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Nonbiological intelligence will dominate: Kurzweil in Time magazine

February 11, 2003

“Within a quarter-century, we will have completed the reverse engineering of the human brain and will understand its principles of operation,” says Ray Kurzweil in Time Magazine’s Feb. 9, 2003 issue on “The Secret of Life.”

The special issue explores how cracking the DNA code has changed how we live and features an invited panel of scientists and science writers who imagine the world 50 years from now.… read more

At one with the universe

February 10, 2003

Is the brain simply a computer, and is consciousness merely the feeling we get when we think? Or is consciousness a primary component of the universe, which the brain can latch on to, like a radio receiver?

Robotic Assistants Could Have Helped Columbia

February 10, 2003

If Columbia’s tiles or wing section were damaged on liftoff, that fear could have been allayed by in-flight robotic inspection.

The AERCam-SPRINT (Autonomous Extra-vehicular Robotic Camera) flew on STS-87 in 1997. It is a small, hand-deployed and captured remote controled inspection tool that carries its own avionics and nitrogen-gas propulsion. Feasibility studies have been done by NASA to fly AERCam underneath the vehicle to image tiles.

In the… read more

U.S. Plans for Cyber Warfare

February 10, 2003

President Bush has ordered the government to draw up guidelines for electronic attacks against enemy computer networks to shut down radars, disable electrical facilities and disrupt phone services.

Broadband Over Power Lines?

February 10, 2003

Coming to a home or office near you could be an electric Internet: high-speed Web access via ubiquitous power lines, making every electrical outlet an always-on Web connection.

But turning power lines into a stable, high-speed system of data transmission is tricky. Network interference and such things as transformers and surge arrestors have hindered broadband delivery.

For the Smart Dresser, Electric Threads That Cosset You

February 10, 2003

DuPont and other companies are producing yarns that can transmit electrical signals or current. Made of synthetic or metallic fibers, they are woven or knitted into cotton or polyester to produce a new type of cloth known as electrotextiles.

Scientists of Very Small Draw Disciplines Together

February 10, 2003

Nanotechnology, biotechnology, electronics and brain research are converging into a new field of science vital to the nation’s security and economic clout: NBIC (nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science).

Devil in the Details?

February 10, 2003

Some scientists are raising concerns about the potential of nanotechnology to produce weapons of mass destruction. (Requires paid access.)

Nanodevice Breaks 1-GHz Barrier

February 10, 2003

Nanoscientists have achieved a milestone in their burgeoning field by creating a device that vibrates a billion times per second, or at one gigahertz (1 GHz). The accomplishment further increases the likelihood that tiny mechanical devices working at the quantum level can someday supplement electronic devices for new products.

Computers Enlisted for Bioterror Fight

February 10, 2003

Scientists hope to develop the first treatment for smallpox by harnessing the “downtime” of two million PCs around the world.

Doctors Review GM Crop Advice

February 10, 2003

The British Medical Association is looking again at research into genetically modified food four years after it raised safety doubts.

Utopia 2.0

February 10, 2003

Dave Biggs, a systems manager at the University of British Columbia’s Sustainable Development Research Institute, helps people of different philosophical backgrounds forge a common future with an innovative Web-based game called QUEST, which lets tens of thousands of users model and reshape the future of the towns where they live.

Finding Life Away From Earth Will be Tough Task

February 9, 2003

Using basic techniques to search for the simplest evidence of ancient life on Earth is the best approach to finding evidence of life elsewhere, according to University of Washington paleontologist Roger Buick.

Buick said fossil evidence of early life, whether from Earth or somewhere else, could be so tiny that it is at the limits of -– or beyond -– current capabilities in optic microscopic resolution. Those life forms… read more

Optical Observation Of Single Molecules In Their Natural State

February 5, 2003

Scientists at Cornell University have for the first time optically isolated individual biological molecules in naturally occurring molecular concentrations and watched their complex behavior as they interact with a protein.

The technique, made possible by the ability of nanofabrication to produce a microchip with light-impeding holes with a diameter one-tenth of the wavelength of light, could promise a new method of DNA sequencing by which the genetic code can… read more

Mutant Bacteria Become Microscopic Motors

February 5, 2003

University of Arkansas researcher Steve Tung is incorporating living bacteria into microelectromechanical systems to form living motors for pumps and valves. These tiny bioMEMS devices could be used in systems for drug delivery or DNA sequencing.

News tip: Walter Purvis

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