Tech

The ability to speak is one of the essential characteristics that distinguishes humans from other animals. Many people would probably intuitively equate speech and language. However, cognitive science research on sign languages since the 1960s paints a different picture: Today it is clear, sign languages are fully autonomous languages and have a complex organization on several linguistic levels such as grammar and meaning.

How much personal information can our phone apps gather through location tracking? To answer this question, two researchers - Mirco Musolesi (University of Bologna, Italy) and Benjamin Baron (University College London, UK) - carried out a field study using an app specifically developed for this research. Through the app employed in the study - published in Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies - researchers were able to identify which kind of personal information the app extracted and its privacy sensitivity according to users.

The University of Leeds has coordinated a study with 170 experts from 35 countries, including E.T.S. Agronomic Engineering lecturer Luis Perez Urrestarazu. The study conclusions have just been published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

The researchers highlighted opportunities to improve the way green spaces are monitored and maintained and helping people to interact with and appreciate the natural world around them. Similarly, as autonomous vehicles become more widely used in cities, pollution and traffic congestion are set to fall.

Northwestern University synthetic biologist Joshua Leonard used to build devices when he was a child using electronic kits. Now he and his team have developed a design-driven process that uses parts from a very different kind of toolkit to build complex genetic circuits for cellular engineering.

Prion diseases are a group of rapidly progressive, fatal and infectious neurodegenerative disorders affecting both humans and animals: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or 'mad cow' disease is one of the most famous since in 1996 scientists found that the agent responsible for the disease in cows, is the same agent responsible for the so-called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), a disease affecting humans.

The mating process is one of the most important mechanisms for maintaining genetic variation in natural populations. The emergence of sexual reproduction turned out to be the most important evolutionary innovation that facilitated the evolution of eukaryotes. Paramecium is a well-known genus of ciliated protists with a complex system of 'sexes', or mating types. Paramecium reproduces asexually, by binary fission, which is not related to the mating process. During conjugation, Paramecium of compatible mating types exchange haploid nuclei, equivalent to gametes.

The battle against late-stage prostate cancer might have found a potential new strategy to combat this deadly disease. Research led by Baylor College of Medicine reveals in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that the enzyme MAPK4 concertedly activates androgen receptor (AR) and AKT, molecules at the core of two cellular signaling pathways known to promote prostate cancer growth and resistance to standard therapy. Importantly, inhibiting MAPK4 simultaneously inactivated both AR and AKT and stopped cancer growth in animal models.

Microorganisms possess natural product biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) that may harbor unique bioactivities for use in drug development and agricultural applications. However, many uncharacterized microbial BGCs remain inaccessible. Researchers at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign previously demonstrated a technique using transcription factor decoys to activate large, silent BGCs in bacteria to aid in natural product discovery.

Scientists have achieved a breakthrough in predicting the behaviour of neurons in large networks operating at the mysterious edge of chaos.

New research from the University of Sussex and Kyoto University outlines a new method capable of analysing the masses of data generated by thousands of individual neurons.

The new framework outperforms previous models in predicting and assessing network properties by more accurately estimating a system's fluctuations with greater sensitivity to parameter changes.

Quantum computers promise not only to outperform classical machines in certain important tasks, but also to maintain the privacy of data processing. The secure delegation of computations has been an increasingly important issue since the possibility of utilizing cloud computing and cloud networks. Of particular interest is the ability to exploit quantum technology that allows for unconditional security, meaning that no assumptions about the computational power of a potential adversary need to be made.

Sample pretreatment processes such as concentration or classification are essential to finding trace substances present in a fluid. In scientific communities recently, prolific research is being conducted on sample pretreatment techniques utilizing electrokinetics.1 However, due to the lack of commercial anion-permselective material - an essential component - its potential application is limited to only negatively charged particles. To this, a research team at POSTECH has found a way to isolate and concentrate only the cationic samples.

Building a universal quantum computer is a challenging task because of the fragility of quantum bits, or qubits for short. To deal with this problem, various types of error correction have been developed. Conventional methods do this by active correction techniques. In contrast, researchers led by Prof. David DiVincenzo from Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University, together with partners from the University of Basel and QuTech Delft, have now proposed a design for a circuit with passive error correction.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) plays a major role in the early detection of various types of cancer. A research group led by Specially Appointed Professor Katsumi Kaneko of the Research Initiative for Supra-Materials (RISM), Shinshu University have discovered a method to separate oxygen-18 from oxygen-16, an essential isotope for PET diagnosis, at high speed and high efficiency. The results of this research were recently published online in the journal Nature Communications.

"For decades, chemistry has been governed by two ambitions goals," says Professor Stefan Tautz, head of the Quantum Nanoscience subinstitute at Forschungszentrum Jülich. "One of these is understanding chemical reactions directly from the spatial distribution of electrons in molecules, while the other is tracing electron dynamics over time during a chemical reaction." Both of these goals have been achieved in separate ground-breaking discoveries in chemistry: frontier molecular orbital theory explained the role of the ele

A team of researchers has devised a method using smartphones in order to measure food consumption--an approach that also offers new ways to predict physical well-being.