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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

    Another nanobrick in the wall

    December 17, 2001

    US researchers have made the world’s smallest building blocks. The nanocubes are just one nanometer across.Stacked like bricks, they could make up a range of materials with useful properties such as light emission or electrical conduction.

    Many chemists are currently trying to develop molecular-scale construction kits in which the individual components are single molecules to provide the polymers of the future. Conventional polymers are chainlike molecules. These entangle to… read more

    British Scientists Use Nanotech To Create Secret Message Device

    December 17, 2001

    Scientists have created a new microelectronic device that can emit the smallest amount of light possible, a breakthrough that may lead to absolute confidentiality in communications involving finance, health care and other fields.A perfectly secure message impossible to eavesdrop on depends on communication signals that contain only one packet of light, or photon. Ordinary light sources, however, are not able to reliably generate these incredibly dim, one photon pulses.… read more

    Nanotechnology: Six Lessons from Sept. 11

    December 13, 2001

    The Sept. 11 attacks confirmed the ongoing terrorist threat and the importance of proactive development of methods to prevent nanotech abuse, K. Eric Drexler, Chairman of the Foresight Institute said in a statement sent to institute members.”Foresight’s position favoring speedy development of advanced nanotech has also been strengthened,” he said. “The longer we wait, the better the infrastructure worldwide, the smaller the budget and project needed–and the easier… read more

    Innovative computer tech for the next boom

    December 11, 2001
    Kurzweil: exponential growth

    Which innovative technologies will spur the next boom? That was a key question on the minds of executives attending the recent BusinessWeek Conference on the Digital Economy in San Francisco.
    For consumers, seamless access to information will drive the future of the computer industry, according to Daeje Chin, president and CEO, Digital Media System Business, Samsung Electronics. For businesses, it will require seamless access to devices –-… read more

    Jiminy Glick interviews Ray Kurzweil

    December 10, 2001

    Hollywood celebrity television reporter Jiminy Glick interviewed Ray Kurzweil at BusinessWeek’s Digital Economy conference during a special evening performance featuring Martin Short and the “Second City” Comedy Improv Group Thursday night.
    Glick expressed a strong interest in Kurzweil’s research. “Forget AI, I need a Heimlich!” he said, apparently choking from munching nonstop jujus.

    He was also fascinated with virtual reality. “Could a computer bring back Robbie Benson?” he asked,… read more

    Studying, recreating sound in three dimensions

    December 6, 2001

    Realistic computer sound, specifically tuned for each listener, could get a little closer using a new, free public database of acoustic measurements developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis.
    “We’ve captured the critical information needed to reproduce actual sounds as each listener perceives them,” said Ralph Algazi, who led the research team at the UC Davis Center for Image Processing and Integrated Computing (CIPIC).

    Spatially realistic sound… read more

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