Artificial ants solve network problems

September 13, 2001

Researchers have found that control programs based on the foraging behaviour of ants can keep data networks running more efficiently and cope with congestion better than many human alternatives.
Marco Dorigo and colleagues at the Free University of Brussels are creating small, smart computer programs based on ant foraging. Many individual ants may discover different routes to the same food but the shortest path that leads to it will have… read more

Cost of evolution runs into billions

September 14, 2001

Humans are causing evolution on a grand scale – and it is costing us hundreds of billions of dollars each year, says a Harvard biologist.Every time a strain of bacteria becomes resistant to an antibiotic, or a weed mutates so it can thrive after being sprayed with a herbicide, there is a financial cost to humankind, Stephen Palumbi points out. He estimates that cost to be at least $100 billion… read more

Silicon Valley’s plan to stop skyjackings–all of them

September 14, 2001

A Silicon Valley entrepreneur has an idea for preventing skyjacking, using GPS and autopilot-based landing to a nearby airport.Steve Kirsch, best known as the founder of the Infoseek search engine, proposes that we install “safe mode” panic buttons that “put the plane on forced autopilot that cannot be overridden, except in special circumstances.” He’d have them mounted in the cockpit and crew areas.

Based on the location of the… read more

The nanoelectronic road ahead

September 17, 2001

The semiconductor industry has the potential for at least 20 more years of exponential progress ahead of us,” said James D. Meindl, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Microelectronics Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology in a paper published in the September 14 issue of the journal Science.Based on a comprehensive analysis of the fundamental, material, device, circuit and system limits on silicon semiconductors,… read more

Officials Fear U.S. Is Ill-Equipped to Deal With Biological or Chemical Terrorism

September 18, 2001

The U.S. is woefully unprepared to deal with chemical and biological threats, according to government and think-tank reports.

The public-health infrastructure is a “tattered web.” Studies revealed that only one in five hospitals had any response plan for biochemical weapons, less than half had decontamination units with showers, and less than a third had enough antidote for a cloud of nerve gas like the 1995 Tokyo subway attack. In… read more

Protecting Passengers With Fingerprint or Retina Scans

September 19, 2001

Stocks of the few publicly traded biometrics companies soared Monday. Biometrics systems identify travelers by fingerprints, the patterns in their retinas, their voices or other individual characteristics.Leading biometrics systems include Visionics’ FaceIt, a system that profiles individuals based on 80 facial structures like distance between the eyes, cheekbone formation and the width of the nose bridge; and eye scans, which look at either the distinctive patterns in the blood vessels… read more

Robots Scour WTC Wreckage

September 19, 2001

Dozens of experimental search-and-rescue robots are scouring the wreckage of the World Trade Center’s collapsed twin towers. A team of four robot researchers from the University of South Florida are assisting the salvage operation with about seven robots, including various marsupial designs, which combine a large “mother” robot with a smaller “daughter” machine that is small enough to maneuver deep into crevices in the rubble. Some of the daughter machines… read more

Fujitsu announces Linux-based humanoid robot

September 19, 2001

Fujitsu has developed a miniature humanoid robot named HOAP-1 (Humanoid for Open Architecture Platform), designed for wide application in research and development of robotic technologies, the company announced at the Robotics Society of Japan meeting on September 18.

Weighing 6kg and standing 48cm tall, the HOAP-1 and accompanying simulation software can be used for developing motion control algorithms for two-legged walking and in research on human-to-robot communication interfaces.… read more

‘Nimda’ virus outbreak spreads worldwide

September 19, 2001

Known as “Nimda” or “readme.exe,” a new worm spreads by sending infected e-mail messages, copying itself to computers on the same network, and compromising Web servers using Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS) software. Infected Web pages may also download the worm to Web surfers’ PCs when they view the page.
Nimda started spreading early Tuesday morning and quickly infected PCs and servers across the Internet. It infects PCs running Windows… read more

Forget travel–try videoconferencing

September 20, 2001

For 1/1000th the price of expensive conferencing systems, you can add video to your PC and set up your own video conferences. The easiest method of arranging a video conference is to use a free application like Microsoft NetMeeting or Yahoo Messenger plus a cheap webcam.

For one-to-many or many-to-many video, you should look into services like WebEx or Astound Conference Center. Both offer corporate-grade video and Web conferencing… 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

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

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

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

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.

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