Sci-Tech

Scientists build first synthetic yeast chromosome

(Reuters) – An international team of scientists has built a modified yeast chromosome from scratch, the latest step in the quest to make the world’s first synthetic yeast genome, an advance that would lead to new strains of the organism to help produce industrial chemicals, medicines and biofuels. Instead of just copying nature, the team did extensive tinkering with their chromosome, deleting unwanted genes here and there. It then successfully incorporated the designer chromosome into […]

BlackBerry posts smaller-than-expected loss; shares rise

(Reuters) – BlackBerry Ltd reported a much smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Friday, sending its shares up nearly 7 percent, even as its smartphone sales continued to slide. The company said its net loss was $423 million, or 80 cents a share, for the fourth quarter ended March 1. That compared with a year-earlier profit of $98 million, or 19 cents a share. Revenue fell to $976 million from $2.68 billion. Analysts on average had been […]

We’re heading for a decentralized Internet, but will we get there by 2015?

It was all talk in Singapore. But with the US withdrawing from ICANN, the body that governs the Internet, in 2015, doubt is rife. The world’s digital community may not get a new “world stewardship” model in time. It was hardly a surprise. People had been calling for it for ages. But when the US Department of Commerce finally announced it was planning to relinquish control of a vital part of ICANN – and with it, the […]

Creating designer organisms by synthesizing a genome from scratch

Researchers have rebuilt a yeast chromosome, deleting superfluous genetic material not needed for survival. Such designer organisms could be the future of biotechnology. Are designer humans next? Twelve years ago, researchers created the first ever synthetic virus. About five years later, they rebuilt the complete genome of a bacterium. Now synthetic biologists have gone a step further. Jef Boeke and his team at the New York University Langone Medical Center have synthesized one of the […]

Facebook to use satellites, drones to spread the Internet

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc is harnessing satellite, drone and other technology as part of an ambitious and costly effort to beam Internet connectivity to people in underdeveloped parts of the world. The world’s No. 1 social network said on Thursday it has hired aerospace and communications experts from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and its Ames Research Center for the new “Connectivity Lab” project. “Today, we’re sharing some details of the work Facebook’s Connectivity Lab is […]

Disney to buy YouTube network Maker Studios for $500 million

(Reuters) – The Walt Disney Co has agreed to buy Maker Studios, one of YouTube’s largest networks, for $500 million, a deal that makes Disney a major online video distributor and should help draw more teens into the Disney entertainment empire. The price tag could rise to $950 million if Maker hits certain performance milestones, Disney said, confirming what a source told Reuters earlier on Monday. Maker, founded in 2009, is one of the largest […]

Scientists say destructive solar blasts narrowly missed Earth in 2012

By Laila Kearney  (Reuters) – Fierce solar blasts that could have badly damaged electrical grids and disabled satellites in space narrowly missed Earth in 2012, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday. The bursts would have wreaked havoc on the Earth’s magnetic field, matching the severity of the 1859 Carrington event, the largest solar magnetic storm ever reported on the planet. That blast knocked out the telegraph system across the United States, according to University of California, […]

Apple replaces iPad 2 with iPad 4, launches cheaper iPhone 5C

(Reuters) – Apple Inc said it would offer an iPad 4 tablet in place of the mid-range iPad 2 at the same price and the company launched a cheaper, lower capacity version of its plastic-backed iPhone 5C in Australia, China and some European countries. The iPad 4 is available at $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $529 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + cellular model at the four major U.S. carriers – AT&T Inc, Sprint […]

New technology for uninterrupted power supply in India could end rolling blackouts

They call it the Uninterrupted Direct Current and it could be the solution to India’s crippling, rolling power cuts. The UDC guarantees continuous power from the grid even during outages. A new collaboration between the Indian government and the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai promises to be a “game changer” in power starved India. It could spell the end for the country’s chronic power outages. In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, for instance, […]

German scientists discover ‘anti-arthritis’ protein

German scientists have discovered the protein that regulates autoimmune diseases. And they have a very special kind of mouse to thank for the discovery that could affect how such diseases are treated. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that mostly affects joints like the ones in the hands and feet. A patient’s immune system destroys the connective tissue. Joint capsules become inflamed as a result, leading to swelling and reduced movement in the affected parts […]

Nikon drops to five-week low after China consumer show criticism

(Reuters) – Shares in Nikon Corp shed 4.2 percent to a five-week low of 1,686 yen on Monday morning after it was criticized by a Chinese consumer show that said the camera maker had sold defective products in China and denied local consumers fair treatment in after-sales service. Nikon, which had sales of 118 billion yen ($1.16 billion) in China in 2013, said on Sunday that it was taking the report “very seriously” and had […]