Joe Jefferson

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How It Works: The Fastest DNA Sequencer

DNA sequencing has revolutionized medicine and biomedical research. For example, DNA analysis can tell doctors which drug might work best against a particular cancer. But current technology usually sequences only short stretches of DNA and can take hours or days.<p>To sequence anything longer than a …

Naked mole rats live 30 years. Is this why?

Better-constructed proteins may be the reason why naked mole rats live very long lives—about 30 years—and stay healthy until the very end.<p>Proteins …

Biology

A new way of thinking about how the brain works

My book, <i>50 Human Brain Ideas You Really Need to Know</i>, is out now, and is available at a discount price from Amazon and the <i>Guardian</i> bookshop. (And here's a lovely review by Vaughan Bell, who calls it "a concise, solid grounding in neuroscience… remarkably lucid… balanced and entertaining".) When I …

Will the Skylon be the new Concorde? The obstacles for supersonic planes are still high.

Last month, the United Kingdom announced that it was investing $90 million in what was being billed as the most groundbreaking aeronautical …

Watch A Homemade Coilgun Destroy A Laptop

It's an electric gun, boogie woogie woogie.<p>This homemade gun uses electromagnetic coils to send steel rods flying at a speed of 138 feet per second. Pressing the trigger loads a steel rod into the barrel, where the first electromagnetic coil pulls the rod forward via magnetism, then turns off. The …

Can Hacking The Brain Make You Healthier?

<i>Part 5 of the</i> TED Radio Hour <i>episode</i> The Hackers.<p><b>About Andres Lozano's TEDTalk</b><p>Neurosurgeon Andres Lozano talks about dramatic findings in deep brain stimulation including a woman with Parkinson's who instantly stops shaking, and brain areas eroded by Alzheimer's that are brought back to life.<p><b>About</b> …

Can technology reduce our need to sleep?

Our pick of the week’s science and technology stories, including the search for sleep cures, why Facebook won’t install a Dislike button and medical crises on planes.<p>A beginner’s guide to immortality<br>Venkatesh Rao | Ribbonfarm | 10 April 2013<br>“Human life is like walking into a movie halfway through, …

In the footsteps of Schrödinger: understanding the physics of life

Erwin Schrödinger, the Austrian physicist whose eponymous equation lies at the heart of quantum mechanics, strayed beyond his normal disciplinary …

Internet takes education to new level: Will universities make the grade?

More and more universities have made a place for the Internet in today's educational offerings, but will universities still have a place in tomorrow's educational environment?<p>"We're about to undergo a tectonic transformation in education," Caltech astrophysicist George Djorgovski, a pioneer in …