science + technology news

Toshiba plans high-res DVD format

July 27, 2004

Toshiba and its partners yesterday raised the tempo in the battle to determine the next-generation DVD format, saying they were on track to launch next year a DVD recorder capable of storing more than eight hours of high-resolution content on one disc (around 27GB for single-layer and 54GB for dual-layer discs).

Microsoft’s Japanese unit, meanwhile, said the company’s next Windows-based operating system, called Longhorn, would be compatible with HD-DVD.… read more

Endangered species’ DNA stored on ‘Ark’

July 27, 2004

Britain’s “Frozen Ark” project hopes to collect frozen DNA and tissue specimens from thousands of endangered species.

Like Noah, the scientists harbor hopes of repopulating the Earth.

With about 10,000 species listed as in danger of extinction, the ark will fill quickly.

Infineon’s fashion alliance produces multimedia jacket

July 27, 2004

Infineon Technologies AG and German clothing manufacturer rosner GmbH & Co. have jointly developed a men’s jacket, known as mp3blue, that contains built-in mobile telephony via Bluetooth and an MP3 player. A textile keyboard on the sleeve controls the electronic features.

When the wearer of the jacket places a telephone call, the stereo system becomes a headset and the music is automatically interrupted when calls come in.

Motorola rolls out Wi-Fi phone

July 27, 2004

Motorola has introduced a new phone that it says will switch calls seamlessly between cellular services and wireless WiFi Internet networks, potentially offering big savings for customers.

It is planned to be commercially available by fall or early 2005,

The Internet Meets the Neural Net

July 26, 2004

New technlogies for interfacing brain and computer include low-cost EEG, optical signals, and direct neural interfacing.

Faster, cheaper, better

July 26, 2004

The ability to build powerful computers cheaply, combined with growing commercial demand for high-end computing power, is creating a renaissance in the field of supercomputing.

ET first contact ‘within 20 years’

July 26, 2004

If intelligent life exists elsewhere in our galaxy, advances in computer processing power and radio telescope technology will ensure we detect their transmissions within two decades, says SETI Institute senior astronomer Seth Shostak.

He based his prediction on the Drake formula for the likelihood of alien civilizations existing, combined with estimates of the time necessary for this observational task, based on the capabilities of planned radio telescopes.

Shostak… read more

When Technology Imitates Art

July 23, 2004

With the aid of scanners and software, computer-guided milling machines can precisely duplicate sculptures and other art objects, blurring the line between what is authentic and what is not.

UCLA Scientists Control a Single Electron’s Spin With Commercial Transitor

July 23, 2004

A UCLA team succeeded in flipping a single electron spin upside down in an ordinary commercial integrated circut chip for the first time, and in detecting that the current changes when the electron flips.

“Our research demonstrates that an ordinary transistor can be adapted for practical quantum computing,” said UCLA professor of physics Hong Wen Jiang.

They flipped the spin of the electron by changing a microwave radio… read more

For Doctored Photos, a New Flavor of Digital Truth Serum

July 23, 2004

Dartmouth College computer scientist Hany Farid has developed algorithms that detect photographs that have been digitally tweaked by combining and editing images.

The technique uses “nearest-neighbor” and other techniques to detect alterations.

“Digital watermarking” (embedding identifying pixels in an digital photo), a technique to indicate an original photo has been altered, can now be automatically inserted in digital photos by some cameras.

Gold charges up electron by electron

July 23, 2004

IBM scientists have succeeded in changing the electrical charge of individual atoms. They used a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) to deliver a single electron to individual gold atoms.

The STM can also go back over the gold atoms and sense whether they are neutral or negatively charged. A string of neutral and negative gold atoms could theoretically store information.

About Those Fearsome Black Holes? Never Mind

July 22, 2004

Stephen Hawking declared at a scientific conference in Dublin that he had been wrong in a controversial assertion he made 30 years ago about black holes.

He had said information about what had been swallowed by a black hole could never be retrieved from it. This would have been a violation of quantum theory, which says that information is preserved.

“I’m sorry to disappoint science fiction fans, but… read more

Human intelligence determined by volume and location of gray matter tissue in brain

July 21, 2004

General human intelligence appears to be based on the volume of gray matter tissue in certain regions of the brain, UC Irvine College of Medicine researchers have found in the most comprehensive structural brain-scan study of intelligence to date.

Previous research had shown that larger brains are weakly related to higher IQ, but this study is the first to demonstrate that gray matter in specific regions in… read more

Quantum change for nanotubes

July 21, 2004

A metallic carbon nanotube can be made into a semiconductor and vice versa via the Aharonov-Bohm effect. Semiconductor nanotubes would allow for building nanoscale computers.

The Aharonov-Bohm effect is a quantum phenomenon in which the wavefunction of an electron acquires a phase shift as it follows a trajectory that encloses a magnetic flux (such as the path round the surface of a cylinder in a magnetic field). This phase… read more

Bookmachine self-contained printer

July 21, 2004

Yet another technology that could potentially render bookstores obsolete: the Book Machine lets you browse for a book by author, title, subject matter, or publisher. Once selected, the book text is sent to the machine via satellite and the book printed out in standard-format softcover in three to five minutes.

This basically turns the whole book browsing and purchasing process into an ATM transaction.

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