Category Neurology

In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

PHYSICS | QUANTUM MECHANICS

Space Heater: Scientist Find New Way to Transfer Energy Through a Vacuum

Phonons are wavelike collections of atoms that transfer heat, and it was long thought they could not work through a vacuum, instead requiring two objects to touch. But a vacuum is never really a vacuum because quantum fluctuations generate virtual particles that constantly pop in and out of existence. Scientists at Cal Berkeley have now demonstrated that phonons can use these particles to transfer heat through “empty” space. [SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN]

NEUROLOGY

Implanting False Memories in a Bird’s Brain Changes Its Tune

By manipulating brain cells with lasers, researchers have altered the memories of young zebra finches, bypassing their usual way of learning songs from older birds. Scientists are hoping their findings will one day be useful in helping humans affected with neurodevelopmental conditions and psychological trauma. [NEW SCIENTIST]

PRIVACY

‘The Goal is to Automate Us’: Welcome to the Age of Surveillance Capitalism

Shoshana Zuboff’s new book is a chilling expos√© of the business model that underpins the digital world. In this interview she explains the origins of surveillance capitalism, why the term “digital natives” is tragically ironic, and how Larry Page realized that human experience could be extracted and monetized as Google’s “virgin wood.” [THE GUARDIAN]

PSYCHOLOGY

How to Get Teens to Give up Junk Food: Tell Them They’re Victims of Corporate Manipulation

Rather than just being told junk food is bad for them, a group of eighth graders was exposed to the marketing strategies food companies used to target them. Months later, the students showed a surprising change in their snack habits and food choices. [FAST COMPANY]

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Why Electric Cars Still Don’t Live Up to the Hype

With uncertainty about a number of contributing factors, including the overall cost of owning one, it’s still too soon to tell if EVs are the solution for a sustainable transportation future. [WASHINGTON POST OPINION]

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In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

ASTROPHYSICS

Scientists find ‘Monster’ Black Hole So Big They Didn’t Think It Was Possible

Stellar black holes are caused by the death of star, and there are estimated to be 100 million in the Milky Way. An international group of scientists recently discovered one with a mass 70 times that of the sun, more than three times larger than current theories predicted was possible. Figuring out its origin is the next step. If you want to read more, this article by one of the team members that discovered it is a good place to start. [WASHINGTON POST | CONVERSATION]

SOLAR ENERGY

Sunshine Coast University Switches On a Solar-Powered Thermal Battery

Sunshine Coast University in Australia recently turned on its new solar-fed thermal battery. Using rooftop solar arrays and a battery that stores 7 MW of energy in water, the system powers more than 40% of everything on campus from air conditioning to lighting to computer processing. The school will save $100 million in electric bills over the next 25 years and eliminate 92,000 tons of CO2 emissions. [PV MAGAZINE]

INNOVATION

Why Companies Do “Innovation Theater” Instead of Actual Innovation

As companies get larger, they start to value process over product, and the product people end up reporting to the process people. The company loses its ability to compete as an innovator. In response, they often turn to hackathons, design thinking classes, innovation workshops and other innovation theater activities that rarely deliver a shippable product. There’s a way to fix this. [STEVE BLANK writing in HBR]

SECURITY

A New Hack Uses Lasers to Send Inaudible Commands to Your Amazon Echo

Researchers used laser light to insert acoustic signals into micro-electro mechanical system microphones (MEMS). The result? The microphones produced electric signals as if the laser light was genuine audio. While it does not appear this security flaw has yet been exploited, scientists warn that any device using MEMS (smart phones, speakers, and even cars) is vulnerable to attack. [NEXT WEB]

NEUROLOGY

‘Promising Evidence’ Shows Mindfulness Meditation Can Slow Cognitive Decline

A recent study finds that practicing mindfulness meditation, training your mind to stay in the moment and relieving it from outside distractions and stress, can boost cognitive reserves. While more research is needed, this may be helpful for people living with mild cognitive impairment, often a precursor to Alzheimer’s. [STUDY FINDS]

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