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Bionic Eyes

January 5, 2002

Using space technology, scientists have developed extraordinary ceramic photocells that could repair malfunctioning human eyes.

Scientists at the NASA-sponsored Space Vacuum Epitaxy Center (SVEC) in Houston are experimenting with thin, photosensitive ceramic films that respond to light much as rods and cones do. Arrays of such films, they believe, could be implanted in human eyes to restore lost vision by serving as substitutes for bad rods and cones.… read more

Scientists build DNA nano-devices

January 4, 2002

New York University researchers claim to have taken a major step in building more controllable machines from DNA. The researchers say that the new device may help build the foundation for the development of sophisticated machines at a molecular scale, ultimately evolving to the development of nano-robots that might some day build new molecules, computer circuits or fight infectious diseases.
The research team was led by NYU chemistry professor Nadrian… read more

Top News of 2001

January 3, 2002

In its first year of operation, has chronicled the notable news stories on accelerating intelligence. And now we’ve selected the most important of these 724 news stories.

These serve to document the key breakthroughs for 2001 in continued exponential growth of computation, communication, and other information-based technologies; comparable acceleration in efforts to reverse-engineer the human brain and other sources of the templates of intelligence; similar growth in… read more

The Brain in Winter

January 2, 2002

Although some neural functioning is lost from aging, the biggest recent surprise in neuroscience is the discovery of neurogenesis: as the brain ages it creates new neurons.

Arthur C. Clarke teleports to L.A.

January 2, 2002

Sir Arthur C. Clarke, author of “2001, a Space Odyssey,” was teleported from his home in Sri Lanka to the Arthur C. Clarke 2001 Gala on November 15 in Los Angeles, sponsored by The Space Frontier Foundation.

Travel restrictions prevented Clarke from actually attending but Teleportec’s technology allowed him to join the party and interact with the audience as if he were actually there.… read more

Cancer: Is a cure within reach?

January 2, 2002

The field of cancer is undergoing a sea change, thanks to the genetics revolution that has uncovered many of the defects responsible for causing the disease. Using the latest molecular biology techniques to home in on cancer’s genetic roots, doctors are starting to halt precancerous growths before tumors ever develop and to target cancers that have already started to grow with a precision unimaginable just a decade ago.Some of the… read more

Robo Lobster to Sniff Out Mines

January 2, 2002

Teams of sniffer robots may someday scour land and sea, using their artificial snouts to root out mines in places and situations humans would rather avoid.At least this is the goal of a team studying the lobster–a creature considered a paragon of odor analysis–in order to create a robotic version of the lobster’s snout.

“The idea is that evolution has developed the lobster antennule (nose) to do the job… read more

Hearing debates decentralized trading

December 20, 2001

On Sept. 11, alternative stock-trading networks stayed active via the Internet and redundant systems even after the New York Stock Exchange closed because of the terrorist attacks on the nearby World Trade Center, witnesses told a House subcommittee Wednesday.The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection looked into the post-Sept. 11 experience of these “electronic communications networks”–operations with names such as Instinet and Archipelago.

These ECNs bring stock… read more

Computer crack funnier than many human jokes

December 20, 2001

An experiment to uncover the world’s funniest jokes has found that some computer-generated gags can be more amusing than those thought up by humans.

The Laugh Lab survey is being conducted through a web site, on which members of the public are invited to submit favourite jokes and rate other submissions. They are also asked to contribute information about themselves.

Five computer-generated gags were contributed by researchers at… read more

Defining the Undefinable: The Living Cell

December 19, 2001

In the controversy of extracting stem cells from human embryos for possible use in the treatment of diseases, researchers must weigh not only the question of when human life begins, but what being alive really means.
Are the following “alive” or not?

  • Monkey eggs that can be chemically treated and modified to the point where they begin behaving enough like embryos to generate stem cells without the addition
  • read more

    Drexler Warns Terror Symposium: Nanotech Has ‘Extreme Downsides’

    December 19, 2001

    The scientist who coined the term nanotechnology warned Tuesday that development of “extremely powerful, extremely dangerous technologies” must be shepherded by stewards tutored in both its promise and its peril.
    “One of my profound hopes is that the new spirit of seriousness about life and death issues that we see in the wake of Sept. 11…will encourage people to pay a little less attention to politics and a little more… read more

    Reverse-Engineering the Visual Process

    December 19, 2001

    Researchers at the Office of Naval Research are using a combination of engineering and neurobiology to model mammalian brain processes.They are learning how the architecture and physiological properties of cells in visual cortex integrate visual cues for target recognition.

    “Right now we’re building a cellular-level model of a small piece of visual cortex,” says Dr. Leif Finkel, head of the University of Pennsylvania’s Neuroengineering Research Lab. “It’s a very… read more

    Women catch up on net use

    December 19, 2001

    Women are catching up with men when it comes to logging on to the internet, according to research.Figures from the Office of National Statistics show a steady increase in the number of people using the internet in Britain.

    But the number of women using the web leapt 12% on last year compared with a minimal change in figures for men.

    The results of the Expenditure and Food Survey… read more

    Apostle of Regenerative Medicine Foresees Longer Health and Life

    December 19, 2001

    Life in perpetuity will be secured by “rejuvenative medicine” — repairing the body by developing new tissues and organs as the old ones wear out — and nanotechnology, says Dr. William A. Haseltine, CEO of Human Genome Sciences.He sees rejuvenative medicine growing out of “regenerative medicine,” which will unfold in four phases.

    1. The first phase is using the body’s own signaling factors to stimulate healing… read more

    Scientists Seek Ways to Rebuild the Body, Bypassing the Embryos

    December 19, 2001

    Alternatives to controversial human embryonic stem cells are being explored for creating tissue needed to repair damaged organs.
    Possibilities include:

  • Adult stems cells are rare, hard to isolate and purify, hard to grow in culture, and may not exist for all tissues. Some success has been achieved with umbilical cord blood and fat sources.
  • Other cells are created from various sources, such as human embryos (by
  • read more

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