science + technology news

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.

Monkeys Brains Alter to Work Robotic Arm

May 12, 2005

A new study finds a monkey’s brain structure adapts to treat a robotic arm as if it was a natural appendage.

The finding bolsters the notion that the primate brain is highly adaptable, and it adds more knowledge to the effort to create useful prosthetic devices for humans.

PTO Moves Forward with Nanotechnology Classification

May 12, 2005

The U. S. Patent and Trademark Office has announced plans for a new classification system that will includes nanostructures; computer software for nanostructure modeling; manufacturing, treatment, or detection of nanostructures; and specific uses of nanostructures.

Self-cloning robots are a chip off the old block

May 12, 2005

The first self-replicating, scalable robot, designed by Cornell University scientists, uses small mechanical building blocks that can attach themselves to one another using electromagnets, all equipped with an identical set of instructions.

It could herald a fundamental rethink of how robots are used in remote environments where repairing them is difficult.

Matrix claims 1-Gbit memory is world’s smallest

May 11, 2005

Matrix Semiconductor Inc. said Tuesday (May 10) it had developed the world’s smallest 1-Gbit memory, with a die area of 31 square millimeters.

A Vision of Terror

May 11, 2005

A new generation of software called Starlight 3.0, developed for the Department of Homeland Security by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), can unravel the complex web of relationships between people, places, and events. And other new software can even provide answers to unasked questions.

A Web of Sensors, Taking Earth’s Pulse

May 11, 2005

The rapid miniaturization of technologies behind cameras, cellphones and wireless computers is allowing scientists to build innovative networks of small sensors that they say will produce a new era of ecological insight and, in time, help save the planet.

New research raises questions about buckyballs and the environment

May 10, 2005

Rice University scientists have found that buckyballs dissolve in water and could have a negative impact on soil bacteria. The findings raise new questions about how the nanoparticles might behave in the environment and how they should be regulated.

The found that buckyballs combine into unusual nano-sized clumps — which they refer to as “nano-C60″ — that are about 10 orders of magnitude more soluble in water than the… read more

Simple Casting Technique To Create Ordered Nanocarbons

May 10, 2005

Carnegie Mellon University scientists have harnessed an experimental technology to produce polymer films with long-range-ordered nanostructure and easily convert them into highly ordered “nanocarbon arrays.”

Called zone casting, this technology could revolutionize the way industrial nanoelectronic components are made.

They used “block copolymers,” which are made of long-chain molecules with distinct “blocks” of chemically different repeating units. To create self-assembling nanostructures from block copolymers, they used molecules with… read more

Motorola builds nanotube-based display

May 9, 2005

Motorola has built a working prototype of a new flat-panel color display that uses carbon nanotubes.

The new displays are much less expensive than CRTs, they respond as quickly, their colors are almost as good, they can be viewed from a wide range of angles, and they are bright enough to be seen in daylight.

Chip Maker Develops Denser Storage Method

May 9, 2005

Matrix Semiconductor is expected to announce on Tuesday that its approach – storing data in an array of circuits stacked in four levels – had yielded one-gigabit chips that are 10 percent smaller than its previous version and have twice the memory of the original 512-megabit chips.

Time Travelers to Meet in Not Too Distant Future

May 6, 2005

MIT students have organized what they call the first convention for time travelers on May 7, 2005, 10:00pm EDT.

They contend that theirs is the only time traveler convention the world needs, because people from the future can travel to it anytime they want.

To set the mood, organizers plan to display a DeLorean – the sleek but short-lived 1980′s car that was the time-traveling vehicle… read more

New drug offers jitter-free mental boost

May 6, 2005

A new class of drug may increase alertness without any of the jitteriness of over-stimulation.

A compound dubbed CX717, a member of the new class called ampakines, significantly improved performance on tests of memory, attention, alertness, reaction time and problem solving in healthy men deprived of sleep.

Ampakines work by binding to AMPA-type glutamate receptors in the brain. This boosts the activity of glutamate, a neurotransmitter, and makes… read more

Modified mice enjoy one-fifth more life

May 6, 2005

A mouse with the ability to mop up free radicals at the cellular level – and live longer as a result – has been created by scientists at the University of Washington.

The research is a boost for the free radical theory of ageing.

The transgenic mice created produce higher-than-normal levels of the antioxidant enzyme catalase. Cells use catalase to convert damaging hydrogen peroxide to harmless water and… read more

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