4/29/2011

SETI shuts doors on Telescope Array

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The SETI Institute has had to retire the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) because it lacks the funding to run the group of radio satellite dishes that search the skies for signs of alien life.

The collaboration between the SETI Institute and the University of California at Berkeley was originally conceived of as a three-tier plan to build 350 radio-wave antennas that worked in concert with the Kepler space telescope to scan the heavens for signs of intelligent life.

But as of last week, the ATA will no longer be performing its regular functions, as scientists were unable to raise the $5m needed to keep the project afloat.

4/22/2011

Son of Kaspersky Labs’ founder reported kidnapped in Moscow

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Russian media, including the Moscow Times have been posting reports that the son of Yvegny Kaspersky, head of leading international data security firm Kaspersky Lab, has been kidnapped.

At about 4pm EST on Thursday, the Russian government’s daily paper Rossiyskaya Gazeta published a report which said local law enforcement had confirmed the kidnapping of 20 year old Ivan Kaspersky.

Reports say the kidnappers have demanded a three million Euro ransom for Kaspersky’s return.

1/11/2011

IBM received nearly 23 patents per working day in 2010

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The US Patent and Trademark Office awarded IBM an average 16 patents per day in 2010, for a total 5,896. Second-ranked Samsung received 12.5 patents per day, or 4,551 for the year. Not be left out, Microsoft’s daily average was 8.5, or 3,094 per day. So, the three companies awarded the most patents, all from the tech sector, received 13,541 patents, or 37 per day. But wait! There are only 261 days in a typical working year, making the per-day totals for IBM, Samsung and Microsoft much higher: 22.6, 17.4 and 11.8, respectively.

12/14/2010

Yahoo preparing to lay off 600 to 700 workers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo Inc.’s holiday trimmings will include 600 to 700 layoffs in the Internet company’s latest shake-up triggered by lackluster growth.

Employees could be notified of the job cuts as early as Tuesday, according to a person familiar with Yahoo’s plans. The person asked for anonymity because Yahoo hadn’t made a formal announcement.

The planned cutbacks represent about 5 percent of Yahoo’s work force of 14,100 employees. It will mark Yahoo’s fourth mass layoff in the past three years.

12/9/2010

Amazon’s UK site selling WikiLeaks excerpts

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Portions of the diplomatic cables contained in WikiLeaks are available for sale on Amazon’s U.K. website, an odd twist after the company ousted the organization from its hosting service.

Excerpts from some of the 250,000 sensitive documents were contained in a Kindle e-book self-published by an author listed as Heinz Duthel. The book isn’t available in the U.S.; people in the U.K. can buy it for 7.37 pounds ($11.60).

12/3/2010

Israeli device lets paralyzed people stand, walk

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

When Israeli entrepreneur Amit Goffer was paralyzed in a car crash in 1997, he went on a quest to help other victims walk again.

He started wondering why the wheelchair is the only way for the paralyzed to get around, short of being carried.

So he invented an alternative: robotic “pants” that use sensors and motors to allow paralyzed patients to stand, walk and even climb stairs. He founded a company, Argo Medical Technologies Ltd., to commercialize it.

After several years of clinical trials in Israel and the United States, units will go on sale in January to rehabilitation centers around the world.

Argo joins several companies that have developed robotics and exoskeletons in medicine.

Called “ReWalk,” the latest device can help paraplegics to stand and walk - using crutches for stability - when they lean forward and move their upper body in different ways.

The 35-pound (16-kilogram) device, worn outside of clothing, consists of leg braces outfitted with motion sensors and motorized joints that respond to subtle changes in upper-body movement and shifts in balance. A harness around the patient’s waist and shoulders keeps the suit in place, and a backpack holds the computer and rechargeable 3 1/2-hour battery.

When operated, it makes clanging robotic sounds, like the hero of the 1980s cult movie “Robocop.”

11/26/2010

Oxygen detected on Saturn’s moon Rhea

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A spacecraft has tasted oxygen in the atmosphere of another world for the first time while flying low over Saturn’s icy moon, Rhea.

Nasa’s Cassini probe scooped oxygen from the thin atmosphere of the planet’s moon while passing overhead at an altitude of 97km in March this year.

Until now, wisps of oxygen have only been detected on planets and their moons indirectly, using the Hubble space telescope and other major facilities.

Instruments aboard Cassini revealed an extremely thin oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere that is sustained by high-energy particles slamming into the moon’s surface and kicking up atoms, molecules and ions.

11/25/2010

Jury: SAP must pay nemesis Oracle $1.3 billion

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Oracle Corp.’s courtroom clash with archenemy SAP AG has paid off handsomely.

A jury on Tuesday ordered SAP to pay $1.3 billion - more than half of its total profit last year - for a subsidiary’s skullduggery in stealing a stockpile of software and customer-support documents from password-protected Oracle websites.

The German software company was caught off guard by the size of the verdict. It had only set aside $160 million for anticipated damages, and already paid $120 million of that to Oracle’s lawyers.

11/8/2010

Urbee Is the First Car Made By a 3-D Printer

Filed under: — Aviran

3-D printing has already resulted in advances in manufacturing (as well as tiny stop-motion animation), but now taking it one step further is the Urbee hybrid: the world’s first 3-D printed car, developed by Kor Ecologic and Stratasys.

The Urbee was created using Stratasys’ Dimension 3-D printers and Fortus 3-D Production System. The full-scale prototype is not yet complete, but all of the exterior components, including the glass, will be entirely printed by additive manufacturing – printing layer upon layer of material until you end up with a car in front of you.

Canadian scientists transform human skin into blood

Filed under: — Aviran

Canadian scientists have transformed pinches of human skin into petri dishes of human blood — a major medical breakthrough that could yield new sources of blood for transfusions after cancer treatments or surgery.

The discovery, by researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., could one day potentially allow anyone needing blood after multiple rounds of surgery or chemotherapy, or for blood disorders such as anemia, to have a backup supply of blood created from a tiny patch of their own skin — eliminating the risk of their body’s immune system rejecting blood from a donor.

Researchers predict the lab-grown blood could be ready for testing in humans within two years.

The achievement, published Sunday in the journal Nature, raises the possibility of personalizing blood production for patients for the first time.

“This is a very important discovery. I think it represents a seminal contribution” to the rapidly evolving field of stem-cell research, said Michael Rudnicki, scientific director of the Canadian Stem Cell Network and director of the Regenerative Medicine Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

“That one can play with the fate of a cell and force it sideways into something that it doesn’t at all resemble, and then being able to use it, is tremendously exciting.”

The procedure is also relatively simple. It involves taking a small piece of skin just centimetres in size, which would require only a stitch to close, extracting fibroblasts — abundant cells in the skin that make up the connective tissue and give skin its flexibility — and bathing them in growth factors in a petri dish. Next, by adding a single protein that binds to DNA and acts as an on/off switch, the researchers turned on or off some 2,000 genes and reprogrammed the skin cells to differentiate or morph into millions of blood progenitors — the cells the produce blood.

9/21/2010

Visa tests smartphone payments in mass transit

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Visa Inc is participating in a test program started by rival MasterCard Inc that will let consumers pay for some New York subway tickets by tapping a credit card or a smartphone at the turnstile.

MasterCard said in June that it was working with New York and New Jersey mass transit agencies on a six-month pilot program to test “contactless” payments on certain commuter routes.

The program allows consumers to buy a subway, bus or train ticket by tapping or waving their credit or debit card, or a sticker attached to the back of their phone, over a turnstile electronic reader, instead of buying a separate ticket.

8/19/2010

Israeli mathematician wins Fields Medal

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Mathematician Prof. Elon Lindenstrauss of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has won the prestigious Fields Medal for 2010, the first Israeli to win the honor. The Fields Medal is considered the Nobel Prize of mathematics.

Lindenstrauss, 40, won the Fields Medal for his work on numbers theory. The Fields Medal is awarded every four years to mathematicians under the age of 40, with the goal of encouraging them to make extraordinary achievements. Lindenstrauss will win a C$15,000 prize, a rather small amount in comparison with the $1 million Noble Prize awards.

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