science + technology news

Nanobacteria in clouds could spread disease, scientists claim

April 6, 2005

Micro-organisms in clouds could play a crucial role in the spread of disease and in the formation of rain drops, scientists have claimed.

The radical theories about nanobacteria — micro-organisms considerably smaller than ordinary bacteria — in clouds are published in two recent articles in the Journal of Proteome Research.

The scientists say nanobacteria are now accepted as being widely prevalent in the terrestrial environment and suggest that… read more

Scan ‘shows if people trust you’

April 6, 2005

MRI brain scans of volunteers playing a money game showed that a brain region called the caudate nucleus lights up when it receives or computes data to make decisions based on trust.

Dolphins and primates have developed similar high-level cognitive abilities

April 6, 2005

Dolphins and primates — and their vastly different brains — both have developed similar high-level cognitive abilities, says Emory University neuroscientist and behavioral biologist Lori Marino.

Recent research by Marino and her colleagues has traced the changing encephalization, or relative brain size, of cetaceans during the past 47 million years by using magnetic resonance imaging and histological studies of the fossil record. While modern humans have brains that are… read more

Black holes ‘do not exist’

April 5, 2005

Black holes are actually dark-energy stars, physicist George Chapline claims.

New look for molecular transistors

April 5, 2005

Theoretical physicists have proposed a new way to make a single-molecule transistor, the quantum interference effect transistor (QuIET).

The device modulates the flow of current through a hydrocarbon ring by switching quantum interference “on” and “off.”

‘Gene-editing’ technique cuts out diseased DNA

April 5, 2005

A gene-editing process that corrects mutations without weaving foreign genetic material into the chromosome has been demonstrated in diseased human cells for the first time.

It could provide a less risky and more efficient alternative to gene therapy, which has resulted in leukemia in some patients.

First image of exoplanet orbiting Sun-like star

April 5, 2005

The first image of a planet orbiting a Sun-like star has been captured by German scientists.

Engineers study whether plasmonics, ‘light on a wire,’ is circuitry wave of future

April 5, 2005

A new research group in Stanford’s School of Engineering is pioneering plasmonics, which combines the bandwidth of photonics and the smallness of electronics.

Surface plasmons are density waves of electrons—picture bunches of electrons passing a point regularly—along the surface of a metal. Plasmons have the same frequencies and electromagnetic fields as light, but their sub-wavelength size means they take up less space. Plasmonics, then, is the technology of transmitting… read more

Ray Kurzweil, ‘revolutionary’ inventor: PBS

April 3, 2005

Ray Kurzweil has been named one of 16 “revolutionaries” by PBS in its upcoming PBS television series, “Who made America,” joining Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Wilbur and Orville Wright, and other major American inventors.

“American history is filled with the stories of influential innovators, whose ideas and entrepreneurial spirit gave birth to commercial milestones like the steamboat and cultural touchstones like the Barbie doll,”… read more

Hitachi Achieves Storage Record for Disk Drives

April 3, 2005

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies plans to announce on Monday a record for storage density on a disk drive: 230 billion bits per square inch, which would make possible a desktop computer drive capable of storing a terabyte of information.

The technology is known as perpendicular recording because the tiny magnets that represent digits are placed upright, not end to end.

FAQ: Forty years of Moore’s Law

April 1, 2005

Moore’s law will likely begin to slow down to a three-year cycle in the next decade and require companies to adopt alternative technologies.

Some say the ability to shrink transistors will start to become problematic by around 2010. Others, such as Intel’s director of technology strategy, Paolo Gargini, paint a more gradual picture. Around 2015, they say, manufacturers will start to move toward hybrid chips, which combine elements of… read more

Biolaser Lights Up Stem Cells

April 1, 2005

Scientists have developed a laser that could illuminate stem cells in greater detail than ever, revealing the important steps they take to become neuron, heart or other types of cells.

‘Bionic eye’ may help reverse blindness

April 1, 2005

A 3-millimeter-wide chip designed to fit behind the retina has returned a degree of vision to blind rats, a first step towards creating a system for humans.

The patient would wear goggles mounted with a small video camera, which sends the image to a wireless wallet-sized computer for processing. The computer transmits this information to an infrared LED screen on the goggles.

The goggles reflect an infrared image… read more

Gene project would seek keys to cancer

March 31, 2005

Federal officials are planning to compile a comprehensive catalog of the genetic abnormalities that characterize cancer, in hopes of discovering important new clues about how to diagnose, prevent, and treat cancer.

The proposed Human Cancer Genome Project would be greater in scale than the Human Genome Project. Its goal: determine the DNA sequence of thousands of tumor samples. Researchers would look for mutations that give rise to cancer or… read more

Deals to Develop Fuel Cell Vehicle

March 30, 2005

General Motors and DaimlerChrysler have signed agreements with the Department of Energy to develop hydrogen fuel cell vehicles over the next five years.

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