Reprogrammed Bacteria Build Self-Healing 'Living Materials' An E. coli cell magnified 10,000 times. Credit: Agricultural Research Service/USDA How handy would it be if, instead of taking your broken circuit board to the Genius Bar (again), you could just prompt it to heal itself? That’s the futuristic possibility researchers have recently inched ever so slightly toward, with the development of hybrid “living materials” made from bacterial cells and inorganic matter.
PROJECT DRAWDOWN - If it is happening, it is possible. Special Announcement About Important Things! Drawdown is a book, a database, a basis for curricula, a digital platform, and a movement. It defines and describes 117 impeccably researched, “state-of-the-shelf” technologies, both practical and social, that will reduce greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Drawdown delineates a path to carbon neutrality and reduction in the atmosphere using technologies that are already in place, and describes the beneficial financial and social impact they deliver over the next thirty years.
Glowing plants and DIY bio succeed on Kickstarter In the last week, over 3,000 people on Kickstarter ignored the fact it's next to impossible to keep a houseplant alive and backed the now fully-funded "Glowing Plants: Natural Lighting with no Electricity" campaign. The funds will be used to build upon existing technology and create a transgenic plant that has a soft blue-green glow to act as an electricity-free nightlight. Backer rewards, each glowing, include an arabidopsis plant, a rose plant, and arabidopsis seeds. We check in as the Glowing Plants team heads towards their first stretch goal and look at how this project is part of a bigger trend in DIY biology.
Engineers design 'living materials': Hybrid materials combine bacterial cells with nonliving elements that emit light Inspired by natural materials such as bone -- a matrix of minerals and other substances, including living cells -- MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots. These "living materials" combine the advantages of live cells, which respond to their environment, produce complex biological molecules, and span multiple length scales, with the benefits of nonliving materials, which add functions such as conducting electricity or emitting light. The new materials represent a simple demonstration of the power of this approach, which could one day be used to design more complex devices such as solar cells, self-healing materials, or diagnostic sensors, says Timothy Lu, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and biological engineering. Lu is the senior author of a paper describing the living functional materials in the March 23 issue of Nature Materials. Self-assembling materials
Small World of Words Project Welcome to the small world of words project! Last modified: April 16, 2014 Voor Nederlandstalige informatie, klik hier The small world of words project is a large-scale scientific study that aims to build a map of the human lexicon in the major languages of the world and make this information widely available. In contrast to a thesaurus or dictionary, this lexicon provides insight into what words and what part of their meaning are central in the human mind. Why Did Google Pay $400 Million for DeepMind? How much are a dozen deep-learning researchers worth? Apparently, more than $400 million. This week, Google reportedly paid that much to acquire DeepMind Technologies, a startup based in London that had one of the biggest concentrations of researchers anywhere working on deep learning, a relatively new field of artificial intelligence research that aims to achieve tasks like recognizing faces in video or words in human speech (see “Deep Learning”). The acquisition, aimed at adding skilled experts rather than specific products, marks an acceleration in efforts by Google, Facebook, and other Internet firms to monopolize the biggest brains in artificial intelligence research. Companies like Google expect deep learning to help them create new types of products that can understand and learn from the images, text, and video clogging the Web. As advanced machine learning transitions from a primarily scientific pursuit to one with high industrial importance, Google’s bench is probably deepest.
Engineered bacteria produce biofuel alternative for high-energy rocket fuel Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Joint BioEnergy Institute have engineered a bacterium to synthesize pinene, a hydrocarbon produced by trees that could potentially replace high-energy fuels, such as JP-10, in missiles and other aerospace applications. With improvements in process efficiency, the biofuel could supplement limited supplies of petroleum-based JP-10, and might also facilitate development of a new generation of more powerful engines. By inserting enzymes from trees into the bacterium, first author and Georgia Tech graduate student Stephen Sarria, working under the guidance of assistant professor Pamela Peralta-Yahya, boosted pinene production six-fold over earlier bioengineering efforts. Though a more dramatic improvement will be needed before pinene dimers can compete with petroleum-based JP-10, the scientists believe they have identified the major obstacles that must be overcome to reach that goal.
Dinoflagellate Bioluminescence In coastal regions, the primary source of flow-agitated bioluminescence is dinoflagellates. These single-celled organisms are common members of the plankton—tiny marine plants, animals or bacteria that float on or near the ocean’s surface. Bioluminescent dinoflagellates range in size from about 30 µm to 1 mm, and are found in all the world’s oceans. Occasionally they are found in high concentrations, resulting in red tides, so called because the high abundance of organisms discolors the water.
Smarthistory: a multimedia web-book about art and art history Smarthistory offers more than 1500 videos and essays on art from around the world and across time. We are working with more than 200 art historians and some of the world's most important museums to make the best art history resource anywhere. Use the "subject" pulldown menu (go to "Arts and Humanities") at the top of this window or click on the headings below to access our content: Art history basics First things first (you are here) The materials and techniques artists use Art 1010