Archive | May, 2010

Scientists create Artificial Life in Lab

21 May

Three Indian-origin scientists are part of a team that has for the first time created a synthetic cell, controlled by man-made genetic instructions, which can also reproduce itself.

The 24-member team included Sanjay Vashee, Radha Krishnakumar and Prashanth P. Parmar.”We call it the first synthetic cell,” said genomics pioneer Craig Venter, who oversaw the project. “These are very much real cells.”

Developed at a cost of $30 million by the researchers at J. Craig Venter Institute, the experimental one-cell organism opens the way to manipulation of life on a previously unattainable scale, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to experts, scientists have been altering DNA piecemeal for many years, producing genetically engineered plants and animals, but the ability to craft an entire organism offers a new power over life.

“This is literally a turning point in the relationship between man and nature,” said molecular biologist Richard Ebright at Rutgers University who wasn’t involved in the project.
“It has the potential to transform genetic engineering. The research is going to explode once you can create designer genomes,” David Magnus, director of the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics, was quoted as saying.

The new cell, a form of bacteria, was conceived solely as a demonstration project, though several biologists were certain that the laboratory technique used to birth it would soon be applied to other strains of bacteria with commercial potential.

Brain Mapping,Narco-analysis,polygraph tests

7 May

On May 5th,Supreme Court of India said “No” to forced “Brain Mapping”,”Narco-Analysis” and “Polygraph” tests on victims! It said,these tests can be conducted only after procuring consent from the victims.

Before,we argue on this ruling,lets take a sneek-peek on the definition and uses of these tests:
These tests, which are often used as aid during investigations by probe agencies, are different from each other, but are all aimed at collecting vital information.

1>Narco-analysis is a controlled administration of intravenous hypnotic medications called truth drugs on a suspect to procure vital information.

2>A polygraph, popularly referred to as a lie detector, is an instrument that measures and records several physiological indices such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration and breathing rhythms and skin conductivity while a suspect is asked a series of questions.

Deceptive answers are said to produce physiological responses that can be differentiated from those associated with non-deceptive answers.

3>Brain-mapping is a comprehensive analysis of brainwave frequency bandwidths. In this test, forensic experts apply unique neuroscience techniques to find out if a suspect’s brain recognises things from a crime scene which an innocent person’s brain will have no knowledge of.

In brain-mapping, sensors are attached to the suspect’s head and he or she is made to sit in front of a computer screen. The suspect is then made to see images or hear sounds.

The sensors monitor electrical activity in the brain and register certain waves which are generated only if the suspect has any connection with the stimulus (image or sound).

Information Courtesy:Deccan Herald

Time Travel

5 May

Last week while switching tv channels,we came across a documentary “Stephen Hawking’s Universe” being aired on Discovery Channel.

In this documentary,Stephen Hawking explained how “Time Travel” is possible! The facts and justifications provided by him were enthralling. I would love to share the same with you all.

What is “Time Travel”?
Time travel is the concept of traveling forward and backward to different points in time, much as we do through space.

Time is a fourth dimension. The key to time travel into the future is to think of time as a river. As you look across a river you will notice that in some places it is moving faster than in other places. Time does the same thing. Time speeds up on a satellite orbiting the earth by one third of a billionth of a second every day.

Albert Einstein realized that matter drags on time and slows it down like the slow part of a river. So the reason time is slower on the surface of the earth than on the satellite is because earth has so much mass. The heavier the object, the more it drags on time.

Stephen Hawking explains “Time Travel” can be possible in 2 methods:

1>Black Holes: He says “Black Holes” act as “Natural Time Machine”. Assume that you are travellling in a spacecraft across the “Black Hole” [lets assume that the space craft is not sucked into the black hole], then when the space craft orbits the black hole,then the travellers inside the space craft will be travelling in time.

The time inside the space craft will be exactly 1/2 of the time on earth. Suppose this space craft rotates around the black hole for 10 days and returns back to the earth, then the time on earth would be 20 days.
This means that people returning from the space craft to the earth will be entering the “Future Earth”.

The main reason behind this concept is “As mass increases,time slows down”. Since “Black Hole” is an extremely denser object, it slows down the time inside the spacecraft orbiting the “Black Hole”

2>Building a Train and accelerating it to magnetically travel equal to the “Speed of Light”. As the train accelerates,it travels around 99.9% of speed of light. If it does,then the travellers inside the train will be travelling in “Time”

Another Blogger,Venky has also written a post on “Time Travel”. Do visit his blog:

Google acquires “Bump Top” to take on Apple!

4 May

Canada’s hottest software startup, Toronto-based BumpTop has been acquired by the search engine for reportedly between $30 and $45 million

Set up just three years ago, BumpTop has pioneered touch-screen software that allows use of multiple fingers at a time on a multiple touch screen.

Called ‘desktop workspace,’ the software allows users to organise pictures, documents and videos much more intuitively. Users can perform many functions with their fingers, including dragging of items into docks, and playing around with photos on desktop.

Check out this video for jaw-dropping features of “Bump Top”!