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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charting Virtual Worlds

October 1, 2001
3D hyperbolic view of Internet topology

The Atlas of Cyberspace is a large-format, full-color book with with more than 300 full-color maps of the Net’s infrastructure and traffic, maps of the Web and websites, charts of social interactions such as Usenet or e-mail, and artists’ visualizations of cyberspace.

Tech Companies See Market for Detection

October 1, 2001

Cutting-edge identification and detection technologies have helped specialists in the battle against terrorism, but the Sept. 11 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center could transform these once exotic gadgets into everyday tools of airport safety.
Biometrics technologies include detecting stress by reading flickering eye movements, X-rays to conduct virtual strip-searches, facial recognition (videotaping faces in a crowded room and matching them to known terrorists), measuring eye movements… read more

Newsweek Cover: ‘How Scared Should You Be?’

October 1, 2001

The U.S. Department of Energy will test an early warning system for toxic chemicals in subway systems, and detectors have already been secretly installed in a Washington D.C. Metro station, Newsweek has learned, though nationwide implementation is years away. The DoE is also launching a project to install biodetectors in stadiums, convention halls and other large areas, all part of a multi-billion dollar effort to thwart biological and chemical attacks,… read more

Computer Robots Gather Intelligence

October 3, 2001

The U.S. military is testing software robots that can identify targets and present them to commanders much more quickly than a human could.

The software, known as the Control of Agent-Based Systems or CoABS, uses AI agents to sift through troves of images and intelligence data to find viable targets.
“It takes us too long to get the intelligence to a weapons system,” said James Hendler, the U.S. Defense… read more

Intelligence analysis software could predict attacks

October 3, 2001

Intelligence analysis software being developed in the US could be used to predict future terrorist attacks, claims Applied Systems Intelligence in Roswell, Georgia.Knowledge Aided Retrieval in Activity Context (KARNAC) uses “profiles” of different categories of terrorist attacks to seek out key components of possible events from existing databases of information, both public and private, and spotting suspicious patterns of activity.

The information for KARNAC would come from both structured… read more

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