science + technology news

Where is thy sting?

August 22, 2003

Genetic medicine is making enormous strides, and it may hold the promise of eventually making us something closer to immortal.

“Our life expectancy will be in the region of 5,000 years” in rich countries in the year 2100, predicts Aubrey de Grey, a scholar at Cambridge University.

News tip: Walter Purvis

Mere immortals

August 22, 2003

Radical experts believe that, in the next 50 years, 90-year-olds could look like 30-year-olds and feel as fit as a 45-year-old, thanks to an explosion in regenerative medicine, genetic research and biotechnology.

University of Queensland development biologist, associate professor Victor Nurcombe predicts that most births will occur outside the body within a few decades and within 10 years, all babies will be scanned at birth for pre-disposition to disease… read more

Squeezed light breaks quantum barrier

August 22, 2003

Physicists have made a new type of ultra-precise laser pointer by “squeezing” a beam in two directions. They are able to position the beam with a precision of 1.6 Angstroms, almost 1.5 times better than the theoretical limit for a conventional laser.

The team now hopes to exploit the technique in atomic force microscopy, measurements of refractive index and studies of molecules in living cells.

News tip: Walter… read more

Electronic nanotechnology will sustain Moore’s Law

August 22, 2003

A new class of “chemically assembled electronic nanotechnology” (CAEN) electronics devices will be low power and defect-tolerant, provide up to one billion switches on a square centimeter, and be made using chemical self-assembly techniques instead of photolithography.

Fishing for Information? Try Better Bait

August 21, 2003

“Google Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips and Tools,” by Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest (O’Reilly & Associates), is the latest resource in a growing industry to help people become better online searchers. It catalogs ways to uncover nuggets of information.

Other rich sources include,,, and

In Frayed Networks, Common Threads

August 21, 2003

The blackout and the worm underscore a far-reaching challenge in managing modern technological societies: the difficulty of reaping the benefits of networks while minimizing their vulnerabilities.

The blackout, the MSBlast worm and the SoBig virus circulating on the Internet this week were similar, causing disruption by generating excess traffic in systems that cannot handle it.

Man vs. Machine: Are Robots Getting the Upper Hand in Space Exploration?

August 21, 2003

The latest target for space robots is Mars, where two orbiters, a pair of twin rovers and one lander are expected to arrive at the end of this year.

In the future, robots may accompany astronauts to Mars or elsewhere, serving as assistants for base construction and other tasks, or as a precursor to set up habitation and science bases before humans even get there.

Robot spy can survive battlefield damage

August 21, 2003

A self-healing military reconnaissance robot being developed can keep moving even if it gets damaged on the battlefield.

When any of the snake-like robot’s shape-memory-alloy “muscle” segments are damaged, genetic-algorithm software “evolves” a different way for it to wriggle across any terrain.

Kurzweil debates ‘law of accelerating returns’ with Denton, Tuomi

August 21, 2003

Ray Kurzweil, noted inventor, software developer and futurist, will present his work on “the law of accelerating returns” and debate its merits with biologist Michael Denton and innovation theorist Ilkka Tuomi at Accelerating Change ’03.

Twenty-four prominent thinkers will offer their insights from across a broad spectrum of cutting edge disciplines, such as biological computing, nanotech, cosmology, and futurism.

John Koza (Genetic Programming IV: Human-Competitive Machine… read more

DoD Seeks New Chip Technologies

August 21, 2003

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency thinks Moore’s Law will remain viable for about a decade and is investigating a variety of alternative chip technologies beyond that.

These include alternative manufacturing processes, photonics, MEMS, and carbon nanotubes.

30-year robot project pitched

August 21, 2003

Japanese researchers in robot technology are advocating a grand project, under which the government would spend 50 billion yen a year over three decades to develop a humanoid robot with the mental, physical and emotional capacity of a 5-year-old human.

Matrix Revolutions Trailer Released

August 21, 2003

The new Matrix Revolutions trailer is now available for downloading.

Molecular Manufacturing: Start Planning

August 20, 2003

“There is very little doubt that molecular nanotechnology manufacturing will be developed within the next three decades,” says Chris Phoenix, Director of Research for the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, and it may be as soon as ten years because of the immense utility and the increasing ease of development.

But there are risks: an unstable arms race, criminal and terrorist activity, invasion of privacy from microscopic devices, gray goo,… read more

Down on the pharm

August 20, 2003

Genetically modified crops that produce drugs are the latest rage. But American farmers are lighting a prairie fire of revolt.

Free online journal gives sneak preview

August 20, 2003

The Public Library of Science has released a sneak preview of the research papers it will be giving away for free from October. Its first journal, PLoS Biology, is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal intended to compete head-to-head with the most prestigious paid-for journals.

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