science + technology news

Wired M.D.

September 9, 2004

Imagine a computer chip that can diagnose thousands of diseases from a single drop of blood, or detect any possible chemical or biological hazard.

Peidong Yang, a chemistry professor at the University of California Berkeley has grown exceptionally long, flexible nanowires from the same materials used in computer chips, like silicon and gallium nitride.

“Because of the unique dimension of these nanowires — thin and very long –… read more

Rise of the robot

September 9, 2004

Future Horizons, a semi-conductor analyst company based in Kent, in England, believes that by 2010 there will be 55.5 million robots, in a world market worth more than $75 billion — up from $6.13 billion last year.

But the real explosion in robotics is coming among the “immobots,” or “bots” — bits of software that are incorporated into larger objects. We’re getting glimpses of how good these can be:… read more

Team Hopeful in Its Effort to Recreate Primal Life

September 9, 2004

Scientists analyzing the genomes of microbes believe that they have reconstructed the pivotal event — the merger of two primitive bacterial-type cells into a eukaryote — that created the one-celled organism from which all animals and plants are descended, including people.

Because all living creatures are part of the single tree of life, it should in principle be possible to trace their lineages from the tree’s very root, the… read more

Magnet-making bacteria could target tumours

September 9, 2004

Bacteria that make tiny magnetic particles could be harnessed to create drugs that home in on a specific site in the body. The particles come ready-wrapped in their own biological membrane, so molecules such as anticancer drugs could easily be attached.

Doctors could then direct the drugs to a certain area of the body using magnets, says Andrew Harrison of the University of Edinburgh, UK. Confining the medicine where… read more

So Your Roomba Vacuums … Does It Also Take Pictures?

September 9, 2004

A growing breed of “hardware hackers” — computer and electronics savants who rip apart gear to change both form and function — is spurred on by a flood of low-price, highly sophisticated consumer electronics.

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DNA fingerprinting ‘no longer foolproof’

September 9, 2004

The genetic profiles held by police for criminal investigations are not sophisticated enough to prevent false identifications, according to Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, the father of DNA fingerprinting.

The increasing number of records being held on the British police database — currently about 2.5 million — meant that having only 10 markers per person was no longer foolproof.

He suggested 15 or 16 markers to reduce the chances… read more

Selective Shutdown Protects Nets

September 8, 2004

A researcher from the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Germany has shown that it might be possible to suppress cascade failures triggered by attacks on large Internet and power-grid network nodes by shutting down peripheral nodes.

The Evolution Will Be Mechanized

September 8, 2004

“A singularity looks great in special f/x, but is there any substance in the idea?” asks writer Bruce Sterling.

“When Vinge first posed the problem, he was concerned that the imminent eruption in artificial intelligence would lead to ubermenschen of unfathomable mental agility. More than a decade later, we still can’t say with any precision what intelligence is, much less how to build it. If you fail to define… read more

Intel Tests Long-Range Wireless Chip

September 8, 2004

Intel is testing a new chip, dubbed “Rosedale,” designed for long-distance, high-speed, wireless Internet access (WiMax).

WiMax allows users to access the Internet wirelessly across a city or rural area. Intel is looking to put its WiMax chips into laptops and other mobile devices. The final version of the WiMax chips will be released within the next 12 months.

Agents of Change

September 7, 2004

Autonomous agents are still in the labs but could eventually play a critical role in areas ranging from setting market prices to creating more resilient networks.

Autonomous agents have the potential to become an extraordinarily powerful technology, with the capacity to learn, experiment and act independent of human control. Agents could ultimately improve productivity, increase software reliability and change the operation of markets, particularly supply chains.

Brain research? Pay it no mind

September 7, 2004

The human brain is so complex it simply defies the same kind of analysis that scientists devote to subatomic particles or human immune systems.

The promise of personalized medicine

September 7, 2004

A new technology developed at IBM could bring the promise of personalized medicine one step closer to reality.

The “Genomic Messaging System” (GMS) uses a “smart” DNA stream that contains a patient’s entire medical record in compressed form as well as genetic information. The DNA stream could potentially even house images like MRIs and X-rays.

The objective is to allow researchers to see correlations between human disease and… read more

New 3D self-assembly methods could lead to 10 terabyte chips

September 7, 2004

Two new patented methods for self-assembly of three-dimensional nanostructures could lead to the development of a chip that can hold 10 terabits of information — about 500 times the storage density available today.

The two methods involve using pulsed laser deposition, which works with a variety of materials and reduces imperfections. The sequential growth method uses the laser pulses to ablate successive targets to create layers of nanodots in… read more

World’s Largest Working Computing Grid

September 7, 2004

This week, UK particle physicists will demonstrate the world’s largest working computing Grid. With more than 6,000 computers at 78 sites internationally, the Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid (LCG) is the first permanent, worldwide Grid for doing real science.

The Grid is designed to handle the expected 15 petabytes of data that will be produced each year by particle physics experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. By… read more

Internet’s Speed Increases As It Turns 35 Years Old

September 7, 2004

Teams from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and CERN have sent 859 gigabytes of data in less than 17 minutes across 16,000 kilometers of computer networks at roughly 6.63 gigabits per second on the super high-speed Internet2 network, used for education and research.

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