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A Real-Life Debate on Free Expression in a Cyberspace City

January 16, 2004

A debate over free expression and ethical behavior in online worlds is reverberating in the real one.

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games now regularly attract a million or more Americans. Sims Online, Everquest and others, where the border between fantasy and reality is increasingly blurry, the games have become more than simply a source of entertainment. They are also a gateway to a complex social network that takes on… read more

A real-life ‘holodeck’ in 10 years?

January 17, 2013

The holodeck of the USS Enterprise (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

According to software expert Tim Huckaby, we’re on the verge of a science-fiction-like future where doctors manipulate molecules in three-dimensional (3-D) space, augmented music players tune into your thoughts, and retailers deliver coupons in real time based on the focus of your gaze across store shelves, Smart Planet reports.

His predictions for what’s possible within the next 10 years include a functioning “holodeck” (as in Star Trek)… read more

A realistic look at the promises and perils of nanomedicine

November 17, 2011

New nanomaterials: the next nanomedicines? (credit: )

Is the emerging field of nanomedicine a breathtaking technological revolution that promises remarkable new ways of diagnosing and treating diseases, or does it portend the release of dangerous nanoparticles, nanorobots, or nanoelectronic devices that will wreak havoc in the body?

A new review of more than 500 studies on the topic by Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe in Spain concludes that neither scenario is likely.… read more

A recipe for making strings in the lab

May 16, 2005

Theoretical physicists in the Netherlands have proposed a way to make superstrings in the laboratory: by trapping an ultracold cloud of fermionic atoms along the core of a quantized vortex in a Bose-Einstein condensate.

Hopefully this will allow observation of the supersymmetry between bosons and fermions, thus providing the first experimental evidence to support superstring theory.

A reconfigurable miniature robot

The robotic equivalent of a Swiss army knife
December 4, 2012

A four-segment milli-motein chain with a one-centimeter<br />
module size (credit: MIT Center for Bits and Atoms)

MIT scientists have designed a little device called a “milli-motein” (millimeter-sized components and a motorized design inspired by proteins, which naturally fold themselves into incredibly complex shapes) that may be a harbinger of future devices that could fold themselves up into almost any shape imaginable.

The device was conceived by Neil Gershenfeld, head of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, visiting scientist Ara… read more

A record quantum entanglement: 103 dimensions

More quantum dimensions easier to achieve than more qubits, researchers find
March 31, 2014

multi-dimensional-entanglement

An international team of researchers has created an entanglement of 103 dimensions with only two photons, beating the previous record of 11 dimensions.

The discovery could represent an advance toward toward better encryption of information and quantum computers with much higher processing speeds, according to a statement by the researchers.

Until now, to increase the “computing” capacity of these particle systems, scientists have mainly turned to increasing the number… read more

A Renowned Geneticist Analyzes Consumer Tests

June 16, 2009

Francis Collins, the former head of the National Human Genome Research Institute, has had his genome analyzed by the big three of direct-to-consumer genetic testing: 23andMe, Navigenics, and DecodeMe.

He found significant differences in the numbers of genetic variations used to calculate disease risk, as well as the final risk score.

A research agenda for potential ecological risks of synthetic biology

May 30, 2014

synbio7

Environmental scientists and synthetic biologists have developed the first list of key research areas to study the potential ecological impacts of synthetic biology, which could create organisms that transcend common evolutionary pathways.

The Synthetic Biology Project at the Wilson Center and the Program on Emerging Technologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology convened the interdisciplinary group of scientists released the report, Creating aread more

A Review of the Best Robots of 2008

January 12, 2009

Keith Kleiner’s selections of the best robots and robot videos of 2008 include Robotic Soccer, the ultracute NAO robot, and the award-winning I-Sobot, the smallest bipedal robot.

A Review Of The Best Robots of 2009

December 23, 2009

In 2009, robots continued their advances in industrial/manufacturing, humanoid, and other areas.

A rice genome to feed the world

Will it deal with the "9 billion-people question" for the year 2050?
July 31, 2014

Understanding the complete genome of African rice will enable researchers and agriculturalists to develop new varieties of rice with African rice's hardiness, making them better able to adapt to conditions of a changing climate. (Credit: International Rice Research Institute)

An international team of researchers led by the University of Arizona (UA) has sequenced the complete genome of African rice.

The genetic information will enhance scientists’ and agriculturalists’ understanding of the growing patterns of African rice, and help development of new rice varieties that are better able to cope with increasing environmental stressors to help solve global hunger challenges, the researchers say.

The research paper was… read more

A roadmap for metabolic reprogramming of aging

December 4, 2012

Electron microscope image of a mitochondrion

To survey previously uncharted territory, a team of researchers at UW-Madison has created an “atlas” that maps more than 1,500 unique landmarks within mitochondria that could provide clues to the metabolic connections between caloric restriction and aging.

The map, as well as the techniques used to create it, could lead to a better understanding of how cell metabolism is rewired in some cancers, age-related diseases… read more

A Robomedic for the Battlefield

February 3, 2009

A snakelike robotic arm developed by Carnegie Mellon University scientists may one day medically attend to soldiers as they are carried off the battlefield.

A robot as cheap, easy-to-use, and safe as an iPhone

August 26, 2012

rethink_robotics

Rethink Robotics’ goal is that its [forthcoming] cheap, easy-to-use, safe robot will be to industrial robots what the personal computer was to the mainframe computer, or the iPhone was to the traditional phone, says The New York Times writer Thomas L. Friedman.

“That is, it will bring robots to the small business and even home and enable people to write apps for them the way they do with PCs… read more

A robot bomb tester

November 11, 2012

lexi_llnl

In 2006, a plot by terrorists to blow up as many as 10 passenger planes in mid-air using peroxide-based liquid explosives was foiled by British authorities.

That led to the infamous TSA “no liquids or gels” flight restriction. But it also led to creation of the National Explosives Engineering Sciences Security (NEXESS) Center at Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, funded by the Department of Homeland… read more

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