August 30, 2001
While some view it as an expansive bastion of decentralized communication and democratic discourse, the World Wide Web is scarcely more civic-minded than your local bank, says media critic Norman Solomon.
Solomon sees these trends:
Researchers are pursuing a cheaper way of designing and fabricating computer chips, using mirrors instead of masks.
Photolithography —- the standard chip manufacturing technique — requires expensive masks costing up to $1 million to create the patterns.
Researchers are using an array of tiny mirrors under computer control to turn individual beams on and off as the whole setup scans across the wafer.
Maskless technologies could allow… read more
AI researcher Hugo de Garis has accepted a tenure-track Associate Professor position in the Computer Science department at Utah State University (USU), starting September 10, 2001, KurzweilAI.net has learned.
“I will continue my artificial brain work of course, for the next 20 years, corresponding with the “Moore window,” in which Moore’s law remains valid until it hits the atomic barrier around 2020,” de Garis said. “The next-smallest thing to atoms… read more
Researchers at Osaka University believe that cheaply-produced crystalline nanochains could lead to the development of single-electron transistors (SETs) and nanoscale photon devices such as field-effect transistors (FETs) within 10 years.They have bulk-produced carpets of micrometer long chains of alternating crystalline globules and silicon dioxide stems that they believe could much simpler and much cheaper to produce than the advanced techniques being developed for nanotubes.
These nanoscale processes could result… read more
The DNA Copyright Institute (DCI) of San Francisco is offering celebrities the chance to establish copyright over their DNA to prevent unwanted duplication.In theory, all someone needs to clone their hero or heroine is a few living cells from them left behind on a glass or exchanged in a handshake, for example.
DCI is offering to record celebrities’ DNA fingerprint, check that it is unique and store it. As… read more
The idea of combining the DNA of animals and humans has gone beyond the talking stage — it’s been attempted.
The first publicized case of animal-human hybrids took place in 1996 when Jose Cibelli, a scientist at the University of Massachusetts, took DNA from his white blood cells by swabbing the inside of his cheek. He then inserted the DNA sample into a hollowed-out cow egg.
Cibelli’s experiment came… read more
Sandia National Laboratories has created a micromachine that interacts at the scale of cells and could have important uses in genetic engineering and medicine.
The device uses silicon microteeth that open and close like jaws to momentarily trap individual cells to implant materials.
The ultimate goal of the Sandia device is to puncture cells and inject them with DNA, proteins, or pharmaceuticals to counter biological or chemical… read more
Haptics -– the science of integrating the sense of touch into human/computer interactions — promises to greatly expand the reach of computers into everyday life.
Examples of haptics interfaces shown at SIGGRAPH:
Spintronics, based on magnetic properties of electrons, promises to make possible radical advances in computers and other electronic devices.Possible applications of spintronics include:
A new method for studying the electrical charges of large biological molecules may enable researchers to make a leap from modeling molecules of 50,000 atoms to those of more than a million atoms. This may make it possible to develop more effective anti-cancer drugs.
A new model of neural networks, based on recent studies of fish and insect olfactory systems, suggests a way that neurons can be linked together to allow them to identify many more stimuli than possible with conventional networks. Researchers from the Institute for Nonlinear Science at the University of California, San Diego propose that connections between neurons can cause one neuron to delay the firing of another neuron system. The… read more
Hewlett-Packard and MIT have announced a joint effort aimed at building quantum information systems.
Researchers at HP Labs will work with their counterparts in MIT’s Media Lab, including Neil Gershenfeld and Isaac Chuang, on a joint $2.5 million quantum computing project.
IBM has switched on the world’s most powerful computer, ASCI White, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It is the first computer capable of more than 10 trillion calculations per second and 1,000 times faster than IBM’s Deep Blue.
Computer games are creating a dumbed-down generation of children far more disposed to violence than their parents, according to a controversial new study by Professor Ryuta Kawashima and his team at Tohoku University in Japan.The level of brain activity was measured in hundreds of teenagers playing a Nintendo game and compared to the brain scans of other students doing a simple, repetitive arithmetical exercise. The computer game only stimulated activity… read more