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Science Progressing: Drone Hacking, Chinese Solar Boom Continues, and Denmark Doubles Down on Biofuels

SOURCE: AP Photo/Sepahnews Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, left, listening to an unidentified colonel as he points to US RQ-170 Sentinel drone which Tehran says its forced down in December 2011.

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. Veins: the next fingerprints
A company patented a vein reading system that adjusts machine settings based on the age associated with the pattern of the veins. For instance, elderly people would have the screen resolution and proximity adjusted based on preset recommendations.

2. Manipulating brownian motion
It is now possible to track and manipulate the motion of particles in a solution.

3. How to transport 500 tons by blimp
A Ukrainian inventor successfully flew 500 tons of cargo using a specially designed blimp. The blimp compresses gas to achieve unprecedented maneuverability.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke

Science and technology policy news quick hits

CYBERSECURITY
The Security Implications of Hijacked Drones
Both North Korea and Iran have succeeded in confusing US drones into landing or otherwise going haywire.  The implications of hacking drones in a warzone are daunting.

GREEN TECHNOLOGY
China Bulks Up Solar
The Chinese government plans to have 21 gigawatts of capacity by 2015.  With the fall in prices, this estimate is actually conservative: an analyst at Suntech estimates over 30 gigawatts will be installed. China still consumes several orders of magnitude more electricity than would be supplied by the 2015 goal.

MEDICINE
Catching Cancer with a Camera
UCLA researchers have developed a rapid fire camera able to scan myriad images to sift out cancerous cells, which, if undetected, may lead to metastasis.

DRILLING
15 Leases To Be Signed for Offshore Drilling
The Obama administration is endorsing drilling in the Arctic and in the Gulf of Mexico. The type of drilling in the Gulf will be the deep water drilling that the Deepwater Horizon rig was famous for.

OCEANS AND CLIMATE
Warming Baltic Sea: A Welcoming Home for Algae
Hotter temperatures expedite eutrophication, the process in which warmer, less oxygenated water gives rise to massive algal blooms. Eutrophication accompanies dramatic losses in biodiversity and harms ocean ecosystems.

PHARMA
GlaxoSmithKline’s $3 Billion Settlement
Citing failure to disclose safety data, the US DOJ fined GlaxoSmithKline $3 billion – the largest healthcare fine in US history.

CYBERSECURITY
Allegations of Google Foul Play
Google is being investigated by global regulators for anti-trust violations for discriminating against rivals by limiting their advertising.

TECHNOLOGY
US Government Leads Twitter Data Requests
Twitter’s transparency report, released this past Monday, shows the US government has requested user data 679 times: over seven times more than any other government.

MICROBIOLOGY
Molecular Barcodes Allow DNA Visualization
Caltech’s Professor Cai has labeled mRNA using molecular barcodes. The barcodes allow visualization of DNA expression that may better explain cancerous activity.

PATENTS
Fujii the Fudger
A Japanese anesthesiologist made up 172 studies over 19 years.

BIOFUELS
Denmark to Triple Biofuel Production
Without expanding crop acreage or sacrificing crops used for foods, Denmark, already progressive in its biofuel usage, is going to triple biofuel production.

2 Truths, 1 Lie Answers: Turns out that transporting 500 tons is still in the prototype stages. If the technology succeeds, it will allow the long distance transportation of unprecedented weights.  The ability to manipulate Brownian Motion is an incredible achievement when you consider the complexity of a system of randomly moving particles. And Sony’s vein-reading patent may make machines even more accessible.

This week’s news compiled and summarized by Sam Finegold.

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