science + technology news

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.

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

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