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Mighty Mouse Has One Less Gene, Lives 20% Longer

Mighty Mouse Has One Less Gene, Lives 20% Longer

Researchers have created a mightier mouse: By deleting a single gene from a mouse's genetic makeup, they've enabled it to suffer fewer age related ailments and live 20% longer. On humans, that'd be about 16 bonus years. So what exactly did those crazy scientists do? They bred mice with the "gene t

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Scratched Glasses Give Perfect Vision For Any Eyesight

Scratched Glasses Give Perfect Vision For Any Eyesight

Ditch those bifocals. You might soon wearing spectacles whose lenses allow you to see clearly regardless of how long or short-sighted you are. With age, the lenses in our eyes often lose the ability to change shape enough to focus light from near objects onto the retina - a condition called presb

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Largest Sheet Of Graphene Produced, Can Be Used For Flexible Touchscreens

Largest Sheet Of Graphene Produced, Can Be Used For Flexible Touchscreens

Graphene, the ridiculously thin, strong, electrically conductive, and flexible miracle material, might be coming to your touchscreens. And when it does, "you could theoretically roll up your iPhone and stick it behind your ear like a pencil." Graphene has had scientists in a tizzy for years

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RCA Airnergy Charges Gadgets with Nothing But Wifi Signals

RCA Airnergy Charges Gadgets with Nothing But Wifi Signals

[HTML1] Forget PowerMats and wireless charging and the like, because the Airnergy wi-fi signal harvester is my new front runner for the future of gadget charging. It's not exactly new tech, as ohGizmo notes, but it's the first application that's of any real use to consumers. Put simply, Ai

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The Best Improvements in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

The Best Improvements in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

Ubuntu 10.04 is out today, and there are quite a few improvements in "Lucid Lynx," a long-term support release. What's worth checking out, beyond the geeky guts? A pretty nifty social manager, a great music store, faster boot-ups, and more. We took a look at what was new in the Lucid Lynx be

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PowerISO 4.2

PowerISO is a powerful image processing and file compression tool, which allows you to create, extract, compress, edit and convert ISO/BIN image files, and mount these files with internal virtual drive. And most of all, the compressed files can be used directly without decompressing. Support almost

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FDA Approves Prostate Cancer Vaccine

FDA Approves Prostate Cancer Vaccine

Yesterday, the FDA approved a drug called Provenge. It trains the body's immune system to fight off advanced prostate cancer. It's also the first proof we have that immunotherapy works in the fight against the disease. Provenge from Dendreon isn't a preventative vaccine; it won't stave off il

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A new facility is being built to harvest rare atoms

A new facility is being built to harvest rare atoms

Find out how a particle accelerator will be used to make rare isotopes used for nuclear medicine. Technetium 99m sounds like something in a bad fifties science fiction film that would be injected into someone to give them psychic powers, or twelve hours, or both. This goes double when it's comb

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Samsung Launches 32 GB DDR3 RAM Module, Mostly Just Because They Can

Samsung Launches 32 GB DDR3 RAM Module, Mostly Just Because They Can

Samsung yammered back in January about making a 32-gigabyte DDR3 RAM stick, and now they've unveiled the beastly piece of hardware for servers. These new 1.35-volt modules are also 20-percent faster than previous 1.5-volt DDR3 modules. Nice. That said, Mark heard straight from Samsung who said that

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Ice Discovered on Asteroid, Suggests Earth’s Oceans Came From Space

Ice Discovered on Asteroid, Suggests Earth’s Oceans Came From Space

Water ice and organic molecules have been discovered on an asteroid's surface for the first time. Researchers glimpsed the ice on 24 Themis, a frosty rock that could be the key to understanding how Earth became the blue planet. "What we've found suggests that an asteroid like this one may hav

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Laser-Powered Helicopter Hovers for Hours

Lasers have recently shown they can down a UAV–but they can also keep the drones up in the air. LaserMotive has kept a 22-gram model helicopter hovering for hours at a time on just a few watts of power.

LaserMotive won $900,000 from NASA last year by beaming power to a robot that climbed a 900-metre cable dangling from a full-scale helicopter. The technology could help power space elevators to lift objects thousands of kilometres into orbit. But with space elevators still at the stage, LaserMotive is keen to find other ways to turn a profit from its technology, says company founder Jordin Kare.

Flying times of conventional UAVs are limited by the fuel or batteries they can carry. power with battery backup for night flight allows flight times lasting several days – defence firm Qinetiq, based in the UK, has flown its ultralight Zephyr for more than 82 hours. But although Swiss company Solar Impulse has demonstrated that solar power can keep even a piloted craft in the air, the uncrewed vehicles typically flown by military agencies are heavier and more rugged, and so need more power to stay in the air than they can get from the sun.

LaserMotive says that ground-based lasers can deliver the required power. At last week’s AUVSI Unmanned Systems Conference in Denver, Colorado, the firm focused light from an array of semiconductor-diode near-infrared lasers down to a 7-centimetre beam, which automatically tracked a modified radio-controlled helicopter. The aircraft carried photovoltaic cells optimised for the laser wavelength, which converted about half the laser power reaching them to generate a few watts of electricity – enough to power the rotors of the little copter.

The laser-powered helicopter can hover for 6 hours, company president Tom Nugent told New Scientist from the show. He thinks that limit is set only by the quality of the motor driving the rotors. “It’s a little consumer-grade brush motor not meant to run this long,” he says. Under laser power, the copter “flies for several hours until the motor burns out”.Laser-powered future

“That little helicopter sounds like a nice demonstration,” says Robert Van Burdine, a former engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, who demonstrated laser-powered flight of a fixed-wing craft in 2003. His group manually aimed the laser, but the 300-gram radio-controlled plane with 1.5-metre wingspan had enough momentum to glide if the beam drifted off target; the helicopter would fall if the beam missed it. Although many people expressed interest at the time, he knows of no follow-up work.

LaserMotive has bigger plans for extending flight duration of military craft, says Kare. “We expect we can scale to anything anybody is interested in,” including helicopters and UAVs. A craft could hover for long periods over a laser base, or fly missions and return to recharge over the laser, or fly between a series of laser bases. In the longer term, he envisions lasers powering remote ground-based , delivering power to forward military bases, or supplying emergency power during disasters.

Laser-Powered Helicopter Hovers for Hours New Scientist reports, explores and interprets the results of human endeavour set in the context of society and culture, providing comprehensive coverage of science and technology news.

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