Archive for June, 2012

Pond scum gets top billing as future fuel source

Publication: NBC News   Date: June 27, 2012   View Article

Algae, known to most of us as pond scum, is the most promising sustainable source of energy to meet the growing demand for juice to power everything from cars to factories, according to a major technical organization.

“There is not an infinite amount of oil in the Earth and we are using it quite rapidly,” William Kassebaum, a senior member with the institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the world’s largest technical professional organization, told me today.

Real fish find robotic one attractive

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: June 8, 2012   View Article

When we all become mindless automatons following around a mechanical leader, we may look back on an innocent-sounding robotic fish experiment playing out today as the beginning of the end.

A team of U.S. and Italian researchers report they’ve successfully attracted individual and shoals of live zebrafish to cluster around a robot built to resemble a fertile female of their own kind, with biologically appealing stripes and coloring.

The feat is the latest milestone on a path to using autonomous robots in an open body of water to monitor and control fish behavior in order to protect them, according to the team.

Inventor of plumbing on a chip wins $500,000 prize

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: June 4, 2012   View Article

Stephen Quake, a prolific inventor whose application of physics to biology has led to breakthroughs in drug discovery, genome analysis and personalized medicine, has won the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, a prestigious award for outstanding innovators.

“A big part of physics is trying to figure out how to measure things,” Quake, who is a professor of bioengineering and applied physics at Stanford University, told me. “And so I get interested in a biological problem [and] figure out a way to measure it.”

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach