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Gene scale scores stem cells

May 6, 2003

Scientists have proposed a simple scale of 88 genes to help researchers to determine whether they can convert adult cells from say, blood or skin, into stem cells that are able to grow medically valuable repair tissues.

New subatomic particle found

May 6, 2003

Researchers have discoverd a new subatomic particle that is causing theorists to rethink their ideas about the strong force, which binds subatomic particles together into atoms.

The “Ds (2317)” particle is probably an unusual configuration of quarks.

Intel to release machine learning libraries

May 6, 2003

Intel plans to release a set of Bayesian network software libraries to help software developers build programs that can dynamically “learn” by constantly modifying probabilities using a fixed set of rules.

Uses include data mining, computer vision, robotics, bioinformatics, diagnostic and decision-making systems.

Carbon nanotubes light up

May 5, 2003

Scientists at IBM Research have obtained light from a carbon nanotube by a passing current through it. The device could be used to fabricate ultra-small optoelectronics devices for applications in high-speed communications.

Charles fears science could kill life on earth

May 5, 2003

Prince Charles fears that nanotech molecular assembly research could lead to the gray goo scenario. He’s organizing a crisis summit of leading scientists to address this concern.

Nanotech Bill Picks Up Some Passengers, Moves On To Full House

May 2, 2003

S.189, The Nanotechnology Research and Development Act of 2003, was approved Thursday by the House Science Committee.

The bill, reportedly backed by the White House, would authorize spending $2.36 billion over three years for nanotechnology programs at a range of government agencies.

Rep. Brad Sherman tried, unsuccessfully, to attach an amendment that would force the government to spend 5 percent of its nanotechnology research budget on analysis of… read more

Virus Pushes Schools to Go Virtual

May 2, 2003

After the deadly SARS outbreak, Hong Kong schools were ordered shut last month. But Macromedia Inc. and First Virtual Communications Inc. have helped thousands of those students keep up with their studies via virtual classrooms conducted over the Internet, using web cams.

Decoding Computer Intruders

May 2, 2003

In the abstract, fighting a war is simple. The enemy and the targets are generally identifiable. But in the war against hackers and virus writers, the combatants are harder to know.

The attacker might be a 14-year-old in Canada, or a co-worker in the accounting department…

Scientists Breed Cancer-Beating Mice

May 2, 2003

The fight against cancer could be helped by the discovery of a strain of mice which appear to have the ability to resist the disease.

Web-based attacks could create chaos in the physical world

May 2, 2003

Using little more than a Web search engine and some simple software, a computer-savvy criminal or terrorist could easily leap beyond the boundaries of cyberspace to wreak havoc in the physical world, a team of Internet security researchers has concluded.

Automated order forms on the Web could be exploited to send tens of thousands of unwanted catalogs to a business or an individual, which could also paralyze the local… read more

Brain-machine interfaces to restore motor function and probe neural circuits

May 2, 2003

“Recent studies have shown that it is possible to create functional, bidirectional, real-time interfaces between living brain tissue and artificial devices. It is reasonable to predict that further research on brain–machine interfaces will lead to the development of a new generation of neuroprosthetic devices aimed at restoring motor functions in severely paralysed patients. In addition, I propose that such interfaces can become the core of a new experimental approach with… read more

Embryonic stem cells turned into eggs

May 2, 2003

Embryonic stem cells have been turned into egg cells — the first time scientists have duplicated the process of egg formation and ovulation in the test tube.

The finding opens the possibility that human eggs could be made in large numbers in a culture dish, instead of relying on donors. That could advance research on infertility, the understanding of menopause, and help perfect the process of cloning. Embryonic stem… read more

Old age’s mental slowdown may be reversible

May 2, 2003

Administering tranquilers to monkeys to increase GABA or its effects can reverse mental decline, say researchers.

As people get older, the neurons in their brains increasingly fire non-selectively. By helping neurons to respond only to specific stimuli, GABA enables the brain to make sense of the vast quantity of incoming information.

Anthrax genome decoded

May 1, 2003

The complete genetic blueprint of Bacillus anthracis has been published in the May 1 issue of Nature.

The researchers found a number of genes encoding proteins that B. anthracis may need to enter its host’s cells. These could provide targets for drugs designed against the organism.

Making Intelligence a Bit Less Artificial

May 1, 2003

Automated programs that look for patterns in customer data and make recommendations (on, for example) are not smart enough to detect a gaffe.

“Something more sophisticated is required…analysts who understand why a particular type of music appeals to some people, categorization experts who know how to cross-reference material, retail executives who tweak the system to improve the bottom line and reviewers who check for nonsensical or offensive results.”

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