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New catalyst paves way for cheap, renewable hydrogen

June 30, 2003

Scientists have developed a hydrogen-making catalyst that uses cheaper materials and yields fewer contaminants than do current processes, while extracting the element from common renewable plant sources.

In the June 27 issue of the journal Science, researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison report developing the catalyst from nickel, tin and aluminum and using it in a process called aqueous-phase reforming (APR), which converts plant byproducts to hydrogen.… read more

Laser Set Cells Aglow for Biopsy Without the Knife

June 30, 2003

A new laser-based method may enable pathologists to do instant biopsies of living tissue, speeding the process. Although the technique cannot yet see deep within tissue, it can provide images at a resolution of a single cell.

The Cornell researchers create detailed biopsy images by scanning live tissue with a pulsed laser that focuses intense light on a tiny spot. Computer software then creates an image based on the… read more

The sentient office is coming

June 29, 2003

Sentient computing systems are likely to be everywhere within five years –listening and watching, and ready to anticipate their users’ every need.

Sorting Technique May Boost Nanotube Research

June 27, 2003

German researchers report a simple
electrical technique to divide
semiconducting and metallic nanotubes by using an electric field
to draw the more conductive metallic tubes to an electrode.

According to chemist Richard
Smalley of Rice University, the technique is long overdue and will find immediate use.

The technique is described in a paper published online by Science this week (

Scientists Announce First 3-D Assembly Of Magnetic And Semiconducting Nanoparticles

June 27, 2003

Scientists from Columbia University, IBM and the University of New Orleans today announced a new, three-dimensional designer material assembled from two different types of nanoparticles.

In the June 26 issue of the journal Nature, the team describes the precision chemistry methods developed to tune the particles’ sizes in increments of less than one nanometer and to tailor the experimental conditions so the particles would assemble themselves into repeating 3-D… read more

‘Polypill’ could slash heart attacks and strokes

June 27, 2003

A wonder pill that could slash the rate of deaths from heart attack or stroke by over 80 per cent is being proposed by UK researchers.

The pill would combine a statin, folic acid, aspirin and three blood pressure lowering drugs to try to lower the four key risk factors for heart disease: cholesterol, high blood pressure, high homocysteine blood levels and blood platelet function. It should be given… read more

Who’s in Charge?

June 26, 2003

“A good illustration of why the scientist needs the philosopher can be found in Daniel C. Dennett’s new book, Freedom Evolves, in a fine discussion of the experimental data of Benjamin Libet … which show that the neural activity that begins an action starts up around a third of a second before the agent’s conscious decision to act.

“Neuroscientists have frequently interpreted this as showing that decisions are somehow… read more

New Technique May Simplify Nanotech Manufacturing

June 26, 2003

Researchers have successfully grown silicon nanowires directly on a sensor surface at room temperature, instead of requiring a furnace heated to between 600 and 1,000 degrees Celsius.

The method localizes the heating to the areas where they want the nanowires to grow by passing a current through specific sections of a microchip.

They successfully manufactured silicon wires up to 10 micrometers long and between 30 and 80 nanometers… read more

Remote control

June 26, 2003

Direct brain-to-brain communication is a key goal of DARPA’s $24 million Brain Machine Interface program — almost 10% of DARPA’s basic research budget, according to a Nature June 19 article.

Research also includes:

* A Silicon chip to replace parts of the brain (the hippocampus is first).

* Reminiscent of The Matrix, memory implants to allow pilots to perform moves they may not actually have learned through… read more

High-bandwidth optical chip developed

June 25, 2003

A new class of microscopic crystal structures developed at the University of Toronto is bringing high bandwidth optical microchips one step closer to efficient, large-scale fabrication. The structures, known as photonic band gap (PBG) materials, could usher in an era of speedy computer and telecommunications networks that use light instead of electrons.

Press release

Improving control of quantum dots

June 25, 2003

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Renewal Energy Laboratory have reported a way to measure accurately the amount of laser light needed to shift the electrons in a particular type of quantum dot between two discrete states. This advance is another step toward the use of quantum dots as the “ones and zeros” for a superfast quantum computer.

The new technique measures the… read more

Global internet laboratory launches

June 25, 2003

A global Internet laboratory that simulates tens of thousands of virtual users has been launched by more than 60 companies and universities. It will be used to test new weapons for fighting Internet worms and to develop better distributed computer programs and smarter protocols for the next-generation Internet.

Cheap Chips Aid Movement To Develop Supercomputers

June 24, 2003

New chips from Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. could accelerate the pace of building powerful computers from inexpensive components.

The latest trend is to use building blocks from personal computers and inexpensive servers, including Intel Pentium or Xeon microprocessors and standard accessory chips, to create “commodity” clusters, such as the MCR Linux Cluster Xeon 2.4 install at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, ranking number 3 on the TOP500… read more

New G5 Power Macs ‘Fastest Desktop In The World’

June 24, 2003

The new Apple G5 machines, with the IBM 970 processor, use the “world’s first 64-bit desktop processor” (and the “fastest 64-bit processor ever”) and run up to 2GHz. The bus is 1GHz (“fastest ever”) and it is designed for dual processing and full symmetric processing.

Intel powers more TOP500 supercomputers

June 24, 2003

The number of Intel systems in the on the just-published 2003 Top500 supercomputer list more than doubled in the last six months from 56 to 119.

NEC’s Earth Simulator supercomputer is still number 1, with 35.86 Tflop/s, followed by HP’s ASCI Q system at Los Alamos National Laboratory, with 13.88 Tflop/s. But the Intel Xeon-based MCR cluster at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory moved up to number 3.… read more

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