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Combating the Life Science Data Avalanche

August 10, 2015 | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

Big data has become a growing issue in science, as these data sets are so large and complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. This is especially true for the life science industry, where the growing size of data hasn’t been met with tools for analyzing and interpreting this data at the same rate, leading to what many call a “data avalanche.”

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The Flipside of Machine Learning

August 13, 2015 5:15 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Human learning is tricky and incredibly individual. Retaining the knowledge to pass a physics test may come quickly and easily to one student, but may require hours of cramming and consideration for another. Professors at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison are melding the fields of computer science and psychology to reverse engineer machine learning, with the hope of devising ideal lesson plans to ease the learning process.

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Early Climate Change Led to Cannibalism, Social Unrest

August 13, 2015 2:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Located on the southern slope of the Qinling Mountains in central China, Dayu Cave is home to ancient inscriptions that paint a picture of the societal impacts of climate change over seven major drought events between 1528 and 1894.

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An Octopus with Tricks Up Its Tentacles

August 13, 2015 10:45 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Darkened the color of sludge, the larger Pacific striped octopus, a species with no full ethological description, rises from the confines of a shell. Keeping seven of its arms curled inwards, it extends a single arm to a nearby shrimp. The shrimp faces the octopus. From above, the extended arm taps the shrimp’s posterior. The crustacean, in surprise, darts forward into the seven waiting and hungry arms.

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Male or Female: The Difference Is in the Brain

August 12, 2015 9:45 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Catherine S. Woolley, a professor of neurobiology at Northwestern Univ.’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, refused to study sex differences in the brain for 20 years. But in 2012, she discovered estrogens decreased inhibitory synaptic transmission in female rats, but not in their male counterparts.

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Pedaling Fat Away

August 12, 2015 5:45 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Since 1980, worldwide obesity has more than doubled. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 39% of adults, 18 and older, were overweight in 2014, and 13% were obese. Worldwide, more deaths are attributed to people being overweight and obese, rather than underweight.

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Smallest Supermassive Black Hole an Oxymoron

August 12, 2015 2:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Before named “black holes” in 1967 by Princeton Univ. physicist John Wheeler, the concept behind the name had been known to mankind for centuries In 1784, geologist John Michell presented the idea that “massive dark stars” populate the sky, but their light is unable to escape their surface. Later, Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity predicted the presence of black holes.

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Navigating a Virtual World with 3-D Cursors

August 12, 2015 10:30 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

A mounted laptop, a high-resolution projector, a 5-m concave fabric screen with a mirror, a six-degrees-of-freedom (6DOF) tracking system with controllers and handheld tablets. These are the ingredients comprising the Hyve-3D, a system from researchers at the Univ. of Montreal aiming to bring a 3-D cursor to the virtual reality world.

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Depth-Sensing Cameras See Through the Light

August 12, 2015 7:30 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Depth-sensing cameras could prove useful in extraterrestrial robots. On places such as the moon, where darkness and glares exist depending on surface placement, a vision system that can illuminate scenes and eliminate glare is important. But depth-sensing cameras, such as Microsoft’s Kinect Sensor, face problems in direct sunlight.

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American Standard’s SaTo: A Safe Toilet

August 12, 2015 7:00 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

Every Wednesday, R&D Magazine will feature a R&D 100 Flashback, chosen from our R&D 100 archive of winners. This week’s flashback is American Standard’s SaTo, which won a R&D 100 Award in 2014. Lack of safe sanitation facilities causes 2,000 deaths/day worldwide, mostly among children. American Standard set out to help save these lives with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.

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Boeing Eyes Ocean Depths

August 11, 2015 10:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

All eyes are on space as of late. From the first flyby of Pluto to astronauts ingesting the first produce grown in space, the events have spread through the mainstream media, and shared by those directly involved via social media. As the furthest reaches of the solar system and beyond are explored, it’s natural to contemplate the vastness of space and the inherent mystery accompanying it.

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Google Will Rebrand as Alphabet Inc.

August 11, 2015 5:45 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The Google you once knew will no longer be Google, it’ll be Alphabet. CEO Larry Page announced via Blogspot on Monday the creation of a new public holding company, Alphabet Inc., to replace Google Inc. in an attempt to make operations “cleaner and more accountable."

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Hydrogel Walking

August 11, 2015 3:45 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Shaped like a “L,” the hydrogel expands and contracts in a video from Japan’s RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter. It’s in a water environment, where the temperature rapidly changes between 25 and 45 C. With each temperature change, the hydrogel changes shape and crawls across the floor.

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ISS Astronauts First to Eat Space Grown Food

August 11, 2015 8:25 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Floating in zero gravity, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Kimiya Yui raised their red romaine lettuce leaves like drinking glasses. “Cheers,” they said before becoming the first people to ingest food grown in space.

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FIRST Introduces New Android-based Technology Platform

August 10, 2015 6:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

As part of the FIRST Tech Challenge’s continuing evolution to incorporate regularly used technology and broaden the diversity of program participants, FIRST has announced a new technology platform for the upcoming 2015-16 season.

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The Hunt for Greener Surfactants

August 10, 2015 3:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

For 35 years, Jeanne Pemberton, an analytical chemist with the Univ. of Arizona, has spent her professional time as an academic researcher. She’s loved every minute, being fueled by the thrill of discovery accompanying the research process.

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