science + technology news

Schrödinger’s cat comes closer

October 1, 2003

Scientists have described a scheme for achieving quantum superposition of states in an object with around a hundred trillion atoms. This is about a billion times larger than anything demonstrated previously.

In the proposed experiment, a photon effectively follows both paths at once, using mirrors.

Supercomputer climate model whips up a storm

October 1, 2003

Virtual hurricanes have appeared in computer models of the Earth’s climate for the first time.

The Earth Simulator in Yokohama, Japan, the world’s fastest supercomputer, can run models with cells as small as 10 kilometers, allowing for study of detailed features of the weather, such as tropical storms.

Global virtual supercomputer network created

October 1, 2003

The first global virtual supercomputer network, the LHC Computing Grid, has been launched at CERN, the world’s largest particle physics lab, in Geneva.

The Grid will tap into the processing power of computers worldwide–initially in 12 countries–to handle the 12 to 14 petabytes of data generated annually by the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator in testing the Big Bang theory, starting in 2007.

Analyzing… read more

Delivering drugs in inhalable microspheres

September 30, 2003

Medications such as therapeutic DNA, insulin and human growth hormone must enter the body through painful injections, but a Johns Hopkins researcher wamts to deliver them by packing the drugs inside microscopic plastic spheres that can be inhaled painlessly.

Inside the lungs, the particles will dissolve harmlessly, releasing the medicine at a predetermined pace.

Johns Hopkins University press release

5 Technologies That Will Change the World

September 30, 2003

Five technologies that could change the world are three-D printing to allow designers and engineers to get new products to market faster, biosimulation to speed development of more effective new drugs, autonomic computing (computers smart enough to configure themselves), Internet-like “distributed generation” power networks placed closer to where the power is actually being used, and smart tags to allow products to be tracked through the distribution network.

The Octopus as Eyewitness

September 29, 2003

A silicon chip that mimics the structure and functionality of an octopus retina has been created by Albert Titus, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University at Buffalo.

The “o-retina” chip can process images just like an octopus eye does. It could give sight to rescue or research robots, allowing them to see more clearly than human eyes.

His ultimate goal: build a complete artificial vision… read more

How to Find That Needle Hopelessly Lost in the Haystack

September 29, 2003

Tags equipped with microchips and tiny antennas should make it cheaper and more efficient to track goods but they raise privacy issues.

Call to Artists: LIFE 6.0 International Competition

September 26, 2003

The Telefonica Foundation in Madrid has announced the fifth competition on “art and artificial life.”

They are looking for outstanding electronic art projects employing techniques such as digital genetics, autonomous robotics, recursive chaotic algorithms, knowbots, computer viruses, embodied artificial intelligence, avatars, evolving behaviours and virtual ecosystems.

DNA molecules programmed to self-assemble into patterned nanostructures

September 26, 2003

Duke University researchers have used self-assembling DNA molecules as molecular building blocks called “tiles” that could lead to programmable construction of nanoscale protein-bearing scaffolds and metallized wires for nanoelectronics devices.

Because DNA strands naturally but selectively stick together, the Duke team reported that they could make the strands arrange themselves into cross shaped “tiles” capable of forming molecular bonds on all four ends of the cross arms. As a… read more

Camera specs take candid snaps

September 25, 2003

A prototype pair of sunglasses with a camera built in to them has been created by Hewlett Packard researchers.

It allows for an unnoticeable wearable camera that can take pictures while being involved in events.

E-paper may offer video images

September 25, 2003

Philips Research scientists have developed a way to display high-definition moving pictures on flexible electronic paper.

The “electrowetting” process allows pixels to switch states in around 10 milliseconds — fast enough to generate 100 new images a second. And the high reflectivity and contrast of the wetting displays make them four times as bright as LCDs.

Detecting Chemical Threats With Microsensor Arrays

September 24, 2003

Prototype microsensor arrays connected to artificial neural networks can reliably identify trace amounts of toxic gas, such as mustard gas and nerve agents (Tabun and Sarin) at levels below one part per million. They will make a significant difference in military strategy as they increase in reliability.

The Genetically Modified Bomb

September 24, 2003

Anybody who’s part of a group with a shared genetic profile may be at risk in the future from “genetic bombs,” a virus or bacteria designed to kill people who fit a certain genotype for purposes of mass genocide or social control.

Digital Dealmakers Meet in the Middle

September 24, 2003

Software companies are developing programs to conduct negotiations, relying on algorithms to gauge what might constitute acceptable offers in the growing field of electronic mediation.

The Underground Internet

September 24, 2003

“Darknets,” private Internet communities using encrypted communication, are popping up for trading pirated music and movies as well as secure corporate communications.

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