science + technology news

Next Big Thing Is a Really Small Battery

August 29, 2003

A patent has just been issued to the University of Tulsa for batteries that are so small that 40 could be stacked across the width of a human hair.

Electricity grids wide open to hackers on Internet

August 28, 2003

The revelation that a computer worm disabled a safety system in a US nuclear power station in January has led to fresh calls for security on electricity grids to be overhauled, according to New Scientist.

Experts say much of the grid’s critical infrastructure is too accessible to the virus-ridden public Internet.

When the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ohio was hit by the Slammer worm this… read more

Recipe for a ‘Shake Gel’

August 28, 2003

Chemists and computer scientists are using a special facility at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to scale molecules up for people-sized interactions. Using chemical data, NIST software, special eyewear, and floor-to-ceiling display screens, they create giant three-dimensional molecules that move.

Molecular behavior can be seen and understood in minutes instead of the weeks required using traditional techniques.

IBM finds ally for supercomputer-on-a-chip

August 28, 2003

IBM and the University of Texas at Austin plan to collaborate on building a processor capable of more than 1 trillion calculations per second–faster than many of today’s top supercomputers–by 2010.

Prototypes are expected to be running in the lab by December 2005, capable of 32 billion operations per second, theoretically.

Machine Thinks, Therefore It Is

August 27, 2003

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories are working on creating intelligent machines: computers that can accurately infer intent, remember prior experiences with users, and allow users to call upon simulated experts to help them analyze problems and make decisions.

They are using a human-like cognitive model that enables the machine to have an interaction with the user that more closely resembles communications between two thinking humans.… read more

MIT Everyware

August 27, 2003

Every lecture, every handout, every quiz. All online. For free. Meet the global geeks getting an MIT education, open source-style.

MIT OpenCourseWare site

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.

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