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A world record for highest-surface-area materials

Greatly expands storage density for natural gas (for vehicles), light harvesting, and drug delivery
September 13, 2012


Northwestern University researchers have broken a world record by creating two new synthetic materials with the greatest amount of surface areas reported to date.

Named NU-109 and NU-110, the materials belong to a class of crystalline nanostructure known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) that are promising vessels for natural-gas and hydrogen storage for vehicles, and for catalysts, chemical sensing, light harvesting, drug delivery, and other uses requiring a large… read more

A world without trucks

March 7, 2008

Some Western European countries are getting serious about transporting consumer goods through automated subterranean networks.

This rare combination of low-tech sense and high-tech knowledge could lead to a further economic growth without destroying the environment and the quality of life.

These concepts offer exciting possibilities. Goods can be transported from factories to stores, from factories to factories or even from stores to consumers — in the long run,… read more

A wrinkle in space-time

July 20, 2012

Shock wave around supernova 1987A captured by the Hubble Space Telescope (credit: NASA, ESA, K. France (University of Colordo, Boulder), P. Challis and R. Kirshner (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)/Wikimedia Commons)

Mathematicians at UC Davis have come up with a new way to crinkle up the fabric of space-time — at least in theory.

“We show that space-time cannot be locally flat at a point where two shock waves collide,” said Blake Temple, professor of mathematics at UC Davis. “This is a new kind of singularity in general relativity.”


Einstein’s theory… read more

A wristband to track health, fight obesity

July 16, 2011


Jawbone‘s Up, combining a sensor-infused wristband and iPhone app, will provide “nudges” for healthier living, based on your behavior.

The wristband’s sensors collect data about how much you’ve been sleeping and moving and send it to an app. You enter meal data manually, in part by taking pictures of what you’ve eaten.

Based on that information, the app provides nudges meant to help you… read more

A year in the quantum world

December 26, 2008

Four radical routes to a theory of everything, The great antimatter mystery, Anyons: the breakthrough quantum computing needs?, and Matter is merely vacuum fluctuations are among the year’s top 10 in-depth articles about the quantum world.

A zoomable 360-degree view of our galaxy

March 25, 2014


NASA’s new zoomable, 360-degree mosaic,  presented Thursday at the TED 2014 Conference in Vancouver, allows for exploring the Milky Way interactively.

The panorama of our galaxy is constructed from more than 2 million infrared snapshots taken over the past 10 years by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

The 20-gigapixel mosaic uses Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope visualization platform. It captures about three percent of our sky, but because it… read more

A ‘Google map’ of human metabolism

March 6, 2013

Human Metabolism-excerpt

An international consortium of university researchers has produced the most comprehensive virtual reconstruction of human metabolism to date.

Scientists could use the model, known as Recon 2, to identify causes of and new treatments for diseases like cancer, diabetes and even psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Each person’s metabolism, which represents the conversion of food sources into energy and the assembly of molecules,… read more

A ‘shockingly bright’ gamma-ray burst

May 7, 2013

Swift's X-Ray Telescope took this 0.1-second exposure of GRB 130427A at 3:50 a.m. EDT on April 27, just moments after Swift and Fermi triggered on the outburst. The image is 6.5 arcminutes across. (Credit: NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler)

A record-setting blast of gamma rays from a dying star in a galaxy about 3.6 billion light-years away has wowed astronomers around the world — the highest-energy light ever detected from such an event.

At 3:47 a.m. EDT, April 27, Fermi’s Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) triggered on an eruption, designated GRB 130427A, of high-energy light in the constellation Leo.

The Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) recorded one gamma ray… read more

A ‘visual Turing test’ of computer ‘understanding’ of images

March 12, 2015

Athens, Baltimore, Hong Kong, Miami. What are those people doing? A new evaluation method measures a computer’s ability to decipher movements, relationships, and implied intent from images by asking questions (Credit: Brown University)

Researchers from Brown and Johns Hopkins universities have come up with a new way to evaluate how well computers can “understand” the relationships or implied activities between objects in photographs, videos, and other images, not just recognize objects — a “visual Turing test,” as they describe it.

Traditional computer-vision benchmarks tend to measure an algorithm’s performance in detecting objects within an image (the image has a tree, or a… read more

A.I. expert Ray Kurzweil picks computer in ‘Jeopardy!’ match

February 9, 2011

Watson has the inside track on the “Jeopardy!” contest Monday Feb. 14, when the IBM computer system called “Watson” faces off against past “Jeopardy!” champs, says Ray Kurzweil. “But if it doesn’t win, it will come close, and it will come back and win in the very near future. Because it’s only going to get better. And humans are not getting better.”

Based on his calculations of the… read more

A.I. Reboots

February 21, 2002

The focus of artificial intelligence today is no longer on understanding and replicating human intelligence but the development of systems to augment human abilities.
Promising applications of the “new A.I.” include:

  • CycSecure, a program to be released this year that combines a huge database on computer network vulnerabilities with assumptions about hacker activities to identify security flaws in a customer’s network.
  • The “Semantic Web,” a sophisticated
  • read more

    A.I.: Kurzweil Says Thumbs Up

    July 5, 2001

    In this Wired News Radio interview, Ray Kurzweil says A.I.: Artificial Intelligence offers a good glimpse of things to come.
    The show can be listened to via download or stream.

    A.I.: Unraveling the Mysteries

    June 28, 2001

    Kubrick diehards have been playing an educated guessing game about A.I. … And in recent months, a younger, more Web-savvy set has been engaged in an elaborate interactive game that’s actually a marketing effort for the movie ….

    AAA Battery Gets a Mini-Me

    October 9, 2003

    The smallest implantable battery in the world may soon be powering bionic neurons. The small size allows doctors to use minimally invasive techniques when implanting the bionic neurons, reducing surgical trauma and the risk of infection.

    Recharging is done wirelessly by an external electrical field, so implants no longer have to be surgically removed and replaced.

    The battery may power implantables for stroke victims and people suffering from… read more

    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

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