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The 50 Best Robots Ever

December 27, 2005

They’re exploring the deep sea and distant planets. They’re saving lives in the operating room and on the battlefield. They’re transforming factory floors and filmmaking….

Best Tech Moments of 2005

December 26, 2005

New software apps changed the way we looked at the world, while hardware got smaller, faster and more fun. On the net, blogs provided many of the most dramatic moments.

Slowly, Cancer Genes Tender Their Secrets

December 26, 2005

Scientists are now finding that untangling the genetics of cancer is not impossible and are basing new treatments on their findings.

The turning point came only recently: with microarrays, or gene chips that can be coated with all known human genes, scientists can now discover every gene that is active in a cancer cell and learn what portions of the genes are amplified or deleted.

With another method,… read more

Gyroscope sets course to fight cancer

December 26, 2005

Micro-gyroscopes can make sensitive biosensors for fast detection of the proteins associated with diseases by measuring the subtle change in vibration caused when a protein binds to a DNA coating.

The researchers plan to produce hand-held devices to test blood, smear and biopsy samples and immediately relay the results to a doctor.

2005: The year in biology and medicine

December 26, 2005

Major breakthroughs in 2005 included the publishing of several complete genomes, including a dog called Tasha, the chimpanzee, three human parasites, ancient cave bears, as well as a map of genetic variations called SNPs in the human genome.

The year also saw the world’s first human face transplant by French surgeons, a growing fear of bird flu, fabricated claims of cloned human stem cells, and a robot to carry… read more

Bezos brings space race to Kent as he plans a passenger rocket

December 26, 2005

Amazon.com billionaire Jeff Bezos is building a rocket-ship complex set to open early next year.

Blue Origin, Bezos’ aerospace company, plans to develop a vehicle that can take passengers on a thrill ride to the edge of space. But eventually, Bezos has said, he wants to build spaceships powerful enough to orbit the Earth. He even hopes to establish permanent colonies in space someday.

Ray Kurzweil: Life in the Future

December 26, 2005

Ray Kurzweil appeared on NPR’s Science Friday show on December 23, speaking on accelerating technological change and its effects on everything from health to artificial intelligence.

(Listen here)

Evolution takes science honours

December 25, 2005

Research into how evolution works has been named by Science Magazine as top science achievement of 2005, a year that also saw fierce debate erupt over “intelligent design.”

Science magazine’s breakthroughs of 2005:

Winner: Evolution in action. Genome sequencing and painstaking field observations shed light on the intricacies of how evolution works.

Runner up: Planetary blitz. Europe’s Huygens probe touched down on Saturn’s moon Titan in January.… read more

Better than people

December 25, 2005

Japanese find robots less intimidating than people.

“The prevailing view in Japan is that the country is lucky to be uninhibited by robophobia. With fewer of the complexes that trouble many westerners, so the theory goes, Japan is free to make use of a great new tool, just when its needs and abilities are happily about to converge.

“What seems to set Japan apart from other countries is… read more

The 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years

December 25, 2005

PC World’s list of the top tech gadgets of the last half century, rated by “usefulness, design, degree of innovation, and influence on subsequent gadgets, as well the ‘cool factor,’” includes Sony Walkman (1979), Apple iPod (2001), and a tie between ReplayTV RTV2001 and TiVo HDR110 (1999) — the top three.

Other cool items include iRobot Roomba Intelligent Floorvac (2002), Sharp Wizard OZ-7000 (1989), and MITS Altair 8800 (1975).

Singularity Is Near is #13 on NY Times most-blogged-about list

December 23, 2005

Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology has been named #13 on the New York Times list of “most blogged about books of 2005.”

New way to switch therapeutic genes ‘on’ and ‘off’

December 23, 2005

A gene therapy research team at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has developed a new method of signaling therapeutic genes to turn “off” or “on,” a mechanism that could enable scientists to fine-tune genetic- and stem cell-based therapies so that they are safer, more controllable and more effective.

Although other similar signaling systems have been developed, the Cedars-Sinai research is the first to give physicians the flexibility to arbitrarily turn the… read more

How new neurons integrate into the brain

December 23, 2005

Scientists from Johns Hopkins’ Institute for Cell Engineering have discovered the steps required to integrate new neurons into the brain’s existing operations.

For more than a century, scientists thought the adult brain could only lose nerve cells, not gain them, but in fact, new neurons do form during adulthood in all mammals, including humans, and become a working part of the adult brain in mice at the very least.… read more

Researchers develop new method for studying ‘mental time travel’

December 23, 2005

Neuroscientists at Princeton University have developed a new way of tracking people’s mental state as they think back to previous events — a process that has been described as “mental time travel.”

The findings, detailed in the Dec. 23 issue of Science, will aid efforts to learn more about how people mine the recesses of memory and could have a wide-ranging impact in the field of neuroscience, including studies… read more

DNA self-assembly used to mass-produce patterned nanostructures

December 23, 2005

Duke University scientists have used the self-assembling properties of DNA to mass-produce nanometer-scale structures in the shape of 4×4 grids, on which patterns of molecules can be specified.

They said the achievement represents a step toward mass-producing electronic or optical circuits at a scale 10 times smaller than the smallest circuits now being manufactured.

The smallest features on these square DNA lattices are approximately 5 to 10 nanometers,… read more

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