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Tweaking Single Gene Makes Mice Brainier

July 22, 2002

Scientists have succeeded in making mice cerebral cortex grow dramatically more convoluted. They developed a line of transgenic mice that carried a variant of a gene that makes a protein, beta-catenin, thought to play a role in regulating cell growth in the developing brain.

Second law of thermodynamics ‘broken’

July 22, 2002

The second law of thermodynamics has for the first time been shown not to hold for microscopic systems, which could place a fundamental limit on miniaturization.

“Their results are also in good agreement with predictions of the ‘fluctuation theorem,’ developed … to reconcile the second law with the behaviour of particles at microscopic scales.

“The results imply that the fluctuation theorem has important ramifications for nanotechnology and indeed… read more

A Flashy Web Communication Tool

July 21, 2002

The new Flash Communication Server MX allows Flash developers to create multimedia Web applications that let users talk and stream video, collaborate on documents in real time, chat, and send instant multimedia messages.

Laser delivers DNA

July 19, 2002

Lasers can open a temporary doorway into cells so that DNA can get inside, researchers at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany report. This technique might hasten gene therapy by making it easier to get new genes into living cells without harming them.

Team demos ‘first quantum crypto prototype machine’

July 19, 2002

The “first fully integrated quantum cryptography prototype machine” has exchanged encryption keys across a 67km fiber optic network.

The advance was achieved by a team from the University of Geneva and Swiss electronics company id Quantique. In contrast to methods based on codes, the keys formed by quantum cryptography can, in principle, be completely uncrackable because the legitimate receiver of a message can test whether it has been intercepted… read more

Multilingual Machines

July 19, 2002

A new language-translation system called EliMT from Meaningful Machines in New York City uses a statistical technique in an attempt to make machine translation more accurate.

EliMT looks for words with a tendency to cluster together in databases of translations and can refine itself in either a fully automated or a human-assisted manner as more data are entered.

Quantum entanglement stronger than suspected

July 18, 2002

Pairs of photons linked by entanglement can pass through gold sheets without the entanglement being destroyed, in an experiment at Leiden University. The finding means quantum linking of particles is far more robust than scientists thought and could help them develop new ways of making quantum computers.

Ebola virus could be synthesised

July 18, 2002

The technique used to create the first synthetic polio virus, revealed last week, could be also used to recreate Ebola or the 1918 flu strain that killed up to 40 million people, according to experts.

The real worry is that bioterrorists could use the method to recreate viruses such as Ebola and smallpox.

Genetic algorithm tunes up public speakers

July 18, 2002

A new voice processing system could help you “evolve” your voice so it sounds the way you want it to. An algorithm analyses the voice signal to determine which aspects of it need to be enhanced or suppressed, modifying pitch, volume and speed to produce the required effect.

Next Dimension in Baby Watching

July 17, 2002

Clinicians and parents can watch real-time live-action ultrasound images of a fetus, thanks to GE Medical Systems’ Voluson 730 ultrasound system.

Some neurological defects may be apparent in the movement of the fingers.

One Terabyte On a 12-cm Disc

July 17, 2002

At InterOpto’02 – international optoelectronics exhibition hold in Chiba, Japan – OPTWARE Co. Ltd. demoed a super-high speed optical disk system that uses a hologram and stores 1 terabyte data in a 12-cm-CD-size disc, with 100Mbps – 1Gbps transfer rate. Available in 2003 as 19-inch rackmount, 2005 for PC.

To Err Is Human

July 17, 2002

The recent midair collision in Germany raises questions on the reliability of machine vs. human intelligence.

Ordered to climb higher by the electronic voice of the cockpit’s automatic collision detector, the pilot obeyed the befuddled ground controller instead. The airliner dove head-on into a DHL cargo jet — a tragedy that might have been averted if people put more faith in machines.

Blinded by Science

July 17, 2002

“Science fact is rapidly outstripping science fiction,” said Neil Gershenfeld, head of the new Center for Bits and Atoms at M.I.T.’s Media Laboratory.Examples include:

* A radio-signal message “teleported” in a laser beam

* Genetically altered goats whose milk contains a gene from the golden-orb weaving spider

* “Tooth phone”

* Using principles of insect locomotion and the suction qualities of geckos’ toes to develop lifelike… read more

It Slices! It Dices! Nanotube Struts Its Stuff

July 16, 2002

Nanotubes can be processed to acquire remarkable properties: fibers thinner than a human hair that can be woven as a cloth or into a 100-times stronger muscle, molecular-scale electronic circuits, low-cost TV displays, X-ray sources, heat sinks, and microscopic gears.

They’ve Seen the Future and Intend to Live It

July 16, 2002

The April

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