MIT researchers engineer cells to produce conductive materials

Originally posted on Gigaom:

A group of “living materials” announced by MIT researchers today can change their own composition over time in ways that could allow them to become part of future electronics designs, thanks to the incorporation of bacterial cells that respond to changes in their environment. The researchers will publish their work in Nature Materials today.

The materials are made by E. coli bacteria, which naturally produce thin layers of cells known as biofilm. E. coli biofilms contain fibers that usually help the film grab onto surfaces, but a part of the fibers can also capture non-living molecules and incorporate them into the film. The researchers were able to engineer E. coli with different types of fibers, allowing them to determine what type of non-living molecule the fibers captured.

By adding materials like gold nanoparticles or quantum dots, the MIT team could then add different properties to the film. Gold nanoparticles, for…

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It’s a Small Cell World: AT&T’s tiny cells pop up at Disney theme parks

Originally posted on Gigaom:

AT&T’s(s t)  nationwide small cell rollout isn’t confined to malls and parks. It’s also going to the Magic Kingdom. In a blog post on Tuesday , AT&T said it has started plopping down the tiny base stations in Walt Disney World in Florida, Disney Land in California and other resorts in an effort to bring mobile coverage and capacity to more places in the theme parks.

Small cells are pretty much what their name implies. Instead of using big towers to transmit signals over broad areas, small cells are mounted on walls and utility poles where they pack in an entire cell site’s worth of capacity into a tiny space. AT&T plans to surgically implant 40,000 of these miniature cells throughout its network in the next two years, adding key data and voice capacity to the most highly trafficked areas of its footprint.

small-cell-diagram

Disney(s dis) has received about 350…

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Everything You Wanted to Know About the ‘Polar Vortex’ That’s Engulfed Much of N. America with Freezing Temps

Originally posted on knowledge of self:

How can such a thing happen with global warming?  If climate change is real, then how did it get so cold?

  • The Polar Vortex, a huge system of moving swirling air that normally contains the polar cold air, has shifted so it is not sitting right on the pole as it usually does,”  Laden writes. “We are not seeing an expansion of cold, an ice age, or an anti-global warming phenomenon. We are seeing the usual cold polar air taking an excursion. So, this cold weather we are having does not disprove global warming.
  • Arctic warming, she said, is causing less drastic changes in temperatures between northern and southern climates, leading to weakened west-to-east winds, and ultimately, a wavier jet stream. The stream’s recent “waviness” has been taking coldness down to the temperate United States and leaving Alaska and the Arctic relatively warm, Francis said. The same thing has…

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