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World’s poor to get own search engine

July 17, 2003

MIT researchers are developing a search engine designed for people with a slow net connection.

The user would e-mail a query to a central server in Boston. The program would search the net, choose the most suitable webpages, compress them and e-mail the results a day later.

Bionic Eyes Benefit the Blind

July 17, 2003

Several types of “bionic eyes” are beginning to restore sight to the blind:

  • Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California researchers have developed spectacles with miniature video cameras that transmit signals to a 4-mm-by-5-mm retinal implant with 16 electrodes that stimulate remaining healthy retinal cells.
  • University of New South Wales researchers are developing an implant with 100 electrodes to give patients the ability
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    The Robot Won’t Bite You, Dear

    July 16, 2003

    Fear of robots and other supposedly sentient technology is what motivated organizers to host ArtBots, held in New York City this past weekend. Exhibits included:

  • BabyBott looked like a giant baby bottle and cooed when it was cuddled. Its talent: making people take care of it.
  • Tribblation, a sort of whiskered soccer ball ‘bot, was particularly popular with younger ArtBots attendees. Trib has hundreds of pressure,
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    Why A.I. Is Brain-Dead

    July 16, 2003

    “There is no computer that has common sense,” says Marvin Minsky. “We’re only getting the kinds of things that are capable of making an airline reservation. No computer can look around a room and tell you about it.”

    AI’s biggest deficiency right now: “The lack of people with an interest in commonsense reasoning for computers…it’s hard to get 10 capable people.”

    Asked to “Pick one: Bill Joy or… read more

    Machine vs. Man: Checkmate

    July 16, 2003

    “There’s a scary lesson in these contests between the grandmaster and his soulless opponents. We are sharing our world with another species, one that gets smarter and more independent every year. Though some people scoff at the idea that machines could become autonomous, remember it wasn’t long ago that almost no one thought a computer would ever beat a human chess champion. Could we ever face anything akin to the… read more

    Fat Pipe Dream

    July 16, 2003

    A new gigabit Ethernet network provides Internet access to Japanese homes at 12 megabits per second — eight times faster than what Americans are used to — for about $21 a month.

    The “Yahoo! BB” brand service includes voice-over-IP (less than 3 cents a minute for a call from Tokyo to New York), which could eventually put Japan’s NTT telephone company out of business.

    A video-on-demand service that… read more

    Telomere shortening may be early marker of cancer activity

    July 16, 2003

    Telomere shortening may be one of the earliest and most prevalent changes on a cell’s path to cancer, according to two studies presented at the 94th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

    As cells divide and age, telomere DNA is lost and telomeres get shorter and shorter. The new study suggests that telomere dysfunction from the shortening may play a causal role in human intraepithelial… read more

    UCLA Physicists Create Single Molecule Nanoscale Sensor

    July 15, 2003

    Physicists have created a first-of-its-kind nanoscale sensor, using a single molecule more than 1,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair to recognize the presence of a specific short sequence in a mixture of DNA or RNA molecules that could help with early diagnosis of genetic diseases, and have numerous other applications for medicine, biotechnology and other fields.

    Weird Web Data Foxes Experts

    July 15, 2003

    Strange packets of data found on the Internet are worrying net security experts. Some believe the packets are part of a new scanning tool that maps networks and reports vulnerabilities that it finds. Efforts to track down the source of the large data packets have proved largely fruitless.

    Early Voices: The Leap to Language

    July 15, 2003

    Biologists and linguists have long inhabited different worlds, with linguists taking little interest in evolution, the guiding theory of all biology. But the faculty for language, along with the evidence of how it evolved, is written somewhere in the now decoded human genome, waiting for biologists and linguists to identify the genetic program that generates words and syntax.

    Teaching Computers to Work in Unison

    July 15, 2003

    This month, grid computing moved further toward the commercial mainstream when the Globus Project released new software tools that blend the grid standards with a programming technology called Web services, developed mainly in corporate labs, for automated computer-to-computer communications.

    Enthusiasm for grid computing is also broadening among scientists. A report this year by a National Science Foundation panel, “Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure,” called for new financing of… read more

    Accelerating-change conference announced

    July 14, 2003

    The Accelerating Change Conference (ACC2003): Exploring the Future of Accelerating Change, will be held at Stanford University, September 12-14, 2003.

    ACC2003 speakers include Ray Kurzweil (via Teleportec’s 3D Telepresence Lectern); venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson; K. Eric Drexler, Founder and Chairman of Foresight Institute; Greg Papadopoulos, CTO of Sun Microsystems; Tim O’Reilly, CEO of O’Reilly & Associates; Howard Bloom, author of Global Brain; and… read more

    Intel keeping options open at 32-nm node

    July 14, 2003

    Despite its decision to pass on 157-nm lithography at the 45-nm node, Intel Corp. is “keeping all of its options open” for the 32-nm node, which moves into volume production toward the end of this decade.

    Gladiator-style ‘wars’ select out weak programs

    July 14, 2003

    Computer scientists have found the ultimate way to debug their programs –let them compete against other programs in a gladiator-style tournament.

    Dubbed Grid Wars II, the contest held at the ClusterWorld conference in San Jose, California, last month was like a software version of television’s Robot Wars and Battle Bots. In each battle, programs fought to gain control of processing power in a huge parallel computer.

    ‘Augmented reality’ speeding assembly and service tasks

    July 14, 2003

    Shorter development times and faster repairs are making “augmented reality,” a system for displaying electronic information in the form of images, a possibility.

    “In one possible scenario, a technician with data goggles bends over the engine block of a luxury car and removes the covering. He is receiving instructions through an ear piece telling him what to do next while his data goggles mark the screws and bolts on… read more

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