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Top ten stories of 2003

January 2, 2004

The most popular stories published by New during 2003 include the first speed of gravity measurement, packet tracking for ultrafast Internet, the world’s first brain prosthesis, and James Watson’s statement that stupidity is a genetic disease that should be cured.

Asteroid bound for Earth! Warn your grandchildren

February 10, 2009

New calculations show a 1 in 1400 chance that the gigantic Asteroid 1999 RQ36, with an estimated diameter of 560 meters, will strike Earth between 2169 and 2199, according to Andrea Milani of the University of Pisa in Italy and colleagues.

New year, new science

January 4, 2011

Artist's impression of extrasolar planet (NASA)

Among the key findings and events that could emerge from the research world in 2011, according to Nature:

  • The price of human-genome sequencing will drop to US$1,000 per genome.
  • Patient-derived iPS cells will increasingly be used as models for studying medical conditions for which there are no good animal models, and little understanding of what is happening inside cells. They will also be used to screen

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In the Genome Race, the Sequel Is Personal

September 4, 2007

Biologist J. Craig Venter has decoded a new, higher-quality version of the human genome, using his own genome.

Called a full, or diploid genome, it consists of the DNA in both sets of chromosomes, one from each parent, and it is the normal genome possessed by almost all the body’s cells. It makes clear that the variation in the genetic programming carried by an individual is much greater than… read more

Acoustic sensors make surfaces interactive

November 29, 2006

Tai-Chi (Tangible Acoustic Interfaces for Computer-Human Interaction), a series of acoustic sensors that turn any surface into a touch-sensitive computer interface, has been developed by European researchers.

Two or more sensors are attached around the edges of the surface. These pinpoint the position of a finger, or another touching object, by tracking minute vibrations. This allows them to create a virtual touchpad, or keyboard, on any table or wall.

Pig-human chimeras contain cell surprise

January 14, 2004

Pigs grown from fetuses into which human stem cells were injected have surprised scientists by having cells in which the DNA from the two species is mixed at the most intimate level.

It is the first time such fused cells have been seen in living creatures. The discovery could have serious implications for xenotransplantation — the use of animal tissue and organs in humans — and even the origin… read more

Sponge’s secret weapon restores antibiotics’ power

February 17, 2009

Algeferin, a chemical from an ocean sponge, can reprogram antibiotic resistant bacteria to make them vulnerable to medicines again, new evidence from Hollings Marine Laboratory research suggests.

U.S. Life Expectancy Hits New High

September 13, 2007

Life expectancy rates in the United States are at an all-time high, with people born in 2005 projected to live for nearly 78 years, up from 69.6 in 1955, a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics finds.

Despite the upward trend, the United States still has a lower life expectancy than some 40 other countries, according to the U.S.… read more

Personalized Weather Forecasts

December 11, 2006

IBM has launched a new weather service called Deep Thunder that can predict the rain, the wind, and temperature conditions down to a one-kilometer resolution. In time, IBM researchers say they should even be able to nail the resolution down to individual streets.

Deep Thunder increases the resolution by using IBM’s pSeries Cluster 1600 computers — a mini-supercomputer — to include additional information about the local area that can… read more

Gulf between rich, poor will grow if nanotech opponents prevail

January 28, 2004

The chasm between have and have-not countries will grow even wider if nanotechnology research is blocked by the unbalanced positions of high-profile opponents like Prince Charles, warns a new analysis from a leading global medical ethics think tank.

In an article to be published by the Institute of Physics’ journal “Nanotechnology,” and released Jan. 28 online at, the authors say the potential health, environmental and economic… read more

Researchers Generate Functional Neurons From Engineered Stem Cells

February 25, 2009

UCLA researchers have generated functionally mature motor neurons from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The process be a boon to research into conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal cord injury, and could open the door to eventual treatments.

UC-Santa Cruz to put novelist Robert Heinlein’s archive online

September 21, 2007

The entire contents of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Archive — housed in the UC-Santa Cruz Library’s Special Collections since 1968 — have been scanned in an effort to preserve the contents digitally while making the collection easily available to both academics and the general public.

Pluggd: A Google for Podcasts

December 21, 2006

Pluggd has found a way to index podcasts, talk shows and other spoken-word content. The company’s service then allows users to search the audio files for specific words, which are spoken in context by the original speaker.

The Computer at Nature’s Core

February 10, 2004

The computational worldview — that the universe itself is governed by the laws of computation and is, in fact, a computer — is the death of the notion that technology is applied science.

If both the physical universe and the biological world are best understood in terms of information and computation, it no longer makes sense to think that technology results from an application of science. Indeed, if computation… read more

Traveling-Wave Reactor

March 3, 2009
(Bryan Christie Design)

Scientists at Intellectual Ventures have designed a “traveling­-wave” reactor that requires only a small amount of enriched uranium fuel and runs for decades without refueling and reprocessing, with their risks of nuclear-weapons proliferation and environmental pollution.

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