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July 30, 2002

A white paper says nanotechnology will affect a wide range of industries and there are promising investments to be made, but warns about the hype.

Windows, lose, draw

July 30, 2002

University of Alberta researchers have developed a poker-playing computer program that successfully guesses whether an opponent is bluffing, wavering or playing his hands straight.

It records a player’s habits or biases as the game progresses and uses algorithms to mix that information with baseline probabilities, creating the effect of both reason and intuition. The program now defeats 90% of opponents.

Hearing is Believing

July 29, 2002

The Hyper-Sonic Sound System (HSS) can convert any audio signal to an ultrasonic frequency that can be precisely directed toward a listener up to 100 yards away.

Uses include promotion from stores and vending machines (as in Minority Report), home theater systems, entertainment, and military weapons and psychological operations.

Artificial intelligence tackles breast cancer

July 26, 2002

Researchers have used neural network program and fuzzy logic to achieve nearly 90 per cent accuracy in predicting the extent of spread of breast cancer and whether patients would survive for five years. This significantly outperformed conventional statistical analysis techniques.

The Serious Search for an Anti-Aging Pill

July 25, 2002

A pill that mimics the life-prolonging effects of caloric restriction by inhibiting glucose metabolism could enable people to stay healthy longer, postponing age-related disorders — without requiring people to go hungry.

Ant Supercolony Dominates Europe

July 25, 2002

A species of Argentine ant has developed the largest supercolony ever recorded, stretching 6,000 kilometers from northern Italy to Spain, with billions of related ants occupying millions of nests.

Scientists think high nest densities would have favored cooperative behaviour over aggression. Evolution would then have reinforced this superiority because nests without internal strife would have had time and resources to fight off their enemies.

Asteroids on collision course with Earth?

July 24, 2002
NASA hypothetical simulation

A two-kilometers-wide asteroid — large enough to cause continent-wide devastation on Earth — could strike the planet on February 1, 2019, based on astronomers’ preliminary orbit calculations, BBC News reports. The uncertainty of the forecast is large, however — several tens of millions of kilometers, according to Dr. Donald Yeomans of NASA JPL.

Invisible comets made of an exotic material called “mirror matter” could also be on a collision… read more

Interview With a Humanoid

July 23, 2002

Five clone calves in Wisconsin have been born with 0.1 percent human DNA. They are expected to produce a human protein, C-1 Esterase Inhibitor, in their milk to treat humans suffering from angioedema.

Infigen, a biotech company in DeForest, Wisconsin, is cloning cows with human DNA to produce products such as human collagen, human fibrinogen (used to treat wounds), and human factor VIII, used for blood clotting.

The… read more

Shape Memory Alloy May Be Ready for Market

July 23, 2002

Interest is picking up in nitinol shape-memory devices for use in toys (dolls with nitinol facial muscles and mobile action figures), medical devices (stents in blood vessels and arteries to keep them from clogging), and other uses. The benefits: shrink components to reduce weight, cut materials costs and improve design flexibility.

Motivating the Masses, Wirelessly

July 22, 2002

The convergence of wireless communications technologies (such as wireless text messaging) and widely distributed networks is allowing social swarming on a scale that has never existed before.

In “Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution,” due for release this fall, author Howard Rheingold envisions shifts similar to those that began to occur when people first settled into villages and formed nation-states. “We are on the verge of a major series… read more

Is Anti-Virus Software Obsolete?

July 22, 2002

Traditional desktop anti-virus software, based on the signature-based reactive approach, is no longer an adequate defense, say analysts. The new direction is “digital watchtowers”: scanning engines with artificial intelligence that look at patterns and unusual characteristics within e-mails before they come into a customer’s network.

Tweaking Single Gene Makes Mice Brainier

July 22, 2002

Scientists have succeeded in making mice cerebral cortex grow dramatically more convoluted. They developed a line of transgenic mice that carried a variant of a gene that makes a protein, beta-catenin, thought to play a role in regulating cell growth in the developing brain.

Second law of thermodynamics ‘broken’

July 22, 2002

The second law of thermodynamics has for the first time been shown not to hold for microscopic systems, which could place a fundamental limit on miniaturization.

“Their results are also in good agreement with predictions of the ‘fluctuation theorem,’ developed … to reconcile the second law with the behaviour of particles at microscopic scales.

“The results imply that the fluctuation theorem has important ramifications for nanotechnology and indeed… read more

A Flashy Web Communication Tool

July 21, 2002

The new Flash Communication Server MX allows Flash developers to create multimedia Web applications that let users talk and stream video, collaborate on documents in real time, chat, and send instant multimedia messages.

Laser delivers DNA

July 19, 2002

Lasers can open a temporary doorway into cells so that DNA can get inside, researchers at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany report. This technique might hasten gene therapy by making it easier to get new genes into living cells without harming them.

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