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New atlas for neuroscientists

February 19, 2003

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed computerized atlases and associated tools for visualizing and analyzing the brain.

The 3-D maps outline structural and functional areas in the cerebral cortex and the cerebellar cortex.

Detailed maps such as these will help physicians better understand the implications of brain damage due to stroke, epilepsy, trauma and other causes, and will help guide neurosurgeons in… read more

Who should explore space, man or machine?

February 20, 2003

A contest for dominance in space pits biology and brains against circuits and chips.

First 3-D Map of Protein Universe

February 20, 2003

The first three-dimensional global map of the protein structure universe has been created by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley. It provides important insight into the evolution and demographics of protein structures and may help scientists identify the functions of newly discovered proteins.

Japan’s NEC Takes Step Forward in Quantum Computing

February 20, 2003

NEC and Japanese government-funded research group RIKEN said they had successfully created a state of quantum entanglement between two solid-state qubits for the first time. This breakthrough could bring quantum computers a step closer.

News tip: Darryl Caldwell

Nanotechnology: Will it be a boon — or kill us all?

February 20, 2003

The Future Dances on a Pin’s Head, a commentary by Julia A. Moore, Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar, subtitled “Nanotechnology: Will it be a boon — or kill us all?” dated November 26, 2002, argues for setting aside a portion of nanotechnology funding to investigate the implications of the technology.

The Robot Ate My Homework

February 20, 2003

Robots are helping kids who are hospitalized for long periods by trauma or chronic illness keep up with school.

One goes to school in the absent child’s place. Another in the hospital transmits an image of the child’s face to the classroom. The child can direct the school robot to raise its hand to ask a question or swivel its head to follow the teacher.

Live from the Future of Life

February 20, 2003

Participants debated stem cell research and examined the genomics revolution, the anti-evolutionary fervor and the promise of nanotechnology in medicine on the first day of TIME’s “The Future of Life” conference, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA.

A Thin Line Between Film and Joystick

February 23, 2003

Enter the Matrix, the first commercial video game based on the world and characters of The Matrix, represents the closest collaboration so far between moviemaking and game production.

“There are scenes that start in the video game and will complete the movie,” Joel Silver, the films’ producer, noting that the game was conceived to “feel like it’s a part and experience of the movie.” Some of the plot lines… read more

‘Looking for Spinoza’: The Source of Emotion

February 23, 2003

Emotions and mental states are simply perceptions of the body, says Antonio Damasio, chief neurologist at the University of Iowa Medical Center, in a new book, “Looking for Spinoza.”

Brain Scans Reflect Problem-Solving Skill

February 23, 2003

The first large-sample imaging study to probe individual differences in “general fluid intelligence” has been conducted by researchers at Washington University, using functional magnetic resonance imaging.

It shows how differences in the ability to reason and solve problems might translate into differences in the firing of neurons.

Crime: A Google for Cops

February 25, 2003

Coplink software might revolutionize law enforcement in the 21st century by finding patterns in various law enforcement data bases.

It was invented by Hsinchun Chen of the Artificial Intelligence Lab, which he founded at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Promise of intelligent networks

February 25, 2003

Intel researchers are working on ways to make wireless networks organize themselves and manage data traffic levels without any human intervention.

They are working with mesh network systems that can determine the best way to link all the devices they are in contact with, and find the ideal route for the data the devices are swapping.

“There are going to be tens of millions of computers out there… read more

Sci-Fi War Uniforms?

February 25, 2003

MIT’s new Army-funded Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies is designing the perfect uniform protection for soldiers, using nanotech.

Designs will include “smart surfaces” that can change from being water-repellent to water-absorbent, fibers that can be woven into a soldier’s uniform to make it identifiable even in the dark, and the ability to adapt to biological and chemical threats.

Asteroids and Secrecy: If End is Nigh, Do You Want to Know?

February 25, 2003

The governments of Earth need to get together and come up with a mitigation strategy — what to do if an asteroid is on a collision course with earth. Hiding information might be an option under certain circumstances to avoid social panic and the tremendous associated costs, say some.

DNA computer sets Guinness record

February 25, 2003

Weizmann Institute of Science researchers have developed DNA molecular computers using enzymes, with ATP as fuel.

“Our experiments demonstrate for the first time that we may use a DNA molecule as an input for computation, and at the same time fuel this computation by the energy stored in the very same molecule,” according to researcher Ehud Shapiro. “Such combination, although theoretically conceivable, is practically impossible with conventional electronic computers.”… read more

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