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Science Progressing: 3D Printing, Waning Investments in Biomedical Innovation, and Obama on Cybersecurity

Science Progressing is your weekly guide to the science and technology policy news you should not have missed. Did we leave anything out? Tweet or facebook us and let us know.

Two truths and one science lie

Try to guess which of the following technology breakthroughs is false! (Answers at the bottom of the page)

1. Standing under an exploding nuclear bomb: Five men wanted to prove it was possible.
2. Shift work contributes to healthy lifestyle: Working irregular hours has been linked to cardiovascular health and low blood pressure.
3. More miles with fewer cylinders: A car with three cylinders rivals the Toyota Prius.

 

Weekly news quick hits

TECHNOLOGY
The first 3D printed gun
AR-15, a rifle maker, printed the lower receiver component of a semi-automatic rifle using 3D printing technolgoy. The lower receiver acts as a frame for the rest of the gun.

TECHNOLOGY
Expanding possible semiconductors for solar panels
Traditional photovoltaics use doped silicon as the semiconductor used to supply electrons for current. A clever alteration of the gate system has expanded the number of semiconductors that can be used in a solar panel, increasing options for construction.

GLOBAL HEALTH
The end of AIDS?
The dominant message from the National AIDS conference in Washington has been one of optimism for ending the spread and symptoms of AIDS.

INVESTING IN SCIENCE
Marked-up House bill flat rate for NIH funding
The 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill maintains funding at the president’s requested $30.6 billion.

INVESTING IN SCIENCE
Sequestration will cut 2,300 grants from NIH
The multi-agency cuts will slash NIH research funding by $2.4 billion.

GENOMICS
Genome wide assessment of young onset Parkinson’s disease from Finland
A genome wide association study finds no single, high-penetrance mutation responsible for early-onset Parkinson’s in Finland.

NEUROSCIENCE
Stress leads to more narrowly defined behavior
Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies show stressed individuals’ brains are more active in certain regions. The effect is more goal-oriented behavior.

TECHNOLOGY
Taking the stylus to another level
Microsoft wants to take the stylus to another level by integrating a camera that navigates pixels into the tip of the device.

TECHNOLOGY
Don’t let Siri fool you: Machines can’t understand us
Lilian Lee, a professor at Cornell, says that we have a while to go until machines can understand us and explains how certain language complexities baffle the likes of the machine, Watson.

SPACE
NASA  explores additive manufacturing to simplify space travel
NASA is considering 3D printing to manufacture spare parts in space. This would prevent astronauts from having to cart many spare parts.

SPACE
Inflatable space shield endures atmospheric penentration
NASA’s inflatable heat shield designed to protect a space capsule endured atmospheric penetration, keeping its mushroom shape as it raced through the sky at hypersonic speeds.

CYBERSECURITY
The president makes his case for the Cybersecurity Act of 2012
Said the president: “It doesn’t take much to imagine the consequences of a successful cyber attack. In a future conflict, an adversary unable to match our military supremacy on the battlefield might seek to exploit our computer vulnerabilities here at home.”

Answers to two truths, one lie: The first is true. In 1957, five Air Force officers desired to prove it was possible to stand beneath an exploding nuclear bomb that was detonated from a plane flying 18,500 feet in the air. The second is false: data from 34 studies involving two million individuals links shift work to increased heart attacks. The third is true: Ford is coming out with a direct fuel injection, three-cylinder engine car. Ford hopes to sell consumers on increased efficiency and attract a higher price tag for fewer cylinders.

This weeks news collected and summarized by Sam Finegold.

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