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NSF funds studies of social implications of nanotech

August 27, 2003

The National Science Foundation has announced two new grants, each over $1 million, to study the societal implications of nanotechnology.

One of the grants at the University of South Carolina will study nanotech’s potential for unintended consequences; the other at the University of California, Los Angeles will study how newly acquired knowledge about nanotechnology makes its way from the laboratory to the marketplace.

NSF press release

Michigan orders Cryonics Institute to close

August 27, 2003

The Cryonics Institute has been ordered to stop operating its business by the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services.

CIS said the institute is operating as an unlicensed mortuary science establishment and a nonregistered cemetery.

The governmental agency said it was made aware of the Michigan cryonics facility after the death of Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Ted Williams, whose remains are frozen in an Arizona cryonics… read more

Army Center to Study New Uses of Biotechnology

August 27, 2003

The United States Army is establishing the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies at three universities to apply biology to the development of sensors, computers and materials, under a $50 million initial grant.

Such technology might include better materials for uniforms or armor, faster and lighter computers and batteries and more elaborate sensors.

It might be possible to make even smaller and speedier chips by building structures molecule by molecule… read more

Is it time to move beyond zeroes and ones?

August 27, 2003

The economics of semiconductor manufacturing now is forcing us to consider moving beyond binary to ternary and quaternary logic.

This would effectively increase a device’s information density without further shrinking the transistor structure. This option should be considered as we move ultimately into the sub-nanometer range, where we are already facing problems relating to the cost of the fabrication equipment and more fundamentally, quantum uncertainties.

Mysteries of the universe

August 26, 2003

One morning last April, the New York Times op-ed page ran a piece by the Australian physicist Paul Davies warning readers not to be so gullible as to believe there could be more than one universe.

The next month, Scientific American published a long article by the physicist Max Tegmark asserting that, to the contrary, parallel universes almost certainly do exist. Around the same time, bookstores received Are Universes… read more

Silent pump for water-cooled PCs developed

August 26, 2003

A new water-cooling system for computer chips has been developed that incorporates a clever pump with no moving parts. The system, developed by Californian start-up company Cooligy, aims to silently solve the problem that the faster chips get, the hotter they become.

In the near future, the chips in high-speed laptops and desktop PCs will generate so much heat that traditional air cooling systems will struggle to cope. Simply… read more

When sci-fi forgets the science

August 26, 2003

Every fan of science fiction film knows that for every genuinely good movie they see, they will have to endure an awful lot of rubbish.

A strange idiocy seems to have over-taken the makers of blockbusters such as The Matrix Reloaded, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and others who are bolstering their creations with some decidedly dodgy science.

NTT verifies diamond semiconductor operation at 81 GHz

August 26, 2003

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) has developed a diamond semiconductor device that operates at 81 GHz frequency, more than twice the speed of earlier devices. The advance promises to make amplification in the millimeter-wave band from 30 to 300 GHz possible for the first time.

Diamond is expected to be the next- generation semiconductor material because of its high thermal conductivity, high breakdown voltage and high carrier mobility.… read more

Cell transplant restores vision

August 26, 2003

A blind man can see again after being given a stem cell transplant.

The operation transplanted corneal and limbal stem cells into his right eye.

Will fact match fiction as scientists start work on thinking robot?

August 26, 2003

Scientists at Essex University and the University of Bristol have been given the biggest ever grant to build a “conscious robot.”

Igor Aleksander, an emeritus professor of neural networks at Imperial College, described five axioms needed to form consciousness in living beings and, subsequently, in machines:

Axiom 1: a sense of place
We feel that we are at the center of an “out there” world, and we have… read more

The Ghost in Your Machine

August 26, 2003

The world of smart computers — machines that would be familiar with your habits and know when you’re stressed or fatigued — could be only a few years away. The computers would note your mental logic for saving information and follow the same logic in saving files. They would accurately infer your intent, remember past experiences (for instance, that you tend to make errors in multiplication), and alert you to… read more

This Worm Can Be Turned

August 25, 2003

The Blaster worm and SoBig virus give the computer community the largest threat so far. Some fear a terrorist attack would have added ammunition if it were coupled with a vicious computer attack.

Plastic Electronics

August 25, 2003

Plastic chips could rival silicon sometime in the 2010s for wall-size television displays to ultra-tiny transistors. The potential has captivated some heavyweight companies in computers and consumer electronics.

The Sensor Revolution

August 25, 2003

Sensor networks promise a mammoth extension of the Internet. Within five years, these sensor computers could be shrunk to the size of a grain of sand and deployed over much of the globe, resulting in thousands of new networks.

Look for them to be scattered across farms and battlefields to monitor minute chemical and temperature changes and slapped onto trucks and shipping boxes to trace inventory automatically. Such networks… read more

Printers Produce Copies in 3D

August 25, 2003

Several companies are developing low-cost three-dimensional printers that could eventually find their way into the home. The machines work by placing layers of a powdery material on top of each other to create a real-life model of a digital image.

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