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Current Topic: Science

Molecule of the Month
Topic: Science 1:21 am EDT, Apr  4, 2008

Each month a new molecule will be added to the list on this page. The links will take you to a page at one of the Web sites at a University Chemistry Department or commercial site in the UK, the US, or anywhere in the world, where useful (and hopefully entertaining!), information can be found about a particularly interesting molecule.

Molecule of the Month

Jill Taylor @ TED ... (via ZF)
Topic: Science 1:23 am EDT, Mar 17, 2008

neuroscientist Jill Taylor describes her stroke from the perspective of...a neuroscientist. quite fascinating and moving, although it sounds a lot like an acid below ::


Jill Taylor @ TED ... (via ZF)

BOINC: For the love of Grids
Topic: Science 12:37 am EDT, Mar 10, 2008

Use the idle time on your computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux) to cure diseases, study global warming, discover pulsars, and do many other types of scientific research.
If your group has moderate programming, web, sysadmin, and hardware resources, you can use BOINC to create a volunteer computing project. With a single Linux server you can get the computing power of thousands of CPUs. Organizations such as IBM World Community Grid may be able to host your project (please contact us for information).
Use BOINC to create a Virtual Campus Supercomputing Center.
Use BOINC for desktop Grid computing.

Like but putting it to good use... Lets see if we could get a memestreams user grid going... Tom had some kinda of idea going around....

BOINC: For the love of Grids

Traveling salesman meets distributed computing
Topic: Science 12:31 am EDT, Mar 10, 2008

The traveling salesman problem (TSP) is a classic combinatorial problem: given a set of cities, what is the path that visits each city once and only once, while covering the minimum distance?

For a small set of cities, the solution is trivial and can be discovered by simple inspection; however, the solution for even a moderate number of cities is out of reach for most home computers. For example, to exhaustively check all possible paths for a 48 city instance—assuming you could check one million paths a second—would take approximately 1047 years.

Despite all the research, there is still no known general solution to the TSP.

Traveling salesman meets distributed computing

Forget me not: brain scans on a grid for Alzheimer's diagnosis
Topic: Science 12:31 am EDT, Mar 10, 2008

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease relies on access to a distributed collection of treasured data. Now, a team of Italian scientists is creating a way for hospitals to share these data jewels.

“We had doctors with a real-world problem—they were not able to share data,” says Ivan Porro of the University of Genova, Italy. “With distributed data resources, this is intrinsically a grid problem.”

Forget me not: brain scans on a grid for Alzheimer's diagnosis

Cocaine's Effects on Brain Metabolism May Contribute to Abuse
Topic: Science 12:29 am EDT, Mar 10, 2008

Many studies on cocaine addiction - and attempts to block its addictiveness - have focused on dopamine transporters, proteins that reabsorb the brain's "reward" chemical once its signal is sent. Since cocaine blocks dopamine transporters from doing their recycling job, it leaves the feel-good chemical around to keep sending the pleasure signal. Now a new study conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory suggests that cocaine's effects go beyond the dopamine system. In the study, cocaine had significant effects on brain metabolism, even in mice that lack the gene for dopamine transporters.

Cocaine's Effects on Brain Metabolism May Contribute to Abuse

Think you’ve seen it all? Think again.
Topic: Science 12:27 am EDT, Mar 10, 2008

Think you’ve seen it all? Think again.

The vast majority of the universe is missing: invisible matter is predicted to outnumber visible matter by nearly six-to-one, but if that’s true...where is it all?

Physicists working on the Collider Detector at Fermilab are asking themselves the same question, using grid computing to pump new power in to the search for an elusive Bs particle decay.

Think you’ve seen it all? Think again.

NSF partners with Google and IBM
Topic: Science 12:25 am EDT, Mar 10, 2008

ast week the National Science Foundation’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering directorate announced the creation of a strategic relationship with Google Inc. and IBM.

The Cluster Exploratory (CluE) relationship will enable the academic research community to conduct experiments and test new theories and ideas using a large-scale, massively distributed computing cluster.

“Access to the Google-IBM academic cluster via the CluE program will provide the academic community with the opportunity to do research in data-intensive computing and to explore powerful new applications,” said Jeannette Wing, assistant director at NSF for CISE. “It can also serve as a tool for educating the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

“Google is proud to partner with the National Science Foundation to provide computing resources to the academic research community,” said Stuart Feldman, vice president of engineering at Google Inc. “It is our hope that research conducted using this cluster will allow researchers across many fields to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by large-scale, distributed computing.”

“Extending the Google/IBM academic program with the National Science Foundation should accelerate research on Internet-scale computing and drive innovation to fuel the applications of the future,” said Willy Chiu, vice president of IBM Software Strategy and High Performance On Demand Solutions. “IBM is pleased to be collaborating with the NSF on this project.”

Google and IBM created the cluster of approximately 1600 processors in October of last year to give the academic community access to otherwise prohibitively expensive resources.

While the timeline for releasing the formal request for proposals to the academic community is still being developed, NSF anticipates being able to support 10 to 15 research projects in the first year of the program, and will likely expand the number of projects in the future.

NSF partners with Google and IBM

Bacteria ! The Main Ingredient in Snowflakes, Scientists Say
Topic: Science 7:56 pm EST, Feb 29, 2008

One might rethink playing with snow or walking in the rain as a new study by scientists from the Louisiana State University revealed that snow and rain might form mostly on bacteria in the clouds.

Scientists have long known that the ice crystals in clouds, which become rain or snow, need to cling to some kind of particle, called ice nucleators, in order to form in temperatures above minus 40 degrees Celsius.

Microbiologist Brent Christner at Louisiana State University sampled snow from Antarctica, France, and the Yukon and found that as much as 85 percent of the nuclei were bacteria, he said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press.

“Every snow and ice sample we’ve looked at, we found biological ice nucleators. Here’s a component that has been completely ignored to date,” Christner said.

The most common bacteri

Bacteria ! The Main Ingredient in Snowflakes, Scientists Say

IBM calculates the force it takes to move atoms
Topic: Science 7:13 pm EST, Feb 21, 2008

Seventeen piconewtons: that's the force required to move a cobalt atom over a copper surface.

It takes 210 piconewtons to move a cobalt atom over a smooth platinum surface, according to a new research paper from IBM's Almaden Research Center and the University of Regensberg.

A piconewton is a trillionth of a newton. A newton is the amount of force required to accelerate a kilogram one meter per second squared. Lifting a penny weighing 3 grams takes about 30 billion piconewtons. The atoms in IBM's experiments are moved with atomic force microscopes. (Andreas Heinrich, lead scientist in the scanning tunneling microscopy lab at IBM Almaden and the lead author of the paper, recently let us move some atoms with a scanning tunneling/atomic force microscope in his lab.)

The breakthrough marks the first time anyone has been able to measure the force required to move individual atoms around, according to IBM, and helps the company move toward its goal of molecular computing.

IBM calculates the force it takes to move atoms

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