directory of great science and engineering webcast libraries: Curious Cat Science and Engineering Webcast Libraries. These sites have awesome science and engineering videos. Definitely worth viewing.

Related: Google Technology Webcastsopen access science postsGoogle Tech TalksUC-Berkeley Course VideosThe Inner Life of a Cell: Animation

Artificial Corneas

Posted on September 30, 2006  Comments (1)

Closer to fooling the eye

Transplanting human corneas from cadavers can restore someone’s vision. But because of a tissue shortage, only 100,000 corneal transplants are performed worldwide annually — serving just 1% of the 10 million people who are stricken with corneal blindness.

Bioengineers are making significant progress. They predict that within a few years we could have cornea substitutes that slip over the surface of the eye as easily as contact lenses and mesh neatly with surrounding tissue to form a protective barrier against the outside elements.

UC-Berkeley Course Videos

Posted on September 29, 2006  Comments (3)

Google offers a huge number of University of California, Berkeley course videos. They include full courses on subjects including:

Great stuff and hopefully much more to follow. A great example of open access education material. It is a bit surprising that it is not easier to navigate the videos to find what you might be interested in. The videos are not great quality (like all of Google Video) but the content is great. And it seems likely (hopefully) 5 years from now we will get great quality such videos from many schools.
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Nanoparticles to Aid Brain Imaging

Posted on September 29, 2006  Comments (1)

Nanoparticles to aid brain imaging, team reports by Cathryn M. Delude

If you want to see precisely what the 10 billion neurons in a person’s brain are doing, a good way to start is to track calcium as it flows into neurons when they fire.

So Jasanoff designed the new sensor to incorporate so-called “superparamagnetic nanoparticles”–extra-strength molecular-sized magnets previously designed for ultrasensitive tumor imaging. They produce large MRI contrast changes capable of producing very high-resolution images.

5th State of Matter

Posted on September 28, 2006  Comments (0)

Physicists create ‘new state’ of matter in a solid

An international team of physicists have coaxed particles into an exotic “fifth state” of matter at a higher temperature than ever before, according to new research.

The research also represents the first time a Bose-Einstein condensate has been created in a solid, rather than in a super-cooled gas.

The Bose-Einstein condensate is a super-cooled state of matter in which all the atoms have the same energy and quantum characteristics, similar to the way all photons in a laser share the same characteristics.

This new form of matter was first predicted mathematically by Indian physicist S.N. Bose and Albert Einstein in 1924.

Three American physicists — Eric Cornell, Wolfgang Ketterle and Carl Wieman — first created a Bose-Einstein condensate in the lab in 1995 and shared the 2001 Nobel Prize for physics for their work.

Open Science Computer Grid

Posted on September 27, 2006  Comments (1)

The Open Science Grid is a distributed computing infrastructure for large-scale scientific research:

Researchers from many fields, including astrophysics, bioinformatics, computer science, medical imaging, nanotechnology and physics, use the OSG infrastructure to advance their research. OSG provides help for new communities to adapt their applications to use the distributed facility and make their resources accessible.

The OSG includes two grids: an Integration Grid and a Production Grid. The Integration Grid is used to test new grid applications, sites and technologies, while the Production Grid provides a stable, supported environment on which researchers run their scientific applications.

Computer scientist spearheads $30 million ‘Open Science Grid’

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science announced today that they have joined forces to fund a five-year, $30 million program to operate and expand upon the two-year-old national grid.

Math, Marketing and Medical Studies

Posted on September 27, 2006  Comments (1)

Treat Me? by Darshak Sanghavi:

What, after all, does a 31 percent relative reduction in heart attacks mean? In the case of the 1995 study, it meant that taking Pravachol every day for five years reduced the incidence of heart attacks from 7.5 percent to 5.3 percent. This indeed means that there were 31 percent fewer heart attacks in patients taking the drug. But it also means that the “absolute risk” of a heart attack for any given person dropped by only 2.2 percentage points* (from 7.5 percent to 5.3 percent).

I must say this seems pretty obvious to me, but I would agree this might not be obvious to many, unfortunately (see: Scientific Illiteracy and the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement). And yes I don’t put it past people to present things in ways which benefit the presenter, with the hope of taking advantage of math challenged (just look at all the ridiculous mortgage and other loan marketing).

Related: Middle School MathThe Economic Benefits of MathMath in the “Real World”

500 Engineering Jobs for Texas

Posted on September 26, 2006  Comments (1)

Dell, Perry announce 500 engineering jobs:

Dell, the world’s largest seller of personal computers, aims to attract a broad range of educated and experienced engineers, including electrical, mechanical and software engineers, as well as those holding doctorates, to expand the company’s commitment to technological design.

“Austin and Central Texas is the largest engineering recruiting site by far,” Dell said, adding that Texas college graduates will compose nearly 10 percent of new recruits.

New jobs are likely to yield an annual income of $60,000 to $100,000.

Interesting, Dell is often criticised for not investing in technological innovation. They have often been seen as relying on manufacturing and business process (build to order system) innovation but not technological innovation. Maybe the recent stock price troubles have caused Dell to decide to invest in more technological innovation. Dell has stated they have greatly increase spending on customer service as a result of recent troubles.

Matter to Anti-Matter 3 Trillion Times a Second

Posted on September 26, 2006  Comments (1)

Fermilab press release:

Fermilab’s CDF scientists make it official: They have discovered the quick-change behavior of the B-sub-s meson, which switches between matter and antimatter 3 trillion times a second.

Determining the astonishing rate of 3 trillion oscillations per second required sophisticated analysis techniques. CDF cospokespersons Konigsberg and Fermilab’s Rob Roser explained that the B_s meson is a very short-lived particle. In order to understand its underlying characteristics, scientists have to observe how each particle decays to determine its true make-up.

Hypoallergenic Cats

Posted on September 26, 2006  Comments (1)


Some people are kept from owning wonderful cats due to allergies. Now, ‘Hypoallergenic cats’ go on sale. Some cats naturally do not have the normal allergen. By testing large numbers of cats and then breeding those that are free from the allergen cats that do not lead to allergic reactions are now available. Still not cheap, though.

Related: The Cat and a Black BearDNA Offers New Insight Concerning Cat EvolutionCat HistoryBig Cats in America

Blog posts from September 2005

Engineered Ice Cream

Posted on September 25, 2006  Comments (0)

Moo bella Vending Machine

Technology Innovation One Scoop at A Time

For the world’s best-engineered ice cream, go to the Union Court dining area at Boston University. What you’ll find is a vending machine that can make 96 varieties of ice cream to order from 12 flavors, two base mixes–premium and low carb–and three dry-ingredient mix-ins.

The sophisticated internals are invisible to consumers, who use a touch pad and 15-inch flat-panel display to select flavors. What happens next is an ice cream geek’s dream: “We pump the base mix, aerate it, flavor it, flash freeze it, scrape it up off of a freezing surface, form it into a scoop and into the consumer’s cup in 45 seconds,” Baxter explains.

Very cool: Moo Bella web site with the flavor options and a video.
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