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Carbon nanotubes help heal broken bones

July 8, 2005

Carbon nanotubes make an ideal scaffold for the growth of bone tissue, chemist Robert Haddon of the University of California, Riverside, has found.

The new technique could change the way doctors treat broken bones, allowing them to simply inject a solution of nanotubes into a fracture to promote healing.

Bone tissue is a natural composite of collagen fibers and hydroxyapatite crystals. Haddon and his coworkers have demonstrated for… read more

Researcher sees huge growth in podcast audience

July 7, 2005

Researchers at the Diffusion Group predict that the U.S. podcast audience will climb from 840,000 last year to 56 million by 2010. By that time, three-quarters of all people who own portable digital music players will listen to podcasts, they predict.

Harvard project to scan millions of medical files

July 7, 2005

Harvard scientists are building a powerful computer system that will use artificial intelligence to scan the private medical files of 2.5 million people at local hospitals, as part of a government-funded effort to find the genetic roots of asthma and other diseases.

Giving Genetic Disease the Finger

July 6, 2005

Scientists are closing in on techniques that could let them safely repair almost any defective gene in a patient, opening the door for the first time to treatments for a range of genetic disorders that are now considered incurable.

The breakthrough relies on “zinc fingers” (amino acid protuberances that emanate from a zinc ion). When inserted into human cells, the fingers automatically bind to miscoded strands of DNA, spurring… read more

How cells with damaged DNA alert the immune system

July 6, 2005

University of California, Berkeley researchers have found that damage to a cell’s DNA sets off a chain reaction that leads to the increased expression of a marker recognized by the body’s immune system, allowing it to differentiate cells that are cancerous from those that are healthy and attack them.

Cells with damaged DNA can also involve other cells in the fight, triggering a mechanism that signals other cells –… read more

Science’s greatest questions revealed

July 6, 2005

A special, free news feature in Science magazine explores 125 big questions that face scientific inquiry over the next quarter-century.

The questions include:

What Is the Universe Made Of?

What is the Biological Basis of Consciousness?

Why Do Humans Have So Few Genes?

To What Extent Are Genetic Variation and Personal Health Linked?

How Far Can We Push Chemical Self-Assembly?

What Are the… read more

Laser pulses could power quantum logic gate

July 5, 2005

Hewlett-Packard and the National Institute for Informatics in Tokyo have devised a quantum computer that uses powerful laser pulses to process quantum bits.

The system would use laser beams as a communication channel between optical qubits. Information on the quantum state of qubits would be combined in the beam, and then processed by measuring the beam. This would make it easier to process quantum information, as beams can be… read more

Artists and scientists conspire at conference

July 5, 2005

Cartoons and morphing software may help to convey scientists’ finds more effectively.

Hewlett Cites Progress on Quantum Computer

July 1, 2005

Scientists at Hewlett-Packard said Thursday that they had developed a new strategy for designing a quantum computer composed of switches of light beams that could be vastly more powerful than today’s digital electronic computers, which are constructed from transistors.

Net Pioneer Wants New Internet

July 1, 2005

David Clark, who led the development of the Internet in the 1970s, is working with the National Science Foundation on a plan for a whole new infrastructure to replace today’s global network.

A new architecture could allow for ubiquitous embedded wireless communications devices and sensors. It could also provide for more secure and convenient forms of commerce. A super-high-speed Internet could even allow people a world apart to collaborate… read more

Nanowire splicing to make ultra-small circuits

July 1, 2005

Northwestern University researchers have created nanowires containing gaps just a few nanometres wide along its length. The gaps are so minute that individual molecules can be dropped in, converting the wire into simple, incredibly small, electronic circuitry.

BIOCOMPUTATION

June 30, 2005

Three leading scientists, J. Craig Venter, Ray Kurzweil, and Rodney Brooks, discuss “Biocomputation.”

Soot blamed for global warming underestimate

June 30, 2005

Global warming looks set to be much worse than previously forecast, according to new research.

Three top climate researchers claim that the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere should have warmed the world more than they have. The reason they have not, they say, is that the warming is being masked by sun-blocking smoke, dust and other polluting particles put into the air by human activity.

But they… read more

Entering a dark age of innovation

June 30, 2005

We are fast approaching a new dark age, says Jonathan Huebner, a physicist working at the Pentagon’s Naval Air Warfare Center.

He says the rate of technological innovation reached a peak a century ago and has been declining ever since.

He plotted major innovations and scientific advances over time compared to world population, using the 7200 key innovations listed in a recently published book, The History of Science… read more

Mind is analog, not digital

June 30, 2005

The mind works the way biological organisms do — as a dynamic continuum, cascading through shades of gray — says a new Cornell study, which found evidence that language comprehension is a continuous process.

The older models of language processing theorized that neural systems process words in a series of discrete stages. The alternative model suggests that sensory input is processed continuously, so that even partial linguistic input can… read more

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