science + technology news

The most accurate clock of all time

May 19, 2005

A strontium atomic clock has set another benchmark, with an accuracy of 1 part in 10^18, 1000 times more accurate than any of its predecessors.

Air Force Seeks Bush’s Approval for Space Weapons Programs

May 18, 2005

A new Air Force strategy, Global Strike, calls for a military space plane carrying precision-guided weapons armed with a half-ton of munitions.

The “common aero vehicle” could strike from halfway around the world in 45 minutes.

The “Rods From God” space program aims to hurl cylinders of tungsten, titanium or uranium from the edge of space to destroy targets on the ground.

A third program would bounce… read more

Heart ‘wonder drugs’ slash cancer risk

May 18, 2005

Statins, hailed as cholesterol-lowering wonder drugs for the heart, may also reduce the risk of developing several cancers by 50 percent.

They may work by blocking the binding of oncogenic proteins to the surface of cells. This stops them from turning the cells cancerous and the normal cellular machinery takes over, ensuring a cell dies naturally.

Super Water Kills Bugs Dead

May 17, 2005

A California company has figured out how to use two simple materials — water and salt — to create a solution that wipes out single-celled organisms, and which appears to speed healing of burns, wounds and diabetic ulcers.

More Diseases Pinned on Old Culprit: Germs

May 17, 2005

An American Academy of Microbiology report says microbes are probably the cause of many illnesses that were never thought to be infectious, and determining exactly how a microbe contributes to disease is no longer simple.

Real big diamonds made real fast

May 17, 2005

Researchers at the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory have learned to produce 10-carat, half-inch thick single-crystal diamonds at rapid growth rates (100 micrometers per hour) using a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process.

Inventing Our Evolution

May 17, 2005

We’re almost able to build better human beings. But are we ready?

The surge of innovation that has given the world everything from iPods to talking cars is now turning inward, to our own minds and bodies. In an adaptation from his new book, “Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies — and What It Means to Be Human,” Washington Post staff writer Joel… read more

Paralyzed Rats Walk; Humans Next?

May 16, 2005

Researchers studying embryonic stem cells have published the hotly anticipated details of how they got rodents with crushed spinal cords up and walking again. The study reveals a road map to human trials.

Super Water Kills Bugs Dead

May 16, 2005

A new miracle liquid proves deadly to viruses, bacteria and fungi, but harmless to humans and animals. It might even wipe out antibiotic-resistant superbugs — and you can drink it.

A recipe for making strings in the lab

May 16, 2005

Theoretical physicists in the Netherlands have proposed a way to make superstrings in the laboratory: by trapping an ultracold cloud of fermionic atoms along the core of a quantized vortex in a Bose-Einstein condensate.

Hopefully this will allow observation of the supersymmetry between bosons and fermions, thus providing the first experimental evidence to support superstring theory.

Human evolution at the crossroads

May 16, 2005

Where are humans headed? Here’s an imprudent assessment of five possible paths, ranging from homogenized humans to alien-looking hybrids bred for interstellar travel.

Personal Nuclear Power: New Battery Lasts 12 Years

May 16, 2005

A new type of battery based on the radioactive decay of nuclear material is 10 times more powerful than similar prototypes and should last a decade or more without a charge.

The technology, called betavoltaics, oonverts a silicon wafer into a three-dimensional surface (by adding deep pits) to capture electrons emitted by a radioactive gas, such as tritium.

Design by DNA

May 12, 2005

DNA molecules provide the architecture for all living things. New York University chemist Ned Seeman thinks they could also be a perfect assembly platform for the smallest computing devices ever built.

If Search Engines Could Read Your Mind

May 12, 2005

Search engines are observing our behavior, and learning from our fumbling activities. All of the major search engines employ artificial intelligence experts who are quietly building common sense and worldly knowledge into our search tools.

Splice It Yourself

May 12, 2005

The advent of garage biology is at hand. Skills and technology are proliferating, and the synthesis and manipulation of genomes are no longer confined to ivory towers.

The technology has even reached the toy market: The Discovery DNA Explorer kit for kids 10 and older is surprisingly functional at $80.

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