Category archives for Technology

How Descartes Would Design a Yacht

Philosopher and mathematician René Descartes proposed some curious diagrams in 1644. A biologist looking at these shapes might think of living cells under a microscope: Source.

How Rachel Maddow’s Brain OutBlogged Me

What constitutes consciousness? How do you define a person? These are deep philosophical questions that I cannot answer, but MSNBC political commentator Rachel Maddow took them on – prompted, surprisingly, by one of my recent blogs “Growing a Brain in a Dish.”

This is incredible, from The Wall Street Journal!! “I panicked and said I was hacked,” said Mr. Weiner at the late afternoon news conference at a midtown Manhattan hotel. What was he thinking? See my previous post, giving him the benefit of doubt. So much for the dangers of hacking and computer privacy in this…

Fast, Hot Ships And Teenage Scientists

British teenage students have re-discovered a classical physical phenomenon, the Leidenfrost effect that could someday help ships glide through oceans more efficiently.

Source. The recent news media storm about Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and the “Twitter prank” highlights the importance of internet safety and security. It is not surprising that someone could hack into a public official’s Twitter account and post an embarrassing picture. But online social networks are only part of the story, and ad blockers…

Could Skin Cells Think?

Figure 4: Synaptic responses of HFF-iN cells. There seems to be a brain-centric theme emerging this week in groundbreaking science. Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have reported in Nature the first example of transforming human skin cells into functional nerve cells. Could skin cells someday be able to “think”? Could they be…

Growing a Brain in a Dish

Source. That doughnut shape decorated with bright green spots, some connected by red pathways, amidst sky blue neighbors could be an artist’s creation, but is the result of a creative scientific attempt to grow an active brain in a dish, complete with memories. Really.

Figure 1. Miniaturized radio transmitters attached to bumblebees. (a) Transmitter attachment on a Bombus terrestris individual kept in a glass tube with opened gauze where the transmitter is fixed with superglue. (b) Nectar collecting individual of Bombus terrestris on Phacelia flower having a transmitter attached. (c) Bombus terrestris individual with attached transmitter, foraging on red…

Maybe it’s just me, but I see beauty in this. Scientists at the University of Manchester have created high resolution images of a 49 million year old spider encapsulated in fossilized amber resin using X-ray computed tomography, typically used in medical imaging.

Hilary Clinton famously said in 1992: I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life.