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Defense May Be Inadequate for Germ or Toxic Attacks

September 24, 2001

Experts say civil defenses across the nation are a rudimentary patchwork that could prove inadequate for what might lie ahead, especially lethal germs, which are considered some of the most dangerous weapons of mass destruction.
There are no measures to routinely check for biological attack. Instead, the authorities rely on reports from doctors that people are seeking medical attention for unusual symptoms. That is why the Centers for Disease Control… read more

The World Wide Translator

September 24, 2001

Will Web-wide “translation memory” finally make machine translation pay off? Computer-assisted translation typically involves two steps. First, a rules engine parses the original sentence, attempting to identify the relationships between the words. The engine then translates each word within the context that it believes to be correct.

This second step remains the most time-consuming and expensive aspect of translation, often requiring expertise in a specific technical field as well… read more


September 24, 2001

In the blink of an eye, electromagnetic bombs could throw civilization back 200 years. And terrorists can build them for $400.
An airborne “e-bomb” based on a Flux Compression Generator could generate an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that could knock out electric power, computers and telecommunications.

The device consists of an explosives-packed tube placed inside a slightly larger copper coil energized by a bank of capacitors, creating a magnetic field… read more

ID cards ‘high priority’ for UK government

September 24, 2001

The UK government is considering making identity cards compulsory as part of a crackdown on terrorism.

How video games influenced the attack on America

September 24, 2001

Concerns about Microsoft’s Flight Simulator game being used as a tool to teach terrorists have caused two major retailers to yank the program from their shelves.
Marc Prensky has posted an essay that discusses the uses of flight simulators by the terrorists in learning to fly a 757.

“Now that we have seen their formidable power used for evil, it is our duty and obligation to turn… read more

Remote Gallbladder Operation Spans 3,800 Miles

September 20, 2001

Surgeons in New York have performed a gallbladder operation on a patient in France by remote control, sending high-speed signals to robotic surgical tools. The doctors say it is the first complete surgery done with a robot controlled by doctors thousands of miles away.
Robotic surgery holds the promise of letting doctors operate remotely on soldiers on battlefields or even astronauts in space. It means that patients may eventually have… read more

Quantum Theory Could Expand the Limits of Computer Chips

September 20, 2001

Quantum theory may turn out to have surprisingly practical applications in manufacturing faster computer chips getting around the wavelength limits of traditional optical lithography.University of Maryland at Baltimore scientists experimentally verified a way to focus light to far less than half its wavelength. The technique could lead to smaller, faster chips without the need to change the basic manufacturing processes of lithography.

In the experiment, they forced photons into… read more

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal Strongest Carbon Nanotubes

September 20, 2001

A team of researchers has used computer simulations to discover carbon fibers with mechanical strength comparable to that of diamond. In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, Crespi, graduate student Dragan Stojkovic, and recent Ph.D. graduate Peihong Zhang report that they discovered incredibly strong and stiff carbon tubes about 0.4 nanometers in diameter.

Using supercomputers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), the University of Michigan, and the… read more

Forget travel–try videoconferencing

September 20, 2001

For 1/1000th the price of expensive conferencing systems, you can add video to your PC and set up your own video conferences. The easiest method of arranging a video conference is to use a free application like Microsoft NetMeeting or Yahoo Messenger plus a cheap webcam.

For one-to-many or many-to-many video, you should look into services like WebEx or Astound Conference Center. Both offer corporate-grade video and Web conferencing… read more

‘Nimda’ virus outbreak spreads worldwide

September 19, 2001

Known as “Nimda” or “readme.exe,” a new worm spreads by sending infected e-mail messages, copying itself to computers on the same network, and compromising Web servers using Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS) software. Infected Web pages may also download the worm to Web surfers’ PCs when they view the page.
Nimda started spreading early Tuesday morning and quickly infected PCs and servers across the Internet. It infects PCs running Windows… read more

Fujitsu announces Linux-based humanoid robot

September 19, 2001

Fujitsu has developed a miniature humanoid robot named HOAP-1 (Humanoid for Open Architecture Platform), designed for wide application in research and development of robotic technologies, the company announced at the Robotics Society of Japan meeting on September 18.

Weighing 6kg and standing 48cm tall, the HOAP-1 and accompanying simulation software can be used for developing motion control algorithms for two-legged walking and in research on human-to-robot communication interfaces.… read more

Robots Scour WTC Wreckage

September 19, 2001

Dozens of experimental search-and-rescue robots are scouring the wreckage of the World Trade Center’s collapsed twin towers. A team of four robot researchers from the University of South Florida are assisting the salvage operation with about seven robots, including various marsupial designs, which combine a large “mother” robot with a smaller “daughter” machine that is small enough to maneuver deep into crevices in the rubble. Some of the daughter machines… read more

Protecting Passengers With Fingerprint or Retina Scans

September 19, 2001

Stocks of the few publicly traded biometrics companies soared Monday. Biometrics systems identify travelers by fingerprints, the patterns in their retinas, their voices or other individual characteristics.Leading biometrics systems include Visionics’ FaceIt, a system that profiles individuals based on 80 facial structures like distance between the eyes, cheekbone formation and the width of the nose bridge; and eye scans, which look at either the distinctive patterns in the blood vessels… read more

Officials Fear U.S. Is Ill-Equipped to Deal With Biological or Chemical Terrorism

September 18, 2001

The U.S. is woefully unprepared to deal with chemical and biological threats, according to government and think-tank reports.

The public-health infrastructure is a “tattered web.” Studies revealed that only one in five hospitals had any response plan for biochemical weapons, less than half had decontamination units with showers, and less than a third had enough antidote for a cloud of nerve gas like the 1995 Tokyo subway attack. In… read more

The nanoelectronic road ahead

September 17, 2001

The semiconductor industry has the potential for at least 20 more years of exponential progress ahead of us,” said James D. Meindl, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Microelectronics Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology in a paper published in the September 14 issue of the journal Science.Based on a comprehensive analysis of the fundamental, material, device, circuit and system limits on silicon semiconductors,… read more

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