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Dinosaur ancestor’s vision possibly nocturnal

September 4, 2002

Scientists at Rockefeller University have reconstructed the light-sensing rhodopsin protein from the ancestors of dinosaurs. It suggests that dinosaurs may have been well-adapted to seeing in the dark. Belinda S.W. Chang, Ph.D., first author and research assistant professor at Rockefeller, used existing databases and sophisticated statistical methods to infer the most likely DNA sequences that the ancestral archosaur would have had for its rhodopsin.

“From the databases, we pulled… read more

They Weren’t Meant to Be Games

September 4, 2002

Video games have rocketed past movies in mass appeal, driven by powerful technologies that have transformed games into fully interactive worlds.

A high-quality video game now can surpass traditional action movies in terms of realism, usability, return visits, interactivity and subtlety, thanks to sophisticated computer graphics, improved sound effects, and use of artificial intelligence for character portrayal and movement.

Radio emerges from the electronic soup

September 2, 2002

A self-organising electronic circuit with evolutionary computer program to “breed” an oscillator circuit has stunned engineers by turning itself into a radio receiver. Researchers discovered that the evolving circuit had used the computer’s circuit board itself as an antenna, picking up a signal from a nearby computer and delivering it as an output.

Organic robot mimics sea life

September 2, 2002

The Public Anemone, an organic robot designed to imitate primitive life forms, has been created by MIT researchers. The robot is intended to explore artificial life and provide insights into how to create robots that can behave and interact naturally with humans.

Mind Catcher: A Boy and his Exo-Brain

August 31, 2002

Scientists have perfected a machine that downloads brain waves in this new novel by John Darnton. When surgeons have to shut down the brain stem so the organ can be repaired, a computer supplies the necessary neural transmissions to keep the rest of the body alive.

Game developers look beyond polygons

August 30, 2002

Graphics in games have reached the point where throwing more polygons at the screen has little effect on the quality. The next big thing will be two-way speech.

Rival replacement for DVDs announced

August 30, 2002

A high-capacity replacement for current DVD technology has been announced by NEC and Toshiba. It would increase data storage capacity from the current 4.7 to 8.5 gigabytes to between 15 and 30 gigabytes.

The competing Blu-Ray discs are expected to hold between 40 and 50 gigabytes of data. Both formats are expected to be available in 2004.

The Even-More-Compact Disc

August 30, 2002

The new miniaturized DataPlay digital media offers CD performance and 500 MB storage at a tiny size but at expensive prices initially for media and players.

DataPlay discs will be available in blank, recordable form as well as prerecorded, copy-protected albums.

A Universal Tool to Rescue Old Files From Obsolescence

August 30, 2002

Dr. Raymond Lorie, a researcher at the I.B.M. Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., has developed a “universal virtual computer” for long-term preservation of obsolescent digital documents.

The system, which uses semantic tags, is designed to be logical and accessible so computer developers of the future will be able to write instructions to emulate it on their machines.

Kurzweil reviews Simone on NPR

August 30, 2002

Ray Kurzweil discussed the movie Simone on NPR’s Here & Now noon news and culture magazine show on Friday, August 30.’s Ramona avatar read the show’s credits.

The show archive can be heard here.

New Hard-Drive Tech Overcomes Magnetic Memory Problems

August 29, 2002

Seagate researchers now believe they can store as much as 50 terabits per square inch — equivalent to the entire printed contents of the Library of Congress — on a single disk drive for a notebook computer.Currently, the highest storage densities are around 50 gigabits per square inch.

The new techniques involves heating the memory medium with a laser-generated beam at the precise spot where data bits are being… read more

How Geckos Stick — New Find May Lead to New Glue

August 29, 2002
Copyright (c) 2000 Kellar Autumn

A team of biologists and engineers has cracked the molecular secrets of the gecko’s unsurpassed sticking power, opening the door for engineers to fabricate prototypes of dry, adhesive microstructures that work even underwater or in a vacuum.

The gecko’s amazing climbing ability, the researchers found, depends on weak molecular attractive forces called van der Waals forces (electrodynamic forces that operate over very small distances but bond to nearly any… read more

Forever Young: The new scientific search for immortality

August 29, 2002

Researchers are making a lot of progress in extending life span. Techniques being developed include calorie restriction, therapeutic cloning, genetic research for the longevity gene, anti-oxidants, getting cells to produce telomerase, hormone replacement therapies, genetic engineering, and nanomedicine.

Hindi chatbot breaks new ground

August 27, 2002

Computer science students in India are developing software that can converse intelligently with people in Hindi and could open up computer use to India’s illiterate millions.

The software reportedly becomes more intelligenc as it acquires more knowledge about the user.

Nanotubes speed up

August 27, 2002

Transistors fabricated from carbon nanotubes now have electrical characteristics that can rival silicon devices. For example, IBM researchers have developed a carbon-nanotube FET (field effect transistor) that can compete with the leading prototype silicon transistors currently available.Progress has also been made in reducing the resistance at the nanotube-electrode interface. This has allowed different nanotubes to be assembled into basic logic circuits, an important step towards nanoelectronics.

Limitations in manufacturing… read more

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