science + technology news

Is grid computing finally a reality?

October 27, 2003

As Oracle prepares to launch “grid-enabled” versions of its database and application server, are we any closer to a computer grid, which promises the self-diagnostic and self-healing capabilities that computer companies and their customers have sought for so many years?

Oracle’s new products do exhibit some features of self-healing and self-tuning, but a homogeneous grid is still a long way off.

Personal nanofactory design raises prepardness concerns

October 27, 2003

Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) has published a landmark design study for a personal-size nanofactory that could rapidly manufacture a wide array of advanced products, including more nanofactories, while using minimal resources.

Design of a Primitive Nanofactory” by CRN Director of Research Chris Phoenix appeared in the peer-reviewed Journal of Evolution and Technology. The 84-page technical paper is the most comprehensive examination of nanofactory architecture… read more

Patients given artificial blood

October 27, 2003

Doctors have for the first time successfully used artificial blood to treat patients.

The product is a powder that can be stored for years, say scientists at Stockholm’s Karolinska Hospital. It can transport oxygen through the body better than real blood and there is no need to test a patient’s blood type before administering a transfusion.

News tip: Walter Purvis

Terahertz rays allow imaging at nanoscale

October 24, 2003

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers have shown that terahertz rays can be used in conjunction with scanning near-field microscopy, according to a paper published in Applied Physics Letter.

The technique circumvents the usual “diffraction limit” on imaging methods, which restricts the resolution to the same order of magnitude as the wavelength of the radiation used.

By demonstrating a resolution of 150 nm using THz radiation of 150 microns, the… read more launches full-text search for books

October 24, 2003 launched a new service today that lets you search the full text inside the book for more than 120,000 books (33 million pages).

After you search as usual for books containing a word or phrase (such as “biological intelligence”), you can click on the “See more references to ‘biological intelligence’ in this book” link (for participating books) to see excerpts from all the pages where “biological… read more

Intel explores nanotech tools for early disease detection

October 24, 2003

Intel is working with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to see if laser technology used to detect microscopic chip imperfections can also detect subtle traces of disease.

They hope to identify proteins in human blood serum that foretell the susceptibility, presence or prognosis of diseases such as cancer.

The laser stimulates molecules within a substance to give off a spectrum of light that can be detected by… read more

Nanowires make flexible circuits

October 23, 2003

Researchers from Nanosys, Inc. have found a way to assemble large arrays of nanowires made from silicon or other semiconductors into a densely-packed thin film, then process the assembly to produce relatively efficient transistors on a variety of surfaces.

The technology may eventually enable very large flat-panel displays, tiny radio frequency identification devices, and disposable computing and storage electronics.

CRN Calls for Global Administration of Molecular Nanotechnology

October 22, 2003

The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) is calling for the creation of a collaborative international administrative structure to deal with the problems of molecular manufacturing.

“The threat of MNT is the potential of developing and fabricating dangerous weapons and other undesirables covertly or in large quantity,” said CRN Executive Director Mike Trager.

“This administration will need global scope, and will require careful and innovative planning to balance competing… read more

Farewell lawnmower…hello robot

October 22, 2003
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe press release

Robot orders in the first half of 2003 were up by an unprecedented 26%, according to a report released today by The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

In 2002, sales of “domestic robots” — mostly self-piloting lawnmowers and window-cleaners — rose to 33,000 up from 20,000 the previous year. The total number of robots in use worldwide is around 1.4 million.

Warfare at the speed of light

October 21, 2003

The Pentagon inside of a decade could be armed with a beam weapon that is near-instantaneous, gravity-free and truly surgical.

It could focus to such hair-splitting accuracy that it could avoid civilians while detonating munitions miles away or even cruise missiles at ranges of up to dozens of miles in good weather.

In clear air above the clouds, a high-powered laser could reach 500 miles to destroy rising… read more

A New Kind of Genomics, With an Eye on Ecosystems

October 21, 2003

Researchers are beginning to sequence “metagenomes,” the DNA of entire microbial ecosystems.

Some scientists think can will be used to find new enzymes, monitor the health of environments, predict environmental impacts, and find patterns in the bacterial population in humans that will predict when someone is about to get sick.

Regrow Your Own

October 21, 2003

Researchers have succeeded in making mouse stem cells mature again to resemble muscle, bone, or fat cells, similar to what happens with newt tissue.

The research could lead to humans regrowing cells in damaged organs.

Sexual Identity Wired by Genetics

October 21, 2003

Sexual identity is wired into the genes, which discounts the concept that homosexuality and transgender sexuality are a choice, University of California researchers reported.

Tiny tubes squeeze electricity from water

October 21, 2003

An entirely new way of generating electricity has been discovered.

How it works: you squeeze water through fine channels. The surface of the channel walls becomes charged, which builds up a charge on opposite ends of the channel, generating an electrical current when connected.

German chatty bot is ‘most human’

October 20, 2003

Jabberwock by Juergen Pirner was awarded first place for human-like communication in the Loebner Prize Contest 2003, held at the University of Surrey, Guildford, UK on Saturday October 18.

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