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Posts tagged with ‘Japan’

Grapefruit-sized RadBall proposed for Fukushima clean-up

The world’s largest floating power station is about to set sail from Tokyo bay for deployment off Fukushima, while officials struggle to clean up radioactive waste inside the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power station. Soon however, they may have a grapefruit-sized ball made of aluminium and tungsten to help them. Called RadBall, the device is designed to locate sources of radiation in difficult to reach places.

3D scan tracks unborn chimp’s brain for the first time

Chimps may be similar to us in many ways but they can’t compete when it comes to brain size. Now for the first time we can see when the differences emerge by tracking the brain development of unborn chimps.

As seen in this video, Tomoko Sakai and colleagues from Kyoto University in Japan subjected a pregnant chimp to a 3D ultrasound to gather images of the fetus between 14 and 34 weeks of development. The volume of its growing brain was then compared to that of an unborn human.

The team found that brain size increases in both chimps and humans until about 22 weeks, but after then only the growth of human brains continues to accelerate. This suggests that as the brain of modern humans rapidly evolved, differences between the two species emerged before birth as well as afterwards.

The researchers now plan to examine how different parts of the brain develop in the womb, particularly the forebrain, which is responsible for decision-making, self-awareness and creativity.

Start-up brings ‘adventure’ to lunch in Japan

A web app called Social Lunch is gaining popularity for bringing people together in their lunch hour in Japan. The app uses a social networking site to pair people with common interests in the same location for lunch with one another in hopes of expanding their business networks.

In its first six months, Social Lunch has gained over 35,000 members and organised 2,500 social lunches throughout Japan. Their plan is to eventually expand out into other parts of Asia in the forseeable future.

Japan: Renewable Energy Power Consumption To Grow to 21% by 2030

Japan has been a laggard in the renewable energy market in recent years. The once world renown pioneer of innovative technology, is not in the top 10 list in terms of annual renewable installations and power generating capacity. Japan wishes to change that. Recent ministry estimates show that Japan has the capacity, if properly implemented, to generate as much as 150 gigawatts via solar power, 1880 gigawatts via wind power and 14 gigawatts via geothermal power. A giant obstacle it will have to overcome is minimizing the cost, the cost being $401 per mega watt and $172 per mega watt for solar and wind, nearly twice the international average. 

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