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Volcanoes may reveal secrets through ‘song’

August 10, 2006

Active volcanoes are being made to “sing” by researchers who convert seismic data into frequencies audible to human ears.

The sonification ttechnique could make it easier to detect patterns that warn of an eruption.

Pass the Virtual Scalpel, Nurse

August 10, 2006

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers are developing a surgery simulator similar to the flight simulators used to train pilots. The medical training system would allow surgeons to manipulate virtual human organs in real time, learning and acquiring crucial skills without using cadavers or risking human life.

They are pursuing a grand vision of developing the holy grail of simulation technology: a “virtual human.”

Breakthrough gives 3-D vision of life’s dawn

August 10, 2006
SRXTM scanning shows the interior or fossil embryos

A new technique allowing virtual dissections of half-billion-year-old fossil embryos is producing the first three-dimensional images of the dawn of life.

Synchroton-radiation X-ray tomographic microscopy, or SRXTM, leaves the tiny fossils untouched (compared to the conventional use of acid) but gives graphic details of their structure.

Gartner Names Hot Technologies With Greatest Potential Impact

August 10, 2006

Researcher Gartner Inc. has identified the technologies it believes will have the greatest impact on businesses over the next 10 years, naming such hot areas as social-network analysis, location-aware applications and event-driven architectures, semantic markup languages, and collective intelligence (developing intellectual content through individuals working together with no centralized authority).

Apocalypse soon

August 10, 2006

The Israel-Hezbollah conflict has convinced many premillennialists that God, working through Israel, is steering the world toward its final days and the return of the Messiah, Jason Boyett says in

Meanwhile, Shiite Muslims believe the time is now for the return of the Hidden Imam and a final battle, possibly on August 22 this year, Iranian President Ahmadinejad has hinted, Princeton professor emeritus Bernard Lewis points… read more

Single molecule makes electronic switch

August 8, 2006
Single molecules as electronic components © IBM

A single organic molecule trapped between two electrodes acts as a switch and has a memory of the type used in data storage, researchers have found.

A positive voltage pulse between the electrodes was enough to change the bipyridyl-dinitro oligophenylene-ethynylene dithiol (BPDN-BT) molecule so that it became a better conductor of current, while a negative voltage returned the molecule to its less conductive state.

Organic Molecules Found in Diverse Space Places

August 8, 2006

Eight organic molecules have been found in interstellar dust clouds in two regions of space, the Astrophysical Journal reports.

One of the molecules found in Sagittarius B2(N), called acetamide, contains a type of chemical bond important for linking together amino acids.

The newfound molecules bring the total number of biologically-relevant molecules found in interstellar space to 141. Scientists have previously found benzene, a ring-shaped carbon molecule important for… read more

Digital World Reveals Architecture of Evolution

August 8, 2006

The architecture that pervades biological networks gives them an evolutionary edge by allowing them to evolve to perform new functions more rapidly than an alternative network design, according to computer simulations conducted at the University of Chicago.

Remote-Controlled Humans

August 8, 2006

Electrically stimulating the vestibular nerve can influence human movement — and may create better virtual-reality devices and prosthetics.

Big bang pushed back two billion years

August 7, 2006

Our universe may be 15% larger and older than we thought, according to new measurements of the distance to a nearby galaxy.

Computer art changes to suit mood

August 7, 2006

Computer scientists have helped develop electronic artwork that changes to match the mood of the person who is looking at it.

Using images collected through a web cam, special software recognises eight key facial features that characterize the emotional state of the viewer.

It then adapts the colors and brush strokes of the digital artwork to suit the changing mood of the viewer.

Researchers watch brain in action

August 4, 2006

For the first time, scientists have been able to watch neurons within the brain of a living animal change in response to experience.

The researchers at MIT’s Picower Institute implanted transparent cranial windows over the primary visual cortex, allowing them to monitor over time the expression of proteins in the brains of live mice. They used two-photon microscopy (so-called because it uses two infrared photons to emit fluorescence in… read more

Virtual bots teach each other using wordplay

August 3, 2006

Robots that teach one another new words through interaction with their surroundings have been demonstrated by Plymouth University researchers.

They say their novel method of communication could someday help real-life robots cooperate when faced with a new challenge or help linguists understand how human languages develop.

Sensory illusions dazzle at graphics conference

August 3, 2006

Inventions on display at the SIGGRAPH 2006 computer graphics conference, which opened in Boston, on Monday,
include a toy house that appears to warp into surreal shapes, a handheld device that “pulls” a person around, and a display that generates holographic illusions using scores of hidden projectors.

Shape-shifting lens mimics human eye

August 3, 2006

A shape-shifting lens has been developed that alters its focal length when squeezed by an artificial muscle, a ring of polymer gel that expands and contracts in response to environmental changes, eliminating the need for electronics to power or control the devices.

Different polymer gels can be used to create a lens that responds to changes in acidity, temperature, light, electric fields or even certain proteins.

A lens… read more

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