science + technology news


June 30, 2005

Three leading scientists, J. Craig Venter, Ray Kurzweil, and Rodney Brooks, discuss “Biocomputation.”

Soot blamed for global warming underestimate

June 30, 2005

Global warming looks set to be much worse than previously forecast, according to new research.

Three top climate researchers claim that the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere should have warmed the world more than they have. The reason they have not, they say, is that the warming is being masked by sun-blocking smoke, dust and other polluting particles put into the air by human activity.

But they… read more

Entering a dark age of innovation

June 30, 2005

We are fast approaching a new dark age, says Jonathan Huebner, a physicist working at the Pentagon’s Naval Air Warfare Center.

He says the rate of technological innovation reached a peak a century ago and has been declining ever since.

He plotted major innovations and scientific advances over time compared to world population, using the 7200 key innovations listed in a recently published book, The History of Science… read more

Mind is analog, not digital

June 30, 2005

The mind works the way biological organisms do — as a dynamic continuum, cascading through shades of gray — says a new Cornell study, which found evidence that language comprehension is a continuous process.

The older models of language processing theorized that neural systems process words in a series of discrete stages. The alternative model suggests that sensory input is processed continuously, so that even partial linguistic input can… read more

Computers Get The Meaning

June 29, 2005

A new software language will let computers interpret the nuanced meaning behind a command in order to appropriately execute actions in manufacturing environments. Developed by federal government researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and colleagues in France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom, the process-specification-language software should make computers reason much more precisely than they do now.

Researchers create first nanofluidic transistor

June 29, 2005

University of California, Berkeley, researchers have invented the first “nanofluidic” transistor, which allows them to control the movement of ions through sub-microscopic, water-filled channels.

One application tney are exploring is cancer diagnosis. A nanoscale chemical analysis chip could, theoretically, take the contents of as few as 10 cancer cells and pull out protein markers that can tip doctors to the best means of attacking the cancer.

Nanofluidic channels… read more

What Other People Say May Change What You See

June 29, 2005

A new study used advanced brain-scanning technology to cast light on a topic that psychologists have puzzled over for more than half a century: social conformity.

They found evidence that other people’s views can actually affect how someone perceives the external world, implying that truth itself is called into question.

Roadmap to unravelling autism revealed

June 29, 2005

Combining the Autism Genome Project with brain imaging studies may hold the key to understanding the complex disorder.

Google’s free 3-D service brings views of Earth down to the PC

June 29, 2005

Google unveiled a free, three-dimensional satellite mapping technology Tuesday that is part flight simulator, part video game and part world atlas.

Google Earth allows users to zoom in from space, simulate flying above terrian or a city, get directions, find businesses and share the information with friends.

Google also introduced an updated version of its personalized search that personalizes results based on what a user has searched for… read more

Remembrance of Things Future: The Mystery of Time

June 27, 2005

Einstein-Rosen bridges or “wormholes” — tunnels through space connecting distant points — could allow for time travel, and microscopic holes in the quantum “space-time foam” might be cultivated to grow to macroscopic size, creating a traversable wormhole.

Quantum computer springs a leak

June 27, 2005

Physicists in the Netherlands have shown that efforts to engineer quantum computers around ever-smaller qubits may face significant obstacles.

They have proven that there is a universal decoherence rate for qubits. This means that quantum information will inevitably be lost after a certain time, even without any external disturbance. For some of the most promising qubit technologies, the limit would be about 1 second.

Space station gets HAL-like computer

June 27, 2005

Clarissa, a voice-operated computer assistant, will be used in space for the first time on Monday.

The program will initially talk astronauts on the International Space Station through tests of onboard water supplies. But its developers hope it will eventually be used for all computer-related work on the station.

The program “listens” to everything astronauts say and analyzes how to respond, using a “command grammar” of 75 commands… read more

Half human, half beast?

June 27, 2005

A few human cells don’t make an animal human. But what if it’s 10%, or 50%? Welcome to the moral minefield of human-animal chimeras. (Requires paid subscription)

‘Robo-legs’ help amputees get around

June 27, 2005

Blazing advancements, including lightweight composite materials, keener sensors and tiny programmable microprocessors are restoring remarkable degrees of mobility to amputees.

The line that has long separated human beings from the machines that assist them is blurring as complex technologies become a visible part of people who depend upon them.

World broadband numbers in Q1 2005

June 27, 2005

World broadband lines reached 164 million in Q1 2005, up 52 million lines since Q1 2004.

The United Status leads, with 36.5 milion lines. China remains in second place with 28.3 million, followed by Japan, South Korea, France, and Germany.

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