science + technology news

Nano Fabric May Make Computers Thinner

November 19, 2004

Researchers in Russia and England claim they have discovered the world’s first single-atom-thick fabric.

The fabric may represent a new class of materials — so thin they are only two-dimensional — and may lead to computers made from a single molecule.

The graphene fabric is the first two-dimensional fullerene. The research team demonstrated an “ambipolar field-effect” that makes graphene a transistor under ambient temperature and pressure conditions.… read more

Shape-shifting robot shows off its moves

November 18, 2004

A shape-shifting robot comprised of many independently moving components, has been demonstrated walking, rolling and slithering for the first time.

The coordinated movement of numerous cells enables the robot to change its overall shape and also move itself along. The cells each have a computer and communicate with each other via an infrared link.

Seagate Ships 400-GB Drive

November 18, 2004

Setting a new record, Seagate Technology began shipping its first 400-Gbyte drive, the Barracuda 7200.8, this week.

Google Plans New Service for Scientists and Scholars

November 18, 2004

Google Inc. has launched Google Scholar, providing access to scholarly literature like peer-reviewed papers, books, abstracts and technical reports.

Google Scholar will make the world’s scientific literature universally accessible, says Anurag Acharya, who led the project.

It includes the number of scientific citations for each listing as well as ways to find materials at libraries that are not online.

Heart Scanner Stirs New Hope and a Debate

November 18, 2004

Multidetector CT scans, a new way to diagnose heart disease that takes only seconds and provides pictures so clear they show every clogged artery, may revolutionize cardiology.

At a cost of about $700, it can largely replace invasive, $4,000 diagnostic angiograms. In a CT scan, X-rays pass through the heart and are picked up by detectors that send information to a computer that constructs an image. The new multidetector… read more

New book released — Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever

November 17, 2004

Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever by Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman M.D. has been published by Rodale Books. It explains how advances in genomics, biotechnology, and nanotechnology have brought the possibility of immortality within our grasp.

The book describes three bridges to the future that can lead to longer, healthier lives:

1. Ray & Terry’s Longevity Program: present-day therapies and guidance that enables… read more

Fuel shortage is civilization’s major problem: Smalley

November 17, 2004

The shortage of fossil fuels is the most significant problem facing human civilization, said nobel prize winner Richard Smalley, director of the Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory at Rice University, speaking at SEMI NanoForum 2004.

Nanotechnology has the potential to provide an energy storage capability so that alternative energy sources can be widely adopted. “We need new technology to solve the energy problem,” he said.

However, Smalley warned that the… read more

Top scientist asks: is life all just a dream?

November 16, 2004

“Life, the universe and everything” may be no more than a giant computer simulation with humans reduced to bits of software, says Martin Rees, Royal Society professor of astronomy at Cambridge University, in a forthcoming BBC television documentary.

Countering this, MIT professor Seth Lloyd said such a computer would have to be unimaginably large.

China to be biggest chip market by 2008, says ST

November 16, 2004

By 2008 the market for semiconductors in China will be the largest in the world at about $50 billion, aocording to STMicroelectronics estimates.

The eastern part of the globe will represent 66 percent of the market for semiconductors and the western part, Europe and the Americas, just 34 percent.

Software to discover new treatments

November 16, 2004

New treatments for patients could be found by a computer program that can “read” thousands of clinical papers in minutes. Use of this AI software has already resulted in a new treatment for heart disease based on an anti­psychotic drug.

Developed by scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, the IRIDESCENT program uses data-mining techniques to discover potential new uses for existing therapies.

The… read more

Wireless to Drive Internet Growth, Tech Leaders Say

November 16, 2004

Wireless services will lead the next growth phase of the Internet, industry leaders said, with investors now ready to spend again.

“I think the Internet’s largest opportunities are in bringing new services, ones that we barely imagine, to billions of people around the world, wirelessly,” said venture capitalist John Doerr.

Bill Joy, former chief scientist and a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, said he envisioned many kinds of Webs,… read more

New software to demolish the Tower of Babel on mobiles

November 15, 2004

Indian researchers are developing real-time translation between spoken languages, using a combination of audio signal processing, speech-to-text conversion, AI processing, and text-to-speech conversion to generate the translation.

The researchers also plan to develop real-time lookup of Internet information in any language by 2010.

Could future computer viruses infect humans?

November 15, 2004

Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at Reading University, warned the day will come when computer viruses can infect humans as well as PCs.

“We’re looking at software viruses and biological viruses becoming one and the same,” he said. “The security problems [will] be much, much greater… they will have to become critical in future.”

If humans were networked, the implications of being hacked would be far more serious… read more

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet

November 15, 2004

The Pentagon is building its own secure Internet, the Global Information Grid, or GIG. The first connections for the system were installed six weeks ago, but it could take two decades and hundreds of billions of dollars to build the network and its components.

The system’s goal is to give American commanders and troops a moving picture of all foreign enemies and threats.

Quantum Astronomy: The Double Slit Experiment

November 12, 2004

A SETI Institute scientist proposes to perform the classic double-slit experiment over astronomical distances to demonstrate that quantum effects are not just microscopic phenomena, but can be extended across the cosmos.

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