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MIT designs viruses to grow “greener” batteries

Researchers constructed a lithium-ion battery, similar to those used in millions of devices, but one which uses genetically engineered viruses to create the negatively charged anode and positively charged cathode. The virus is a so-called common bacteriophage which infects bacteria and is harmless to humans. “The advantage of using genetics is that things can be made better and better”…

Read the article: Virus battery could ‘power cars’

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The End of Science

Scientists are trained to recognize that correlation is not causation, that no conclusions should be drawn simply on the basis of correlation between X and Y (it could just be a coincidence). Instead, you must understand the underlying mechanisms that connect the two. Once you have a model, you can connect the data se ts with confidence. Data without a model is just noise.

There is now a better way. Petabytes allow us to say: “Correlation is enough.” We can stop looking for models. We can analyze the data without hypotheses about what it might show. We can throw the numbers into the biggest computing clusters the world has ever seen and let statistical algorithms find patterns where science cannot. Via Computer Program Self-Discovers Laws of Physics.

Read the article: The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete

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Why India Has Escaped the Downturn

India has multiplied its per capita income levels many times over since 1950, and has done so far faster in recent years than Britain or the United States did during and after the industrial revolution. In the last 15 years, India has pulled more people out of poverty than in the previous 45 – 10 million people a year on average in the last decade. The country has visibly prospered, and, despite population growth, per capita income has grown faster than ever before. The current financial crisis is unlikely to change the basic success story.

Read the article: Resilient India

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Will China global currency idea fly?

China’s central bank has called for the creation of a new global currency as an alternative to the dollar, in the latest sign of that country’s growing assertiveness on the international stage. But would the idea even work? China has more than $1 trillion in U.S. Treasuries and other government securities, analysts estimate — and the country doesn’t keep all of that money in its own currency because that would cause inflation. Also, by buying assets in dollars, China keeps the yuan from strengthening too much against the U.S. currency — which would make its goods more expensive to American consumers and hurt Chinese exports. But as the U.S. government ramps up spending to stimulate the economy and assist the battered financial sector, Chinese officials are worried that inflation will result — and that would erode the value of their dollar holdings, economists said.

Read the article: Will China global currency idea fly?

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How Much Energy Goes Into Making a Bottle of Water?

Researchers have calculated that the energy required to produce bottled water is up to 2,000 times more than the energy required to produce tap water. Most people who buy bottled water have access to clean drinking water virtually for free (in the US, tap water costs less than a penny per gallon, on average). Nevertheless, the consumption of bottled water continues to grow, far surpassing the US sales of milk and beer, and second only to soft drinks.

Read the article: How Much Energy Goes Into Making a Bottle of Water?

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Indian Americans: The New Model Minority?

Indian Americans are in fact a new “model minority.” Despite constituting less than 1% of the U.S. population, Indian-Americans are 3% of the nation’s engineers, 7% of its IT workers and 8% of its physicians and surgeons. The overrepresentation of Indians in these fields is striking–in practical terms, your doctor is nine times more likely to be an Indian-American than is a random passerby on the street. So why do Indian Americans perform so well? A natural answer is self-selection. Someone willing to pull up roots and move halfway around the world will tend to be more ambitious and hardworking than the average person.

Read the article: Indian Americans: The New Model Minority

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An idea whose time has come

Entrepreneurialism has become cool. Victor Hugo once remarked: “You can resist an invading army; you cannot resist an idea whose time has come.” Today entrepreneurship is such an idea. The triumph of entrepreneurship is driven by profound technological change. A trio of inventions—the personal computer, the mobile phone and the internet—is democratising entrepreneurship at a cracking pace. Today even cash-strapped innovators can reach markets that were once the prerogative of giant organisations. An activity that was once regarded as peripheral, perhaps even reprehensible, has become cool, celebrated by politicians and embraced by the rising generation.

Read the article: A special report on entrepreneurship: An idea whose time has come

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Older fathers link to child brain

The age at which men and women are having children is increasing in the developed world. But while the effect of increasing maternal age on reduced fertility is widely known, the impact of increased paternal age is not as well established. However, older fathers have been linked to a range of health problems, including an increased risk of birth deformities and neuropsychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder.

Read the article: Older fathers link to child brain

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Introducing Wolfram Alpha…

Stephen Wolfram is building something new — and it is really impressive and significant. In fact it may be as important for the Web (and the world) as Google, but for a different purpose. In a nutshell, Wolfram and his team have built what he calls a “computational knowledge engine” for the Web. OK, so what does that really mean? Basically it means that you can ask it factual questions and it computes answers for you.

Where Google is a system for FINDING things that we as a civilization collectively publish, Wolfram Alpha is for ANSWERING questions about what we as a civilization collectively know. It’s the next step in the distribution of knowledge and intelligence around the world — a new leap in the intelligence of our collective “Global Brain.” And like any big next-step, Wolfram Alpha works in a new way — it computes answers instead of just looking them up.

Read the article: Wolfram Alpha Computes Answers To Factual Questions. This Is Going To Be Big.

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Bionic eye gives blind man sight

The Bionic eye uses a camera and video processor mounted on sunglasses to send captured images wirelessly to a tiny receiver on the outside of the eye. In turn, the receiver passes on the data via a tiny cable to an array of electrodes which sit on the retina – the layer of specialised cells that normally respond to light found at the back of the eye. When these electrodes are stimulated they send messages along the optic nerve to the brain, which is able to perceive patterns of light and dark spots corresponding to which electrodes have been stimulated.

The hope is that patients will learn to interpret the visual patterns produced into meaningful images.

Read the article: Bionic eye gives blind man sight