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More than six degrees separate us

August 8, 2003

An e-mail experiment has confirmed the famous “six degrees of separation” of human social networks, but revealed that individuals don’t necessarily benefit from their connectedness.

Witchcraft: Sinatra lives

August 8, 2003

In October, Radio City Music Hall in New York will feature a lifelike virtual performance by Frank Sinatra.

Video images of the singer will be projected onto three-dimensional screens as his recorded voice plays over the sound system. The producers will use rotoscoping to black out background imagery and project Sinatra across a series of moveable 3-D panels.

Musical roots may lie in human voice

August 7, 2003

Key universal features in world music may have their roots in the ever-present sound of the human voice during the course of evolution, suggests a new study.

The analysis of thousands of recorded speech samples found peaks in acoustic energy that precisely mirror the distances between important notes in the twelve-tone scale, the system that forms the foundation of almost all music.

World’s first cloned horse is born

August 7, 2003

The Laboratory of Reproductive Technology in Cremona has cloned the world’s first horse, which could help boost good breeds and might even help replicate equine champions.

UCLA Launches Brain Mapping Project

August 7, 2003

Researchers have compiled an atlas that contains digitally mapped images of the brain. It allows researchers to compare and contrast brain images captured from 7000 people living in seven nations on four continents.

Available free on the Internet, the atlas charts brain activity, pinpointing the seat of functions such as speech, memory, emotion and language and highlighting how those locations can vary among individuals and populations.

Robot links doctors and patients remotely

August 6, 2003

A high-tech robot being tested at The Johns Hopkins Hospital could be used to remotely link patients with their physicians.

Looking at a computer terminal, the doctor directing the robot sees what the robot sees and hears what the robot hears. At the other end, patients can see and talk to the doctor’s face displayed on a flat screen that sits on the robot’s “shoulders.” The devices are connected… read more

Nanolitho effort harnesses self-assembly

August 6, 2003

Nanoscale patterning of silicon substrates with regular, repeatable, atomically perfect application-specific templates could enable manufacturable nanoscale chips within the decade, according to scientists at the University of Wisconsin’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (Madison).

The technique can achieve dimensions of tens of nanometers and could someday result in a computer with 4,000 Gbytes of memory. The team used block co-polymers that “self-assemble like snowflakes,” according to their report,… read more

Scientists debate value of citizens’ advisory panels

August 6, 2003

The National Science Foundation is experimenting with a system of citizens’ advisory panels to consider the ethical, social and practical implications of new technologies and recommend policies that might reduce misunderstanding and obstruction on issues such as genetically modified foods and nanotechnology.

How Robots Will Steal Your Job

August 6, 2003

Humanoid robots will be widely available by the year 2030 and able to replace jobs currently filled by people in areas such as fast-food service, housecleaning and retail, says Marshall Brain, founder of HowStuffWorks.

Unless ways are found to compensate for these lost jobs, Brain estimates that more than half of Americans could be unemployed by 2055.

Mouse intelligence measured

August 5, 2003

Rodent general intelligence or
“g” might reveal genes for intellect.

Crossed nanotubes could form a quantum dot

August 5, 2003

A carbon-nanotube cross structure could theoretically produce quantum dots small enough to show single-electron effects at room temperature, according to researchers at Stanford University. This structure could form by self-assembly and could be a good candidate for devices such as single-electron transistors.

Molecules build a bridge to spintronics

August 5, 2003

A new generation of devices that harness the spin of electrons has moved closer. In a recent experiment, University of California at Santa Barbara researchers have transferred electron spins across molecular “bridges” between quantum dots for the first time and at room temperature.

Power from blood could lead to ‘human batteries’

August 5, 2003

Researchers in Japan are developing a method of drawing power from blood glucose, mimicking the way the body generates energy from food. Theoretically, it could allow a person to pump out 100 watts, ignoring body needs. The “bio-nano” generator could be used to run devices embedded in the body or sugar-fed robots.

A rationale for humans as power sources in The Matrix?

Holographic data storage: Light on the horizon

August 5, 2003

The first commercial holographic memory should be on the market next year. Theoretically, it’s possible to store a terabyte of data on a CD-sized disk, with transfer rate of a billion bits a second (at least 60 times faster than current DVDs).

A Business Out of Thin Air

August 4, 2003

HoloTouch has developed technology that allows users to operate equipment simply by passing a finger through a holographic image.

The system uses lasers and infrared sensors to create images that can be manipulated in the air.

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