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Cold Virus Zaps Brain Tumors

May 6, 2003

A genetically altered common cold virus worked so well in destroying the most lethal type of brain tumor in experiments with mice that researchers want to take the treatment to people next year. The scientists implanted the human glioblastomas inside the brains of mice, and found only empty cavities and scar tissue where the tumors once were.

Lead researchers cautioned that the dramatic results don’t assure the virus will… read more

Man or Machine? (Part 1 of 3): Human or Robot?

May 6, 2003

Pattern recognition is what Ray Kurzweil calls the heart of human intelligence. “Ultimately, our machines will have equal and, in fact, even greater powers of pattern recognition,” he says.

He predicts as we reach a greater understanding of the brain, artificial intelligence will advance even more. “We’ll be able to essentially recreate the powers of human intelligence and combine them with the speed, accuracy and knowledge-sharing ability of machines.”

Shaking up system of quake predictions

May 6, 2003

“A seismologist in Wisconsin and a geophysicist in California have developed an alarm system that promises to offer at least a few crucial seconds of warning that a major quake is about to strike. Simulations so far suggest that the technique can signal a quake’s magnitude and where the most dangerous ground motion might threaten people and buildings.”

New Technique Could Stem Spread of Altered Genes From GM Crops

May 6, 2003

“A key concern regarding the use of genetically modified crops is the possibility that they will spread their altered genes to wild plants. Research published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences could help prevent these occurrences. Scientists have engineered a strain of GM plant that propagates successfully on its own, but cannot mix with non-GM plants.”

Lab tests tenets’ limits

May 6, 2003

If the fundamental constants of physics change, they do so too slowly for us to detect.

Case in point: Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, have ruled out any change in the fine-structure constant (alpha) greater than between 7×10^-15 and 7×10^-16 per year.

Alpha is a measure of how strongly light interacts with matter. If it has a different value today than… read more

Gene scale scores stem cells

May 6, 2003

Scientists have proposed a simple scale of 88 genes to help researchers to determine whether they can convert adult cells from say, blood or skin, into stem cells that are able to grow medically valuable repair tissues.

New subatomic particle found

May 6, 2003

Researchers have discoverd a new subatomic particle that is causing theorists to rethink their ideas about the strong force, which binds subatomic particles together into atoms.

The “Ds (2317)” particle is probably an unusual configuration of quarks.

Intel to release machine learning libraries

May 6, 2003

Intel plans to release a set of Bayesian network software libraries to help software developers build programs that can dynamically “learn” by constantly modifying probabilities using a fixed set of rules.

Uses include data mining, computer vision, robotics, bioinformatics, diagnostic and decision-making systems.

Carbon nanotubes light up

May 5, 2003

Scientists at IBM Research have obtained light from a carbon nanotube by a passing current through it. The device could be used to fabricate ultra-small optoelectronics devices for applications in high-speed communications.

Charles fears science could kill life on earth

May 5, 2003

Prince Charles fears that nanotech molecular assembly research could lead to the gray goo scenario. He’s organizing a crisis summit of leading scientists to address this concern.

Nanotech Bill Picks Up Some Passengers, Moves On To Full House

May 2, 2003

S.189, The Nanotechnology Research and Development Act of 2003, was approved Thursday by the House Science Committee.

The bill, reportedly backed by the White House, would authorize spending $2.36 billion over three years for nanotechnology programs at a range of government agencies.

Rep. Brad Sherman tried, unsuccessfully, to attach an amendment that would force the government to spend 5 percent of its nanotechnology research budget on analysis of… read more

Virus Pushes Schools to Go Virtual

May 2, 2003

After the deadly SARS outbreak, Hong Kong schools were ordered shut last month. But Macromedia Inc. and First Virtual Communications Inc. have helped thousands of those students keep up with their studies via virtual classrooms conducted over the Internet, using web cams.

Decoding Computer Intruders

May 2, 2003

In the abstract, fighting a war is simple. The enemy and the targets are generally identifiable. But in the war against hackers and virus writers, the combatants are harder to know.

The attacker might be a 14-year-old in Canada, or a co-worker in the accounting department…

Scientists Breed Cancer-Beating Mice

May 2, 2003

The fight against cancer could be helped by the discovery of a strain of mice which appear to have the ability to resist the disease.

Web-based attacks could create chaos in the physical world

May 2, 2003

Using little more than a Web search engine and some simple software, a computer-savvy criminal or terrorist could easily leap beyond the boundaries of cyberspace to wreak havoc in the physical world, a team of Internet security researchers has concluded.

Automated order forms on the Web could be exploited to send tens of thousands of unwanted catalogs to a business or an individual, which could also paralyze the local… read more

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