science + technology news

Chatbot bids to fool humans

September 23, 2003

Jabberwacky, a chatbot that will be entered in the coming Loebner Prize competition (to find the computer program with the most convincing conversational skills), has no fixed rules, unlike other chatbots. It learns from thousands of online conversations with humans.

“Nothing is hard-coded, nothing is fixed, and it changes slightly, on its own, every day,” according to its creator, Rollo Carpenter.

Not Science Fiction: An Elevator to Space

September 23, 2003

Advances in nanotubes and ultrastrong fibers put an elevator to space within reach.

Ban cloning babies, demand world’s top scientists

September 23, 2003

Cloning babies should be banned worldwide by the United Nations, more than 60 of the world’s leading scientific academies demanded on Monday.

But the ban should not extend to therapeutic cloning, they added.

Molecular library opens era of personal medicine

September 22, 2003

The U.S. National Institutes of Health is launching a national molecular library to accelerate the development of new drugs and nano-scale agents for an emerging “era of personalized medicine.”

The library will act as a repository “for some of the hundreds of thousands of molecules the pharmaceutical industry screens for their use in identifying target agents that could be used to track or treat diseases.”

Money for old mice

September 22, 2003

A contest to produce the oldest laboratory mouse and thus help unravel the mysteries of human ageing has been launched by Aubrey de Grey of the University of Cambridge.

The competition aims to encourage research and funding for anti-ageing interventions. Cash is awarded for each day that their animal survives after breaking the record.

New Sun Microsystems Chip May Unseat the Circuit Board

September 22, 2003

Sun researchers have discovered a way to transmit data inside a computer 60 to 100 times as fast as the present top speeds by using transmitters to connect between chips, representing the end of the printed circuit board.

They expect to reach speeds in excess of a trillion bits a second, which would be about 100 times the limits of today’s technology. The chip should consume far less power… read more

Smart grid will wed modern computing with nanotechnology

September 22, 2003

The smart grid of the future will require far more advanced breakthroughs such as smart power controllers and new lightweight quantum wires made of carbon nanotube fibers to revolutionize the capacity of the transmission wires, according to Nobel laureate Rick Smalley and other experts.

Vision chip shines

September 19, 2003

Researchers have built a silicon retina that uses a timing signal to mimic a form of data compression performed by biological eyes and transmits high-speed optical rather than electrical output.

The silicon retina could be used to give small robots a better understanding of their visual environment and in smart sensors and remote monitoring cameras.

New Theory: Universe Born in a Black Hole

September 19, 2003

The entire universe may have been created in an explosion inside a black hole, says Blake Temple, a mathematician at the University of California, Davis.

The Big Bang is an actual explosion, Temple says, and it occurs within a black hole in an existing space. The shock wave of the explosion is expanding into an infinite space.

Temple also describes the whole scenario as a white hole.

Nanotech to cut chip transistor sizes

September 18, 2003

By 2010, one billion PCs and 2.5 billion handheld devices as powerful as Pentium 4 systems will be linked in a global computing network, according to Intel’s president and chief operating officer, Paul Otellini.

Who’s afraid of nanotechnology?

September 18, 2003

Some worry that nanotechnology will backfire, threatening human health and unleashing new forms of pollution.

Plasma blobs hint at new form of life

September 18, 2003

Physicists have created the first gaseous “cells” — blobs of gaseous plasma that can grow, replicate and communicate – fulfilling most of the traditional requirements for biological cells.

Intel Says New Chips to Have Two Processors

September 17, 2003

Intel plans two new chips that will have two or more processors on a single piece of silicon, boosting the performance of corporate server computers: a 32-bit Xeon server processor MP, code-named “Tulsa,” its first dual-core chip, and a new 64-bit Itanium server chip, code-named “Tanglewood.”

Also planned:

  • An Itanium processor, code-named “Montecito,” the first chip with one billion transistors, targeted for production in 2005.
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    First human clone embryo ready for implantation

    September 16, 2003

    The first human cloned embryo could be implanted into a surrogate mother’s womb before the end of the year, US fertility expert Panayiotis Zavos claimed on Monday.

    Zavos says he created the human cloned embryo by fusing an empty human egg with a granulosa cell. The embryo, which was frozen after growing to a ball of eight to 10 cells, was created after Zavos had experimented for months with… read more

    Allen donates $100 million to help decipher the brain

    September 16, 2003

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has donated $100 million to launch a private research organization in Seattle devoted to deciphering the links between our genes and our brain.

    Allen is expected to formally announce the creation of the Allen Institute for Brain Science and its inaugural project, the “Allen Brain Atlas,” on Tuesday. The atlas aims to identify 10,000 genes per year; it will actually model the mouse brain, which… read more

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