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Population predicted to peak in 2070

August 1, 2001

The world’s population will peak at 9 billion over the next 70 years before beginning a decline into the 22nd century, researchers predict in a new study.

Population currently stands at 6.1 billion, and the study projects that most of the new growth will continue to occur in developing countries. It also predicts some demographic changes. For example, the authors say, the number of people aged 60 or older… read more

Computers of the future: Made of glass?

July 31, 2001

Your handheld computer could look like a small glass panel, possibly as early as 2003.
Fujitsu engineers have developed a new manufacturing process for thin-film transistors that creates crystals with faster mobility while keeping the temperature below 450 degrees to avoid glass substrate melting or distortion.

Total protein scan approaches reality

July 30, 2001

For the first time, nearly all the proteins from a single organism have been produced, purified and biochemically tested in an area the size of a postage stamp. Experts say such “proteome chips” will revolutionize medicine and biology.
The US researchers who created the chip have already used it to study the biochemistry of 93 per cent of the proteins of brewer’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a total of 5800 molecules.… read more

Nurses get bionic ‘power suit’

July 30, 2001

A robotic exoskeleton has been created by Japanese researchers to allow nurses to lift patients effortlessly and without damaging their backs.
How it works:

Sensor pads taped to the major muscle groups calculate how much force you need to pick up a patient. As you lift, the sensors send data to a microcomputer that triggers a bunch of concertina-like limb and body actuators powered by compressed air.

These… read more

Stem cells develop into kidney cells

July 25, 2001

Adult stem cells taken from bone marrow can develop into kidney cells, British scientists have discovered.
Bone marrow stem cells, which are immature blood cells, have already been shown to transform into liver, nerve and muscle cells.

Both adult and embryonic stem cells have enormous medical potential due to their ability to mature into a wide range of different tissues, which could then be transplanted. However, ethical considerations have… read more MindX forum redesigned

July 25, 2001

The MindX discussion forum interface has been redesigned for easier access.
The new design displays topics on a single page for easier access and in threaded (replies grouped under the parent post) or flat (chronological) order. A search feature has also been added, along with other user-interface enhancements.

MindX is a discussion forum for visitors to It is accessible from the Web site’s… read more

XML-based ‘Flare’ programming language project launched

July 24, 2001

The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence has launched the Flare programming language project, headed by programmer Dmitriy Myshkin.

Flare is proposed as a fundamentally new programming language expected to be useful for AI research (among other uses). “Program objects and program code can be represented as well-formed XML, enabling a wide variety of new design patterns and language idioms,” says the announcement.

“Current programming… read more

Scientists rewriting the genetic code

July 24, 2001

Scientists are taking the first steps toward creating alternative life forms — organisms that use a genetic code different from the one used by all other creatures on earth.
Scientists hope that such organisms can be used to study biochemical processes in new ways and to produce new medical or electronic materials that cannot now be made by living things.

The research goes well beyond current genetic engineering, which… read more

A better insulator for miniaturized integrated circuits

July 24, 2001

Highly insulating new honeycomb material may allow microelectronic integrated circuits to be made even smaller, increasing the power of microchip and computer technology.
When electronic devices get very small, insulating silica films must be shrunk to the same proportions. Too thin, they become leaky and electrical currents seep out, creating problems such as crosstalk between different parts of the circuit.

Leakage could become a problem once the dimensions of… read more

Crystals could make super semiconductors

July 21, 2001

Crystalline materials to replace the amorphous insulators inside semiconductors will allow semiconductors to be more efficent and also modified on the atomic scale.
Imperfections are common in amorphous insulators, such as silicon dioxide, used in most semiconductor devices. This leads to an uneven distribution of charge at the interface and reduces efficiency. To overcome this problem, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed crystalline materials made from various combinations of… read more

Monitoring could slow quantum data decay

July 20, 2001

In a finding that offers hope for the creation of quantum computers, frequent measurements have been found to slow down the “decay” of particles from high-energy states to lower-energy ones.This support for the “Zeno effect” offers the possibility of eventually helping to solve one of quantum computing’s biggest problems: errors arising from the decay of data.

Mark Raizen at the University of Texas at Austin and his colleagues trapped… read more

Ant group dynamics

July 20, 2001

Emergent group intelligence from simple interactions between ants suggests ways for robots and computer programs to solve complex problems.

Many individuals following a few simple rules result in complex and powerful behaviour. “You don’t need a complex set of rules for patterns to emerge,” says Jennifer Fewell, who studies ants at Arizona State University in Tempe. Brains, embryonic development and ecosystems show similar complex ‘emergent’ properties from simple interactions,… read more

Nanotube 2001 [Event]

July 20, 2001

The International Workshop on the Science and Application of Nanotubes will be held in Potsdam, Germany, July 22-25, 2001.

The meeting is intended to facilitate informal interaction between theoretical and experimental scientists who are actively working in this field. To preserve an informal character and to avoid parallel sessions, the number of attendees will be limited to 140.

Topics receiving special attention include:

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    Digital critters mimic behavior of real life

    July 19, 2001

    Researchers are using computers to generate “digital organisms” that undergo evolutionary processes such as mutation and reproduction. As a result, they have overturned a long-standing assumption of evolutionary theory: that the faster a given species reproduces, the likelier it is to win a competition with another species for dominance of an ecosystem, according to an article today in the journal Nature.Wilke and his associates’ computer work suggests the opposite is… read more

    Atom laser-beam microscope

    July 17, 2001

    An atom laser-beam microscope that could have sharper vision while causing less damage to a sample than an electron microscope is being developed by physicists at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich.

    The development of lenses and mirrors to sharpen atom laser beams might also improve technologies to build atomic-scale structures, similar to how an ink-jet printer writes text.
    Just as an optical laser beam is better than a light… read more

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