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New Fusion Method Offers Hope of New Energy Source

April 8, 2003

Sandia National Laboratories reported today that they had achieved thermonuclear fusion, in essence detonating a tiny hydrogen bomb. This might offer an alternative way of generating electricity by harnessing fusion, which combines hydrogen atoms into helium, producing bountiful energy as a byproduct without long-lived radioactive waste.

Discovery of electrostatic spin challenges century-old theory

April 7, 2003

University of California, Riverside researchers have identified a new physical phenomenon, electrostatic rotation, that, in the absence of friction, leads to spin. The phenomenon will likely impact atomic physics, chemistry and nanotechnology.

Because the electric force is one of the fundamental forces of nature, this leap forward in understanding may help reveal how the smallest building blocks in nature react to form solids, liquids and gases that constitute the… read more

Inventor Imagines Future Phones

April 7, 2003

Cell-phone inventor Martin Cooper visualizes a miniaturized cell phone that fits behind his ear, automatically dials out when he thinks about calling someone, and notifies him of incoming calls with a tickle instead of a ring.

Cooper believes the next big advancement in the wireless industry will be ubiquitous, wide-area, high-speed access to the Internet.

The Doctrine of Digital War

April 6, 2003

“Rumsfeld’s new-wavers think massing huge numbers of land troops isn’t always needed in an era when powerful networked-computing systems and unerringly accurate munitions can do much of the dirty work.”

Dream code: Programming languages for quantum computers are now being written

April 4, 2003

Researchers are already trying to work out how to write programs for almost non-existent quantum computers, in the belief that learning how to do so might help engineers to design the computers in useful ways.

More Than Just a Game, but How Close to Reality?

April 4, 2003

As video war games gain popularity throughout the armed forces, some military trainers worry that the more the games seem like war, the more war may start to seem like a game.

The possibilities of networked computers, combined with an increasingly remote-controlled military like the one Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has vowed to build, have spurred interest in adapting the architecture of multiplayer games like Everquest and Ultima… read more

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.

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.

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.”

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

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