science + technology news

Lab Starts Next Generation Supercomputers

January 19, 2004

DARPA wants to develop a one-petaflop supercomputer by 2008, awarding a three-year, $4.2 million grant to Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The Next Big Thing For Wireless

January 18, 2004

WiMax is seven times faster than Wi-Fi and has a range up to as 30 miles vs. about 100 feet, so it could be used as an alternative to copper wire and coaxial cable for connecting homes and businesses to the Internet. Intel also plans to embed it in a chip so it can be built directly into PCs and laptops.

Ultimate virtual grand piano developed

January 16, 2004

The quest to produce the ultimate realistic virtual grand piano took a big leap today with “Ivory,” announced by Synthogy and distributor ILIO at Winter NAMM 2004 in Anaheim.

The secret: Synthogy’s proprietary 32-bit sample-playback and digital signal processing (DSP) engine, which was specifically built from the ground up to bring out the resonance, response and character of three of the world’s finest concert grands:… read more

Chemists build curved structures with nanoscale building blocks

January 16, 2004

Northwestern University chemists report they have discovered ways to construct nanoscale building blocks that assemble into flat or curved structures with a high level of predictability.

Using hybrid nanorods consisting of segments of gold and conducting polymers as their building blocks, the researchers created a number of unusual structures, including bundles, sheets and tubes of varying diameters. The extraordinary control that they were able to demonstrate over the process… read more

A Real-Life Debate on Free Expression in a Cyberspace City

January 16, 2004

A debate over free expression and ethical behavior in online worlds is reverberating in the real one.

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games now regularly attract a million or more Americans. Sims Online, Everquest and others, where the border between fantasy and reality is increasingly blurry, the games have become more than simply a source of entertainment. They are also a gateway to a complex social network that takes on… read more

Puzzled monkeys reveal key language step

January 16, 2004

The key cognitive step that allowed humans to become the only animals using language may have been identified, scientists say.

A new study on monkeys found that while they are able to understand basic rules about word patterns, they are not able to follow more complex rules that underpin the crucial next stage of language structure. For example, the monkeys could master simple word structures, analogous to realising that… read more

Japan invents the gadget of your dreams

January 15, 2004

A Japanese company has invented a product which, it says, allows owners to create their own dreams.

Transforming Thoughts Into Deeds

January 15, 2004

A brain-computer interface created by Cyberkinetics called BrainGate could help patients with no mobility to control a computer, a robot, or eventually their own rewired muscles, using only their thoughts.

A Terabyte In A Cigar Box

January 15, 2004

LaCie has introduced a 1 Terabyte disk for $1,199.

Bush Vows to Expand ‘Human Presence Across Our Solar System’

January 15, 2004

U.S. President George W. Bush today set in motion the most dramatic changes in NASA’s priorities since the dawn of the Apollo program more than 40 years ago and declared a new era in the age of space exploration.

Robot scientist outperforms humans in lab

January 15, 2004

An intelligent robot that could free genomics researchers from routine lab chores has proven as effective as a human scientist. The robot not only performs genetics experiments, it also decides which ones to do, interprets the results and comes up with new hypotheses.

The “Robot Scientist” consists of a PC running an experiment selection system called ASE and a hypothesis generator called Progol. The PC is linked up to… read more

Gene May Be Key to Evolution of Larger Human Brain

January 14, 2004

Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have identified a gene that appears to have played a role in the expansion of the human brain’s cerebral cortex.

By comparing the gene’s sequence in a range of primates, including humans, as well as non-primate mammals, the scientists found evidence that the pressure of natural selection accelerated changes in the gene, particularly in the primate lineage leading to humans.

The researchers, led… read more

Keen Eye for the Nano Guys

January 14, 2004

The world’s most powerful microscope, the SuperSTEM, is an electron microscope with a resolution of one angstrom, or one-tenth of a nanometer, allowing it to image nanoparticles.

The trick: eliminating positive spherical aberration.

Pig-human chimeras contain cell surprise

January 14, 2004

Pigs grown from fetuses into which human stem cells were injected have surprised scientists by having cells in which the DNA from the two species is mixed at the most intimate level.

It is the first time such fused cells have been seen in living creatures. The discovery could have serious implications for xenotransplantation — the use of animal tissue and organs in humans — and even the origin… read more

Ultimate Parasites Threaten Man

January 13, 2004

Viruses and bacteria are the ultimate parasites — and our only true predators. With the advent of international jet travel, these parasites can escape from their remote lairs to every corner of the world in just a few hours. The greatest threat humanity is facing is that one day a virus will emerge that can spread as efficiently as tuberculosis and that is as deadly as Ebola.

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