Archive for July, 2012

Summer Storms to Create New Ozone Holes as Earth Warms?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 26, 2012   View Article

Summer storms may create new holes in our protective ozone layer as Earth heats up—bringing increased solar ultraviolet radiation to densely populated areas, a new study says.

What’s more, if more sunlight reaches Earth, skin cancer could become the new marquee risk of global warming.

17-year-old girl builds artificial ‘brain’ to detect breast cancer

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 24, 2012   View Article

An artificial “brain” built by a 17-year-old whiz kid from Florida is able to accurately assess tissue samples for signs of breast cancer, providing more confidence to a minimally invasive procedure.

The cloud-based neural network took top prize in this year’s Google Science Fair.

Your feet may soon be your password

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 23, 2012   View Article

Shoes outfitted with high-tech soles that can confirm a person’s identity in just a few steps may soon serve as our keycards and computer passwords, and could even let doctors know when we show signs of dementia.

They work by combing physical and behavioral biometrics — measurements of a foot’s shape and person’s gait, for example.

Artificial jellyfish engineered out of rat heart muscles

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 22, 2012   View Article

Scientists have made an artificial jellyfish out of rat heart muscles and rubbery silicon. When given an electric shock, it swims just like the real thing.

Future versions should be able to swim and feed by themselves.

“That then allows us to extend their lifetime,” John Dabiri, a professor of aeronautics and bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology, told me.

Robotic co-pilot makes dangerous drivers safer

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 13, 2012   View Article

The day when we leave the driving to robots may yet be in the distant future, but we could soon have robotic co-pilots to keep us safe on the road.

The technology works similar to an airplane’s auto-pilot, only in reverse. Instead of a human pilot taking the controls when a plane encounters danger, the intelligent co-pilot kicks in when a driver’s about to crash.

Skip a stone on a mountain lake from your desk

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 11, 2012   View Article

Stuck in a cubicle but wish you were in the mountains skipping stones? So do I. And now we can, sort of, thanks to a promotional robot sitting on the side of a lake in Sun Valley, Idaho, waiting for you to play with it.

To do so, surf over to and tell Skippy how hard and what angle to fling the stone. Skippy will do the rest. Just sit back and watch your stone skip across an idyllic mountain lake.

How future cars could share Internet access – all over town

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 5, 2012   View Article

Within a few years, auto industry experts predict most new cars on the road will be Wi-Fi enabled. A new algorithm developed by graduate students may let them share expensive links to the Internet.

The idea is that Wi-Fi is cheap, but surfing the Web over a cell or satellite network is expensive. If we could pool our data needs via Wi-Fi and use a handful of 3G connections instead of hundreds, we’d save money and bandwidth.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach