research

Ardbeg space-aged whiskey returns to Earth

Ardbeg space-aged whiskey returns to Earth

Back in 2011, a most unusual experiment was started, one that would appeal to both the connoisseurs and the imbibers among us: whiskey aged in space. The experiment was the brainchild of NanoRacks LLC, a US-based space research firm that approached Scotland-based Ardbeg Distillery about sending some vials of terpenes into space, something they agreed to. Fast forward to early 2012, and it was announced that the vials of materials were shipped to the International Space Station via a Russian cargo flight, where they'd been sitting until just recently.

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New microscope rapidly captures molecules, cells in high-def

New microscope rapidly captures molecules, cells in high-def

When Eric Betzig shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry a few weeks ago, little did the world know that he was already in the middle of cooking up yet another award-worthy development. After his PALM microscope, Betzig is now taking the biology world by storm again with a new lattice light microscope. This microscope is not only able to capture high resolution images of molecules and cells, it can do so rapidly and in complete three dimensions. And all these while minimizing damage to the cells being photographed.

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NASA wants to drift two satellites for awesome space pics

NASA wants to drift two satellites for awesome space pics

A "virtual telescope" which owes its precision not to complex, high-strength optics but to precisely flying a pair of satellites in tandem and combining the data from each could help the hunt for Earth-like planets in the galaxy and even picture the event horizon of a black hole, NASA scientists suggest. Although space telescopes like Hubble have been operating for several decades, the new virtual telescope project will take a distinctively different approach, initially using two CubeSats - tiny satellites far cheaper and easier to launch, thanks to their compact and standardized design - that would each contribute a part of the overall vision process.

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Google DeepMind partners with Oxford for AI push

Google DeepMind partners with Oxford for AI push

Back in January of this year, Google bought DeepMind, a startup focused on artificial intelligence and its possible future uses. Though the company has been relatively quiet on its efforts since then, work has been underway and will soon get a boost from Oxford University professors, among others. Google announced a partnership with the university today, saying that under the collaboration its artificial intelligence research will "accelerate" and, in turn, Oxford will benefit by way of a "substantial contribution" from Google.

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DARPA turns its attention to atom-wide brain sensors

DARPA turns its attention to atom-wide brain sensors

DARPA, known half-jokingly as the Department of Mad Scientists, has again turned its attention to the human brain, this time hoping to expand our insight into it and its structure through the use of incredibly tiny (read: atom-sized) graphene sensors. It detailed its latest effort on Monday, explaining its work in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin at Madison to create a new form of technology for peering into how the brain functions. This is done as part of President Obama's brain initiative, says the research agency.

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Forget the needle pill: researchers focus on vibrating syringes

Forget the needle pill: researchers focus on vibrating syringes

Many people have an intense fear of being jabbed with needles, a phobia that compels some to avoid vaccinations and other necessary injections. A lot of research has been underway on this seemingly simple problem, with the goal being a future where injections are no longer painful. The most interesting solution so far is the needle pill developed by MIT researchers -- a capsule adorned with micro-needles that jabs one's internals painlessly. The idea of swallowing a cluster of needles might form its own phobia for some, however, and so enters the vibrating syringe.

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Government halts funding for research that creates superbugs

Government halts funding for research that creates superbugs

Concern about so-called super bugs -- mutated viruses and bacteria resistant to treatment -- is exceptionally high. The Centers for Disease Control issued a report last year, for example, warning about the threat superbugs pose and potential ramifications if certain actions aren't taken. It is for these reasons the deliberate creation of mutated viruses for research purposes (gain of function research) has been highly controversial, a controversy the US government has stoked by announcing a temporary halt to its funding of such studies.

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Samsung showcases flexible batteries, ready in a few years

Samsung showcases flexible batteries, ready in a few years

Just when you thought the hype around curved and flexible devices is over, here comes Samsung somewhat trying to fan the flames again. At the InterBattery 2014 exhibit in Seoul, Korea, the electronics manufacturer is boasting of one of the fruits of its fantabulous R&D budget and marketing prowess. A flexible battery, one that can perhaps go along with a flexible screen, is the latest masterpiece of the Korean OEM, but don't go expecting to see it in consumer devices within the next few years.

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New battery tech warns when an explosion is possible

New battery tech warns when an explosion is possible

Though they're rare, we've all heard the horror stories: people innocently using their smartphones and tablets, only to have them catch fire and/or explode, sometimes causing severe injuries to the users. The reasons this happens are numerous, but in the case of lithium-ion batteries, they can usually be narrowed down to a specific cause: internal short-circuiting. Thanks to a team of researchers from Stanford, that issue could be partially solved via a new technology that alerts when something has gone awry.

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Mars One mission could fail terribly, says MIT students

Mars One mission could fail terribly, says MIT students

The world's interest in sending people to Mars has never been higher, and for good reason: it is cited as both a necessity for the human race, and the technology to pull it off is advancing quickly. Multiple entities are looking into sending people to the Red Planet, perhaps the most notable being Mars One, which is looking to send a group of astronauts on a one-way trip. Unfortunately, as exciting as the prospects are, a group of MIT students says the mission is doomed, and that with the current plan the astronauts would starve.

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