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Nanoscale gene chips possible

June 7, 2002

Scientists at Northwestern University have demonstrated a technique that takes gene chips to the limit of miniaturization — down to the nanometer scale of the DNA molecules themselves — and could have a major impact on genomics and proteomics research.
The “dip-pen nanolithography” method uses an atomic force microscope tip as a pen and different single-stranded DNA as inks to produce spots of DNA down to 50 nanometers in diameter.… read more

Consciousness in Human and Robot

June 6, 2002

AI skeptics offer several reasons
why robots could never become
conscious. MITs’ humanoid Cog robot
project may give them pause.

Researchers demo self-assembling nanowires

June 6, 2002

Researchers at Aarhus University here have demonstrated a nanometer-scale fabrication technique that self-assembles tiny wires atop substrates, with an eye toward interconnecting molecular electronic circuits in the future.

The molecular templates were developed by supercooling the materials and then manipulating their individual atoms with a scanning-tunneling microscope (STM). Once the template molecule and its actions are perfected using the STM, the researchers hope to develop self-assembly techniques that do… read more

Sounds Realer Than Reality

June 5, 2002

Scientists can generate imitations of real-life sounds significantly more convincing than actual recordings of the events they are intended to mimic.Experimental psychologists Laurie Heller and Lauren Wolf at Brown University found that listeners rated some artificially generated sounds — simulating “walking in leaves” by running fingers through cornflakes, for example — as more convincing than the real ones.

Enhancing the sound envelope (slower changing component) results in better perception… read more

High Tech Evolves

June 4, 2002

Evolutionary biology is influencing the way we build computers, write software and organize companies. TIME convened a panel of visionaries, including Ray Kurzweil, to address this. Key ideas:

  • Autonomic computing: bio-inspired systems for managing and maintaining computer networks.
  • Evolutionary computing (genetic algorithms) for engineering designs.
  • Software that models the way a community of individuals develops from the diverse decisions of its members — for
  • read more

    Just 2.5% of DNA turns mice into men

    June 3, 2002

    Mice and men share about 97.5 per cent of their working DNA, just one per cent less than chimps and humans. Scientists are hopeful that the close match will enable researchers to more rapidly determine the genetic roots of human diseases.

    Broken Limits to Life Expectancy

    June 2, 2002

    Is human life expectancy approaching its limit? Many–including individuals planning their retirement and officials responsible for health and social policy–believe it is, but the evidence presented in the Policy Forum suggests otherwise.

    For 160 years, best-performance life expectancy has steadily increased by a quarter of a year per year, an extraordinary constancy of human achievement. Mortality experts have repeatedly asserted that life expectancy is close to an ultimate ceiling;… read more

    Robots Find a Muse Other Than Mayhem

    May 31, 2002

    “ArtBots,” held at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn on Saturday, featured ten robot-created art projects.

    The robots’ art included Japanese brush painting, kinetic sculptures, art created with speaker-driven brushes, music, and sampled sounds.

    A World at Your Fingertips

    May 29, 2002

    The Worldview project plans to open real-time windows around the world. Bringing together Japanese “puri-kura” photo booths, webcams and the holiday snapshot, the project will establish installations at landmark locations around the world, using city skylines as the common backdrop.

    “It would allow ordinary people in different countries to interact, perhaps for the first time,” says Usman Haque, who, along with Josephine Pletts, designed the device. “It can create… read more

    New method pinpoints brain regions linked to genetic disorders

    May 29, 2002

    UCLA scientists have developed a new method, called “voxelation,” to rapidly track how genes express proteins in the human brain. Using this method, they were able to track how thousands of genes misfire proteins in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease.

    “This approach identifies which genes play a role in abnormal brain function and where they are located,” said UCLA pharmacologist Desmond Smith. “We can use this information to… read more

    Cloning to revive extinct species

    May 28, 2002

    Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), geneticists at the Australian Museum are working to revive the Tasmanian Tiger, which has been extinct for 65 years.

    This breakthrough allows the scientists to produce millions of pure copies of undamaged DNA fragments, which they believe can work in a living cell. No other long extinct species has ever been cloned.

    Digital Lock? Try a Hairpin

    May 28, 2002

    Security systems in several areas from music copying to fingerprint readers and smart cards are proving vulnerable to defeat by basic household items.

    Ai Announces the Second Learning Machine Challenge

    May 28, 2002

    Artificial Intelligence Research (Ai) has announced it is sponsoring the Second Learning Machine Challenge, an annual competition to promote machine learning algorithms for computerized language acquisition.

    Participants will create a computer program that can perform well at a language game without knowing the syntax, grammar or rules of the language. The creator of the winning program will win a $2000 prize.

    Face Scans Set Up at Lady Liberty

    May 26, 2002

    A new surveillance system is taking pictures of visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and comparing them to a database of terror suspects.

    The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the system.

    The future of mind control

    May 26, 2002

    Neurotechnology, such as brain stimulation and mood-altering drugs, poses a greater threat than genetics.

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