science + technology news

Alzheimer’s sufferers are more likely to have jobs that are less mentally challenging

August 10, 2004

A study published today in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology shows that Alzheimer’s sufferers are more likely to have jobs that are less mentally challenging than people without Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers also found that those with Alzheimer’s disease had jobs with more physical demands.

Researchers did not control for socioeconomic status or environmental demands and exposures of occupations.

A Digital World With Analog as Its Workhorse

August 9, 2004

The digital revolution is driving strong demand for advances in analog electronics.

Intel Technicians Use Delicate Silicon Surgery to Fine-Tune Microchips

August 9, 2004

Focused ion beam technology or “silicon nanosurgery,” routinely used at nine Intel chip factories around the world, has completely transformed the way modern computer chips are developed.

It can locate design flaws and performance bottlenecks and make changes in circuit wires that are frequently no more than several hundred atoms in width.

The tools are used routinely now as part of the process of tuning new chips as… read more

Microsoft Releases Service Pack 2

August 9, 2004

Microsoft released a long-awaited security update for its Windows XP program on Friday, a response to the growing number of security shortcomings.

The upgrade is designed to make users safer from cyberattacks by sealing entries to viruses, better protecting personal data, and fending off spyware.

Service Pack 2 should be available on compact disc and from the company’s Windows Update site by end of the month.

Do You See a Pattern Here?

August 9, 2004

In a new book, The (Mis)Behavior of Markets, Benoit Mandelbrot, father of the fractal, says the world’s central banks need a risk model that “takes into account long-term dependency, or the tendency of bad news to come in waves” to avoid further global financial system crises.

He recommends that they fund “an international commission for systematic, rigorous, and replicable research into market dynamics.

“If we can map the… read more

Mayo Builds Toward Customized Medicine

August 9, 2004

Hoping to customize medical treatments to individual patients, Mayo Clinic and IBM are applying pattern recognition and data mining to the electronic records of about 4.4 million Mayo patients.

The goal is to find patterns–based on age, medical history, genetics, and other factors–related to how patients respond to various treatments and adapt care accordingly. The researchers will also search patient data for relationships among particular proteins, genetic makeup, and… read more

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

August 6, 2004

Two kittens have been born using a new cloning method that may be safer and more efficient than traditional methods, according to Genetic Savings & Clone.

The company used a new method called chromatin transfer that tries to produce a cloned embryo that more closely resembles a normal embryo.

It involves dissolving the outside of the nucleus of the cell to be cloned and removing certain regulatory proteins… read more

Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder where you are

August 6, 2004

The stars we see are not necessarily where we think they are. Materials with a negative refractive index may be responsible for this locational uncertainty, researchers have found.

Material (such as space dust) that might have a negative index of refraction transmits light or other wave energy in a different direction than one with positive index of refraction. The relative velocity of the observer also changes the refractive index… read more

Skin used to transmit key data

August 6, 2004

Ident Technology has developed a system that transfers a tiny 30-nanoamperes electric current across the skin to control devices such as a car lock or computer securely by simply touching them.

Since it’s based on an electrostatic effect, it can also work at up to a meter away.

Mapping the Physical And Mental Universes

August 5, 2004

If the manual of life is encoded in our DNA, where do we look to find the blueprint of consciousness? This was a subject that fascinated Francis Crick, who, along with James Watson, discovered the double-helix structure of DNA 50 years ago.

Engrossed in the mysterious relationship between mind and body, Crick later felt impelled to turn his attention from matter to mind and from biology to philosophy –… read more

Mobiles to Run off Body’s Energy

August 5, 2004

Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) are working on a project to see how the body can generate electricity to run mobile devices.

One idea is to place piezoelectric material on the soles of a pair of shoes.

Start-up to use genes to build better chips

August 5, 2004

Start-up company Cambrios plans to create films or crystals that can be used in semiconductors and other components by combining various types of metals with a virus that attacks the E. coli bacteria.

Decoders target 18 new genomes

August 5, 2004

The National Human Genome Research Institute plans to sequence genomes for 18 species to shed light on both the human genome and the evolution of the entire tree of life.

Among the diverse organisms selected are the African savannah elephant, the domestic cat, the nine-banded armadillo and a cadre of moulds, snails and worms.

Biomimetic nanotechnology

August 4, 2004

Researchers are exploring several ways to imitate biology at the submicrometer level.

One approach tries to inorganically duplicate biological materials that have extraordinary properties, such as those of geckos, which can cling even to smooth surfaces when upside down because of capillary and van der Waals forces between the surface and densely packed 200-nm-wide keratin hairs on the soles of their feet.

A second major biomimetic approach uses… read more

R&D eyes novel, nonvolatile memories at nanoscale

August 4, 2004

R&D projects based on such techniques as carbon nanotubes, molecular electronics and atomic force microscope probe arrays appear to be converging on the ideal of a universal high-density, high-capacity, nonvolatile, low-power read/write memory technology.

Candidate technologies include Millipede (using arrays of cantilevered atomic-force microscope tips to read tiny indentations in a plastic membrane), spintronics-magnetic RAM (MRAM), nanotubes, and self-assembled porphyrin molecular films.

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