science + technology news

Who’s afraid of nanotechnology?

September 18, 2003

Some worry that nanotechnology will backfire, threatening human health and unleashing new forms of pollution.

Plasma blobs hint at new form of life

September 18, 2003

Physicists have created the first gaseous “cells” — blobs of gaseous plasma that can grow, replicate and communicate – fulfilling most of the traditional requirements for biological cells.

Intel Says New Chips to Have Two Processors

September 17, 2003

Intel plans two new chips that will have two or more processors on a single piece of silicon, boosting the performance of corporate server computers: a 32-bit Xeon server processor MP, code-named “Tulsa,” its first dual-core chip, and a new 64-bit Itanium server chip, code-named “Tanglewood.”

Also planned:

  • An Itanium processor, code-named “Montecito,” the first chip with one billion transistors, targeted for production in 2005.
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    First human clone embryo ready for implantation

    September 16, 2003

    The first human cloned embryo could be implanted into a surrogate mother’s womb before the end of the year, US fertility expert Panayiotis Zavos claimed on Monday.

    Zavos says he created the human cloned embryo by fusing an empty human egg with a granulosa cell. The embryo, which was frozen after growing to a ball of eight to 10 cells, was created after Zavos had experimented for months with… read more

    Allen donates $100 million to help decipher the brain

    September 16, 2003

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has donated $100 million to launch a private research organization in Seattle devoted to deciphering the links between our genes and our brain.

    Allen is expected to formally announce the creation of the Allen Institute for Brain Science and its inaugural project, the “Allen Brain Atlas,” on Tuesday. The atlas aims to identify 10,000 genes per year; it will actually model the mouse brain, which… read more

    Supercomputer-based neural net to mimic the brain planned

    September 16, 2003

    Plans to build the “world’s biggest spiking neural network” to mimic the brain were announced by Mountain View, Calif.-based Artificial Development at the Accelerating Change Conference on Sunday.

    The CCortex system will be a “massive spiking neuron network emulation and will mimic the human cortex, with 20 billion layered neurons and 2 trillion 8-bit connections,” according to AD’s President and CEO Marcos Guillen, listed in the… read more

    Bat echoes used as virtual reality guide

    September 15, 2003

    A bat echolocation system, adapted for human ears, has been used allow people to locate objects in a virtual reality environment. The system sends out bat echolocation sounds and returns echoes that are slowed into the human range of hearing.

    Nano China

    September 11, 2003

    China is now one of the world leaders in newly registered nanotechnology firms, with more than 600 over the past three years, according to Helmut Kaiser Consultancy, which is conducting a study, “Nanotechnology in China State 2003 and Development 2006-2010-2015.”

    China has the advantage of high flexibility, low labor costs, no barriers for new technologies, young and vibrant society, venture capital, underestimated currency (today about 40 percent… read more

    Voice control is finally taking over

    September 11, 2003

    Using phone numbers, remote controls and computer keyboards will likely seem quaint within a decade as new capability to turn human speech into accurate, efficient computer code radically changes the ways we live and work.

    That’s the outlook of Lawrence R. Rabiner, associate director of the Center for Advanced Information Processing (CAIP) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in an overview of speech processing, “The Power of… read more

    Getting More From a PC’s Spare Time

    September 11, 2003

    A new program, Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (Boinc), will eventually allow the SETI@home project to join forces with other distributed computing initiatives so volunteers can take part in multiple projects instead of just one.

    David P. Anderson, a scientist at the University of California’s Space Sciences Laboratory who directs SETI@home, said the program would increase efficiency.

    Beyond Voice Recognition, to a Computer That Reads Lips

    September 11, 2003

    Scientists at IBM, Intel, and in many other labs are developing digital lip-reading systems to augment the accuracy of speech recognition.

    CDs and DVDs for long-term achival storage

    September 11, 2003

    Computer scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are launching an effort to develop specifications for “archival quality” CD and DVD media that agencies could use to ensure the procurement of sufficiently robust media for their long-term archiving needs (i.e., 50 years and longer).

    NIST press release: From Movies to Minutia: DVDs Eyed for Archival Uses

    An Untouchable Video Screen

    September 11, 2003

    In Finland, a fog machine conjures up the Mona Lisa on an invisible sheet of water particles. Thousands of miles away, an American graduate student passes his hand through an image of a DNA strand produced — apparently out of thin air — by a modified video projector.

    The two inventions represent the latest front in advanced computer displays — eliminating the screen altogether.

    Black Hole Sound Waves

    September 10, 2003

    Sound waves 57 octaves lower than middle-C are rumbling away from a supermassive black hole in the Perseus cluster. The “note” is the deepest ever detected from any object in our Universe. The tremendous amounts of energy carried by these sound waves may solve a longstanding problem in astrophysics: how galaxy clusters, the largest structures in the Universe, grow.

    No Joy for Sun Microsystems

    September 10, 2003

    Sun Microsystems said Tuesday that Bill Joy, its chief scientist and a software pioneer who became an outspoken critic of an over-automated society, is leaving the embattled computer maker he helped found.

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