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‘Computer Viruses gone to your head?’

Science (May 26, 2010) — A scientist at the University of Reading has become the first person in the world to be infected by a computer virus.

Dr Mark Gasson, from the School of Systems Engineering, contaminated a computer chip which had been inserted into his hand as part of research into human enhancement and the potential risks of implantable devices.

These results could have huge implications for implantable computing technologies used medically to improve health, such as heart pacemakers and cochlear implants, and as new applications are found to enhance healthy humans.

Dr Gasson says that as the technology behind these implants develops, they become more vulnerable to computer viruses.

“Our research shows that implantable technology has developed to the point where implants are capable of communicating, storing and manipulating data,” he said. “They are essentially mini computers. This means that, like mainstream computers, they can be infected by viruses and the technology will need to keep pace with this so that implants, including medical devices, can be safely used in the future.”

Dr Gasson will present his results next month at the IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society in Australia, which he is also chairing.

A high-end Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip was implanted into Dr Gasson’s left hand last year. Less sophisticated RFID technology is used in shop security tags to prevent theft and to identify missing pets.

The chip has allowed him secure access to his University building and his mobile phone. It has also enabled him to be tracked and profiled. Once infected, the chip corrupted the main system used to communicate with it. Should other devices have been connected to the system, the virus would have been passed on.

Dr Gasson said: “By infecting my own implant with a computer virus we have demonstrated how advanced these technologies are becoming and also had a glimpse at the problems of tomorrow.

“Much like people with medical implants, after a year of having the implant, I very much feel that it is part of my body. While it is exciting to be the first person to become infected by a computer virus in this way, I found it a surprisingly violating experience because the implant is so intimately connected to me but the situation is potentially out of my control.

“I believe it is necessary to acknowledge that our next evolutionary step may well mean that we all become part machine as we look to enhance ourselves. Indeed we may find that there are significant social pressures to have implantable technologies, either because it becomes as much of a social norm as say mobile phones, or because we’ll be disadvantaged if we do not. However we must be mindful of the new threats this step brings.”

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 28th May 2010

10 Tech Milestones That Changed The World

ipod-cssThe nature of technology is its constant disappearance into the background of our lives. The things that once seemed so new and outlandish that they might as well be magical are now old hat, and have become the inventions and innovations we rely on without a second thought. The following tech milestones changed the world by making everything from communications to health different than it used to be, and they’re now a part of our everyday lives.

1. The first car patent: January 29, 1886

Karl Benz, the founder of Mercedes-Benz, is typically thought of as the father of modern automobiles thanks to his pioneering work in engine and car design. In 1885, he created the Benz Patent Motorwagen, the first automobile created to generate its own power. It was patented early the next year, and models began selling in 1888, making Benz’s automobile the first to be sold in history.

2. Human flight: December 17, 1903

Every school child learns the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright, the Ohio-born brothers responsible for the first successful heavier-than-air manned flight at the dawn of the 20th century. They also developed the technology and controls that would make fixed-wing aircraft flight a reality. The first flight lasted only 12 seconds and spanned just 120 feet, but it was enough to begin the revolution that would affect travel, economy, and militaries forever.

3. Open-heart surgery: September 2, 1952

Although methods have surgery have since changed drastically, this operation at the University of Minnesota the first successful attempt to perform surgery on a heart by stopping it (in this instance, using hyopthermia). Later machines would be able to continue circulating blood and oxygen in the patient by bypassing the heart, but this early method was still the first instance in which surgeons realized how effective their new techniques could be.

4. Sputnik 1: October 4, 1957

Taking an early lead in the space race of the mid-20th century, the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1 was the first man-made object to orbit the planet. In addition to technological data gathered about the ionosphere and other Earth conditions, the device heated the competition between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. to explore space, leading eventually to the United States’ successful Apollo missions to the Moon.

5. Microchips: September 12, 1958

Jack Kilby, a Texas Instruments engineer, is often credited with inventing the modern microchip. His integrated chip, made of germanium, was a huge breakthrough in computing technology that would allow electronic circuits to be miniaturized. Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor is cited as the co-inventor for having a similar idea but using silicon instead of germanium. That single idea won him the Nobel Prize in physics in 2000, and the integrated chip is now responsible for running just about everything in your life, including the computer you’re using right now.

6. Cell phones: 1973

Before they responded to touch and voice commands, cell phones were brick-like monsters just beginning to take advantage of the power of mobile communications. There were models as early as the 1950s, though they were inhibited by enormous size and lack of power. It wasn’t until 1973 that Motorola put out the first cell phone to be commercialized for use outside of vehicles. The first cellular phone call occured in April of that year, when Motorola’s Martin Cooper, the phone’s chief inventor, placed a call to his rival at Bell Labs. After advances in the 1980s and 1990s led to explosive growth and shrinking phones, the cell phone became a necessary tool for everyone, capable of storing numbers and personal data and acting as a portable personal computer.

7. Laptops: September 1981

Although there were many different machines and tech milestones along the way in the development of portable computers, the Osborne 1 is generally considered to be the first major portable computer. Released in 1981, the Osborne Corporation’s machine had a 5-inch screen and single-sided floppy disk drives. Inspired by the Xerox NoteTaker, a portable computer that never went into production but for which some prototyps were made, the Osborne retailed for $1,795 (about $4,200 in today’s dollars) and sold relatively well until it was passed by the Kaypro II. Still, the “luggable” computer would help pave the way for smaller, sleeker, and more powerful models that would truly be laptops. The latest wave of small netbooks are a dream made possible only by the work put in 30 years ago.

8. Compact discs: October 1982

Compact discs were a true tech milestone and revolution in music distribution and consumption: Much stronger and longer-lasting than LPs or casettes, the new format raised the bar with a digital standard that has yet to be passed in terms of popularity. The first album to be released on CD was Billy Joel’s 1978 album 52nd Street, which hit shelves in Japan along with Sony’s CD player on October 1, 1982. The overwhelming success of the format led to new uses for compact discs, including data storage and personal CD creation for consumers.

9. Napster: 1999

The heady days of 1999-2001 were the peak of Napster and the dawn of digital piracy. The peer-to-peer music-sharing service changed the way consumers think about music (and paying for it) so quickly that it took regulators a while to catch up. Although Napster has since converted to a legal, pay-based service, the spirit of free media and copyright-skirting lives on and has become a key part of online culture.

10. Apple’s iPod: 2001

Appearing in October 2001, Apple’s iPod would eventually become the most popular portable media player on the market. Sales picked up speed in 2004 and exploded in 2005, making the iPod the default mp3 player and one of the most famous tech devices in the world. By radically simplifying the interface and making the experience as user-friendly as possible, iPods have become the aesthetic and technological standard for portable music.

Thanks for the article guys. Well done from>>>


Received and published by Henry Sapiecha 25th May 2010

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors
Press release from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors – 2010-04-28
Powerful LED flash for cell phones

Powerful LED flash for cell phones

OSLUX now with UX:3 chip technology

The new OSLUX from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors is brighter and smaller than ever before and provides extremely uniform light thanks to a chip fabricated in state-of-the-art UX:3 technology. Together with an optimized lens it not only ensures that the LED is 50 percent brighter than the predecessor model but also that the light is much more evenly distributed and can therefore illuminate a wide area.

The new OSLUX has an area of 3.9 mm² and a height of only 2.5 mm (previously 3 mm) but is 50 lx brighter. This takes its output to an impressive 150 lx. The light is uniformly distributed in the flash; the usual round spot in the center is completely absent. “Our OSLUX is therefore perfect for the fast-growing design-based smartphone and cell phone segment”, said Gunnar Klick, Marketing Manager Consumer at OSRAM Opto Semiconductors. “Even extremely thin phones can now be equipped with a powerful LED flash so they can deliver pictures of superb quality”.

The LED is available in two versions with different lenses. These are already integrated in the LED and are matched to the beam characteristics of the top-emitting UX:3 chips. The subject of the picture is illuminated in a uniform rectangular pattern. The distribution of the light depends on the lens used: 40% or 20% of the center brightness is possible in the corners. At a distance of one meter the LED flash uniformly illuminates a diagonal of 90 cm, which is sufficient to produce razor-sharp pictures even in low light conditions.

The impressive brightness is the result of new UX:3 chip technology that makes the LED capable of handling high currents and gets even more light from the chip. What’s more, the light is more evenly distributed over the surface compared to previous chip technologies. The new OSLUX is therefore considerably more efficient at high currents than previous LEDs and offers impressive luminous efficacy in a small area.

With the new OSLUX OSRAM’s LED portfolio for flash applications is even better tailored to the latest trends in which mobile slimline terminals require small powerful light sources. For users who want to supply their own lens packages there is the CERAMOS which has no lens.

Press contact:
Marion Reichl
Headquarter, Europe

Tel: +49 (0) 941 – 850 – 16 93
Fax: +49 (0) 941 – 850 – 33 05
Email: marion.reichl@osram-os.com

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 23rd May 2010




Hi, this is Rex Ellis.

I am thrilled because my Harvest Post has now reached production stage! I have been developing this idea since 2006 and have had  great feed back and a lot of encouragement by the industry.
Have a look at the post with the baskets in the pic  and see for yourself. Today we have been out to sea and have sank the post within seconds into the sea bed. It was indeed very difficult to remove it again. The harvest post is very strong and can carry multiple baskets with single compartments in order to grow shellfish stress free and in a shorter time than so far possible thanks to 48 single compartments per basket.

I am ready to take your orders, please contact me for a quote on a custom made solution for your needs.





Rex Ellis

About Me

I have worked in the plastic industry for over 20 years. We developed different products like tanks and a plastic picket fence with an inbuilt watering system. The idea about the revolutionising way of growing shellfish came to me when I saw how labour intensive and physically demanding the growing of shellfish is. Because I love eating oysters, scallops and mussels myself I want to see the highest quality of shellfish grown especially in New Zealand, my home country and Australia, my chosen place to live

0407 820 030

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 4th May 2010

Scientists Uncover

Transfer of Genetic Material

Between Blood-Sucking Insect

and Mammals

Science(Apr. 30, 2010) — Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington have found the first solid evidence of horizontal DNA transfer, the movement of genetic material among non-mating species, between parasitic invertebrates and some of their vertebrate hosts.

The findings are published in the April 28 issue of the journal Nature, one of the world’s foremost scientific journals.

Genome biologist Cédric Feschotte and postdoctoral researchers Clément Gilbert and Sarah Schaack found evidence of horizontal transfer of transposon from a South American blood-sucking bug and a pond snail to their hosts. A transposon is a segment of DNA that can replicate itself and move around to different positions within the genome. Transposons can cause mutations, change the amount of DNA in the cell and dramatically influence the structure and function of the genomes where they reside.

“Since these bugs frequently feed on humans, it is conceivable that bugs and humans may have exchanged DNA through the mechanism we uncovered. Detecting recent transfers to humans would require examining people that have been exposed to the bugs for thousands of years, such as native South American populations,” Feschotte said.

Data on the insect and the snail provide strong evidence for the previously hypothesized role of host-parasite interactions in facilitating horizontal transfer of genetic material. Additionally, the large amount of DNA generated by the horizontally transferred transposons supports the idea that the exchange of genetic material between hosts and parasites influences their genomic evolution.

“It’s not a smoking gun, but it is as close to it as you can get,” Feschotte said

The infected blood-sucking triatomine, causes Chagas disease by passing trypanosomes (parasitic protozoa) to its host. Researchers found the bug shared transposon DNA with some hosts, namely the opossum and the squirrel monkey. The transposons found in the insect are 98 percent identical to those of its mammal hosts.

The researchers also identified members of what Feschotte calls space invader transposons in the genome of Lymnaea stagnalis, a pond snail that acts as an intermediate host for trematode worms, a parasite to a wide range of mammals.

The long-held theory is that mammals obtain genes vertically, or handed down from parents to offspring. Bacteria receive their genes vertically and also horizontally, passed from one unrelated individual to another or even between different species. Such lateral gene transfers are frequent in bacteria and essential for rapid adaptation to environmental and physiological challenges, such as exposure to antibiotics.

Until recently, it was not known horizontal transfer could propel the evolution of complex multicellular organisms like mammals. In 2008, Feschotte and his colleagues published the first unequivocal evidence of horizontal DNA transfer.

Millions of years ago, tranposons jumped sideways into several mammalian species. The transposon integrated itself into the chromosomes of germ cells, ensuring it would be passed onto future generations. Thus, parts of those mammals’ DNA did not descend from their common ancestors, but were acquired laterally from another species.

The actual means by which transposons can spread across widely diverse species has remained a mystery.

“When you are trying to understand something that occurred over thousands or millions of years ago, it is not possible to set up a laboratory experiment to replicate what happened in nature,” Feschotte said.

Instead, the researchers made their discovery using computer programs designed to compare the distribution of mobile genetic elements among the 102 animals for which entire genome sequences are currently available. Paul J. Brindley of George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., contributed tissues and DNA used to confirm experimentally the computational predictions of Feschotte’s team.

When the human genome was sequenced a decade ago, researchers found that nearly half of the human genome is derived from transposons, so this new knowledge has important ramifications for understanding the genetics of humans and other mammals.

Feschotte’s research is representative of the cutting edge research that is propelling UT Arlington on its mission of becoming a nationally recognized research institution.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 2nd May 2010

Renewable Energy:

Inexpensive Metal Catalyst

Can Effectively Generate

Hydrogen from Water

Science (May 1, 2010) — Hydrogen would command a key role in future renewable energy technologies, experts agree, if a relatively cheap, efficient and carbon-neutral means of producing it can be developed. An important step towards this elusive goal has been taken by a team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley. The team has discovered an inexpensive metal catalyst that can effectively generate hydrogen gas from water.

“Our new proton reduction catalyst is based on a molybdenum-oxo metal complex that is about 70 times cheaper than platinum, today’s most widely used metal catalyst for splitting the water molecule,” said Hemamala Karunadasa, one of the co-discoverers of this complex. “In addition, our catalyst does not require organic additives, and can operate in neutral water, even if it is dirty, and can operate in sea water, the most abundant source of hydrogen on earth and a natural electrolyte. These qualities make our catalyst ideal for renewable energy and sustainable chemistry.”

Karunadasa holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab’s Chemical Sciences Division and UC Berkeley’s Chemistry Department. She is the lead author of a paper describing this work that appears in the April 29, 2010 issue of the journal Nature, titled “A molecular molybdenum-oxo catalyst for generating hydrogen from water.” Co-authors of this paper were Christopher Chang and Jeffrey Long, who also hold joint appointments with Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley. Chang, in addition, is also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

Hydrogen gas, whether combusted or used in fuel cells to generate electricity, emits only water vapor as an exhaust product, which is why this nation would already be rolling towards a hydrogen economy if only there were hydrogen wells to tap. However, hydrogen gas does not occur naturally and has to be produced. Most of the hydrogen gas in the United States today comes from natural gas, a fossil fuel. While inexpensive, this technique adds huge volumes of carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Hydrogen can also be produced through the electrolysis of water — using electricity to split molecules of water into molecules of hydrogen and oxygen. This is an environmentally clean and sustainable method of production — especially if the electricity is generated via a renewable technology such as solar or wind — but requires a water-splitting catalyst.

Nature has developed extremely efficient water-splitting enzymes — called hydrogenases — for use by plants during photosynthesis, however, these enzymes are highly unstable and easily deactivated when removed from their native environment. Human activities demand a stable metal catalyst that can operate under non-biological settings.

Metal catalysts are commercially available, but they are low valence precious metals whose high costs make their widespread use prohibitive. For example, platinum, the best of them, costs some $2,000 an ounce.

“The basic scientific challenge has been to create earth-abundant molecular systems that produce hydrogen from water with high catalytic activity and stability,” Chang says. “We believe our discovery of a molecular molybdenum-oxo catalyst for generating hydrogen from water without the use of additional acids or organic co-solvents establishes a new chemical paradigm for creating reduction catalysts that are highly active and robust in aqueous media.”

The molybdenum-oxo complex that Karunadasa, Chang and Long discovered is a high valence metal with the chemical name of (PY5Me2)Mo-oxo. In their studies, the research team found that this complex catalyzes the generation of hydrogen from neutral buffered water or even sea water with a turnover frequency of 2.4 moles of hydrogen per mole of catalyst per second.

Long says, “This metal-oxo complex represents a distinct molecular motif for reduction catalysis that has high activity and stability in water. We are now focused on modifying the PY5Me ligand portion of the complex and investigating other metal complexes based on similar ligand platforms to further facilitate electrical charge-driven as well as light-driven catalytic processes. Our particular emphasis is on chemistry relevant to sustainable energy cycles.”

This research was supported in part by the DOE Office of Science through Berkeley Lab’s Helios Solar Energy Research Center, and in part by a grant from the National science Foundation.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 2nd May 2010

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Science News – Kiss of Death:

Research Targets Lethal Chagas’

Disease Spread by Insect

That Bites Lips

Science (Apr. 29, 2010) — It makes your skin crawl — a bug that crawls onto your lips while you sleep, drawn by the exhaled carbon dioxide, numbs your skin, bites, then gorges on your blood. And if that’s not insult enough, it promptly defecates on the wound-and passes on a potentially deadly disease.

Now Jean-Paul Paluzzi, a PhD candidate in biology at the University of Toronto Mississauga, believes that manipulating physiology to prevent the insects from leaving their messy calling card represents the best hope for stopping the transmission of the illness, known as Chagas’ disease.

“This is a disease of the poor,” says Paluzzi, who has visited parts of the world affected by the illness. “The bugs are found in makeshift homes with mud walls and palm tree-like ceilings. Unfortunately, the people of Central and South America that this affects don’t have sufficient voice to get help. Given that there are roughly 15 to 19 million people that are infected-a substantial proportion of that area’s population-it’s a disease that’s been neglected.”

Chagas’ disease is one of the major health problems in South and Central America and is spread by reduvid bugs, also known as “kissing bugs” because of their fondness for lips. The disease they transmit is caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, a parasite that lives in their gut. In the initial acute stage, symptoms are relatively mild, but as the disease progresses over several years, serious chronic symptoms can appear, such as heart disease and malformation of the intestines. Without treatment, it can be fatal. Currently, insecticide sprays are used to control insect populations, and anti-parasitic drugs are somewhat successful at treating acute infections.

Once the disease is chronic, it cannot be cured.

To make matters worse, kissing bugs are particularly “bloodthirsty.” In mosquitoes, which go through four distinct stages of development, only adult females feed on blood (and potentially transmit disease). This means that pest control methods need to target only one out of eight stages (when you include both sexes). But in kissing bugs, each sex feeds on blood through all fives stages of development. “So you have about a ten-fold greater chance of infection just because of the number of times that these insects have to feed,” says Paluzzi.

His research focuses on insect diuresis-more specifically, the genes and peptides that control how the kissing bug eliminates excess fluid in its gut after it gorges on blood. For the insect, the real prize in its meal is the red blood cells, while the water and salt is “excess baggage.” After they feed, the bugs are bloated and sluggish, and must jettison the waste so they can make their escape.

Here’s how it happens: when the kissing bug finds a snoozing victim and feeds, its levels of serotonin and diuretic hormones rise sharply, targeting the insect’s midgut and Malpighian tubules (the equivalent of kidneys), and triggering the release of waste. About four hours later, a peptide named CAP2b is released in the insect’s gut, abolishing the effect of the diuretic hormones.

Paluzzi has identified two genes (RhoprCAPA-alpha and RhoprCAPA-beta) that carry the chemical recipe for the peptides that stop diuresis. With that information, he hopes to create a peptide “agonist”-something that would enhance the activity of the CAP2B peptide and prevent the insect from leaving waste (and the parasite) on the wound. In theory, says Paluzzi, this might be an insecticide-like room spray or topical lotion that is biologically stable and has no effect on humans or other insects. Paluzzi is collaborating with a structural biochemist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Texas, with the ultimate goal of creating a pest control solution, but he cautions that a market-ready product is many years away.

The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, through a discovery grant to Professor Ian Orchard of the Department of Biology and a Canada Graduate Scholarship to Paluzzi.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 2nd May 2010