science + technology news

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.

Moving brain implant seeks out signals

November 11, 2004

A device that automatically moves electrodes through the brain to seek out the strongest signals promises to overcome loss of electrode sensitivity and help people who are paralyzed or unable to communicate.

The researchers say that within a year they expect to be able to fit a paralyzed person with an “autonomous microdrive” implant that will allow them to control a computer cursor and navigate the web.

Pioneer ultraviolet laser promises 500GB disks

November 11, 2004

Pioneer plans to use ultraviolet lasers to allow optical drives to store 500GB of data.

Quantum lab fits on a chip

November 11, 2004

Two teams of scientists have entangled light and matter inside a solid for the first time.

The teams both use holes inside the semiconductor material gallium arsenide to house a quantum dot. A laser pulse directed at the dot jolts it into spitting out a particle of light, which is entangled with both the quantum dot and the electric field of the cavity itself.

Trapping the entangled objects… read more

NASA Studying ‘Rain Man’s’ Brain

November 10, 2004

NASA scientists are studying autistic savant Kim Peek, hoping that technology used to study the effects of space travel on the brain will help explain his mental capabilities.

Molecular Manufacturing vs. Peak Oil

November 10, 2004

Civilization could be facing a big problem in the next few years. Oil could get considerably more expensive soon.

“Peak Oil” is not when we “run out” of oil; it’s simply when our collective ability to extract enough oil is exceeded by our demand for oil.

If corporate and national politics delay admissions of trouble until the signs are unmistakable, or if the Peak Oil camp is even… read more

Creating more human-like robots

November 10, 2004

Purdue University is leading an NSF-funded project to enable humanoid robots to move more like people and adapt quickly to new situations so they can complete a variety of tasks they weren’t specifically programmed to perform.

The researchers will record human movements in three dimensions, using sensors placed around certain body parts, such as fingers and arms, as a person moves in a low-level magnetic field. They will use… read more

Ideas Stolen Right From Nature

November 10, 2004

Designers are increasingly turning to biomimetics to improve their products and ideas.

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