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Desktop kit slows light to a crawl

April 3, 2003

Light can been slowed down to just over 200 kilometres per hour or even stopped, using only simple desktop equipment at room temperature.

The work could make it easier to control information transmitted via light at a network switching station, for example.

Super-Cheap Supercomputing?

April 3, 2003

Star Bridge Systems claims to have created a reconfigurable “hypercomputer” that performs like a supercomputer but sits on a desktop, uses very little electricity, needs no special cooling systems and costs as little as $175,000.

The secret is the use of field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chips that can be reprogrammed on the fly to handle different tasks and the development of a special programming language.

News tip: Walter… read more

‘Nanowire’ Breakthrough

April 2, 2003

Microscopic wires which could help form the miniature technology of the future have been constructed using the basic building blocks of living things.

Yeast protein wires supercomputers

April 2, 2003

Investigators are experimenting with biological materials that can arrange themselves into strings spontaneously, using genetically engineered yeast amyloids or prions. These strands would be stable and would serve as the backbone for metal to attach onto, creating wires for self-assembling electronic circuits.

The Fight to Control Your Mind

April 2, 2003

Should the government have the right to alter the biochemistry of your brain? Richard Glen Boire, codirector and legal counsel of the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, says no, and he’s making his case before the Supreme Court.

Deadly Virus Effortlessly Hops Species

April 1, 2003

“A single genetic change could have created the deadly virus that has killed over 50 people and infected more than 1,600, a new study suggests….The [experiment] result strengthens the idea that the SARS coronavirus might have arisen when an animal and human virus met and swapped genes.”

New Clothes Stab Bugs with Molecular Daggers

April 1, 2003

Tiny molecular daggers that latch onto fibres stab and destroy microbes have been created, meaning “killer clothes” may soon be available. Anti-fungal socks could take on athlete’s foot while, on a more serious note, military uniforms could kill anthrax.

Researchers Invent Computers That ‘Pay Attention’ to Users

March 31, 2003

Researchers from the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario have developed a new concept that allows computers to pay attention to their users’ needs.

One of the main underlying technologies is an eye contact sensor that allows each device to determine whether a user is present and whether that user is looking at the device. This allows devices to establish what the user is attending to,… read more

How Antispam Software Works

March 31, 2003

Smarter filtering techniques — from rules-based analysis to artificial intelligence — promises to eradicate junk mail.

Bayesian filtering, the most promising new technique, learns and relearns how to spot spam by scanning the mail you’ve read and the mail you’ve rejected. It filters out more than 99 percent of unwanted messages.

The Top 25 subject-line words and symbols: Fwd, Free, Get, FREE, $, !, SPAM, You, Your, Norton,… read more

I Want My TIA

March 31, 2003

Total Information Awareness, the DARPA program designed to jump-start new methods of knowledge gathering, integration, and prediction, promises to consign Google to the Stone Age.

Is the U.S. Waging a Virtual War?

March 28, 2003

Computer viruses, worms, and e-bombs could be doing substantial damage in Iraq, according to some cybersecurity experts.

Nanotech improves disease detection

March 28, 2003

Nanotechnology could improve medical diagnostics vastly within the next two or three years, say Emory University researchers.

Researchers are developing diagnostic tests for cancer and cardiovascular diseases based on light emission in the presence of specific disease markers. A nanostructure could also recognize a cancer cell, bind to it, and trigger a release of a therapeutic drug.

The next big thing (is practically invisible)

March 28, 2003

Nanoparticles now turn up in everyday products from tennis balls to sunscreen but some activists are calling for regulation and even a moratorium on some types of nanoscale research.

Sony Seeks Homes for Robots

March 28, 2003

Sony’s humanoid SDR robot can entertain and converse with humans but it’s still in search of a market.

Email traffic patterns can reveal ringleaders

March 28, 2003

A new software technique for looking for patterns in email traffic can quickly identify terrorists or criminal gangs, even if they are communicating in code.

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