science + technology news

Future Watch: Using computers to outthink terrorists

September 3, 2003

Some of the technology shown in last year’s blockbuster movie Minority Report may soon be a reality and a centerpiece of the intelligence community’s war on terrorism.

Research into new intelligence technology is taking place as part of a $54 million program known as Genoa II. DARPA is studying potential IT that may not only enable new levels of collaboration among teams of intelligence analysts, policy-makers and covert operators,… read more

Chilly Future May Await Tomorrow’s Computers

September 3, 2003

A “chill pill” that Slovenian computer scientists recently formulated could eliminate most heat-caused errors with quantum computers, allowing them to operate at incredible speeds successfully.

Reinventing the Transistor

September 3, 2003

Hewlett-Packard is betting that it can build computers whose functionality rests on the workings of individual molecules. It’s blue-sky research, but if it works, it will push computing far beyond the limits of silicon.

A chip in which silicon transistors are replaced with molecular devices could in principle be fabricated through a simple chemical process. A circuit with 10 billion switches could eventually fit on a grain of salt;… read more

Fuel-Cell Tech May Be Coming Soon

September 3, 2003

Japanese companies are pushing ahead with prototypes of miniaturized fuel cells they say will dramatically improve the battery life of laptop computers. Yet, some experts insist fuel-cell technology is still several years away.

CRN Comments on Greenpeace Nanotech Report

September 3, 2003

The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology has prepared a 10-page document that supplements the recent Greenpeace report, “Future Technologies, Today’s Choices,” which addresses the risks and benefits of nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.

The document prepared by CRN provides greater detail on the current state of research in molecular nanotechnology (MNT), and discusses possible near-term developments in limited molecular nanotechnology (LMNT).

Eric Drexler, chairman of the… read more

Researchers Measure The Electrical Resistance Of Single Molecules

September 2, 2003

Researchers at Arizona State University have developed a relatively straightforward method for measuring the electrical resistance of single molecules. The advance promises to have a huge impact on the burgeoning field of molecular electronics.

Small Thoughts for a Global Grid

September 2, 2003

Dr. Richard E. Smalley, discoverer of nanoscale buckyballs, has become increasingly hopeful about the potential of new technologies based on hydrogen and renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.

He believes carbon nanotubes could be woven into long wires that would be more efficient conductors than copper yet far lighter, making it much cheaper to move solar and wind power to places it is needed.

Scientists highlight fish ‘intelligence’

September 2, 2003

Fish are now seen as highly intelligent creatures, with social intelligence, exhibiting stable cultural traditions, cooperating to inspect predators and catch food, and pursuing Machiavellian strategies of manipulation, punishment and reconciliation.

They can even be favorably compared to non-human primates, say British scientists.

News tip: Walter Purvis

Dartmouth Bioengineers Develop Humanized Yeast

September 2, 2003

Bioengineers at Dartmouth have genetically engineered yeast to produce humanized therapeutic proteins to address the manufacturing crunch currently confronting the biopharmaceutical industry.

Reported in this week’s issue of Science, the researchers have re-engineered the yeast P. pastoris to secrete a complex human glycoprotein — a process offering significant advantages over current production methods using mammalian cell lines, according to the researchers.

Dartmouth College pressread more

The Nanomaterials Market Is Starting To Climb The Growth Curve

August 29, 2003

Nanomaterials are vying for new markets in electronics, food packaging, industrial processing and other areas.

Nanotechnology is now a $385 million-per-year business in the United States, a figure that is expected to reach $3.5 billion by 2008 and $20 billion by 2013,

Nanotechnology: Atom and Eve in the Garden of Eden

August 29, 2003

K. Eric Drexler, founder and chairman of the Foresight Institute, will debate Patrick R. Mooney, head of the ETC Group, on potential hazards of nanoscale materials for human health and the environment at the Beyond Borders retreat in Ottawa on Sept. 22.

The ETC Group has issued a report warning of such hazards.

Next Big Thing Is a Really Small Battery

August 29, 2003

A patent has just been issued to the University of Tulsa for batteries that are so small that 40 could be stacked across the width of a human hair.

Electricity grids wide open to hackers on Internet

August 28, 2003

The revelation that a computer worm disabled a safety system in a US nuclear power station in January has led to fresh calls for security on electricity grids to be overhauled, according to New Scientist.

Experts say much of the grid’s critical infrastructure is too accessible to the virus-ridden public Internet.

When the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ohio was hit by the Slammer worm this… read more

Recipe for a ‘Shake Gel’

August 28, 2003

Chemists and computer scientists are using a special facility at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to scale molecules up for people-sized interactions. Using chemical data, NIST software, special eyewear, and floor-to-ceiling display screens, they create giant three-dimensional molecules that move.

Molecular behavior can be seen and understood in minutes instead of the weeks required using traditional techniques.

IBM finds ally for supercomputer-on-a-chip

August 28, 2003

IBM and the University of Texas at Austin plan to collaborate on building a processor capable of more than 1 trillion calculations per second–faster than many of today’s top supercomputers–by 2010.

Prototypes are expected to be running in the lab by December 2005, capable of 32 billion operations per second, theoretically.

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