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The Year in Web

December 29, 2010

Secrets are flying online, both state and personal, and Internet companies are still looking for ways to make money on applications—or with users’ private data.

Cost of evolution runs into billions

September 14, 2001

Humans are causing evolution on a grand scale – and it is costing us hundreds of billions of dollars each year, says a Harvard biologist.Every time a strain of bacteria becomes resistant to an antibiotic, or a weed mutates so it can thrive after being sprayed with a herbicide, there is a financial cost to humankind, Stephen Palumbi points out. He estimates that cost to be at least $100 billion… read more

The first virtual reality technology to let you see, hear, smell, taste and touch

March 5, 2009
Concept design of a mobile Virtual Cocoon

U.K. scientists are creating the “Virtual Cocoon,” a new “Real Virtuality” (all senses stimulated to create a fully immersive perceptual experience) device that can stimulate all five senses much more realistically than any other current or prospective device.

US scientist heralds ‘artificial life’ breakthrough (Update)

October 8, 2007

The Guardian reported Saturday that Craig Venter said he is set to annouunce the creation of a synthetic chromosome — the first ever artificial life form — within weeks, possibly as early as Monday.

But Venter spokeswoman Heather Kowalski declined to confirm any breakthrough: “We have not achieved what some have speculated we have in synthetic life. When we do so there will be a scientific publication and we… read more


February 14, 2005

After more than a decade of development, Avida’s digital organisms at Michigan State University are now getting close to fulfilling the definition of biological life.

These are digital organisms — strings of commands — akin to computer viruses. Each organism can produce tens of thousands of copies of itself within a matter of minutes. Unlike computer viruses, however, they are made up of digital bits that can mutate and… read more

Nanocarriers Come Through

January 7, 2011

Micelles travelling through the bloodstream glowing green (Science Translational Medicine)

A new nanodelivery system is able to sneak cancer treatments past the defenses of drug-resistant tumor cells — offering hope to many cancer patients who benefit little from existing drug treatments.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo designed small soapy clusters of molecules, called micelles, to carry drugs into tumor cells and release their cargo inside. The molecules harness the cell’s internal transport system to get close to their… read more

A Cautionary Tale for a New Age of Surveillance

October 8, 2001

It’s being proposed as a solution for terrorism. But once thousands of cameras from hundreds of separate closed circuit TV systems are able to feed their digital images to a central monitoring station, and the images can be analyzed with face- and behavioral-recognition software to identify unusual patterns, then the possibilities of the Panopticon (see-all surveillance system) will suddenly become very real.
The creation of a surveillance society in Britain,… read more

Tissues that Build Themselves

March 12, 2009

Cells coated with sticky bits of DNA can self-assemble into functional three-dimensional microstructures.

This bottom-up approach to tissue engineering, developed by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, provides a new solution to one of field’s biggest problems: the creation of multicellular tissues with defined structures.

Google Says Its Health Platform Is Due In Early 2008

October 18, 2007

Google plans to bring its immense data storage and organization capacities to the field of medical care and patient records, incorporating personal medical records, health care-related search features, diet and exercise regimens, a localized “find a doctor” application, and other elements.

For a Start-Up, Visions of Profit in Podcasting

February 25, 2005

The primarily amateur Internet audio medium known as podcasting may be the commercial Web’s next big thing.

Recent proliferation of portable iPods and other devices for storing and playing files in the MP3 audio format has created a mobile audience in this country – more than 11 million and growing – on whom podcasters are counting to listen to much more than downloaded songs and the occasional audio book.… read more

Google Translate Adds Conversation Mode

January 14, 2011

Google updated its Translate app for Android devices with Conversation Mode, a user interface for mobile devices designed to allow real-time conversation between two people speaking different languages. The current version supports only English-Spanish translation.

Robot See, Robot Kill

October 30, 2001

Scientists are working on a camera that automatically tracks people as they move and focuses on the loudest person in a group. It was funded by the military, which wants to develop robot sentinels capable of automatically returning fire when attacked. The camera was originally developed to auto-focus on speakers during a video conference call or a college lecture.

In defense scenarios, a battery of cameras could be used… read more

NIH study: multivitamin use associated with telomere length

March 19, 2009

Multivitamin use is positively associated with telomere length in women, a National Institute of Health study has found.

A telomere is a DNA region at the end of a chromosome that protects the end from destruction. Longer length has been positively correlated with longevity. In the study, the relative telomere length of leukocyte DNA was on average 5.1% longer among daily multivitamin users, compared to nonusers.

Multivitamin supplements… read more

Lack of sleep is a lot like mental illness

October 29, 2007

Brain activity associated with psychiatric illness has been observed in healthy people who missed a single night’s sleep.

‘Millipede’ small scale MEMS prototype shown at CeBIT

March 14, 2005

IBM for the first time is showing a prototype of their “millipede” nanomechanical storage system, achieving data storage densities of more than one terabit per square inch.

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