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Quantum computing making ‘tremendous progress’

December 2, 2002

There has been what one researcher calls “tremendously rapid progress” in quantum computing in the last year. A device for overcoming quantum “decoherence” has been developed at the University of New South Wales, using two phosphorus atoms precisely embedded in a silicon crystal.

Other researchers at Innsbruck University in Austria have achieved a quantum computation using a single trapped calcium ion, the first calculation made on a system proven… read more

Listening to the Internet reveals best connections

December 2, 2002

The reliability and strength of internet connections can be assessed by converting the latency of a series of pulses into musical sounds, according to Chris Chafe, a cellist and director of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University in California.

Digital image stored in single molecule

December 2, 2002

University of Oklahoma researchers have found a way to store 1024 bits of information in 19 hydrogen atoms in a single liquid-crystal molecule. The data are stored in the interactions of the protons’ magnetic moments, activated by firing an electromagnetic pulse containing 1024 different radio frequencies (each with amplitude modulation on or off) at the molecule.

Researcher Bing Fung hopes the “molecular photography” technique could one day be used… read more

Throwing Einstein for a Loop

November 30, 2002

Physicist Fotini Markopoulou Kalamara has developed a way to connect relativity with quantum theory – while making sure that cause still precedes effect. The unification of Einstein’s general relativity with quantum theory to explain the nature of space and time is probably the single greatest challenge of modern physics. Kalamara’s work suggests networks that do not live in space and are not made of matter. Rather their very architecture gives… read more

God Is the Machine

November 30, 2002

That life might be information, as biologists propose, is far more intuitive than the corresponding idea that hard matter is information as well. When we bang a knee against a table leg, it sure doesn’t feel like we knocked into information. But that’s the idea many physicists are formulating. The new science of digitalism says that the universe itself is the ultimate computer — actually the only computer. Weaving together… read more

Stem Cell Mixing May Form a Human-Mouse Hybrid

November 27, 2002

Proposed stem cell experiments would involve creating a human-mouse hybrid to test different lines of human embryonic stem cells for their quality and potential usefulness in treating specific diseases.

Any animals born from the experiment would be chimeras — organisms that are mixtures of two kinds of cells, such as a mouse with a brain made entirely of human cells or a mouse that generated human sperm. However, Dr.… read more

Human Clone Unlikely Say Experts

November 26, 2002

The controversial Italian doctor Severino Antinori has announced that the first human baby clone will be born in January 2003. Speaking at a news conference in Rome on Tuesday, the researcher said three women he has treated are now carrying foetus clones in the advanced stages of pregnancy. Later on Wednesday, a company in the US claimed it too had women that were pregnant with baby clones – one of… read more

Claim GM Rice Withstands Drought, Salt Water

November 26, 2002

Scientists say they have genetically modified rice to withstand drought, salt water and cold temperatures by borrowing a gene from the E. coli bacteria. They hope the new stress-tolerant rice will help farmers in poor countries grow more food under the worst conditions. The research team added to the rice a gene for trehalose, a sugar that helps plants withstand stress.

Washington to Give Nanotech $37B Boost

November 26, 2002

New legislation now before President Bush could result in $37 billion in new funding over the next five years for the National Science Foundation –money that is expected to boost venture capital investments in nanotechnology and emerging biotech sectors.

Now Here’s a Really Big Idea

November 26, 2002

Darryl Macer, associate professor at the Institute of Biological Sciences at the University of Tsukuba in Japan, plans to create a human mental map — a database that would contain a log of every human idea.

By understanding which ideas are specific to certain cultures and which ones are universal, policy-makers can make more informed decisions about such agreements, Macer said.

Dead Air

November 25, 2002

Cell phones and the wireless industries of the future are snarled by a critical shortage of airwaves.

Solutions are on the way. Intel has discovered how to build entire radios in silicon chips. This and other new wireless technologies like cognitive radio, ultrawideband, software-defined radio and mesh networks could allow for spectrum sharing without interference, which the FCC is considering.

Coax goes nano

November 25, 2002

Researchers at Harvard University have made nanoscale wires from layers of different materials using the semiconductor manufacturing processes used to construct computer chips. The nanowires could be used to make faster computer chips, higher-density memory and smaller lasers.

The Best Inventions of 2002

November 25, 2002

Time’s list of the best inventions of 2002 includes 3-D Online Environment, a lifelike 3-D virtual world now evolving on the Internet; Carver Mead’s Foveon X3 technology; the Earth Simulator, the most powerful supercomputer; and “virtual” keyboards, using a laser beam that projects a glowing red outline of a keyboard.

Superconducting junctions eyed for quantum computing

November 24, 2002

Josephson junctions, a superconducting type of transistor, are being investigated as a possible route to scalable quantum computers by a physicist at the University of Michigan.

‘Prey’: Attack of the Nanoswarms

November 24, 2002

Michael Crichton’s “Prey” techno-thriller brings together nanotechnology, genetic engineering and computer-based artificial life.

“What all three have in common is the ability to release self-replicating entities into the environment,” he says. “When they are merged, there is no telling how horrific the unintended consequences might be.”

Those consequences include out-of-control, shape-shifting nano-swarms and mutated humans.

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