Archive | Science

Creation of the First Artificial Life Form

A brand new living cell and the beginning of an era for artificial life forms! It’s official, J. Craig Venter and his team have created the first self-replicating synthetic cell with a completely man-made set of genetic instructions—a never before existing bacteria species has joined the ranks of the living.

Dr Craig Venter Announces First Synthetic Living Cell

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Search for Hidden Dimensions – Brian Greene

Hidden dimensions may be all around us but they are too small for us to notice—for now. On paper the math behind string theory is making a strong case for these extra dimension. The next step is to find some experimental evidence to support the claims and predictions made by string theory.

The Large Hadron Collider is right now the best chance for testing these predictions about extra dimensions. What is also fascinating is when Brian Greene talks (5:45) about the possibility that the big bang was not the beginning or rather only the beginning for our little speck somewhere within a much larger universe where our big bang is one of many. Unfortunately he isn’t very optimistic about us ever being able to explore them but that is really getting ahead of ourselves.

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Slingshot, the Portable Water Purifier by Dean Kamen

One of the latest inventions by Dean Kamen is the Slingshot, a portable water purifier. What makes it unique is not the age old water distillation method but packing all the complexity of such a filtration system into something relatively portable.

By portable I mean it can easily transported, deployed, and maintained, which is something that cannot be said of traditional water distillation systems. At the size of a small fridge and the fact that it require a minimal amount of electricity make it a portable but stationary device. While another water purifier, the Lifesaver, is targeted for individuals and families, the Slingshot is more suitable as a clean water source for larger groups or small villages in need. Unfortunately it is not yet in production but according to the posts I read on,  if they can keep their target price of under $2000, this could even be an option for middle class families in the developed world.

You can read more how it works over at How Stuff Works – Slingshot Water Purifier

It is to be seen if this can match the reversed osmosis (RO) filtration system’s ability to filter out anything larger than 0.1nm. How’s that possible you might ask, well RO filtering systems use a membrane as one of the steps in the filtration process. This “hyperfiltration” is more suitable for home usage than any other water filtering system on the market.

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TED Talks – Make filthy water drinkable by Michael Pritchard

Too much of the world lacks access to clean drinking water. Engineer Michael Pritchard did something about it — inventing the portable Lifesaver filter, which can make the most revolting water drinkable in seconds. It can filter up to 6000 liters of water completely free of all viruses, bacteria, and heavy metals.

This makes it very well suited for saving lives in poor countries and providing clean water for disaster stricken areas. Plus it is a nice portable way to get some fresh clean water when camping, hiking, or for outdoor sports like long distance running and biking.

“For $20 billion everyone can have access to safe drinking water. So the 3.5 billion people that suffer every year… and the 2 million kids that die every year will live.” -Michael Pritchard

You can read more about the Lifesaver and order it over at

At the same time it is no match to the reversed osmosis (RO) filtration system’s ability to filter out anything larger than 0.1nm. How’s that possible you might ask, well RO filtering systems use a membrane as one of the steps in the filtration process (as well as some revitalizers do – check This “hyperfiltration” is more suitable for home usage for two reasons: (1) It produces the cleanest water (2) the convenience of not having to pump manually to get water clean. Companies such as Lenser options various quality of filters for different filtration devices that can help filter multiple types of elements.

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TED Talks – Formula for Changing Math Education by Arthur Benjamin

We should teach more statistics & probability and earlier while we should teach less calculus and later.

Arthur Benjamin is a mathematician and in his pithy TED Talk, Formula for Changing Math Education (2009), he calls for this re-emphasis of math education. He argues that we as a society would greatly benefit from a better understanding of statistics and probabilities which would help us make better decisions about risks, rewards, randomness, and understanding and evaluating data in our everyday lives.

Take for example, few of us would use calculus on a daily bases but most of us are faced with making decisions about car insurance plans, student loans, mortgage rates, credit card interest rates, payment plan options, interpreting polls, planning our income investments and expenses, making decisions about bank loans and interest rates, stock market investments, interpreting results from scientific studies, analyzing trends, predicting the future, the importance of customer service at online casinos and gambling, etc. This is just a short list I came up in the three minutes I watched Arthur’s presentation and I think it is fairly obvious that some of these are be very serious decisions that can have long lasting effects on our lives. They can mean the difference between unmanageable dept and a financially healthy lifestyle. And since education is supposed to prepare us for making the best possible decisions about our own lives, I think it only makes sense to include more of such important foundations for sound reasoning such as those that come with understanding statistics and probabilities.

I don’t know about the education you had but mine has not covered statistics or probabilities in any applicable way to the everyday life, nor do I know of any that does (please let me know if you do). The closest it got was in college and that was more geared towards understanding and conducting research, which isn’t necessarily everyday stuff. I think statistics and probabilities are one of the big missing ingredients of both primary and secondary education systems and should be a required educational component. And teaching these shouldn’t be too difficult since the very same reasons that make it so relevant can also make it easy and fun to teach to children.

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TED Talks – Sam Harris on How Science can Answer Moral Questions

Sam Harris talks about the relationship between science, human values and how the seperation between the two is an illusion. There are truths to be known about how human communities flourish and how  morality relates to these truths. Moral values are also a certain kind of fact that talk about the well-being of conscious creatures. In other words Sam Harris is saying that science is not only descriptive (by helping us get what we value) but can also be prescriptive (by telling us what we should value).

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TEDMED – Anthony Atala on Growing New Organs

Mind-blowing advances in bio-engineering and medicine presented by Anthony Atala at TEDMED. Repairing, reconstructing, and growing functioning organs with your own cell. The future of solving organ damage and organ donor shortages is arriving.

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Learn how to Speed Read

IMPORTANT NOTICE: with increased speed of reading (skim reading) your accuracy of reading comprehension decreases! (Carroll, 2003; Carvers, 1987) read more at

This is something I definitely will try to master!

[boingboing via Lifehacker]


Carroll, R. T. (2003). The skeptic’s dictionary: A collection of strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions. New York: Wiley. Retrieved March 31, 2010, from the The Skeptic’s Dictionary database,

Carver, R. P. (1987). Teaching rapid reading in the intermediate grades: Helpful or harmful?. Reading Research and Instruction, 26(2), 65-76.

ABSTRACT: Bergquist (1984) has contended that children can be trained to increase their reading rate without any loss of comprehension. He cites 11 studies that supposedly provide a wealth of supporting research. These 11 studies, plus other more recent research on reading rate, have been closely examined. It was concluded that rapid reading results in a decrease in the accuracy of comprehension. This makes rapid reading training potentially harmful unless it is presented as a skimming skill.

Posted in Psychology, ScienceComments (24)

TEDMED – where medicine & healthcare intersect

TEDMED focuses on the intersection of medicine and healthcare. It was created by Marc Hodosh (President) in partnership with TED founder Richard Saul Wurman. “TEDMED celebrates conversations that demonstrate the intersection and connections between all things medical and healthcare related: from personal health to public health, devices to design and Hollywood to the hospital.”

I’m very excited about a TED conference solely dedicated to health, medicine, and similar topics.

TEDMED on the web:

Posted in Health, ScienceComments (9)

First Human Tissue Printer

Invetech has invented the “World`s first production model 3D bio-printer” which it will be used by Organovo.  This is quite amazing, and hopefully they will soon be able to create organs!

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Wireless Electricity, Finally!

Wireless electricity will soon be marketed, and we can drop those annoying power plugs once and for all!

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Tie your shoes optimally!

Did you think tying your shoes was the one thing that would never change… think again.

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Livestock Accounts for 51% of Climate Change

In 2006 U.N. concluded that about 18% of climate change is due to livestock. Three years later (2009), scientists conclude that livestock accounts for a staggering 51% of climate change.

Cows, Climate Change / Global Warming

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TED Prize Winner 2009

Watch the TED prize winner of 2009, Jill Tarter, talk about the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) projects’ search for intelligent life in the universe. It’s an inspiring talk by Jill Tarter who explains how the SETI project will not only aid in the search for extra-terrestrials, but could also help with changing our perspective to a more broad view of the world. Jill Tarter’s TED wish was that TED would empower earthlings everywhere to become active participants in the ultimate search for cosmic company. Take 20 minutes of your time to watch this talk which will leave you thinking afterward.

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TED – Where Great Minds Come to Inspire

TEDtalks LogoTED is a yearly conference where great thinkers and doers share through inspirational presentations their thoughts, experience, and knowledge. The central philosophy is summed up by their slogan: Ideas worth spreading. It is a real treat to have free access to over 340 presentations and I would urge everyone to take advantage of this invaluable resource, it is something worthy of each of our time. Read the full story

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