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Earth’s magnetic field ‘boosts gravity’

September 23, 2002

Hidden extra dimensions are causing measurements of the strength of gravity at different locations on Earth to be affected by the planet’s magnetic field, French researchers say.

Check This: Questions for Garry Kasparov

September 23, 2002

This fall, Garry Kasparov will begin his first match against a computer since he lost to I.B.M.’s Deep Blue in 1997. Unlike Deep Blue, the new chess computer, Deep Junior, has “accumulated immense knowledge of the game of chess,” says Kasparov, but he holds out hope that human creativity will trump computational brute force.

Stamp-Size Plastic Chip Provides New Approach to Cryptography

September 22, 2002

Modern encryption techniques are tested every time someone makes a purchase over the Internet or spends electronic cash stored in smart cards. These strategies rely on so-called one-way functions, which are easy to execute in one direction (for instance, multiplying two prime numbers) but difficult to reverse (factoring a large number into two primes). With ever-increasing computer power and advances in quantum computing, however, such methods may soon become breakable.… read more

Intel unfurls experimental 3D transistors

September 20, 2002

Intel unveiled more technical details on its Tri-Gate transistor, an experimental circuit that could become a crucial element in the company’s efforts to continue to heed Moore’s Law by making smaller and faster chips.

The transistors have three gates rather than one, so they behave more like 3-D objects. Increasing the number of transistor gates increases the amount of current that can be handled and reduces leakage, boosting performance.

Out-of-body experience clues may hide in mind

September 20, 2002

Swiss neurology researchers have tied “out the body experience” to stimulation the brain’s angular gyrus in the right cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for things like body and space awareness, and logical sequencing.

Maid to Order

September 19, 2002

Roomba, a new housecleaning robot spawned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Artificial Intelligence Lab and built by iRobot, will vacuum your living room. It’s the first robot designed to live in your home, serve a useful purpose, and be priced for the mass market — at $199 — on sale this week.

Controlling Robots with the Mind

September 19, 2002

People with nerve or limb injuries may one day be able to command wheelchairs, prosthetics and even paralyzed arms and legs by “thinking them through” the motions.

Scientists have developed implantable microchips that will embed the neuronal pattern recognition now done with software, thereby eventually freeing the brain-machine interface devices from a computer. These microchips will send wireless control data to robotic actuators.

Microchips in the Blood

September 18, 2002

Many of the promised genomic drugs will be impossible to swallow as pills. Instead, they will have to be injected in minute quantities at precise intervals for months at a time. Just the job for an implantable syringe-on-a-chip. Researchers in this field refer to their goal as intelligent drug delivery. The intelligence is derived from a piece of silicon one centimetre square. Etched in the silicon is a matrix of… read more

In Nature vs. Nurture, a Voice for Nature

September 17, 2002

Discoveries about genetically determined human nature have been ignored or suppressed in modern discussions of human affairs, says MIT psychologist Dr. Steven Pinker in the forthcoming The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature.

The “blank slaters” — critics of sociobiology and their many adherents in the social sciences — have sought to base the political ideals of equal rights and equal opportunity on a false biological premise:… read more

International Lisp Conference 2002

September 17, 2002

The Association of Lisp Users (ALU) has announced the International Lisp Conference 2002 in San Francisco, October 27 – 31, focused on Lisp and Functional Languages, Web Applications, Robotics and Bioinformatics.

The event will also feature the Dynamic Languages RoboCup Simulation League Competition and Chatterbot Competition.

Hollywood goes to war

September 16, 2002

Using tools such as a virtual-reality theatre with a 150-degree screen, a monster SGI computer, and a 10.2 Dolby sound system, the Institute for Creative Technology, affiliated with the University of Southern California, seeks to create interactive games that reflect 21st-century military challenges. It is at the forefront of work on AI and expects to create a virtual human able to talk, express emotions and display body language, within five… read more

Speed of light broken with basic lab kit

September 16, 2002

Electric signals can be transmitted at least four times faster than the speed of light using only basic equipment, Tennessee State University physicists have discovered.

However, signals also get weaker and more distorted the faster they go, so in theory no useful information can get transmitted at faster-than-light speeds.

On a Single Chip, Intel Joins Realms of Analog and Digital

September 16, 2002

Manufacturing processes are converging. Intel has announced a new manufacturing process to blend digital and analog functions on a single silicon chip. In the future, all functions of a cellphone, for example, could be consolidated on a single chip.

The Supercomputing Speed Barrier

September 16, 2002

Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers are operating the Q supercomputer at 30 teraflops; supercomputers will eventually be able to surpass 100 teraflops at the national coalition of Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories, and Los Alamos National Labs has announced plans for 200 teraflops.

Senator to introduce nanotech bill

September 13, 2002

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn. plan to introduce a nanotechnology bill on Sept. 17 focused on economic growth and development, jobs, and global competitiveness. The bill is expected to make the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) a standing government program.

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