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New Technique Hikes Printed-Cell Survival Rate
February 12, 2014
Researchers have developed a new technique for printing live cells by drawing inspiration from ancient Chinese woodblock printing. Scientists have been experimenting with different methods of printing cells, including using inkjet printers to build 3D cell layers. The method has been successful in several instances, including a recent study in which researchers printed adult eye cells.
US, France Team Up for Mars Mission
February 12, 2014
While the U.S. and France haven't exactly been chums when it comes to tech, the two countries are teaming up for a new mission to Mars. The plan is to send an unmanned lander to Mars to study the interior of the planet. The mission will launch in 2016, with the lander touching down six months later. At least that's the plan. France and the U.S. have had plenty of digital disagreements of late.
Unable to Dent Wallet, France Attacks Google's Pride
February 10, 2014
France's top administrative court ruled that Google must display a notice on its French search page saying that the company was fined by a local privacy watchdog. Google plans to fight the fine, but will have to adorn its Google.fr page with the humiliating message in the meantime. In January, French privacy regulators followed through on previous threats by fining Google roughly $200,000.
Bionic Hand Gives Amputee Touchy-Feely Sensations
February 06, 2014
An amputee was able to feel sensations in a prosthetic hand temporarily wired to nerves in his upper arm. Silvestro Micera, Ph.D., led a team of researchers in testing the bionic hand prototype last year. Dennis Aabo Sorensen, a Danish man who lost his hand in an accident nine years ago, was able to differentiate between the shape and consistency of six different objects.
Google's Long European Antitrust Nightmare May Be Over
February 06, 2014
It looks like Google and European regulators have, at long last, reached a settlement to allay antitrust concerns. Google has struck a deal with EC competition regulators, which now awaits formal approval. Under the terms laid out, Google would have to swallow its stiffest-ever antitrust penalties, but it would nonetheless avoid a finding of wrongdoing and a potentially massive fine.
Talking Cars Coming Down the Pike
February 04, 2014
The U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday announced it would move forward with a plan that would make car-to-car communication mandatory among light vehicles, a measure that could lead to safer roads. Vehicle-to-vehicle, or V2V, communication allows cars to share data including speeds and brake applications with nearby cars. That data can then help warn drivers about possible collisions.
Internet Domain Names Get More Character
February 04, 2014
Tuesday ushered in a series of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that for the first time in Web history, include Arabic, Chinese and Russian characters. The new gTLDs -- which are the suffixes to Web addresses, such as ".com" and ".net" -- were approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. ICANN invited applications for new domain names in 2012, at a cost of $185,000 a pop.
Nintendo Makes Health the New Name of the Game
January 31, 2014
Nintendo is planning a new product offering that will take the company beyond traditional gaming and into the world of health, it announced on Thursday. Coming hard on the heels of a grim earnings report that prompted a pay cut for President and CEO Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's announcement was described with only the barest of details at a briefing for investors and media.
Here Comes the Sun-Powered MacBook?
January 30, 2014
Apple wants to use natural energy sources to keep MacBooks powered while on the move. The company has won a patent for a laptop with a lid that features a second display, touch inputs and solar cells. The latter could help users keep their MacBooks' batteries topped up without having to plug in an external charger. Apple filed its application in 2010, and USPTO granted it this week.
Snowden in the Running for Nobel Peace Prize
January 30, 2014
A group of Norwegian lawmakers nominated former NSA contactor Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize. Saying that his bottomless pit of surveillance revelations contributes to stability and transparency, the lawmakers submitted the nomination to the Nobel Foundation. President Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, meaning Obama and his secret-leaking foil could soon have something in common.
Healthcare Fiasco Energizes Federal IT Reform Efforts
January 29, 2014
The widespread problems in implementing the Affordable Care Act have provided some momentum to the efforts by the Obama administration and Congress to ratchet up reforms in the management and procurement of IT. President Obama conceded the need to put more emphasis on such reforms when he spoke about the troubled health exchange website and other IT problems with the Healthcare.gov rollout.
US, British Intelligence Scoop Data From Smartphone Apps
January 28, 2014
Don't get angry, but... U.S. and British intelligence agencies have long been mining data from smartphone apps such as the wildly popular Angry Birds. The National Security Agency and its British brethren at the Government Communications Headquarters reportedly have targeted the swell of data moving to and fro on mobile apps, based on previously secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
Learn Robotics and Amuse Office Mates With uArm
January 28, 2014
UFactory's uArm, which is an Arduino-powered 4-axis parallel-mechanism robot arm created for personal desktop use, has blown past its $5,000 funding goal on Kickstarter with more than a month to go. Clearly, uArm has struck a nerve, generating more than $60,000 in pledges in just a handful of days. The uArm features a suction-cup base that will adhere to your desk.
Google Buys DeepMind to Dig Deeper Into Data
January 27, 2014
News that Google is purchasing artificial intelligence company DeepMind for between $500 million and $650 million surfaced Monday. The first commercial applications of DeepMind are in simulations, e-commerce and games. "These are the areas most likely to benefit from -- and generate revenue from -- AI," aid Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.
Google's Smart Contacts Could Save Diabetics a Lot of Pricks
January 17, 2014
Google is taking the wearable tech trend to a new level. The company has announced it is working on smart contact lenses that measure the level of glucose in one's body. Diabetes affects around one in 19 people in the world, many of whom struggle to control the levels of blood sugar in their bodies, Google said. Blood sugar imbalances can lead to issues with eyes, kidneys and hearts.
Terrorist's Penalty Stiffened for Zipped Lips
January 17, 2014
Syed Farhan Hussain, a 22-year-old from Luton, UK, was hit with additional jail time for refusing to divulge the password for a memory stick that police were eager to take a peek at. Police were unable to crack the password themselves and therefore sought Hussain's help; Hussain declined, prompting a guilty verdict under Britain's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
Accenture Tapped to Doctor HealthCare.gov
January 13, 2014
The raft of problems connected to the launch of HealthCare.gov appears to have sunk the fortunes of the private contractor paid for running the site. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, charged with overseeing the health insurance marketplace, has awarded Accenture Federal Services a one-year contract for $45 million to implement technical improvements to the site.
Russian Spacewalkers to Install Videocams Providing ISS-View of Earth
December 27, 2013
Two Russian cosmonauts on Friday began a spacewalk outside the International Space Station to install camera equipment from UrtheCast, which soon could provide near real-time streaming images to viewers on Earth. Canada-based UrtheCast partnered with the Russian Federal Space Agency to launch two cameras, one high- and one medium-resolution, into space last month.
SMS via Alcohol Puts New Spin on 'Message in a Bottle'
December 20, 2013
Isopropyl alcohol is widely used as a solvent and as a cleaning fluid, but researchers at two universities in Canada and the UK recently managed to use it to transmit a text message. The experiment used Arduino computers, an electronic spray to release the alcohol, fans to blow the alcohol along, and sensors for detecting the chemical signals and demodulating them back into text.
Japanese Robot Shoots Breeze With Astronaut
December 20, 2013
A humanoid robot named "Kirobo" has had a chat with a Japanese astronaut on the ISS. The robot, also from Japan, is designed to process questions and construct answers from its vocabulary bank, as opposed to regurgitating preprogrammed responses. Asked if he could handle zero-gravity conditions, the robot replied, "I'm used to it now, no problem at all."
Microsoft Honcho Tapped to Clean Up Healthcare Mess
December 18, 2013
The Obama administration has reached into Microsoft's ranks for the tech talent it needs to fix the Affordable Care Act cock-up. The White House on Tuesday named Kurt DelBene, who started at Microsoft in 1992 and most recently served as president of its lucrative Office Division, to oversee HealthCare.gov, the website for consumers shopping for healthcare insurance under Obamacare.
Google Buys Military Robot Maker Boston Dynamics
December 16, 2013
Google has added to its portfolio of robotics acquisitions by snapping up Boston Dynamics. The company has conceived research robots for the military and is renowned for its agile robots that have a firm sense of balance. One can run faster than any human. While Boston Dynamics has not sold commercial robots, it has carried out extensive research and experimentation in the robotics field.
Norway Dashes Cold Water on Bitcoins
December 16, 2013
Norway's government ruled that Bitcoins don't qualify as a real currency, and it will treat them as an asset -- as opposed to a legitimate currency -- that is subject to capital gains tax. Many countries have been weighing in on how they will treat Bitcoins. Earlier this month, China said that its banks and financial institutions shouldn't handle the digital currency.
NASA May Schedule Spacewalks to Fix ISS Cooling Loop
December 13, 2013
NASA on Wednesday shut off one of the two external cooling loops on the International Space Station and has been struggling to fix it since. The problem appears to be in the flow valve within a pump module. There has been speculation that the situation could be more serious than NASA has acknowledged. Some noncritical systems in various nodes and laboratories have been powered down.

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