Better memory with faster lasers

Better memory with faster lasers

DVDs and Blu-ray disks contain so-called phase-change materials that morph from one atomic state to another after being struck with pulses of laser light, with data "recorded" in those two atomic states. Using ultrafast laser pulses that speed up the data recording process, Caltech researchers adopted a novel technique, ultrafast electron crystallography (UEC), to visualize directly in four dimensions the changing atomic configurations of the materials undergoing the phase changes.

To save animals, put more humans on birth control

To save animals, put more humans on birth control

Conservationists tend to spend their time worrying about protecting forests, catching poachers or keeping carbon out of the atmosphere. But all these things (and more) are driven by humans. Given that it’s easier and cheaper to reduce the human birth rate than it is to address these other issues, why aren’t conservationists more concerned about keeping our population down?

Fat fish illuminate human obesity

Fat fish illuminate human obesity

Blind cavefish that have adapted to annual cycles of starvation and binge-eating have mutations in the gene MC4R, the same gene that is mutated in certain obese people with insatiable appetites, according to a new study led by Harvard Medical School geneticists.

The findings, published in PNAS, reveal more about how vertebrates evolved to have different metabolisms from one another and could provide insights into the relationship between human obesity and disease.

Aerosolized vaccine protects primates against Ebola

A collaborative team from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the National Institutes of Health have developed an inhalable vaccine that protects primates against Ebola. The findings were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Is upward mobility bad for your health?

Youth from low-income families who succeed academically and socially may actually pay a price -- with their health -- according to a new Northwestern University study.

It has been well documented that children from low-income families typically complete less education, have worse health and are convicted of more crimes relative to their affluent peers.

Scare culture is making people enjoy food less

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is making $100 million per year scaring people about food and other science. It isn't helping the public be any safer, it is just making people enjoy food less, according to a new study.

94% of Americans snack daily, but for Millennials it's a way of life

Snacking is the new American pastime. According to the recent report from Mintel, nearly all Americans (94 percent) snack at least once a day and 50 percent of adults snack two to three times per day with 70 percent agreeing that anything can be considered a snack these days.

To avoid dangerous shark encounters, information trumps culling

The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) has a terrifying reputation. Shark attacks, though very rare, loom large in our imaginations, drawing intense media attention when they occur. Recent injuries in North Carolina are putting sharks in the limelight again. But going after sharks à la Jaws is not the best way to protect people in the water, said shark researchers.

Ultrasound accelerates skin healing, especially for diabetics and the elderly

Healing times for skin ulcers and bedsores can be reduced by a third with the use of low-intensity ultrasound, scientists from the University of Sheffield and University of Bristol have found.

Researchers from the University of Sheffield's Department of Biomedical Science discovered the ultrasound transmits a vibration through the skin and wakes up cells in wounds helping to stimulate and accelerate the healing process.

More than 200,000 patients in the UK suffer with chronic wounds every year at a cost of over £3.1 billion to the NHS.

Cutting cost and power consumption for Big Data

Random-access memory, or RAM, is where computers like to store the data they're working on. A processor can retrieve data from RAM tens of thousands of times more rapidly than it can from the computer's disk drive.

But in the age of big data, data sets are often much too large to fit in a single computer's RAM. The data describing a single human genome would take up the RAM of somewhere between 40 and 100 typical computers.