science + technology news

Lung cancer cluster bombs created by researchers

February 2, 2004

“Nanoparticle cluster bombs” have proven effective in treating cancerous lung cells in vitro. They can be programmed to escape immune system surveillance like a Trojan Horse, and carry designer drugs that target cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.

Robots for No Man’s Land

February 2, 2004

The military is moving more machines into battle to save both money and lives. “Well before the end of the century, there will be no people on the battlefield,” said Robert Finkelstein, a professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Management and Technology.

Stryker, one of the U.S. Army’s newest infantry vehicles, is fitted with a “ladar” scanner, the equivalent of a mounted pair of eyes that see… read more

Nanotech spy eyes life inside the cell

February 2, 2004

Gold nanoparticles are giving an unprecedented picture of the chemical and physical activity in cells.

The “nano-cameras” are able to image individual viruses in living cells for the first time, at an astonishing resolution of about 30 nanometers.

Living with the Genie

February 2, 2004

Living With the Genie: Essays on Technology and the Quest for Human Mastery gives a “reasonably balanced view of the promise and risks of a variety of technologies,” says reviewer Michael A. Goldman in the Jan. 30, 2004 issue of Science magazine.

The new book from Island Press focuses mainly on GNR (genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics). In one essay, Ray Kurzweil predicts that biotechnology and nanotechnology will combine… read more

For Science, Nanotech Poses Big Unknowns

February 2, 2004

The risks of nanoparticles may ultimately prove to be minor and avoidable, experts say. Nonetheless, in a move that industry supporters blame on a conflation of facts with popular fiction — such as Michael Crichton’s best-selling thriller “Prey,” in which rogue nanoparticles wreak deadly havoc — activists have begun to organize against the science.

And the first two studies to look for such problems appeared in the January issue… read more

Nanotechnology Takes On Cancer

January 30, 2004

The NIH Roadmap for Medical Research includes nanomedicine research for cancer therapy.

For example, the Center For Biologic Nanotechnology at the University of Michigan is developing dendrimers (molecules shaped like spheres and made up of nanoscale polymers in a very specific pattern) that can create smart-therapeutic nanodevices used to treat disease. One type seeks out and recognizes only cancer cells. Another type can diagnose what type of cancer it… read more

Drug may give cells a fresh start

January 30, 2004

Scripps Research Institute chemists have found a synthetic molecule named “reversine” that seems to reprogram adult cells to make them more like youthful ones. It could provide an easy source of cells to regenerate tissues damaged by disease or injury, as an alternative to ethically controversial stem cells.

Mood Ring Measured in Megahertz

January 29, 2004

Using tiny sensors, transmitters and some software, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have turned personal computers into advanced polygraph machines that they say are capable of monitoring people’s emotions and abilities.

Mentor/PAL uses commercial face-recognition software and off-the-shelf sensors to measure muscle activity, heartbeat, blood oxygen, and breathing depth and rapidity. It provides real-time feedback to improve human performance, particularly in military or other high-risk situations.

New Conductor Guides Data Along the Fiber Optic Route

January 29, 2004

A new, extremely tiny (50 nm. or more) cable called a nanowire might be used for practical low-loss interfaces between optical fiber and the devices that process optical and electronic signals, making more compact, faster processors possible.

UTA researchers develop sensors to think smart

January 29, 2004

Researchers at University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Engineering envision a day when clothing will become a second skin. “Smart Skin” (“distributed flexible microsensor array”) bridges nanotechnology and micro-mechanical systems.

The goal is sensors that can sense touch and air flow in addition to heat. “Smart Skin” suits could warn people when they have entered an area of toxic gases. A T-shirt on a diabetic could monitor insulin… read more

Virtual dummy to try on clothes

January 29, 2004

Toshiba has teamed up with a Japanese software company to develop a 3D system that will create a virtual “you” who can try on clothes and move as you do.

Video cameras snap the shopper, then clothes and accessories are selected and displayed immediately.

Gulf between rich, poor will grow if nanotech opponents prevail

January 28, 2004

The chasm between have and have-not countries will grow even wider if nanotechnology research is blocked by the unbalanced positions of high-profile opponents like Prince Charles, warns a new analysis from a leading global medical ethics think tank.

In an article to be published by the Institute of Physics’ journal “Nanotechnology,” and released Jan. 28 online at, the authors say the potential health, environmental and economic… read more

E-Mail Worm Snarls Computers Around Globe

January 28, 2004

A new malicious computer program (Mydoom or Norvag) is spreading rapidly throughout the Internet today, swamping e-mail in-boxes and crashing corporate computer servers in what some computer security analysts are predicting will become the largest ever outbreak of viral e-mail. It may eventually involve millions of machines, according to experts.

Breakthrough! Ten major medical advances you’re likely to see in the coming year

January 26, 2004

Medical breakthroughs expected in 2004:

  • New, faster CT machines that can take clear pictures of a beating heart without a catheter, sedation or hospitalization, combined with MRI to show blood vessels, blood flow, scar tissue and the workings of the heart muscle and valves plus plaque buildup.
  • International efforts to regulate food marketing, pricing and production to prevent obesity.
  • 24-hour blood-pressure recording to diagnose
  • read more

    Mutating software could predict hacker attacks

    January 26, 2004

    Software engineers at Icosystem have developed a program that can predict what is coming next by “evolving” future hacker and virus attacks based on information from known ones.

    The program would update intrusion-detection software to recognize attack patterns before hackers have even developed them.

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