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Spectrum Wars

September 6, 2001

The promise of ubiquitous wireless Internet access is on hold as TV broadcasters, the military, telecom companies and others secretly squabble over scarce spectrum space. Congress wants to auction off some of the prime spectrum used by the Pentagon. The Pentagon wants to take broadcasters’ HDTV spectrum, while broadcasters want to auction it off and use the money for developing digital television.

The public knows little about this; even… read more

Complexity science: next big thing

September 4, 2001

The next big thing will be complexity science, the study of how order inevitability emerges from chaos, says Internet pioneer Jim Rutt. Rutt is interested in applying the theories of complexity science to develop computers, systems and software that will independently think and learn.

“When Ray Kurzweil wrote ‘Spiritual Age of Machines,’ I thought he was nuts,” Rutt said. “But now, I’m convinced that he is definitely onto something.… read more

Why Did Honda Build a Humanoid Robot That Meets With the Vatican’s Approval?

September 4, 2001

The Vatican has assured Honda Motors that the Church won’t complain about its two-legged four-foot robot named Asimo, which can walk, dance, shake hands and speak, but has no brain (AI functions).

So what else can it do? Honda plans to rent the robot as a guide in museums or to perform at weddings, and robots may someday sweep landmines, serve as seeing-eye dogs or work in nuclear-power plants.… read more

Human Brains May Take Unique Turn

September 4, 2001

Neuroscientists have tapped into what may represent a fundamental difference in brain development between people and other mammals and may offer insight into how humans evolved an enlarged frontal cortex capable of supporting symbolic thought and language use.In the new study, researchers injected a dye into the telencephalon of living tissue slices taken from the brains of 15-to-26-week-old human fetuses, as well as from monkey and mouse fetuses of comparable… read more

Micro Sculpture is smallest ever

September 4, 2001
Photo by LaSIE

A team of Japanese engineers has created the smallest sculpture ever: a 3-D bull measuring only 10 by 7 micrometers — the size of a red blood cell.

The bull was etched in transparent plastic with a pair of lasers. The plastic resin solidified at the focal point of the two lasers in a process called two-photon photo-polymerization.

The tiny structures demonstrate the possibility of making micro-components for… read more

New neurons grown in forebrain

September 4, 2001

New neurons are able to grow in the forebrain when stimulated by growth factor, Emory University researchers have demonstrated. The study is the first to show the presence of numerous new neurons in certain regions of the brain where they previously have not been found, and suggests that the adult brain may be able to replace neurons lost due to injury or disease. The results were published in… read more

First self-assembling nanopatterns imaged by Sandia researchers

September 3, 2001
Lead atoms self-assembling on a bed of copper atoms

Self-assembling nanostructures have been observed and recorded in real time video for the first time by Sandia National Labs researchers.

The nanostructures, which self-assemble and transform, were observed with a low-energy electron microscope (LEEM).

Theorists long have believed that competing attractive and repulsive inter-atomic interactions can lead to the spontaneous formation of ordered patterns in widely varying chemical and physical systems. Potentially, such… read more

Parasite corrals computer power

August 31, 2001

Using the Internet itself as a computer, researchers have solved a mathematical problem with the unwitting assistance of machines in North America, Europe and Asia.The Notre Dame team exploited the Internet transmission control protocol (TCP). The TCP ensures accurate communication, using a “checksum” — a mathematical operation performed by sender and receiver. The two computers compare answers — if they differ, data has been corrupted in transit and they try… read more

Viruses sounded out

August 31, 2001

A single virus particle can be spotted in medical samples by the sound it makes, UK researchers have found. The researchers used quartz crystals, which vibrate in an electrical field. They coated the crystals with an antibody, to which particles of the human herpesvirus attached.

Increasing the voltage shook the crystal faster until the viruses became dislodged, with an accompanying burst of sound. The vibrating crystal picks up the… read more

Denial and the Ravaging of Cyberspace

August 30, 2001

While some view it as an expansive bastion of decentralized communication and democratic discourse, the World Wide Web is scarcely more civic-minded than your local bank, says media critic Norman Solomon.
Solomon sees these trends:

  • Online media consolidation. Websites operated by just four corporations account for 50.4 percent of the time that U.S. users of the Web are now spending online.
  • Web browsers will become outdated
  • read more

    Lithography Unmasked

    August 28, 2001

    Researchers are pursuing a cheaper way of designing and fabricating computer chips, using mirrors instead of masks.

    Photolithography —- the standard chip manufacturing technique — requires expensive masks costing up to $1 million to create the patterns.

    Researchers are using an array of tiny mirrors under computer control to turn individual beams on and off as the whole setup scans across the wafer.

    Maskless technologies could allow… read more

    AI researcher Hugo de Garis joins Utah State University Computer Science department

    August 27, 2001

    AI researcher Hugo de Garis has accepted a tenure-track Associate Professor position in the Computer Science department at Utah State University (USU), starting September 10, 2001, has learned.
    “I will continue my artificial brain work of course, for the next 20 years, corresponding with the “Moore window,” in which Moore’s law remains valid until it hits the atomic barrier around 2020,” de Garis said. “The next-smallest thing to atoms… read more

    Nanochains could yield single-electron transistors

    August 24, 2001

    Researchers at Osaka University believe that cheaply-produced crystalline nanochains could lead to the development of single-electron transistors (SETs) and nanoscale photon devices such as field-effect transistors (FETs) within 10 years.They have bulk-produced carpets of micrometer long chains of alternating crystalline globules and silicon dioxide stems that they believe could much simpler and much cheaper to produce than the advanced techniques being developed for nanotubes.

    These nanoscale processes could result… read more

    Celebrity cloning

    August 22, 2001

    The DNA Copyright Institute (DCI) of San Francisco is offering celebrities the chance to establish copyright over their DNA to prevent unwanted duplication.In theory, all someone needs to clone their hero or heroine is a few living cells from them left behind on a glass or exchanged in a handshake, for example.

    DCI is offering to record celebrities’ DNA fingerprint, check that it is unique and store it. As… read more

    Man-beast hybrid beyond talking stage

    August 22, 2001

    The idea of combining the DNA of animals and humans has gone beyond the talking stage — it’s been attempted.
    The first publicized case of animal-human hybrids took place in 1996 when Jose Cibelli, a scientist at the University of Massachusetts, took DNA from his white blood cells by swabbing the inside of his cheek. He then inserted the DNA sample into a hollowed-out cow egg.

    Cibelli’s experiment came… read more

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