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Updated: 9 min 32 sec ago

Stand-alone photovoltaic power package for areas without electricity

March 25, 2014 - 8:30am
Panasonic Corporation today announced it has developed the "Power Supply Container", a stand-alone photovoltaic power package, for areas without electricity. The Power Supply Container contains solar modules and lead-acid batteries, as well as the newly developed Power Supply Control Unit that acts as the energy management system.

Spotify slashes prices for US college students

March 25, 2014 - 7:52am
Spotify is wooing U.S. college students with a $5-a-month premium music deal, half off the regular rate.

Gardening plots at train stations let you raise veggies while you commute

March 24, 2014 - 11:48am

No one hangs out at a train station for fun. But Tokyo is apparently changing that. With community garden plots atop train stations, the city is solving two seemingly unrelated problems: Transit hubs can be ugly and industrial-looking, and city-dwellers often don’t have space to garden.

Fast Co.

For about $82 a month, Tokyo residents can grow veggies, flowers, and herbs at one of five train station gardens, or “Soradofarms.” Those with thumbs more black than green can get advice, help looking for pests, and weeding assistance. Tools and seeds are provided too.

Not only does ripping up weeds sound therapeutic after a long day at work, but Fast Company says the spaces bring the community together, functioning almost like public parks. “For many, it’s just a place to come to relax,” writes Adele Peters. “[F]amilies come for picnics or to give their kids a little extra room to run around.”

We can think of a few transit stops where a whiff of fresh lavender would do a world of good.


Filed under: Cities, Living

Keep calm and don your video glasses: Television shows keep patients calm during medical treatment

March 24, 2014 - 11:32am
Music may soothe the soul, but it takes video to calm a patient undergoing medical treatment, notes a study in which individuals watched television shows or movies through special video glasses while having a biopsy or other minimally invasive treatment. "Patients told us the video glasses really helped calm them down and took their mind off the treatment, and we now offer video glasses to help distract patients from medical treatment going on mere inches away," said a researcher. "It is really comforting for patients, especially the ones who tend to be more nervous," he said.

From mouse ears to human's? Gene therapy to address progressive hearing loss

March 24, 2014 - 9:19am
Using DNA as a drug -- commonly called gene therapy -- in laboratory mice may protect the inner ear nerve cells of humans suffering from certain types of progressive hearing loss, researchers have discovered. While the research is in its early stages, it has the potential to lead to a cure for some varieties of deafness.

From mouse ears to man's?

March 23, 2014 - 10:00pm
(American Friends of Tel Aviv University) A team of researchers at Tel Aviv University has discovered that using DNA as a drug -- commonly called gene therapy -- in laboratory mice may protect the inner ear nerve cells of humans suffering from certain types of progressive hearing loss. While the research is in its early stages, it has the potential to lead to a cure for some varieties of deafness.

Pono may sound great, but don't expect it to stick around

March 21, 2014 - 3:50pm
I hate to be the one to break it to rock-and-roll legend Neil Young, but his new digital music venture has about as much chance of succeeding as I have of winning a Grammy - maybe less.

New Tattoo Makes Sweet Music

March 21, 2014 - 1:52pm
A new visual art project uses a sensor that crawls across the skin to read out and play music that is inked into the flesh.

Rapid materials testing in 3-D

March 21, 2014 - 7:48am
Ultrasound is a proven technology in components testing, but until now evaluating the data has always been quite a time-consuming process. Researchers have developed an optimized ultrasonic testing solution – a method for testing materials quickly and reliably with the help of 3D images.

Rapid materials testing in 3D

March 21, 2014 - 5:40am
Ultrasound is a proven technology in components testing, but until now eva- luating the data has always been quite a time-consuming process. At the Hannover Messe from April 7-11, Fraunhofer researchers will be presenting their optimized ultrasonic testing solution – a method for testing materials quickly and reliably with the help of 3D images.

Startup focuses on reliable, efficient cooling for computer servers

March 20, 2014 - 3:59pm
In a dark, windy room on the top floor of Engineering Hall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, racks of computers are processing information for a college that relies, like all technical fields, on massive computing power. The noise comes from multiple fans located inside each computer case and from the large air conditioner that drives currents through the room to remove waste heat from the processors.

What singing fruit flies can tell us about quick decisions

March 20, 2014 - 11:54am
You wouldn't hear the mating song of the male fruit fly as you reached for the infested bananas in your kitchen. Yet, the neural activity behind the insect's amorous call could help scientists understand how you made the quick decision to pull your hand back from the tiny swarm.

What singing fruit flies can tell us about quick decisions

March 20, 2014 - 11:14am
The pitch and tempo of the male fruit fly's mating song is based on environmental cues rather than a stereotyped pattern, researchers have discovered. These findings could be substantial for understanding rapid decision-making in more advanced beings such as humans.

What Your Favorite Music Reveals About Your Buying Habits

March 20, 2014 - 10:13am
From Jay Z to Elvis, 50 years' worth of hit songs helped researchers at North Carolina State University identified 12 key themes that marketing professionals can use to craft advertisements that will resonate with consumers.

Study finds the family "taxi" might be the ideal place to develop a child's interest in music

March 20, 2014 - 5:54am
Case Western Reserve University music educator Lisa Huisman Koops realized during the daily 20-minute commute to her daughter's preschool that the family vehicle might be an ideal—and overlooked—place to develop a child's awareness and interest in music.

Alibaba investment gives Tango a reason to dance

March 20, 2014 - 4:10am
Tango is joining the conga line of mobile messaging services that have turned into hot commodities as more people use them to communicate and share photos, music and other content.

What singing fruit flies can tell us about quick decisions

March 19, 2014 - 10:00pm
(Princeton University) Princeton University researchers have discovered that the pitch and tempo of the male fruit fly's mating song is based on environmental cues rather than a stereotyped pattern. These findings could be substantial for understanding rapid decision-making in more advanced beings such as humans.

US judge hands Pandora a partial victory on royalties

March 19, 2014 - 1:11pm
A US judge handed Internet radio company Pandora Media a partial victory in a royalties dispute with music publishers and songwriters in a decision released Wednesday.

Subscriptions woo fans back from pirated music

March 18, 2014 - 3:10pm
Fans are increasingly willing to pay for digital music through subscription streaming services rather than downloading it illegally for free, according to an upbeat report published on Tuesday.

Scientists to Americans: This climate change thing really is a big deal

March 18, 2014 - 2:44pm

One of the world’s largest and most influential science organizations is launching a new campaign to cut through the noise of climate denialism and help the public understand the threat of climate change.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science kicked things off on Monday by publishing a 20-page report entitled What We Know. The gist: We know that global warming is real, risky, and demands a serious response — “the three Rs of climate change.”

“We’re trying to provide a voice for the scientific community on this issue so that we can help the country, help the world move this issue forward,” AAAS CEO Alan Leshner said during a call with reporters on Tuesday morning. “If we don’t move now we are at tremendous risk for some very high impact consequences, many of which are laid out in the report.”

The AAAS has also assembled a panel of a 13 leading scientists who will make public presentations and try to spread climate smarts far and wide.

Here’s an explanation of those three climate Rs from the initiative’s website:

The first is Reality — 97% of climate experts have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening.

The second is Risk — that the reality of climate change means that there are climate change impacts we can expect, but we also must consider what might happen, especially the small, but real, chance that we may face abrupt changes with massively disruptive impacts.

The third R is Response — that there is much we can do and that the sooner we respond, the better off we will be.

The report is not all gloom and doom. The call to action is premised on hope:

By making informed choices now, we can reduce risks for future generations and ourselves, and help communities adapt to climate change. People have responded successfully to other major environmental challenges such as acid rain and the ozone hole with benefits greater than costs, and scientists working with economists believe there are ways to manage the risks of climate change while balancing current and future economic prosperity.

As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do or must believe about the rising threat of climate change. But we consider it to be our responsibility as professionals to ensure, to the best of our ability, that people understand what we know: human-caused climate change is happening, we face risks of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes, and responding now will lower the risk and cost of taking action.

Renowned climate scientist Michael Mann – a member at large of AAAS’s atmospheric sciences division but not a member of the new climate panel — lauded the initiative. “AAAS is the largest non-governmental scientific membership body in the world, so them taking such an affirmative role in the societal debate over climate change, and what to do about it, is significant,” Mann told Grist.

“The crux of the matter is that, despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that exists that, (a) climate change is real, (b) it is caused by us, and (c) it poses a grave threat to society if we do nothing about it, the public still thinks that there is a ‘debate’ on each of those elements,” Mann said.


Filed under: Climate & Energy