Category Archives: Science & Technology

Biologists find a way to boost intestinal stem cell populations

>>Study suggests that stimulating stem cells may protect the gastrointestinal tract from age-related disease Cells that line the intestinal tract are replaced every few days, a high rate of turnover that relies on a healthy population of intestinal stem cells. MIT and University of Tokyo

New 3-D printing approach makes cell-scale lattice structures

>>System could provide fine-scale meshes for growing highly uniform cultures of cells with desired properties A new way of making scaffolding for biological cultures could make it possible to grow cells that are highly uniform in shape and size, and potentially with certain functions. The

Facebook is free, but should it count toward GDP anyway?

>>Study measures how much free online goods are worth to consumers For several decades, gross domestic product (GDP), a sum of the value of purchased goods, has been a ubiquitous yardstick of economic activity. More recently, some observers have suggested that GDP falls short because

LIGO and Virgo Resume Search for Ripples in Space and Time

>>Issued jointly by the LIGO Laboratory, LIGO Scientific Collaboration, and Virgo Collaboration The National Science Foundation’s LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) is set to resume its hunt for gravitational waves—ripples in space and time—on April 1, after receiving a series of upgrades to its lasers,

Model learns how individual amino acids determine protein function

>>Technique could improve machine-learning tasks in protein design, drug testing, and other applications A machine-learning model from MIT researchers computationally breaks down how segments of amino acid chains determine a protein’s function, which could help researchers design and test new proteins for drug development or

Kicking neural network automation into high gear

>>Algorithm designs optimized machine-learning models up to 200 times faster than traditional methods A new area in artificial intelligence involves using algorithms to automatically design machine-learning systems known as neural networks, which are more accurate and efficient than those developed by human engineers. But this

Spider silk could be used as robotic muscle

>>Unusual property of the ultrastrong material could be harnessed for twisting or pulling motions Spider silk, already known as one of the strongest materials for its weight, turns out to have another unusual property that might lead to new kinds of artificial muscles or robotic

Tectonics in the tropics trigger Earth’s ice ages, study finds

>>Major tectonic collisions near the equator have caused three ice ages in the last 540 million years Over the last 540 million years, the Earth has weathered three major ice ages — periods during which global temperatures plummeted, producing extensive ice sheets and glaciers that

Quantum sensing method measures minuscule magnetic fields

>>MIT researchers find a new way to make nanoscale measurements of fields in more than one dimension A new way of measuring atomic-scale magnetic fields with great precision, not only up and down but sideways as well, has been developed by researchers at MIT. The