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New Detector May Test Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

July 23, 2003

Scientists at the University of California at Santa Barbara have devised an extremely precise detector able to detect a flexing of the beam of about one one-thousandth of a nanometer.

Using such a device, the researchers hope to determine whether Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle still holds when billions of atoms are assembled as an object.

Comment by Ray Kurzweil: “This is picotechnology, at least a very early example.”

‘Ape diet’ lowers bad cholesterol levels

July 23, 2003

A vegetarian “ape-diet” is as effective in lowering cholesterol as an established cholesterol-lowering drug.

The diet includes plant sterols (found in plant oils and enriched margarines), viscous fiber (found in oats, barley and aubergine), and soy protein and nuts.

David Jenkins, a vascular biologist at the University of Toronto, believes that humans may be evolutionarily adapted to the diet.

Star survey reaches 70 sextillion

July 22, 2003

The total number of stars in the known universe visible with modern telescopes is 7 x 10^22, according to a study by Australian astronomers.

The actual number of stars could be infinite, said Dr. Simon Driver, speaking at the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union meeting in Sydney. The universe is so big, light from the other side of the universe “hasn’t reached us yet.”

Turing Test Dead End

July 22, 2003

“The failure of computers, with all their power, to do much more than ELIZA [a simulated psychologist] is pathetic,” says curmudgeon PC Mag. columnist John Dvorak.

“With computer programs such as Deep Blue able to analyze millions of chess moves in order to make informed decisions, you’d think developers could somehow apply similar technology…”

GM food risk to humans ‘very low’

July 22, 2003

The independent review of over 600 scientific papers concludes that existing genetically modified crops and foods pose a “very low” risk to human health.

Sensors guard privacy

July 22, 2003

Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder have addressed the privacy problem with a way to set up networks of tiny sensors that allows users to gain useful traffic statistics but preserves privacy by cloaking location information for any given individual.

On the Edge: Hidden in Plain Sight

July 21, 2003

The 2001 movie “Along Came A Spider” probably marks the debut of steganography in mainstream culture. Steganography usually involves image files such as JPEGs, and unlike the better-known process of encryption, where a message is garbled but remains in plain view, steganography hides it altogether.

Switch on for Powered Data Networks

July 21, 2003

Instead of needing adapters, computer networks could soon be supplying the devices they interconnect with both data and power. The basic plugs for computer networks are the same all over the world, raising the possibility that powered data cables could become a universal back-up power supply.

Taking a Quick Swipe at Cancer

July 21, 2003

A new handheld scanner will allow the doctor to simply swipe a 30-centimeter baton over the patient’s body. Information on irregular tissues will be displayed on a computer screen and in five minutes the exam will be over. The new device, TRIMprob (Tissue Resonance InterferoMeter Probe), consists of a battery-powered baton that produces a signal when it hits a tumor.

Scientists Discover a New Way to Slow Speed of Light

July 21, 2003

Researchers say they have slowed light in specially treated crystals of alexandrite and at room temperature. This could lead to a new generation of components to build optical and quantum computers and more-efficient optical communications systems.

Amazon Plan Would Allow Searching Texts of Many Books

July 21, 2003

Executives at Amazon.com are reportedly negotiating with several of the largest book publishers about an ambitious and expensive plan to assemble a searchable online archive with the texts of tens of thousands of books of nonfiction.

Why We Die, Why We Live: A New Theory on Aging

July 21, 2003

A new theory of aging based on parental care explains why mortality is high among infants but rapidly drops: mutations that cause death late in childhood, when much has been invested, are removed more quickly from a population than are mutations that cause death in infancy. The theory can also explain the reduction of mortality after menopause: women care for children and contribute to their survival.

Apple Co-Founder Creates Electronic ID Tags

July 21, 2003

The co-founder of Apple Computer, Stephen Wozniak, has developed wireless location-monitoring technology that would use electronic tags to help people keep track of their animals, children or property.

WozNet is a simple and inexpensive wireless network that uses radio signals and global positioning satellite data to keep track of a cluster of inexpensive tags within a one- or two-mile radius of each base station and track the location of… read more

Taking control: Lab testing you order for yourself

July 21, 2003

Healthcare consumers can now order laboratory tests on themselves in more than 30 states. “Direct Access Testing” is on the verge of tremendous expansion in providing laboratory services such as allergy, cardiac risk, and Diabetes screening tests to the patient population.

American Association for Clinical Chemistry press release

A new way to flip bits

July 21, 2003

Physicists in Japan have shown that electric fields could be used to improve the performance of magnetic data storage devices. Hideo Ohno and colleagues at Tohoku University demonstrated that the magnetic field needed to reverse the magnetization in a storage bit can be reduced by applying an electric field. By making it easier to “flip” the magnetization of a material, the new method could have applications in ultrahigh-density information storage… read more

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