science + technology news

Link Between Human Genes and Bacteria Is Hotly Debated

May 21, 2001

Celera Genenomics is challenging the Consortium’s Feb. report that 223 of the 30,000 human genes appear to have been acquired directly from bacteria instead of inheritance.

Building Chips, One Molecule at a Time

May 21, 2001

Hewlett-Packard is researching molecular computers, using rotaxanes.

UCLA professor James Heath and his team have succeeded in attaching their minuscule switches to tiny wires and have developed a redundant wiring technique that routes signals around imperfect molecular switches.

Heath thinks he might be able to build a rudimentary computer within a couple of years.

The living dead

May 18, 2001

A cybernetic definition of “life” has been proposed by Bernard Korzeniewski of the Institute of Molecular Biology at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland: “A network of inferior negative feedbacks subordinated to a superior positive feedback.”

In other words, life is a system that tries to regulate itself to preserve its identity. Uner this definition, ants, prions, and infertile humans are not alive, but parasitic DNA is, he says.

Death Of The Web Is Inevitable

May 18, 2001

The X (executable) Internet and an extended Net that connects to the real world will eclipse the Web, says Forrester Research.

“Executable applications will give users tools to experience the Net in more entertaining and engaging ways,” said Carl D. Howe, research director and principal analyst at Forrester. “For example, imagine a corporate buyer navigating a virtual marketplace with a Doom-like user interface — buyers could simply… read more

Psychology of virtual identities

May 18, 2001

Dr. Neil Theise explores virtual identities and AI with Ray Kurzweil on Psychology Today Live, talk radio.

Nanotechnology: Manufacturing as Extended Chemistry

May 17, 2001

Nanotech pioneer Ralph C. Merkle, PhD will speak at
a meeting of the Silicon Valley Section of the American Chemical Society, May 24, 2001 at the Biltmore Hotel, Santa Clara. Open to non-ACS members.

Project JXTA

May 16, 2001

Sun’s new Project JXTA, using P2P networking, could benefit the AI community by combining the processing power of thousands of networked personal computers to create worldwide virtual supercomputers.

Headed by Bill Joy, Project JXTA (juxtapose) encourages “open source” development, with executable and source code for the initial implementation available in Java and C.

Building a Better Backbone

May 16, 2001

Surging Internet growth is straining the capacity of the Internet backbone. New developments to increase bandwidth include Raman amplification (allows a signal to be amplified without introducing noise), polarized light, and “photonic-band-gap crystals” to eliminate interference between wavelengths.

Current research could enable holographic 3-D videoconferences, long-distance surgery, and instantaneous access to books stored at any library in the world.

Hyperion: Sun-Thirsty Space Robot

May 16, 2001

The sunlight-seeking Hyperion robot is about to be tested on Devon Island, near the Arctic Circle, mimicing a planetary landscape.

Developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute in collaboration with the NASA Haughton-Mars Project, Hyperion is designed to dodge shadows, seek sunlight and drive itself along sun-synchronous routes, while carrying out exploration duties on Mars.

NIST conference focuses on nanotech, biotech, VR in year 2020

May 15, 2001

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) “Technology at the Crossroads: Frontiers of the Future” national meeting in Baltimore, Maryland is scheduled for June 3-5, 2001.

Sessions include Replication of Nanodevices, The Challenge of Molecular Electronics: Focusing Nanotechnology on the Future Computer, Virtual Voyage Through Medicine, The Pathway to Virtual Research Communities, Regenerative Medicine as Alternative Therapy, and Human Embryonic Stem Cells: Applications for Drug Discovery… read more

A robot in your future

May 14, 2001

A wireless videoconferencing robot on wheels that allows telecommuters to hold real-time video chats with people in their office?

That’s what Sprint is planning with its Digitally Enhanced Network Appliance Project.

Douglas Adams, 1952 — 2001

May 14, 2001

Lament for Douglas by Richard Dawkins.

Aaron: AI-based painter program

May 12, 2001

Aaron, an AI-based program that creates original paintings on your computer’s screen, has passed the art world’s Turing Test, says its creator, Harold Cohen, artist and University of California at San Diego art professor.

“Aaron’s output has been hung in major museums all around the world,” he said. “Since most of that happened before anybody was aware of how powerful the computer was, I have to assume… read more

A Quicker Map for Disease

May 11, 2001

Mapping common genetic diseases may turn out to be much easier. Segments of DNA shared by people with common ancestors can be much larger than previously thought — significantly decreasing the number of starting places researchers need to map genetic disorders.

Creating a Modern Ark of Genetic Samples

May 11, 2001

American Museum of Natural History scientists are building a 21st century version of Noah’s Ark.

It will contain 70,000 tissue samples immersed in liquid nitrogen and will act as a central repository for nonhuman comparative genomics. It also may one day provide source material for creating clones of endangered or extinct animals.

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