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Flexible E-Paper on Its Way

May 8, 2003

“In a step toward electronic newspapers and wearable computer screens, E Ink scientists have created an ultra-thin screen that can be bent, twisted and even rolled up and still display crisp text. The material, less than 0.3 mm thick, displays black text on a whitish-gray background with a resolution similar to that of a typical laptop computer screen,” at 96 pixels per inch.

Companies Bet Their Money On Nano’s Workhorse: The Quantum Dot

May 7, 2003

The potential for quantum dots –- semiconductor nanocrystal particles that confine electrons in their cores — is wide open.

Applications include customizable tags for cell or tissue analysis (the largest market), solar energy, flat-panel displays, light sources, and security tags for currency or other valuable objects.

A Gaggle of Robot Movies

May 7, 2003

Robot movies coming out include The Matrix Reloaded (5/15), Terminator 3 (7/2), The Matrix Revolutions (11/11), and I, Robot (7/2/2004). Also next year, watch for Terminator 4, Robocop 4, StarTrek 11, Star Wars III, a Westworld remake, and yes, Tron 2.0.

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

‘Digital Organisms’ Illuminate Evolution

May 6, 2003

Seeing every step along the way in an evolutionary sequence that unfolds over millions of years is of course impossible, but researchers have found a way to see this process unfold in its entirety without any ‘missing links’. Computer programs designed to “evolve” solutions to mathematical problems support the idea that complexity in nature emerges in small, often apparently unremarkable, steps. This may help computer programmers make more efficient evolutionary… 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

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