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University of Washington

  1. Science

    Scientist Connects His Brain to the Internet to Control Another Guy’s Finger

    If you've ever wanted to control someone's finger over the Internet you may soon get your chance. Researchers at the University of Washington used dark magic EEG helmets, magnets, and the Internet to take the impulse to move a finger from the brain of one person and put it into the brain of another. Science is crazy awesome.

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  2. Science

    Volcanoes Whistle Like Tea Kettles Before Erupting, But It Would Probably Be the Last Thing You Hear

    Before a volcano erupts there can be a series of small earthquakes, sort of like warning shots. They build up in frequency leading to the eruption, which can cause something called "harmonic tremor." New evidence shows that the harmonic tremor can reach the audible range for humans, but if you can hear it, it's probably time to start running.

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  3. Tech

    Watch Your Hands: Wi-Fi Can Act as Motion Controls

    The Xbox One's Kinect may be watching and listening at all times, but it's still just mostly staring straight ahead at your couch. But motion controls have taken a step forward, as a team of researchers at the University of Washington have developed a system dubbed WiSee (pronounced "We See") that uses Wi-Fi radio waves to detect human movement and gestures. While motion controls are nothing new, utilizing Wi-Fi makes it possible to pick up motions without motion sensors pointed at the user, anywhere within range.

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  4. Science

    Tiny Wireless LED Implant Can Activate Reward Centers in the Brain

    Researchers from the University of Illinois and University of Washington have developed a wireless implant that uses LEDs thinner than a human hair to produce light, stimulating their test subjects to create dopamine, a chemical released in the brain during pleasant experiences. By manipulating specific neurons in the brains of their lab mice, the researchers hope to develop a more accurate map of the circuits in the brain associated with sleep, depression, anxiety, and even addiction.

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  5. Space

    Listen to the Big Bang, Now in High Fidelity

    It's a well known fact that children ask the best questions about science. For evidence of this, you need look no further than a question posed by an 11-year-old to physicist John Cramer almost a decade ago: Is there any recording of the sound of the Big Bang? The question got Cramer wondering if he could recreate an approximation of the sound of the Big Bang, so that's just what he did. Using data about the background radiation levels of the universe and translating those heat levels to sound waves, Cramer offered the first approximation of the sound that would have rung throughout the newborn universe in the millennia following the Big Bang. Now, thanks to new data from the Planck telescope, Cramer has been able to remaster the original sounds of the universe into a high-fidelity special edition, and you can take a listen below.

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  6. Science

    Molecule That Gives Beer Its Hoppy Bite Could Also Help Treat Diabetes

    Beer is wonderful and good for you -- I've always known this, and I've said it regularly and loudly to anyone who will listen. Also, to people who would rather not listen. Now, science offers the latest proof that beer is medicine. Or rather that the structure of some of the molecules that make up beer and give hops it's bitter bite, could be, in moderation and after years of careful research, used to offer treatments for diabetes. If the research pans out, it could mean a brand new breeds of drugs. If it doesn't, that's a shame, but we could still finally develop the world's first truly perfect IPA. While that outcome is certainly less good than new lifesaving drugs, I would humbly submit that that doesn't make it "not good."

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  7. Science

    Just Add Water: Seattle Seahawks Really Do Play Better at Home in Rain and Snow

    Hailing from Washington, I can happily confirm that yes, as you may have heard, it rains quite a bit there. Somehow, though, we mostly get by just fine. Now, a University of Washington meteorologist has run the numbers to find that our NFL team has not only found ways to live with the rainy, wet conditions that are par for the course in the Northwest -- they actually thrive in them. The playoff bound Seattle Seahawks are more likely to win home games in rain or snow, and not by just a little.

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  8. Space

    Keep Watching The Skies: You Can Help Find Star Clusters In The Andromeda Galaxy

    We suspect a lot of you kind of enjoy looking at pictures of space on the Internet. That's a reasonable thing to enjoy, and if you do, we've got a project for you that's more enjoyable than whatever you're doing at work and also offers a helping hand to further scientific research. A group of astronomers from the University of Washington, University of Utah, and several other institutions wants your help identifying star clusters in the Andromeda galaxy in your spare time using their new database -- The Andromeda Project.

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  9. Science

    Earliest Known Dinosaur — Or Closest Evolutionary Relative — Discovered

    An international team of researchers have identified what they think is the earliest specimen of a dinosaur on record, a find that could rewrite textbooks and push back the development of dinosaurs between 10 and 15 million years from the Late to Middle Triassic period, suggesting that during their early development, dinosaurs wouldn't have been the dominant vertebrate group on the planet. An unassuming specimen -- which had been sitting on a shelf at the Natural History Museum in London since being discovered in the 1930s -- Nyasasaurus parringtoni was a vegetarian, land-dwelling reptile about the size of a labrador retriever boasting a 5-foot-long tail, and likely originated in the southern portion of the super-continent Pangea.

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  10. Science

    The Economics of Disease: Keeping Cells From Sharing Resources Can Collapse Bacterial Communities

    The cells associated with cystic fibrosis are very good team players, working together to build thriving communities in patients' lungs. Those communities have their share of freeloaders, though, who consume resources without contributing, and researchers at the University of Washington are working on a novel way to use those lazy cells to treat the disease. By making it more costly for cells to share so-called "public goods" that the entire community needs to survive, researchers made selfish cells more common, causing the bacterial community to collapse when resources run dry.

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  11. Science

    ENCODE Project Finds Most Junk DNA Is Actually Useful, Just Misunderstood

    It's been almost 10 years since the Human Genome Project shed light on just what it is that makes us tick. While it was a huge step forward and a massive achievement in the field of science, it still left a lot of things to be explained. It also left us with the awkward prospect that a lot of our DNA -- the vast majority of it, in fact -- didn't really seem to be doing anything. Most of the approximately 3 billion base pairs that make up the blueprints for a person, it seemed, were just loafing around, letting the 23,000 genes that make up only about 1% of the genome take care of business. To square this circle, researchers around the world formed the research group ENCODE to look for the purpose of all that so called "junk DNA." Today, the project, coordinated by the National Human Genome Research Institute, announced that they've pinpointed more than 4 million sites where specific proteins interact with DNA making significant strides toward that goal.

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  12. Science

    Scientists Create Terminator Vision for Rabbits with HUD Contact Lens

    A U.S.-Finnish team has announced that they have successfully completed trials of a remotely operated heads-up display fitted against the eye in the form of a contact lens. Though the test used a rabbit and the lense contained only one pixel, it's a bold step forward that may someday realize the dream of being able to see like a Terminator. And really, what else could we hope for?

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  13. Science

    Fecal Transplants Promising for Treating Intestinal Issues, Still Fecal Transplants

    Antibiotics, while being one of the greatest advances in medical history, have their downsides. Sometimes, they can do some collateral damage and destroy cultures of bacteria that rightfully belong in the human body, nice cultures of nice bacteria. When these get killed, problems start. One of the more common instances of this has to do with intestinal bacteria. When the intestinal bacteria landscape gets screwed up, sometimes the only way to right the situation is to reintroduce a culture of healthy bacteria to the area. How do you do that? A fecal transplant.

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  14. Tech

    Bill Gates Tells Students Being Rich is Overrated

    “I can understand wanting to have millions of dollars, there’s a certain freedom, meaningful freedom, that comes with that. But once you get much beyond that, I have to tell you, it’s the same hamburger...But being ambitious is good. You just have to pick what you enjoy doing.” Bill Gates speaking at University of Washington, responding to a student who asked him what she can do to be rich like he is.

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  15. Gaming

    Gamers Succeed Where Computers Fail, Fold Enzymes Like a Boss

    Research published online in the journal Nature has a somewhat surprising source: PC gamers. Using a program called Foldit, players created an accurate model of a particularly tricky enzyme that has had scientists stumped for some time. Most importantly, the enzyme in question comes from an AIDS-like virus that affects Rhesus monkeys and could possibly open the door for treatments to that horrific disease. In Foldit, players are presented with a series of brightly colored pieces that represent individual molecules. The rules of chemistry are built into the game, setting the stage for players to strut their stuff folding the molecules into the lowest energy configuration. As the energy gets lower, the score rises, and so go the mechanics of the game. Understanding the folded shape is vitally important for researchers, especially when creating drugs to stop dangerous diseases. In this case, the enzyme in question belonged to a group of enzymes called proteases that help the virus spread.

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