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Freedom Phones and PINs: How to Find Osama bin Laden and Other Terrorists

October 1, 2001

Scientists and Middle East experts have come up with an idea for inexpensive “informer cell phones” dropped from airplanes and an anonymous reward scheme to encourage those with information on the identity and whereabouts of terrorists to provide this information to U.S authorities such as the FBI. The intelligence gathering operation, proposed by physicist and radio personality Dr. Bill Wattenberg on KGO radio in San Francisco, uses a unique PIN… read more

Inventing the Robotic Soldier

October 1, 2001
Patent 6,289,263

A small armored sphere rolls swiftly across a craggy landscape. It comes to a sudden stop, perching on three telescoping legs and sprouting a long neck with an eye that can swivel around 360 degrees. The enemy opens fire, but bullets merely ricochet off the sphere’s exoskeleton as from yet another opening there emerges a gun, which — sensing heat and motion — takes aim and fires…

Such… read more

Bioterrorism defenses being developed

September 27, 2001

Bay Area biotech firms are developing technologies to detect and combat biological terror.

Cepheid Inc., a Sunnyvale firm, has developed a portable DNA test device designed to be used at the site of a suspected bioterror attack.

GeneSoft Inc. has an $8 million DARPA grant to help develop new ways to treat infections. It has a novel technique for creating chemical chains that bind to stretches of DNA… read more

From the Past, Images of the Future

September 26, 2001

A sampling of visions of the future from the past has been published in “Visions of Spaceflight: Images From the Ordway Collection” by rocket scientist, space historian and author, Frederick I. Ordway.

View images slideshow

Watching How the Brain Works as It Weighs a Moral Dilemma

September 26, 2001

It is now possible to study scientifically how moral reasoning differs among individual people and across cultures, using functional brain imaging to detect brain activity via increases in blood flow.

A study published in the Sept. 14 issue of the journal Science showed that impersonal moral dilemmas, like deciding whether to keep the money in a found wallet, activated areas involved in working memory. However, personal moral dilemmas… read more

Real-Life Cyborg Challenges Reality With Technology

September 25, 2001

Dr. Steve Mann, one of the world’s first cyborgs, fights intrusive technology (like surveillance cameras) with technology, wearing computers on his body and cameras in his glasses so he can “shoot back” by recording everything he sees.His most important innovation is an “video orbits” algorithm that records the images he is looking at and automatically assembles a composite picture.

By pasting together many overlapping images, the camera behind the… read more

Purdue builds quantum-computing semiconductor chip

September 25, 2001

Quantum-dot techniques have produced the first examples of quantum computing in a semiconductor at Purdue University. Researchers demonstrated that traditional GaAs fabrication equipment can be used to fashion quantum dots -— each representing a single qubit —- in domains as small as 50 nm in diameter.

Two of the dots were placed close enough for the team to observe quantum-spin interactions, a discovery that might lead to semiconductor-based quantum… read more

Defense May Be Inadequate for Germ or Toxic Attacks

September 24, 2001

Experts say civil defenses across the nation are a rudimentary patchwork that could prove inadequate for what might lie ahead, especially lethal germs, which are considered some of the most dangerous weapons of mass destruction.
There are no measures to routinely check for biological attack. Instead, the authorities rely on reports from doctors that people are seeking medical attention for unusual symptoms. That is why the Centers for Disease Control… read more

The World Wide Translator

September 24, 2001

Will Web-wide “translation memory” finally make machine translation pay off? Computer-assisted translation typically involves two steps. First, a rules engine parses the original sentence, attempting to identify the relationships between the words. The engine then translates each word within the context that it believes to be correct.

This second step remains the most time-consuming and expensive aspect of translation, often requiring expertise in a specific technical field as well… read more


September 24, 2001

In the blink of an eye, electromagnetic bombs could throw civilization back 200 years. And terrorists can build them for $400.
An airborne “e-bomb” based on a Flux Compression Generator could generate an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that could knock out electric power, computers and telecommunications.

The device consists of an explosives-packed tube placed inside a slightly larger copper coil energized by a bank of capacitors, creating a magnetic field… read more

ID cards ‘high priority’ for UK government

September 24, 2001

The UK government is considering making identity cards compulsory as part of a crackdown on terrorism.

How video games influenced the attack on America

September 24, 2001

Concerns about Microsoft’s Flight Simulator game being used as a tool to teach terrorists have caused two major retailers to yank the program from their shelves.
Marc Prensky has posted an essay that discusses the uses of flight simulators by the terrorists in learning to fly a 757.

“Now that we have seen their formidable power used for evil, it is our duty and obligation to turn… read more

Remote Gallbladder Operation Spans 3,800 Miles

September 20, 2001

Surgeons in New York have performed a gallbladder operation on a patient in France by remote control, sending high-speed signals to robotic surgical tools. The doctors say it is the first complete surgery done with a robot controlled by doctors thousands of miles away.
Robotic surgery holds the promise of letting doctors operate remotely on soldiers on battlefields or even astronauts in space. It means that patients may eventually have… read more

Quantum Theory Could Expand the Limits of Computer Chips

September 20, 2001

Quantum theory may turn out to have surprisingly practical applications in manufacturing faster computer chips getting around the wavelength limits of traditional optical lithography.University of Maryland at Baltimore scientists experimentally verified a way to focus light to far less than half its wavelength. The technique could lead to smaller, faster chips without the need to change the basic manufacturing processes of lithography.

In the experiment, they forced photons into… read more

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal Strongest Carbon Nanotubes

September 20, 2001

A team of researchers has used computer simulations to discover carbon fibers with mechanical strength comparable to that of diamond. In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, Crespi, graduate student Dragan Stojkovic, and recent Ph.D. graduate Peihong Zhang report that they discovered incredibly strong and stiff carbon tubes about 0.4 nanometers in diameter.

Using supercomputers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), the University of Michigan, and the… read more

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