science + technology news

In search of the deep Web

March 10, 2004

The next generation of Web search engines will do more than give you a longer list of search results. They will disrupt the information economy.

The search engines now under development are exploring methods for penetrating the terabytes of data hidden from search engines in databases — some 500 times more data than the surface Web.

Hubble Finds Farthest Galaxies Strangest Yet

March 10, 2004

Astronomers have taken the deepest look into the universe yet, at what could be the most distant galaxies ever seen.

The new image, called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), includes ancient galaxies that emerged just 700 million years after the Big Bang from what astronomers call the “dark ages” of the universe.

No Riders: Desert Crossing Is for the Robots Only

March 9, 2004

Competing teams will be racing their robotic vehicles across the Mojave desert this Saturday, attracted by a Pentagon promise to pay $1 million to the creators of the first self-guided vehicle to find its way along a programmed course from Barstow, Calif. to near Las Vegas.

Nanowires vie with carbon tubes for next-gen transistors

March 9, 2004

With so many stories heralding the merits of carbon nanotubes as the channels of next-generation nanoscale transistors, you’d think the case was closed. Not so, say researchers, who claim nanowires can create better nanoscale transistors — ones that can be placed more accurately, can use application-specific doping, and can be more easily integrated with traditional silicon processing.

The Nanotech Schism

March 9, 2004

The field of nanotechnology is divided between those who think it will simply improve our lives and those who think it will completely transform them.

The former group thinks of nanotechnology as essentially a new branch of materials science. The latter group, inspired by nanotechnologist Eric Drexler, hews to a more ambitious vision in which molecular manufacturing, nanomedicine, and even nanoweapons will radically reshape the world.

Plastic on Steroids

March 9, 2004

Research in electroactive polymers (EAPs), a type of artificial muscle, seems to have finally paid off with some useful products. Among them: powerful pumps and motors, nearly silent propulsion technologies, and novel drug-delivery systems.

EAPs could fundamentally alter drug delivery. Marc Madou of UC Irvine is developing implantable, matchstick-sized capsules with microscopic pores. When sensors detect that a patient needs, say, more insulin, artificial muscles open valves under the… read more

Biochip makes droplet test tubes

March 8, 2004

A programmable biochip that uses an array of electrodes to place water droplets on a surface, insert substances into the droplets, and move and merge the droplets, with no moving parts, could eventually be miniaturized and incorporated into portable medical, biological and chemical diagnostic devices.

These can form the core of versatile, automated, microscale devices for performing chemical and biological assays at or near the point of care.

Research raises more than one debate

March 8, 2004

“Synthetic drug discovery,” a major shift in the way drugs have been discovered and made represents a future that some scientists fear — one where robots quickly draw from vast libraries of man-made molecules, then test them, mixing and matching with the same sort of equipment that transformed the Detroit automotive industry.

Think nano has ethical problems? Just wrap your brain around neuro

March 8, 2004

New tools to improve human performance will emerge from the convergence of nanotech, biotech, infotech and cognitive science.

When data from nanobiochips that can analyze DNA, RNA and proteins is combined with data from next-generation brain imaging systems , new tools for mental health will emerge.

Nanobiochips that can perform the basic bioanalysis functions (genomic, proteomic, biosimulation and microfluidics) at a low cost will transform biological analysis and… read more

Treatment Could Remove Toxins in Blood Before Damage Occurs

March 5, 2004

Researchers are developing a magnetic nanoparticle-based technology that removes biological, radiological and chemical toxins from blood. The goal: a portable system that is fast and thorough using magnetic nanoparticles coated with antibodies or chemicals that complement toxins. The technology could be used for treating soldiers exposed to anthrax.

Canyon or Mirage?

March 5, 2004

The difference in availability of information and communication technologies (between rich and poorer countries, known as the “digital divide,” has concerned policymakers, academics, and non-governmental organizations. But two economists at the World Bank have found that current trends suggest the divide is actually shrinking, not growing.

Mice Produce Sperm from Monkeys

March 5, 2004

Mice have been used to produce monkey sperm using tissue transplanted from testes of macaques. Scientists involved say their work might one day help to conserve animals that are facing extinction.

Designing Minds to the Millstone

March 5, 2004

What makes 800 of the country’s smartest, most wildly successful architects, designers, inventors, chief executives, psychologists, ichthyologists, cosmologists, economists, digital artists and other members of the creative, academic and financial elite happy?

Answer: Ruminating about “The Pursuit of Happiness” at the TED conference, the annual $4,000-a-pop three-and-a-half-day hedonistic be-in for the brain that brings together “thought leaders” from the worlds of technology, entertainment and design.

Next From PARC: Smarter, Easier Networks

March 4, 2004

PARC researchers have come up with an “enrollment station” device that lets new users securely sign on to a wireless LAN in less than five minutes, as well as a way for otherwise incompatible digital consumer devices to exchange data.

Bush Policy on Human Stem Cells Faces New Challenges

March 4, 2004

The White House’s policy on research with human embryonic stem cells has been put under new pressure by the dismissal of a leading biologist from the President’s Council on Bioethics last week and by the development, announced today, of new stem cell lines by a Harvard researcher.

Dr. Douglas Melton, a biologist at Harvard, reported today in The New England Journal of Medicine that he had developed 17 new… read more

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