Technology


Image credit:  Ph0neutria via shutterstock

By: Benjamin Plackett, Inside Science

(Inside Science) — Until last year, website designers had a choice of just 22 Internet domains to use as suffixes at the end of URLs, excluding country-specific ones. The familiar “dot-com” and “dot-org” hail from the Reagan era, and the trickle of new domains since has usually been met with much discussion and occasionally debate or even discontent.

DNA analysis has become increasingly cost-effective since the human genome was first fully sequenced in the year 2001.

Sequencing a complete genome, however, still costs around $1,000 each so sequencing the genetic code of 100s of individuals would be expensive. For non-human studies, researchers very quickly hit the limit of financial feasibility.  


A paper in the International Journal of Web-Based Communities suggests that the familiar interfaces of online social networking sites might be adapted to allow us to interact more efficiently with our networked devices such as cars, domestic appliances and gadgets.

The concept would also extend to the idea of those devices connecting with each other as necessary to improve efficiency of heating and lighting, make our home entertainment systems smarter and much more.



We are only beginning to see what augmented reality can do. Credit: Flickr/Karlis Dambra, CC BY

By Nick Kelly, University of Southern Queensland


By Marsha Lewis, Inside Science

(Inside Science TV) –   You've seen toys and prosthetics made on a 3-D printer but now, scientists are using 3-D printers to build implants that help babies breathe.

Natalie Peterson, a parent of a child who was having trouble breathing shortly after birth said of her son Garrett, “When he was born, he was so sensitive to everything…when the nurses would move his head, he would just turn blue instantly.”

Almost every day 18 month old Garrett Peterson stopped breathing due to a collapsed trachea.

For most of humanity's existence, our kind have worried about getting enough to eat. So we may see it as a good sign that now some of our species are worried about not getting organic milk in their lattes and frappes. "Where oh where shall I ever find a frappe made with organic milk?" one supposes they say. "If only Starbucks made their lattes and frappes with organic milk; it would be so healthy!"

A little known secret in data mining is that simply feeding raw data into a data analysis algorithm is unlikely to produce meaningful results.

From recognizing speech to identifying unusual stars, new discoveries often begin with comparison of data streams to find connections and spot outliers. But most data comparison algorithms today have one major weakness – somewhere, they rely on a human expert to specify what aspects of the data are relevant for comparison, and what aspects aren't. But experts aren't keeping pace with the growing amounts and complexities of big data.


The director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, is worried about the lack of reproducibility and 'secret sauce' in a large number of studies funded by their $30 billion government agency. 

Fraud happens everywhere, as does cherry-picking of results, but the more scientific the field, the less it happens. It's hard to get 2,000 people to be fraudulent about an experimental physics result while a lone psychologist writing about surveys of college students is difficult to catch.

Carnegie-Mellon and Stanford scholars say they have a solution for Dr. Collins, at least - use 


A team of engineers have built a new system that protects Internet users' privacy while increasing the flexibility for web developers to build web applications that combine data from different web sites, dramatically improving the safety of surfing the web.

The system, Confinement with Origin Web Labels, or COWL, works with Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome web browsers and prevents malicious code in a web site from leaking sensitive information to unauthorized parties, while allowing code in a web site to display content drawn from multiple web sites – an essential function for modern, feature-rich web applications.


A tool for editing the DNA instructions in a genome can now also be applied to RNA, the molecule that translates DNA's genetic instructions into the production of proteins, according to a team of researchers who demonstrated a means by which the CRISPR/Cas9 protein complex can be programmed to recognize and cleave RNA at sequence-specific target sites. 

A team led by biochemist Jennifer Doudna or Lawrence Berkeley National Lab showed how the Cas9 enzyme can work with short DNA sequences known as "PAM," for protospacer adjacent motif, to identify and bind with specific site of single-stranded RNA (ssRNA). They are designating this RNA-targeting CRISPR/Cas9 complex as RCas9.