Police have been using DNA evidence for a long time now to identify perpetrators of crimes and put them behind bars. There are challenges when it comes to identifying which person from a pair of twins committed a crime. The reason for the difficulty is that the DNA of twins is very nearly identical.
Most might be familiar with the way fingerprints can be used to uniquely identify individuals, but anyone who has watched a few seasons of CSI will probably know by now that a lot of other body parts can be used similarly. Parts like ears and palms, which, coincidentally, are body parts other than fingers that also get in contact with smartphone screens. Bearing that in mind, researchers from Yahoo have found a way to turn ordinary smartphone touchscreens into makeshift biometric scanners for these body parts.
Researchers have discovered something a bit terrifying: the mere act of thinking causes some cancerous brain tumors to grow faster, with a paper detailing the phenomenon pointing specifically to high-grade gliomas. These tumors are said to account for 80-percent or so of the malignant brain tumors found in humans, and they are often very difficult to treat. Discovering the role brain activity plays in fueling their growth, however, will aid in the development of future treatments and a potential cure.
Laser headlamps may be gradually finding their way onto high-end cars, but the smart lights of tomorrow might allow drivers to see clearly through snow and rain to potential perils ahead. A team at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute is cooking up a smart headlamp system that rather than blanket the road with light, instead assesses what's in front of the car in real-time. By fragmenting the beams into a million smaller segments, each individually controlled, the car could potentially leave a falling droplet of rain in darkness.
This sounds like something out of a movie, but it is real. Scientists have announced that they have fully sequenced the entire genome of a wooly mammoth. A team of international scientists sequenced the genome in an attempt to help determine why these massive creatures died out.
Scientists in China have genetically modified human embryos, embarking on a slippery slope that could be capable of a calamitous ripple effect in human offspring. Scholarship aside, the ethics questions that sprout from genetically altering human embryos are innumerable. In a paper published by the journal Protein and Cell, a research team in GuangZhou, China, headed by Junjiu Huang, detailed their process and results of genetic editing. The gene in question is responsible for β-thalassaemia, which is a blood disorder that can be potentially fatal. Researchers used the CRISPR/Cas9 technique to edit the genes. As a matter of ethics, the researchers only used "non-viable" embryos that would be unable to make it to a live birth.
Researchers have managed to make people feel as if they were invisible using VR goggles, and that’s not a bad thing…at least not in the context of the study. The researchers found that by making people feel as if they were invisible, any social anxiety they might have experienced by standing in front of a crowd was lessened. Though the study and research in general are still in their early stages, it could pave the way to treatments for social anxiety, and could also answer some interesting questions about how humans would act if no one could see them.
Physicists have invented a new atomic clock that is the most accurate clock ever invented. According to the team of scientists that have worked on the clock, it won't gain or lose a second over 15 billion years. The record setting timepiece is an optical lattice clock that uses strontium atoms and is three times more accurate than the clock that held the previous record.
S.H.I.E.L.D. had better watch out. NASA has just assembled the Avengers—of space scientists. Dubbed the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS), it is a team of scientists reaching across various disciplines whose for the common goal of searching for life on distant exoplanets far outside our own solar system. NASA and the scientific community realized that although different researchers had the same goal of finding biosignatures, or life on other planets, no one was regularly communicating with scientists outside his own discipline.
This week the folks at GfK have produced a study which suggests potential Apple Watch buyers don't expect to pay a lot to wear. This study included a nationally representative sample of 1000 people online from the 2nd to the 10th of April 2015 inside the UK. This study suggests that consumer expectations for the cost of the Apple Watch are actually lower than the actual price of the device in Apple Stores - closest, as it were, to the Apple Watch Sport, the least expensive of the Apple Watch launch lineup.