science + technology news

Silicon-based magnets boost spintronics

March 23, 2004

A family of silicon-based semiconductors that exhibit magnetic properties has been discovered, paving the way for “spintronic” computer chips that are compatible with existing silicon manufacturing technology.

Greenhouse gas level hits record high

March 23, 2004

The level of the major greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, in the Earth’s atmosphere has hit a record high and its rate of increase may have accelerated in the last two years.

Human breasts grown on mice

March 23, 2004

Lab mice have grown human breast tissue on mice. Researchers commonly use genetically engineered mice to study cancer, but the animal disease differs slightly from the human one. Transplanting human breast tissue into mice will make a better model.

NASA to Announce Another ‘Major’ Discovery by the Opportunity Mars Rover

March 23, 2004

NASA will announce a “major scientific finding” from its Mars Rover mission on Tuesday, March 23 at 2 p.m. ET, carried live on NASA TV.

Immune cells grown in a dish

March 22, 2004

Scientists have found a way to grow a bountiful supply of disease-fighting T cells from embryonic stem cells to deliver better cancer and HIV therapy.

Genetic Predictions: Just a Swab Away

March 22, 2004

A growing number of companies sell genetic testing and counseling services to screen patients for various genetic disorders, capitalizing on the vast amount of information emerging from the recently completed Human Genome Project.

The tests may lead to preventive measures, such as taking vitamins or antioxidants. But medical experts worry about the relevance of the tests, and about consumers’ ability to interpret the lab results accurately.

New Studies Question Value of Opening Arteries

March 22, 2004

Most bypass surgery and angiogplasty are worthless, or even worse, because they are based on the wrong model of heart disease: fixing narrowings of specific blood vessels.

Heart patients may have hundreds of vulnerable plaques, so preventing heart attacks means going after all their arteries, not one narrowed section, by attacking the disease itself. That is what happens when patients take drugs to aggressively lower their cholesterol levels, get… read more

A Grand plan for brainy robots

March 19, 2004

On a good day, Lucy can tell a banana apart from an apple. And that’s handy skill to have if you are an orangutan. Even a robotic one….

Nokia Edges Toward Phone Blogging

March 19, 2004

Nokia has unveiled Lifeblog, software designed to integrate and organize words, audio, pictures and even video from your mobile phone. Uploading your life to a weblog may be the next step.

Earth Safe from Ultra-close Asteroid Flyby Today

March 19, 2004

A 100 feet asteroid passed closer to Earth than ever recorded: just 26,500 miles away. An object of this size, where it to take direct aim, would likely break apart or explode in the atmosphere, astronomers say. The result could cause local damage. Something just slightly larger could survive to the surface and destroy a city.

Tiny ‘elevator’ most complex nanomachine yet

March 19, 2004

Nanoscale elevators made of two interlinking organic molecules have been built and operated by US and Italian scientists.

They are the most complex molecular machines built yet, consisting of a platform flanked by three rings that thread through three vertical rods. The force of an acid-base reaction is used to power the “elevator.”

The most likely application will be in bringing two reactants together, allowing tight control over… read more

Earth faces sixth mass extinction

March 19, 2004

The Earth may be on the brink of a sixth mass extinction on a par with the five others that have punctuated its history. There is growing concern over the rate at which species of plants and animals are disappearing around the world. The current extinction is being precipitated by the widespread loss of habitats because of human activity.

Robolympics contestants shoot for gold

March 19, 2004

The world’s first Robolympics kicks off in San Francisco this weekend. The 414 robots will compete for prizes in various categories, such as the Humanoid Robot World Cup Soccer Tournament and Ribbon Climber, in which robots race up a carbon-fiber ribbon, designed to inspire “space elevator” technology that might one day lift satellites into orbit.

Seeing Pessimism, Not Science, as the Enemy

March 19, 2004

Bypassing restricted federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey has signed a law permitting stem-cell research. He also intends to provide $6.5 million as part of a five-year, $50 million plan to place New Jersey (and Rutgers University) at the forefront of state-sponsored stem cell studies.

Hello, is there anybody out there?

March 19, 2004

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen announced a gift of $13.5 million to begin construction of an unprecedented new radio astronomy telescope in Northern California primarily dedicated to SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. The gift is in addition to his earlier donation of $11.5 million.

The Allen Telescope Array will be a state-of-the-art network of 350 small radio-frequency dishes spread across about 2.5 acres of land. It will allow… read more

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