Thought for the month

“A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.” Emo Philips, US comedian (born 1956)

Monday, 20 February 2017

Friday, 17 February 2017

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Moore's law saviours?

EUV lithography and the use of cobalt in interconnect techniques are highlighted as innovations that might maintain Moore’s Law.

Monday, 13 February 2017

The 2 biggies

Facebook and Instagram are the most used social media platforms.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Do you own a smartphone?

95% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind. 77% own a smartphone with 92% of adults in the age range 18-29 owning a smartphone.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The price for faking data

A physicist formerly based at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for faking data. He has also been ordered to pay back $3,317,893 to the government.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Because we don’t need it

The 2016 technological graveyard is fairly full. MIT have produced their list of star technology failures for 2016. These include Volkswagen’s “defeat device” (a rather expensive few lines of software code), genetically engineered plants that luminesce (still in the dark) and the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (far too hot a product).

Friday, 3 February 2017

Because we need it?

Shoshana Zuboff once said that ‘technology makes the world a new place’. CES2017 showcased the consumer electronic industry’s products aimed at that new place. Highlights included 2.57 mm thin room sized OLED TVs; smart and Alexa compatible home appliances and holographic head-up displays for cars. Some of the exhibits that might not make it into your household include vacuum shoes and a padded mouthpiece but are you really early adopters?

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Scientists are pretty average people

People and personalities vary, but generally I have always considered scientists to be a fairly average cross section of the human race. So is it true that narcissism is a problem in science? EPFL’s Bruno Lemaitre thinks that science is falling victim to a crisis of narcissism, where reaching the top of the scientific hierarchy increasingly depends on a glittering media profile, publishing in trophy journals and cultivating a network of academic ‘frenemies’ who are treated as close allies until they become obstacles in the path to academic glory. No stranger to controversy he considers in part that scientists can be motivated by a need for attention and authority as well as curiosity about the natural world.

Greek mythology relates that non-scientist Narcissus was punished by Nemesis - but admittedly, only after he had done some damage.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

1.8 milliseconds per century

Earth days are getting longer – by 1.8 milliseconds per century. I thought it was getting dark later and later!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Diamond radio

World’s smallest radio receiver has building blocks the size of two atoms. The radio is made from atomic-scale defects in diamond.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Top ten?

A year in review: The top 10 stories the Solid State Technology audience read the most during 2016.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Don’t sleep on it

Never go to bed on an argument," so the saying goes. And according to a new study, we should take note of this age-old advice.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Sleep matters

Why sleep matters: Quantifying the economic costs of insufficient sleep.

Friday, 20 January 2017

International number ones

Because every country is best at something

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Monday, 16 January 2017

Space cleaners

Japan has launched an experimental space scavenger into orbit that will examine the possibility of getting rid of cosmic junk using a 700 metre electrodynamic tether.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Making waves

The Physics World 2016 Breakthrough of the Year has gone to the LIGO Scientific Collaboration for the direct observations of gravitational waves. The separate Breakthrough Prize has seen over $25 million awarded for a wide range of work including gravitational waves, string theory and cell division.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Ultra-low-cost, hand-powered centrifuge is inspired by whirligig toy

A human-powered centrifuge made of paper can generate centrifugal forces of 30,000 g and separate blood into its component parts in less than two minutes.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Big bucks for books

A 1687 first edition of Newton’s Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica was auctioned last month for $3,719, 500. Setting a new world auction record for a printed scientific book.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Have people had enough of experts?

The public is more likely to ignore experts if science is too easy. Reading popular science articles causes non-scientists to overrate their expertise, concludes a research study at the University of M√ľnster.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

2016 really was a big year

You thought that 2016 was a bad year? The timelords at the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service announced some months ago there would be an extra second added to the end of 2016, so the clocks read 23:59:60 on 31 December and we all got an extra second. Such leap seconds are occasionally need to ensure Coordinated Universal Time, the official measure of time, stays in sync with changes in the Earth’s rotation.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Too much of a good thing?

Following an open access theme, a statement from three national Academies makes interesting reading. Opening with the sentence: Researchers are increasingly overwhelmed by the growth of the number of publications that they have less time to read; the Academies note the proliferation of “pseudo-journals” creating a damage to the scientific community with the demand for low quality articles (or even worse, for falsified or plagiarized manuscripts). The Academies set out four fundamental principles in order to earn the label of “scientific journal”.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Thought for the month

“I think that the truth is a really stern taskmistress.” Carrie Fisher, actress and writer (1956 – 2016).

Friday, 30 December 2016

History improves science

Why science and engineering need to remind students of forgotten lessons from history.